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Nagaland Govt. hopeful of just judgement by Supreme Court on ULB elections


KOHIMA, APRIL 27: Nagaland Minister for Power and Parliamentary Affairs, KG Kenye today expressed hope that the Supreme Court will understand the position of the State Government in not holding the elections to Urban Local Bodies with 33% women reservation and deliver a just judgement on May 1.
Addressing a press conference here, Minister Kenye said the decision to repeal the Nagaland Municipal Act 2001 in toto was considered after gathering enough views while also feeling the pulse of the people that it was not in consonance with the views and opinion of the people.
The Act was taken to the Assembly and the legislators approved that it is doing no good and can’t do anything with the Act, he said adding that along with Article 243 and 74th Amendment, the State has also included some Articles into the Act, he said.
After 2001 in the amendments which were undertaken, the State Government tried its best to accommodate the yearnings and desire of the people by making rectification but to no avail as it did not fully satisfy the people, he said, adding that the Government then identified that it is to do more with the principle Act under Article 243 and the 74th Amendment Act.
Kenye said that considering the State being resource-crunched with almost zero revenue, the then State Government enacted the Act to receive grants from the Centre for development of the towns and cities of the State.
Saying that the Central Government gives funds as aid to the municipalities and town councils only if we enact a law to constitute the ULBs, he said perhaps in desperation, the Government enacted the Act without any ill motive but to benefit the citizens.
He however pointed out that there were certain oversights on the part of the executives or the bureaucracy of the State as it is their part to properly advise the Government whether the Parliamentary Act (Article 243 or the 74th Amendment) would go well with the State.
A lot of hurdles were faced over the years in the attempt to constitute the ULBs in the State, he said.
Therefore now the Government has reached the stage to re-look at the entire Act and so the Assembly resolved to completely repeal the 2001 Act and bring about a new Act, the laws and regulations will be brought about by our own people to suit our condition and situation.
The Government will soon constitute a committee which will conduct a wide ranging consultations will all concern and bring about a new Act which will be befitting to the way of life and social practices while State Legislature will adopt the new Nagaland Municipal Act as early as possible.
There is no time frame but the Government is aware of the urgency to re-enact a new law to substitute the old and so we will lose no time, he said.
“Once the amendment starts, we can revisit the amendments made but we cannot touch the Article 243 in parts, so we have to accept or reject it toto”, he said, adding that exercising the powers vested by 371 (A) that it has reference to social practices it was decided to repeal at Act.
On Supreme Court pulling up Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio for deciding not to hold the ILB elections, he clarified that the use of the term ‘contempt of court’ is unfounded and baseless, as the in its April 17 order had said ‘breach of court’.
Now that the State Assembly has repealed the 2001 Act, the Court has asked the Additional Solicitor General of India to reply back within two weeks time whether it is acceptable or any action should be taken and also the special provisions under Article 371 (A).
Saying that there was no contempt of court by the Government or the Chief Minister, he said “Our Advocate General and legal team are preparing all necessary documents for presentation to the Court on May 1 and we expect the Court to give a just judgement to our case.”
The State Government was fully prepared and even issued the notifications but because of the demand of the public the State Legislature has concluded that it is not possible fearing another situation like 2017 where there will be chaos, loss of precious lives and damage to properties while nothing will be achieved. Elections require mass participation of people but when they are objecting it is not going to be successful.
“So the legislature has repealed it and now in the absence of an Act based on which the election is to be conducted, upon what Act will the State Election Commission conduct the polls?”
“I am sure the Court will be considerate and surely trace back the origins of the Article 371 (A) of the Constitution and study it thoroughly and have the same considerations”, he said.
Kenye also accepted that the Nagaland Municipal Act is more of a copy paste from some States, other than Northeast, where the Act had been in practice while the legislature had blindly endorsed it. “The executives should take the responsibility for not guiding our Government of those years after having read through the contents and what will follow on our State in relevance to our social practices”, he said.
Govt. to make official interpretation of Article 371 (A)
Meanwhile, Minister Kenye lamented that there is no official translation or interpretation of the Article 371 (A) of the Constitution and it is high time that the official interpretation is brought about.
In this, he said that matters are being discussed at the highest level and at the appropriate forum to bring out the official version of the State.
He informed that the 60-member of the Assembly will deliberate and take decision on interpreting the Article with consensus.
(Page News Service)