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Nagaland

Doing everything for High Court in Nagaland, says Rio

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By EMN Updated: Sep 28, 2019 12:26 am
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Neiphiu Rio and Talitsungba Ao releasing the jubilee souvenir of Nagaland Bar Association in Dimapur on Friday. (EM Images)

Eastern Mirror Desk

Dimapur, Sep. 27: Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Friday assured that the Nagaland government will do everything possible to ensure that the state gets a separate High Court.

The chief minister made this commitment at the golden jubilee of Nagaland Bar Association on Friday at the Agri Expo in Dimapur.

Also addressing the Indo-Naga issue, Rio said that after many decades of struggle, the government of India has recognised the rights of the Naga people and the uniqueness of their tradition, culture and history.

“We are given to understand that we are inching towards a solution day by day and therefore this is a very crucial juncture for all of us as Nagas,” he said.

The Constitution of India, Rio said, assures the protection of Naga customary law and procedure. “I believe we should avail the privilege of these rights to the fullest. This is where the legal fraternity has to play a very important role in not only codifying our customary laws, but also keeping it in synchronicity with modern day judicial laws of the country. The responsibility of striking this balance lies upon your shoulders, primarily as members of the legal fraternity for which we are ready to extend full cooperation wherever and whenever needed,” Rio told the legal fraternity.

Rio reminded them that the state’s department of Justice and Law had faced enormous tasks post-creation of Nagaland as the 16th state of the Indian Union. The department, he said, had codified various laws relevant to attaining statehood.

He therefore encouraged the bar association and the department of Justice and Law to continue to work in tandem for the benefit of the people. As members of the legal profession, he advised them to contribute towards codification of the state’s customary laws and practices.

The chief minister reminded that Nagaland is currently facing many contentious issues such as the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN), and the imposition of Inner Line Permit (ILP) in Dimapur.

He urged the lawyers to seize the opportunity to put their heads together so that the state gets its priorities right, and is correct from the legal perspective.

“This is extremely important not only for the legal fraternity or the government of the day, but for the Nagas as a whole and for posterity. Much has been debated in social platforms through consultative meets and in the Nagaland Legislative Assembly. All sections of the society including the tribe hohos, civil society, elected representatives, and the citizens unitedly understand the urgency of such issues,” he noted and requested the fraternity for their continued cooperation.

Rio suggested that it was the duty of the lawyers to act as the interpreter, guide and faithful servant of the community. “The community demands from every institution or association the justification of its existence, the proof of its utility; and as a politician and you as legal fraternity, we cannot demand cooperation from the people when we do not deliver justice,” he remarked.

Retired Judge of the Supreme Court, HK Sema, in his address, pointed out that that the process of democracy in the state is a ‘miserable failure’ as the right to vote has become a ‘marketable commodity’. Every vote, he asserted, has a price tag and the common people have no future with this marketable commodity.

The retired judge reminded the legal fraternity that they discharge public duty, and that is why their effort is called a profession and not a trade.

According to Sema, good governance is a “wish which has become a vicious circle”, and therefore he reminded the association and its members that they are not ‘resource-less or helpless’ and they have a duty towards the public, apart from their legal duty.

Jubilee convenor Akito Zhimomi asserted that as long as the state remains under Guwahati High Court, Nagaland will not be in a position to be called a ‘state’.

He lamented that “we cannot be subordinate to Assam and as long we do not have our own High Court we cannot be called a state.”

NBA President, Talitsungba Ao remarked that legal knowledge has transformed the justice delivery system and that no one was above the Bar. The association president was also critical of the district deputy commissioners (DC) controlling the judiciary pointing out that the DC’s responsibility was ‘only for administration’.

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By EMN Updated: Sep 28, 2019 12:26:42 am