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Opinion

Joint Action Committee on Women Reservation (JACWR)

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By EMN Updated: Oct 24, 2016 11:42 pm
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The attention of the JACWR is drawn to the recent spurt of articles and statements issued by various individuals as well as Organisations in the local media on the issue of women reservation and the Cabinet decision on holding of Municipal Elections in the State. The JACWR, therefore, issues the following statement in this regard:

1. The NMA, on behalf of the JACWR had petitioned the Gauhati High Court, Kohirna Bench in June 2011 on the failure of the then State Government to hold the elections and implement women reservation as per the Nagaland Municipal First Amendment Act passed by the Nagaland Legislative Assembly in 2006.The Joint Action Committee on Women Reservation was formed in May 2011, with leaders from the Naga Mothers Association, Eastern Naga Women Organisation, Watsu Mungdang, Naga Women Hoho Dimapur and Tenyimia Women Organisation respectively. The Hon’ble Court on the 2st October, 2011 passed the judgment and order directing the State Government to hold Municipal Elections with women reservation within 1(one) month. After seeking time, the State Government appealed to the Principal Bench Gauhati High Court in 2012,whereby, the Division Bench allowed the Nagaland Legislative Assembly to re-visit the Act. Therefore, the petitioners filed a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court against the impugned Judgement and order and sought for holding the long pending Municipal Elections and implementation of women reservation. After numerous hearing in the Supreme Court, with arguments from both the sides, the Hon’ble Supreme Court on the 5th April, 2015, gave an Interim Relief Order to the petitioners, whereby the Division Bench Judgement of Gauhati High Court and its implementation was stayed. In the 5th April, 2016 hearing, in the Supreme Court, the Counsels of the Petitioners agreed to holding of Municipal Elections in the presence of the State Government Counsels and Central Government Counsels.

2. It must be noted that, neither the State Government nor the Petitioners had asked for a Stay on holding of elections throughout the whole Court process, whether it be in the High Court or the Supreme Court till date. Therefore, the JACWR has placed on record, its appreciation to the State Government for its decision to hold Municipal Elections in the interest of the public and women in particular, in accordance with the revival of the Single Judge Order of 2 1st October, 2011.

3. The JACWR would like to remind all Naga leaders be it, the different tribal leaders, including the recent Chakroma G.B’s Union statement, that in more than a thousand Naga Villages, 25% reservation for women is being implemented in the Village Development Board (VDB) which is an important part of the traditional Village Councils in every village. The state of Nagaland has also implemented the reservation policy for the Backward Tribes in education and employment for many decades. Despite the existence of customary laws and traditions, including Article 371(A), all these reservation policies are being implemented and enjoyed by the Nagas, in accordance with the law and Constitutional provisions .Therefore, likewise, reservation for women is a Constitutional mechanism to encourage women to participate actively in the political decision making bodies of urban governance namely, the Town Committees and Municipal Councils in the State, and has become a legal right for women in the state.

4. The JACWR has not challenged the provisions enjoyed by the Nagas under Article 371(A) nor are we challenging Customary Law, because even the Single Judge Order of October 2011, has categorically clarified that Women reservation in Municipalities has nothing to do with Article 371(A). We urge that our Naga brothers change their mindset and look ahead to a future of equal partnership with their women, who constitute the other half of Nagaland’s population.

Sd – Mrs Abeiu Meru Convenor, JACWR
Sd – Dr Rosemary Dzuvichu
Co-Convenor, JACWR

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By EMN Updated: Oct 24, 2016 11:42:15 pm