Nagaland government clarifies on ULB election; says state bound to obey Supreme Court judgment
DIMAPUR: In view of objections raised by several organisations for conduct of the urban local bodies (ULB) elections in connection with the Nagaland Municipal Act, 2001 and 33% reservation of seats for women, the Municipal Affairs department has issued a clarification on the matter.
The department said that the Supreme Court had, after a series of hearing, directed the state government to hold the ULB elections “without any further delay in accordance with the 74th Amendment of the Constitution that stipulates 33% reservation for women in ULBs”.
In its ruling on February 13 2023, the apex court directed the state government to issue the notification for elections to the ULBs by March 9, and thus the State Election Commission scheduled the polling on May 16 and the Model Code of Conduct was accordingly enforced, it clarified.
“In light of the Hon’ble Supreme Court judgment, the state authorities are duty bound to conduct ULB elections as per the notified schedule,” read the statement.
On the issue of “Tax on Land and Building”, it clarified that the provisions mentioned in Nagaland Municipal Act 2001 had been removed through the 3rd amendment in 2016.
“The amendment of section 120 (1) (a) states that ‘all references and operative provisions relating to tax on land and buildings wherever these occur in the Nagaland Municipal Act, 2001 shall be deemed to have been omitted,” it stated.
On the request made by some organisations to replace the word “omitted” with “deleted” in the amended version, it clarified that the words “omission, omitted and deleted” have no difference as per the legal opinion, and so it means the same.
Read: Nagaland ULB election 2023: Angami Public Organisation reaffirms its 2016 resolution
With regard to suggestion to nominate women in ULBs with voting rights instead of 33% reservations, the department said the Supreme Court had categorically struck down, terming it as “something naturally not acceptable”.
On reservations for women chairpersons in the ULBs, the department said that it is “notified as per Section 23B of the Nagaland Municipal Act, 2001, as amended”. “To bring about fair play, the rotation is being based on the Alphabetical order of the ULBs,” it added.
The Municipal Affairs department went on to remind the public that the Supreme Court had, in its judgment on March 14 2023, “directed that the poll schedule will not be disturbed now and the election process be completed in terms of the schedule”.
The SC also directed the “State Election Commission and the government to make all necessary arrangements to ensure free and fair elections in pursuance to the notification and any violation by any authority or citizen in breach thereof would be an act in breach of the order of this court”.
‘Accordingly, the next hearing in the Supreme Court is scheduled on May 18 only to ensure that the ULB election process is over,’ it informed.
Owing to this, the department has requested all the registered voters to whole-heartedly participate in the ULB elections on May 16 and make it a resounding success.