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Nagaland

Reservation: Success or failure hinges on legal interpretation

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By Our Reporter Updated: Oct 25, 2016 12:39 am
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DIMAPUR, OCTOBER 24 : While the state government appears to be confused about the power equation/distinction between the Cabinet and the Legislative Assembly – in connection with the 33% reservation for women in civic bodies, vis-à-vis Article 371 (A) of the Indian Constitution – the apex Naga tribe bodies, however, are leaving nothing to chance even as consultation with legal experts has taken precedence.

When the state Cabinet’s decision to hold municipal elections with 33% seats reserved for women candidates was announced by the chief minister on August 11 last, the Ao Senden had rejected it outright.

While accusing the state government of “sinking down” Ao women to “2nd class status”, the Ao Senden had held that it “had totally opposed since the beginning and will never accept” the 33% seats reserved for women in municipal bodies. It has not changed its stance since.
Other apex tribe bodies have opted for legal guidance. The president of Sumi Hoho, Toniho Yepthomi told Eastern Mirror on Monday that his organisation would be consulting legal experts for advice. The purpose of the legal consultation would be solely to determine whether reservation for women have adverse effects on the provisions of Article 371 (A).

“After consultation with legal experts, if it (reservation for women) affects Article 371 (A), then we will not support it,” he said. Similar sentiment was expressed by an official of the Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organization (ENPO).

According to the vice-president of ENPO, Kakong Yim: “We will not welcome it if it infringes on (the provisions of) Article 371 (A).”

For the Chakhesang Public Organization (CPO), the Cabinet’s decision to enforce the Nagaland Municipal Act of 2003, subsequently amended to provide 33% reservation for women, was “against the interest voiced by various civil societies.”

According to the general secretary of CPO, Adubuh Kotso, state government must “review the anomalies and loopholes” contained in the Act before implementing it. The Angami Public Organization (APO) was also reported to be conducting a series of consultations in connection with the issue of women reservation.

For the Lotha Hoho (LH), it has decided to exercise caution as of now. The general secretary of LH, Er Mhondamo Ovung said that it has decided to adopt a policy of “wait and watch” with regard with regard to the 33% seat reservation for women in urban bodies.

It might be noted that the Joint Action Committee on Women Reservation (JACWR) under Naga Mothers’ Association had gone to the court demanding implementation of 33% women reservation in urban local bodies. The case is still pending in Supreme Court.

On Friday last, October 21, the former additional advocate general of Nagaland, Pius Lotha had written in the newspapers that the Cabinet decision to hold municipal elections in Nagaland with 33% reservation for women was unless resolved in the legislative assembly “cannot be enforced as it will be contrary to the special provision given to state by the Constitution” via Article 371 (A).

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By Our Reporter Updated: Oct 25, 2016 12:39:12 am