Thursday, March 30, 2023

On 33 percent women reservation

The main objection to holding of ULB elections with 33% reservation for women in Nagaland is because it infringes upon Naga traditional and customary laws under Article 371(A) which is a special provision of the Indian constitution given to the state of Nagaland. The flip-flop of the state government in its inability to stand firmly to its own resolutions is the reason for the lack of solution to the challenges that the state faces.
The Nagaland Legislative Assembly had, on September 22, 2021, passed a resolution exempting operation of Part IXA of the constitution of India which mandates 33% reservation for women in municipalities and town councils of the state. When the Public Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), however, filed a civil appeal to the Supreme Court against the state assembly’s resolution and seeking to hold elections to ULBs in accordance with Section 23A of the Nagaland Municipal (First Amendment) Act, 2006, the state government, instead of standing ground, called for a consultative meeting on 9th March, 2022, with all the representatives of Apex tribal bodies, civil society organisations, and church bodies. Chief Minister, Rio, in a complete contradiction to the Nagaland assembly resolution of September 22, 2021, made an about-turn, and with a straight face, had said that since 33% women reservation in ULBs was part and parcel of 74th Amendment, there was nothing he or the legislators could do about it.
It was abject surrender, and the unseen hand of New Delhi at work through the Supreme Court order that had given the Nagaland government six weeks time to report back on the issue, was not lost on all the keen observers. The then IT & C Advisor, Mmhonlumo Kikon, who co-chaired the meeting, went to the extent of terming the consultative meeting as ‘historic’ since everybody supported 33% reservation for women in ULBs by raising their hands on the resolution, not once, but twice. Former Planning Minister, Neiba Kronu, who chaired the consultative meet, termed the meeting as one of the highest intellectual gathering the state had ever witnessed where all the representatives shared their opinions.
Before the consultative meeting happened, in response to the plea filed by the PUCL and others to the Supreme Court seeking to hold ULB elections in accordance with Section 23A of Nagaland Municipal (First Amendment) Act, 2006, the state government had presented a counter proposal to implement reservation by nomination where men would nominate women for the reserved seats. The court, however, did not even allow the counter proposal of reservation by nomination to be heard by the bench citing that local issues can’t be gender negative. The Supreme Court made it clear to the state that women reservation under the 74th Amendment was not an option but an obligation.
What troubles and is disturbing to the Naga mind is the generalization of the Supreme Court ruling even while addressing a Naga-specific issue in regards to women reservation. It becomes Naga-specific because Article 371A cannot be excluded from the issue.
The condition and treatment of women in mainland India is very different to that of in Naga society. The position of women in the Naga society is way much better as compared to women in mainland India. In the Naga society, women are equal partners and bread earners. In more sense than one, Naga women enjoy more higher social status and privileges than most other women elsewhere. Thus the need for the 74th Amendment of the Indian constitution becomes necessary for women in mainland India and which is not so in the context of Naga women. The 74th Amendment is an obligation of the constitution of India to the women of mainland India who all can only be empowered, in the true sense of the word, through reservations and quotas. The obligation of the state in respect of the 74th Amendment is to ensure that Nagaland-specific Article 371A is not infringed.
Sadly, over the last two years, the state government had repeatedly reassured the supreme court of its readiness to hold the ULB elections with 33% women reservation. It is because of the pressure exerted by the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) and other associations to the state government to hold ULB polls only after amendment of Nagaland Municipal Act, 2001, that had kept the ULB elections at bay. Immediately after retaining power, the NDPP-BJP government has announced the date of the ULB elections with 33% reservation for women even before the dust of the just concluded assembly election has settled.
Having just witnessed the Naga election, and with all the other parties willing to support the new NDPP-BJP government in Nagaland, the Central BJP knows that the time is ripe to implement the 74th Amendment of the constitution in Nagaland, thereby removing the road block of Article 371A, and paving the road clear for the ultimate Amendment of the Indian constitution for a India with a Uniform Civil Code.
Benito Z Swu

Don't Miss

NSCN/GPRN (Niki) assigns

The Ministry of Kilo Affairs, NSCN/GPRN (Niki) has assigned additional secretary, Ngukato Yeptho, as secretary to UT-I until further order.An intimation issued from the...

MHSU convenes mid-term meeting

Mopong Hongkong Students Union (MHSU) has convened its mid-term meeting on April 11, 9 am, at host village Yei for ensuing 38th sports session-cum-general...

NPGN/NNC N/A (MK) condoles demise of Hozheto

The NPGN NNC/NA (MK) has expressed deep shock and sadness at the demise of Ato Kilonser, NPGN/NNC (N/A), Hozheto Choph.In a condolence message, NPGN...

Dimapur-Kohima railway line project making steady progress

The 82.50-km Dimapur-Kohima new railway line from Dhansiri station in Assam to Zubza adjacent to Kohima is making steady progress. According to Sabyasachi De,...

NMDA calls off protest; shops to open

Nagaland Medicine Dealers Association (NMDA) has decided to call off their protest and open their shops on humanitarian ground. All medical dealers under NMDA...

Farmers trg held at Beisumpuikam

Farmers training under Human Resource Development, Central Institute of Horticulture Nagaland organised by Suiketbau Agro Fed Producer Company Ltd, Salt Range Foods Pvt Ltd...
Must Read