Nagaland assembly resolves to repeal Nagaland Municipal Act
Bowing to public pressure, the Nagaland assembly on Tuesday resolved to repeal the Nagaland Municipal Act of 2001 with immediate effect
KOHIMA: Bowing to public pressure, the Nagaland assembly on Tuesday resolved to repeal the Nagaland Municipal Act of 2001 with immediate effect. The assembly will enact a fresh law to govern urban local bodies, it said.
Tribal bodies, civil society organizations and various sections of society have been protesting against the law, which they said went against the spirit of Article 371A of the Constitution that guarantees precedence to customary law and social or religious practices of the Nagas.
“The House unanimously resolves on this day, the 28 March 2023, that the Nagaland Municipal Act 2001 be taken up for repeal in toto with immediate effect, and to govern the Urban Local Bodies, law be enacted expeditiously which will take into consideration once and for all the grievances of all the interested parties so that the elections could be conducted in accordance to law,” the resolution said.
In the last hour of the ongoing session, discussion on the issue was initiated by minister KG Kenye under Rule 50, which allows deliberation of matters of urgent public importance. MLA’s representing all political parties participated in the discussion.
During the sitting, state advocate general KN Balgopal gave a brief explanation on the municipal law and the legal view of the litigation that started in 2011 and ultimately reached the Supreme Court.
On the apex court’s directive to complete municipal polls by end of May, the state election commission had on March 9 notified that elections will held on May 16. When the state government was gearing up to conduct the polls, tribal bodies and other organizations passed resolutions for overhauling the law so that it was in consonance with the provisions of Article 371A. Civil society organizations threatened to boycott from participating in the upcoming elections.
The state government is said to have received reports about the law and order situation, which was seen to be worsening if elections were held without making the demanded changes.
“Cabinet met on two occasions to resolve the impasse. By the time it came to light that there will not be any participation in these elections owing to the boycott by all the Tribal Hohos and various organizations. The defining trait of law is its enforceability. If people are not willing to come forward to participate in the elections they cannot be compelled to do so. In these circumstances the Cabinet resolved to refer the matter to the Legislative Assembly for discussion. The House has deliberated in the matter, and deems that the Urban Local Bodies election cannot be conducted unless the Nagaland Municipal Act 2001 is repealed,” the assembly resolution added.
After the House unanimously adopted the resolution, chief minister Neiphiu Rio moved the Nagaland Municipal Act 2001 (Repeal Bill 2023), which was passed by voice vote.