Protection of special provision under Article 371C: ATSUM

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Imphal: The All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur (ATSUM) has submitted a memorandum to the Manipur Governor today demanding that the “Office Memorandum dated 26th August 2008 with regard to recognition of village issued by the Principal Secretary (Revenue) and (ii) Order no. 9/11/98-CHA (Pt-II) A dated 26th April, 2022 issued by Additional Chief Secretary (TA&H) in connection with constitution of Cabinet Sub-Committee to redraft the Rules (Village Recognition Rules in Hill Areas and Valley) be revoked so as to protect the Special Provision guaranteed under Article 371C and the subsequent order dated 20th June 1972 issued by the then President, V.V Giri”.

The ATSUM said that on behalf of all tribal population in the hill areas constituting about 12 lakhs it submitted this memorandum for the kind consideration of the HAC chairman by attracting Article 371C of the Constitution & Item no. 7 of the 2nd Schedule of the Manipur Legislative Assembly (Hill Areas Committee) Order, 1972. The memorandum of the tribal student body also said that the HAC is constituted for dealing with the hill matters. “However, the impugned notice dated 26th August 2008 and the order dated 26th April 2022 with respect to hill matters was issued beyond jurisdiction without the consent and approval of the Hill Areas Committee”, it added.

The ATSUM said that one of the reasons for its demand for revocation and modification is that the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act, 1960 and its Rules, 1961 are not extended in the Hill Areas of Manipur. “By virtue of the proviso of Section 2 of the MLR & LR Act, 1960, the Act is not extended in the Hill Areas of Manipur. As such, the Principal Secretary (Revenue) has no authority to issue the impugned order dt. 26th August 2008 with respect to the villages in the Hill Areas of Manipur,” the ATSUM memorandum also said.

Another reason given by the tribal student is that, by virtue of Art.371C and the subsequent order dated 20th June, 1972, issued by the then President of India V.V. Giri, the Central and the State government including the Revenue department has nothing to do with the land and forest in the hill areas and the villages thereof. As such, the impugned notice dated 26th August 2008 and the order dated 26thApril 2022 are void and cannot be acted upon.

The third reason is that the Department of TA & Hills is incompetent to issue the impugned order dated 26th April, 2022 without referring the matter to HAC which was constituted under Article 371C of the Constitution. Hence, the impugned order is ultra vires and is not binding upon the parties.

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The fourth reason according to the ATSUM is that, as per the provision guaranteed under Item no. 7 of the 2nd Schedule of the Scheduled Matters of the Manipur Legislative Assembly (Hill Areas Committee) Order dated 20thJune 1972, the subject matter of “Village in Hill areas” is absolutely within the purview of HAC. Accordingly, HAC is the only competent authority to issue all matters relating to villages in the Hill areas.

The fifth reason is that, by issuing the impugned notice dated 26th August 2008 and the order dated 26th April 2022, the Special Provision guaranteed under Article 371C is defeated and thereby reduced to mockery.

The sixth reason according to the ATSUM is that, mere executive order cannot supersede the mandatory provision guaranteed under Article 371C of the Constitution.

Finally, the seventh reason accoding to the ATSUM is that the impugned order is arbitrary, illegal, bias, unconstitutional, discriminatory, ultra vires and ab initio void.

“Therefore, in view of the above stated reasons, the two impugned orders i.e (i)Office Memorandum dated 26th August 2008 with regard to recognition of village issued by the Principal Secretary (Revenue) and (ii) Order no. 9/11/98-CHA (Pt-II) A dated 26th April, 2022 issued by Additional Chief Secretary (TA&H) in connection with constitution of Cabinet Sub-Committee to redraft the Rules (Village Recognition Rules in Hill Areas and Valley), be revoked so as to protect the Special Provision guaranteed under Article 371C and the subsequent order dated 20th June 1972 issued by the then President, V.V Giri,” it demanded.

NNN

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