Stay away from delimitation exercise : ATSUM to hill people

Kangpokpi: Alleging that the ongoing delimitation exercise would “shut” the doors of tribal people’s Constitutional Rights forever, the All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) has urged the people of the hills not to partake in the exercise.

Delimitation is underway for election to the 10 Autonomous District Councils and ATSUM has been at the forefront in demanding that the ADC Bill of 2021 be passed in the State Assembly.

While advising the hill people to avoid the delimitation exercise, it also appealed to the Hill Areas Committee (HAC) to immediately stop the alleged “unconstitutional and non-mandated” procedure, saying it would contradict and demean the purpose of the HAC.

The tribal students’ apex body stated that 14 tribal ex-Parliamentarians including ex-members of the HAC had recently sought the intervention of the President of India, Droupadi Murmu for alleged violation of the provisions of the Constitution of India particularly Article 371C by the Government of Manipur.

Subsequently, the State Government was asked to get the matter examined and forward a reply on priority regarding 3 controversial Bills, namely, Bill No 14-The Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (7th Amendment) Bill 2022; Bill No 15-The Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council’s (6th Amendment) Bill 2022, and Bill No 16-The Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council’s (7th Amendment) Bill 2022, introduced during the last Assembly Session, ATSUM added.

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The student body also stated that in a memorandum submitted to the President of India on August 10 recently the tribal ex-Parliamentarians had raised serious concerns regarding the “unconstitutional procedures and violation” of Constitutional provisions during the 2nd Session of the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly.

The tribal ex-Parliamentarians had apprised the President of India that the 3 Bills- The Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (7th Amendment) Bill 2022, The Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council’s (6th Amendment) Bill 2022, and The Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council’s (7th Amendment) Bill 2022 had “bypassed the interest of the hill people and shifted the authority of the District Council to the State Government and undermined its mandate” .

The Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council’s (6th Amendment) Bill 2022 was “unconstitutionally passed in the guise of a Money Bill and instead of tabling an already recommended Bill, the Government had referred a new Bill to the HAC.

“Such attempts to forcefully overlook the Constitutional rights of HAC stated in the Scheduled matters and directly shifting the mandate of the Autonomous District Council to the State Government can only be done through a Constitutional Amendment and not by a mere State Assembly since this provision is given through Article 371 C,” said ATSUM.

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Further it claimed that the erstwhile “The Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Councils Bill 2021 was unanimously recommended by the HAC following the rules of procedure, yet, the State Government had, without any stated mandate, kept the recommended Bill in abeyance and introduced another Bill that was not recommended by the HAC.

“Such blatant overriding of rules of procedures and conduct of business rightly requires rectification through the intervention of the President,” ATSUM said while highly applauding the new President of India for promptly stepping in and initiating action to safeguard the Constitutional provisions.

“We hope the unconstitutional hegemonic procedures inside the State Assembly would be promptly rectified and that this would remain a deterrent,” said ATSUM.

The State Government should acknowledge the Constitutional rights of the hill people and table the ADC Bill 2021 as assured in a Memorandum of Understanding signed on November 25, 2021 between the State Government and Tribal Students’ Organisations represented by ATSUM, ANSAM, and KSO-GHQ, it said.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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