Nagaland 2023: HC quashes village resolution on consensus candidate
Nagaland PWD (housing and mechanical) minister Tongpang Ozukum

Kohima: The Gauhati High Court Kohima Bench, in its recent judgment quashed the resolution adopted by the Mongsenyimti village under the Mokokchung district to endorse Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) candidate Tongpang Ozukum as the lone candidate from the village to contest for the 24-Angetyongpang Assembly Constituency in upcoming state Assembly polls.

As EastMojo reported earlier, the court was hearing a Writ Petition (Civil) 290/2022 filed by S Moangkaba Ozukum, son of former seven-time legislator Sentichuba, who was excommunicated from the village for expressing his intention to contest the polls.

“A very disturbing fact which has come to the notice of this Court is the open indulgence in politics by the Riosanger Putu Menden of Mongsenyimti village by supporting one particular candidate and debarring other citizens of Mongsenyimti village to contest from 24-Angetyongpang Assembly constituency,” the Court’s order said.

It was brought to notice that every citizen of India has a statutory right to participate in/contest an election with their own free will subject to the fulfilment of the requisite qualifications and that any attempt of force/coercion to subvert the free will of the citizen in violation of the rights guaranteed to the individuals by the constitution and subsequent statutes.

“Announcement/declaration of consensus candidates by the councils/organizations and issuing directives/diktats in favour of the consensus candidates and/or against other candidates/voters violates the right of the citizen to participate/vote as per their free will,” the court said.

Any attempt to influence the free and fair election by any means or any attempts to interfere with the exercise of the free will of the citizen/voter in election matters, it warned, is an offence under sections 17IC, 339 and 340 of IPC. The same, it noted, has been reiterated by the Election Commission of India (ECI) in its instruction NO.437/6/INST/2014-CC & BE dated 26th October 2014 which further prohibits any organization/group from any activity/statement that amounts to an attack on the citizen from exercising their rights to participate/vote with free will.

“Further, the village council being government agencies and auxiliary to the district administration under section 15 of the Nagaland Village Council Act, 1978, are hereby directed to refrain from any type of political activity and re- main politically neutral at all times. Non-compliance may invite disciplinary action under the relevant section of the Nagaland Village Council Act 1978 and other statutes,” it added.

The action of Riosanger Putu Menden (Village council) of Mongsenyimti Village, it said, is not permissible in law and so the court directed the Deputy Commissioner of the district to take appropriate steps against the village council in accordance with the law.

The DC has also been directed to file an action taken report against the Village Council before the Registry of the Court within a period of three weeks from the date of receipt of the copy of the court order.

Failure to do so, Registry is directed to initiate suo moto contempt proceedings against the official respondents, the Court said in its judgement order dated January 31, 2023.

It also directed the DC to ensure that a free and fair election is held in the forthcoming General Election to the 14th Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) in all the constituencies under the Mokokchung district, particularly with regard to the 24- Angetyongpang Assembly Constituency.

Meanwhile, Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio led NDPP party announced the list of 40 of its intending candidates for the polls which included Ozukum who won the 24- Angetyongpang AC as an independent candidate and had served as the minister of PWD (Housing and Mechanical) before he recently resigned from the 13th NLA to join NDPP.

With the Court’s verdict, sources told EastMojo that the petitioner Moangkaba Ozukum is likely to contest the polls as an independent candidate.

Also Read | G-20 summit a golden opportunity to highlight Assam’s culture: Sonowal

Trending Stories

Latest Stories

Leave a comment

Leave a comment