Nagaland Assembly unanimously resolves to repeal Municipal Act
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Kohima: All 60 members of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA), on Tuesday resolved to “repeal in toto with immediate effect” the Nagaland Municipal Act (NMA) 2001, after public threats to boycott the general elections to the Urban Local Bodies (ULB) if the Act was not reviewed.

The resolution adopted by the house said that it noted the “stiff voices of opposition” to the conduct of the ULB elections by the tribal bodies, civil society organisations and “every section of the society”. It said that the House has taken note that the implementation of the Act has always been “fraught with much controversy due to the public perception that the Act runs contrary to the spirit of Article 371-A”.

“Unanimous Resolutions were passed by this House in the year 2012 exempting Nagaland from the provisions of Part IX A of the Constitution of India pertaining to 33% reservation for women in Municipalities and Town Councils. This said resolution, however, was revoked by another resolution in the year 2016 by this House,” it said.

Later in December 2016, the election schedule was notified by the State Election Commission for elections to the ULBS, wherein the date of the poll was scheduled on February 1, 2017, which led to widespread agitation and bandhs being declared all over the State by various tribal bodies/hohos and organizations representing the various tribes of Nagaland.

“The Government was faced with a delicate law and order situation, where various government buildings were burned down and precious lives were also lost. The entire State machinery also came to a standstill for several weeks, as the organizations had called for the closing down of all Government offices and banned plying of all Government vehicles during this period,” the resolution said.

Considering the overall situation, it said that the Government had to declare the election process to the ULBs as null and void.

On 9 March 2022, a resolution was passed in the State Level Consultative Meeting wherein the various tribal bodies and other organizations were present in which it was resolved that the elections to the Urban Local Bodies (LLB) should be conducted as per the 74 Amendment Act of the Constitution of India. However, when the Government was gearing up for conducting the election, it said that various tribal bodies and other organizations passed resolutions for “overhauling” the Act 2001 so that it agrees with the provisions of Article 371-A of the Constitution of India and boycotted/refused to participate in the ULB Elections.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court of India had already given directions to go ahead with the elections. “The Government in the meanwhile received reports about the law and order situation which could worsen with time in the event the elections are held without making the demanded change,” it said.

Accordingly, the 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 government said “the defining trait of law is its enforceability.”

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“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,” it said.

The House deliberated on the matter and deemed that the Urban Local Bodies election cannot be conducted unless the NMA 2001 is repealed.

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