Nagaland: Senior Legislator Imkong Imchen opines reviewing Art 371(A) 
Senior Legislator Imkong Imchen

Kohima: Senior politician and Advisor of Information & Public Relations and Soil & Water Conservation, Imkong L Imchen claimed that special provisions given to Nagaland under Article 371 (A) have become “redundant” and need to be reviewed. 

Addressing media persons at the IPR Citadel on Friday, Imchen shared his personal view on the provision saying he was constrained to share his view after observing that Nagas vigorously talk and think about safeguarding Article 371(A), which was inserted in Part XXI of the Constitution of India by Constitution (13th Amendment Act 1962).

He pointed out that the said Article was inserted in the Constitution of India by virtue of the 16 Point Agreement of Naga Peoples’ Convention.

“It is estimated that Article 371A was by and large propagated by the signatories as the final political emancipation of the Nagas but nonetheless it is observed that there are self-contradicting flaws and undefined paradoxes in the working and implementation of Article 371A,” Imchen said. 

A bare reading of Article 371A squarely reveals that no definition or meaning was given with regard to ownership and transfer of land and its resources which was given in clause IV. This very inherent flaw creates difficulties and confusion in the realm of interpretation, he pointed out. 

He added that further observation was that there was no specific legislative power accorded to the Nagaland Legislative Assembly to legislate with respect to the special provision of Article 371(A) Clause IV. 

This unexplained ambiguity and flaw gave rise to never-ending confusion. By all indications, it was observed that Article 371(A) does not perse (by itself) provide blanket protection and safeguards to its special provisions, he observed.

He said Article 371(A) was not an enabling provision rather it was a protective provision of law in the Constitution. 

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He said it was a saddening inherent flaw that the Nagaland Legislative Assembly was not accorded the power to make its own law in the enumerated clauses of Article 371(A). 

Imchen pointed out that the concurrent nullifying executive orders pronounced by Centre during so-called sacrosanct provisions of Article 371 (A) more particularly clause 4, which envisaged ownership and transfer of land and its resources, has from the threshold to hitherto has failed and has tormented down to a bottomless pit. 

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