Updated 5 May 2022, 12:35 pm
The All Tribal Students' Union, Manipur (ATSUM) on Wednesday apprised the Manipur governor, chief minister and the Hill Area Committee's Chairman to protect the Special Provision guaranteed under Article 371C and the subsequent order on June 20, 1972 issued by the then President VV Giri by revoking and modifying the government's order of August 26, 2008 and April 26, 2022 through a memorandum.
The ATSUM, representing the tribal populace in the hill areas of Manipur constituting about 12 lakh population, submitted the memorandum to Governor La Ganesan, Chief Minister N Biren Singh and HAC Chairman Dinganglung Gangmei for consideration by attracting Article 371C of the Constitution and Item No.7 of the 2nd Schedule of the Manipur Legislative Assembly (Hill Areas Committee) Order, 1972.
The government's office memorandum issued on August 26, 2008 referred to the recognition of the village issued by the Principal Secretary (Revenue) while the other Government order issued on April 26, 2022 issued by the additional chief secretary (TA&H) referred to the constitution of the Cabinet Sub-Committee to redraft the rules (Village Recognition Rules in Hill Areas and Valley).
The ATSUM's memorandum, signed by its President Paotinthang Lupheng and General Secretary SR Andria stated that the Hill Area Committee is constituted for dealing with the hill matters. However, the impugned notice of August 26, 2008 and the April 26, 2022 order concerning hill matters was issued beyond jurisdiction without the consent and approval of the Hill Areas Committee, they stated.
While providing the grounds for revocation and modification of the alleged impugned notification and orders, the ATSUM stated 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, and as such, the Principal Secretary (Revenue) has no authority to issue the impugned order issued on August 26, 2008 with respect to the villages in the hill areas of Manipur.
It also stated that by virtue of Article 371C and the subsequent order dated 20th June, 1972, issued by the then President of India VV 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, and as such, the impugned notice of August 26, 2008 and the April 26, 2022 order are ab-initio void and cannot be acted upon.
It continued to stated that the Department of TA & Hills is incompetent to issue the impugned order issued on April 26, 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, it added.
It further stated 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 on June 20, 1972, the subject matter of “Village in Hill areas” is absolutely within the purview of HAC, and accordingly, HAC is the only competent authority to issue all matters relating to villages in the Hill areas.
By issuing the impugned notice on August 26, 2008 and the order on April 26 2022, the Special Provision guaranteed under Article 371C is defeated and thereby reduced to mockery, it added.
It then stated that mere executive order cannot supersede the mandatory provision guaranteed under Article 371C of the Constitution while adding 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. Office Memorandum on August 26, 2008 with regard to recognition of village issued by the Principal Secretary (Revenue) and Order no. 9/11/98-CHA (Pt-II) A on April 26, 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 issued on June 20, 1972 issued by the then President VV Giri, the ATSUM memorandum added.
First published:4 May 2022, 4:44 pm
ATSUMhill areasHAChill areas committeeArticle 371C
KANGPOKPI district, Manipur