Manipur High Court directs state government to fix district council election date

The single bench of the Manipur High Court of justice Kh Nobin directed the state government to write to the Hill Area Committee, Manipur legislative assembly regarding the district council election date


Manipur High Court (PHOTO: IFP)

The Manipur High Court on Tuesday directed the state government to announce within a week the date for the district council elections to be held.

The single bench of the Manipur High Court of justice Kh Nobin directed the state government and in particular, the state additional chief secretary (TA & Hills), to write to the Hill Area Committee, Manipur legislative assembly, seeking its opinion on whether the term of district councils should be extended till the completion of the election and the letter should be written within a week.

On receipt of the letter from the additional chief secretary (TA& Hills), government of Manipur, the Hill Area Committee, Manipur Legislative Assembly should furnish the opinion within a week, the court stated. After the opinion of the Hill Areas Committee, Manipur Legislative Assembly being duly received, the state government should take a decision and issue an appropriate order immediately, it added.

Further, till the state government issue an order, the district council’s term should be extended, the court stated in its order.

The high court had issued its judgment on the three writ petitions filed by elected members of six district councils- (a) Autonomous District Council, Kangpokpi; (b) Autonomous District Council, Senapati; (c) Autonomous District Council, Tamenglong; (d) Autonomous District Council, Chandel; (e) Autonomous District Council, Churachandpur and (f) Autonomous District Council, Ukhrul.

The first writ petition pleaded to direct the concerns to extend the term of office of all the members of the Autonomous District Councils with effect from December 1, 2020, or till the completion of the election proposed to be held for electing new members of the district councils.

It is stated that the state cabinet meeting held on November 10, 2020, took a decision and informed the joint secretary of tribal affairs and hills, the government of Manipur to inform the State Election Commission to take up necessary action in compliance with the State Cabinet decision. Being aggrieved at the state cabinet decision, the writ petition was filed on the ground that since the state government has been conferred power to extend the term of the district councils for a period not exceeding one year, the same cannot be taken lightly and ignored.

The elected and nominated members of the district councils are not responsible for not holding the election in time. The election could not be held in time because of the inaction on the part of the state government. If the terms of the members of the district councils are not extended, it will create administrative difficulty for which the people at large shall become the victim. As the term of the district councils are not extended, the development works in all the district councils could not be done and that apart, many serious consequences will be there in the education sector.

The second writ petition pleaded to direct the concerns to serve as the caretaker chairman of the concerned district councils till the completion of the election process.

It is stated that without being considered by the state concerns, the secretariat: TA & Hills Department, Government of Manipur issued the order on November 30, 2020, superseding the district councils as their term was to expire on November 30, 2020, in the exercise of the power conferred by Section 47 (i) (d) and 2 (b) of the Act, 1971.

The third writ petition is in connection with the high court direction to extend the term of the district councils given on November 27, 2020. Instead of issuing the high court direction, the additional chief secretary of TA and Hills issued an order of appointing the deputy commissioner to exercise all the powers and duties conferred upon the district councils on November 30, 2020.

The high court judgment stated that the failure on the part of the state government in holding the election in time cannot be said to be a reasonable ground for the supersession of the district councils.

 

First Published:March 2, 2021, 7:52 p.m.

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