Manipur government directed to constitute village authority of Irang Part I, II

The directive stated that the state government ought to take into account the grievances of the Nepalese people who are not tribes but have been residing in the hill areas of Manipur for more than two centuries.


A single bench of the High Court of Manipur justice Kh Nobin directed the state government to take the policy decision of constituting panchayat or village authority of Irang part I and II village by three months.

The directive stated that the state government ought to take into account the grievances of the Nepalese people who are not tribes but have been residing in the hill areas of Manipur for more than two centuries, by keeping in mind the mandates of the Constitution of India by the High Court judgment of March 25.

The writ petition for correction of the order issued by deputy commissioner of Kangpokpi district on May 6, 2008 was filed by seven chairmen of Thonglang Atongba village, Tapon Naga (old Tapon) village, Chawangkening village, Tapon Namsuan village, Harup Naga village, Thonglang Akutpa village and Makui village under Senapati and Kangpokpi Districts, Manipur.

While Thonglang Atongba village, Thonglang Akutpa village and Chawangkening village are under Irang Part-I cluster of villages, Tapon Naga (old Tapon) village, Tapon Namsuan village, Harup Naga village and Makui village are under Irang Part-II cluster of villages, the people of which are Liangmai Naga Tribe. In the order, a Nepali named Hari Prasad Nepal was appointed as GB/ chairman of Irang part 1 village.

The seven chairmen as the petitioners of the writ petition challenged the order of the deputy commissioner as the Nepalese people who came to Manipur sometime in the 1st decade of the 19th Century were ordered to move to Irang Part-I and Irang Part-II villages by the then Political Agent to rear cows and buffalos. Since then, they have been living as the tenants of the petitioners by paying tax regularly. The Nepalese gave declarations, undertakings, agreements and assurances, from time to time, to the effect that they as the tenants would abide by the customs, practices and traditions and abide the by the laws of the petitioners' villages before the village authorities and the police, the petition stated.

The petitioner claimed that the deputy commissioner without jurisdiction and authority the order has passed and the order "dehors" the provisions of Manipur (Village Authorities in Hill Areas) Act, 1956 (hereinafter referred to as “the Hill Areas Act, 1956”).

The High Court after hearing submissions from counsels and affidavits submitted from state government decided to quash and set aside the Kangpokpi district deputy commissioner’s order that appointed GB/Chairman on May 4, 2008.

However, the High Court after quashing the order, considered other aspects of the future of the Nepalese residing in Irang Part-I and Irang Part-II villages. It observed that after all, since they have been residing at Irang Part-I and Irang Part-II villages for a quite long time, their claims need to be considered by the state government in accordance with law. 

It may be noted at this juncture that Article 40 of the Constitution of India provides that the state should take steps to organise Village Panchayats and endow them with such power and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-government.

Therefore, the High Court on judgment stated that the state government has to take a policy decision at the earliest possible, failing which its inaction may lead to or may result in an administrative failure which needs to be avoided at any cost in order to achieve the object sought for in the Constitution of India.

 
First Published:April 2, 2021, 9:54 p.m.

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