33 per cent quota for women in Nagaland civic polls

In its first cabinet meet, Neiphiu Rio govt decides to hold elections after nearly two decades

Published: 11th March 2023 11:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th March 2023 11:03 AM   |  A+A-

The state government made an attempt to go to Urban Local Body polls with 33% reservation for women in 2017, but it backfired.

The state government made an attempt to go to Urban Local Body polls with 33% reservation for women in 2017, but it backfired. (Photo| PTI)

By Express News Service

GUWAHATI: After nearly two decades, Nagaland will hold civic bodies elections and with 33 per cent reservation of seats for women. The Neiphiu Rio government made the decision in its first meeting on Thursday in deference to an order of the Supreme Court. It issued a direction last year to hold the elections for Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) by May this year.

Nagaland, whose cultural, traditional and religious practices, land and resources are safeguarded under Article 371A, was exempted from the 73rd Amendment to the Constitution for the setting up of municipalities. But the 74th Amendment did not give that exemption on the grounds that the state’s town administrations were not part of the customary practices.

In 2001, Nagaland enacted its Municipal Act and the first civic bodies elections were held in 2004 but without reservation. The government issued notification for the next civic bodies elections in 2012 but the same could not be held following objections from tribal bodies. They stood opposed to quota. 
In September the same year, the Assembly had passed a resolution to exempt the state from the Constitution’s Article 243T that deals with quota for women but revoked it in 2016.

In 2017, the state government made an attempt to go to polls with 33% reservation for women but it backfired. Protestors attacked and set ablaze government buildings in parts of the state. The powerful tribal organisations contested that quota for women was an infringement on the Naga customary laws, as enshrined in  Article 371(A) of the Constitution that protects its traditional way of life. 

In the wake of the violence, the then Chief Minister TR Zeliang quit and the government declared the poll process null and void. Later, some women organisations moved the High Court and then, they moved the Supreme Court. The government paved the way for the polls by making certain amendments to the Municipal Act. During a consultative meeting last year, various organisations backed its move to hold the elections.

Women in the state are ecstatic that the state is finally going to civic bodies elections with quota. 
Rosemary Dzuvichu, who is advisor to the Naga Mothers’ Association, said women in Nagaland have not been in the decision-making bodies but time and people’s mindset are changing.

“Thirty-three per cent reservation is a part of the Municipal Act. We are happy that we are going to have the elections. It will be a new beginning,” Dzuvichu said. In a notification, the government said the elections would be held to three municipal councils and 36 town councils on May 16. The announcement of the polls comes just days after Hekani Jakhalu and Salhoutuonuo Kruse created history by becoming the state’s first two women to get elected to the Assembly. Kruse was inducted into the ministry.

UP civic polls: 5-member backward class commission gets approval
Lucknow: Yogi Adityanath cabinet, on Friday, approved the recommendations of the ‘Backward Classes Commission’ constituted to recommend quota for OBCs in the Urban Local Bodies as the civic polls are due in UP. State Energy and Urban Development Minister AK Sharma said that the report was submitted to CM Yogi Adityanath on Thursday night and it was taken up at the cabinet meeting on Friday. Sharma said that a provisional notification regarding local body elections was issued on December 5.


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