TODAY -

HC directs State Govt on District Councils
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, May 27 2019: The High Court of Manipur has directed the State Government to take all necessary steps as per law, to alleviate the grievances of the people of the hill areas taking into consideration the report submitted by the sub committee of Hill Areas Committee.

The directive came on May 22, from the Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Ramalingam Sudhakar and Justice Kh Nobin, following the hearing of a PIL filed by the All Tribal Lawyer's Association Manipur and The United Tribal People's Council, as petitioners, against the Union of India and Chief Secretary, Manipur, and Commissioner, Tribal Affairs and Hills, Manipur, as respondents.

PIL challenged the validity of the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council's Rules 1972, including all subsequent amendments of the Act whereby the State Legislature is deprived of their jurisdiction under the Article 371C of the Constitution and the Manipur Legislative Assembly (Hill areas committee) order 1972.It sought to quash the rule and amendment Act of Manipur (Hill Areas) District Councils Rules and all other subsequent amendments of the Act.

The PIL further prayed for directing the respondents to implement and enforce the scheme of Article 371C of the Constitution and the Manipur Legislative Assembly ( Hills Areas Committee) 1972 order and the Manipur Hills Areas) District Council Act 1971 in letter and spirit and prayed for giving direction to the respondent to pay monthly allowances or salary as per the need of the present generation and in accordance with warrant of precedence issued by the Secretary (GAD), Manipur, on December 27, 2017 .

During the hearing, Senior Advocate RS Reisang (for the petitioners) pleaded for the Court to direct the State Government to implement and enforce the provision of Manipur Legislative Assembly (Hill Areas Committee) 1972 order and the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council Act 1971 in letter and spirit.

He further submitted that the Manipur (Hills Areas) District Council Act 1971 provides for establishment of District Councils in the hill areas.

An Administrator controls all administration of hills area and presently the Governor is the Administrator.

He further submitted that the Act has been amended from time to time and the last amendment was made on October 27 and 28, 2008 .

It was further submitted that the grievances of petitioners are that the district council is unable to perform the duty specified due to lack of allocation of funds and also to submit the report of Sub-Committee (Hill Areas Committee) to the Chairman on devolution of power of the Autonomous District Councils.

Despite such recommendations, no action has been taken up and thereafter the matter was submitted to the Chief Minister and Members of the Legislative Assembly but it also fell on deaf ears forcing the PIL.

A Thamphani, representing the State, submitted that the issue is a policy decision of the State Government and suitable welfare measures have been taken.

The counsel explained that financial allocation is done by the Government based on the actual need of the hill district and the State is providing adequate funds and infrastructure.

On the other hand, S Suresh, CGC, representing the Union of India, stated that it is a State Act and there is no role of the Union of India.

The Court noted the grievances of the petitioners and reasoned that if the allegation as made in the petition is justified, then the Government is bound to ensure that the provisions of the Act as amended, is implemented in letter and spirit.

With that observations, the Division Bench directed the Government to take all suitable actions as per law to solve thb matter taking into consideration the report of the Sub-Committee (HAC) .


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