TODAY -

A non-political and un-biased opinion on the controversial Bill

L Ibomcha Singh *



The Manipur People Bill, 2018 was introduced on 20/07/2018 in the Manipur Legislative Assembly and referred to the Hill Areas Committee with a direction to submit its report on 23/07/2018.

The Statement and Objects of the Bill are quite contrary to the provision of the Bill. In the Bill, there is no provision for socio-economic up-liftment and culture of Manipur and for maintenance of law and order in the state of Manipur but for entry and exit of non-Manipur People.

Before giving a serious thought to the present Bill of 2018, it may be pertinent to mention here that in the past, the Manipur Legislative Assembly had passed two Bills, namely, The Manipur Regulation of Visitors, Tenants and Migrant Workers Bills- 2015 and the Protection of Manipur Peoples Bill- 2015.

The Manipur Regulation of Visitors, Tenants and Migrant Workers Bills, 2015 was withdrawn by the House in its emergency sitting held on 15/07/2015.

The Protection of Manipur People Bill, 2015 passed by the House could not get assent of the President of India. The Governor of Manipur reserved the Bill for consideration of the President of India. However, the President of India withheld his assent to the Bill. Coming to the Bill of 2018, one serious thought to be given to the provisions of the Bill is the definition of Manipur People, as it will be the deciding factor for fulfillment of the enactment of the present Legislation.

As defined in the Bill, the Manipur People are:-
i) All native People of Manipur are the Citizens of India and include Meitei/Meetei, Meitei Pangal, ST and SC;
ii) The citizens of India who permanently reside and settle since prior to 1951, and, their decedents; and,
iii) The Manipur Citizen of India are notified by the Government of Manipur to be Manipur People as provided under the Rules to be made under this Bill.

On a critical analysis of this definition of the Manipur People, it may be seen that certain persons, who are not included in the three parts of this definition, may also be included in the definition of the Manipur People. So the definition of the Manipur People is not exhaustive but very wide.

As regard to benchmark year of 1951 (i.e. 31/12/1950), the proposed law is silent on the manner for determining that, the person is a permanent resident and settled in the state of Manipur prior to 1951. It is for Legislative to decide in such the manner and should not be left at the wisdom of the State Executive/ Government. It will be an excessive delegation to the State Government and may be struck down by a competent court of law.

Further, as regard to the power of the State Government to notify the Citizens of India as the Manipur People will definitely dilute the spirit of the proposed law as no definite criteria has been laid down in the Bill. Such delegation of powers, without guidance in the Bill is beyond the powers of the Legislators.

Be that is may, there will be none who are not covered by the definition of the Manipur People in the Bill thereby defeating the Aims and Objects of the Bill. In this regard, a serious thought of the State Legislature is invited to the definition of the provision of the Bill rests on it.

In sub-clause (3) of clause 4 of the Bill, the designation of the Chief Executive Officer of the Autonomous District Council as the Registration Authority is not proper as much as the Deputy Commissioner of the District has been appointed as the District Regulation Authority. Even if the Office Chief Executive Officer which is not normally situated at the state boundary, is established, as the registration centre how a Non-Manipur People without entering the State seeks registration with Chief Executive Officer.

This sub-clause (5) may be deleted. In sub-clause (3) of clause 5, it should be a Non-Manipur People without a valid pass may be taken appropriate action against him for not being a Non-Manipur People. What is more confusing is the provision of clause 9 of the Bill, a non- Manipur People who holds trade licence has to abandon his trade, even if his trade licence is valid, after 5 years. Every Farms, Agencies, Companies etc. has to change its employees every one and half years and found inconsistent whit sub-clause 5.

This requires serious consideration.

To sum up, there is no provision to regulate the exit of Non- Manipur People from the state. In such situation, the Non-Manipur People whose pass had expired may continue to stay in the state. In order to regulate such a situation, it is proposed that before expiry of the pass, the concerned Non-Manipur People should report to the registration centre for leaving the state.

Being a sensitive issue of the State, the manner in which the Bill is prepared, needs proper attention, there are serious flaws in the Bill’s provisions.

2. THE MANIPUR INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY ORDINANCE, 2018:-

The powers of Governor of Manipur to promulgate an Ordinance under article 213 of the Constitution of India is circumscribed by to conditions. The first is when the Legislature Assembly is not in session. The second is satisfaction of the Governor that circumstances exist which render is necessary for him to take immediate action.

The Governor of Manipur promulgates the Manipur International University Ordinance, 2018 on 19/06/2018. It was notified by the State Government on 26/06/2018. There is a serious lapse on the part of the State Government due to failure to notify the ordinance on the day it was promulgated by the Governor. In the commencement provision of the Ordinance, it was provided that the “Ordinance shall come into force from the day of its publication in the official Gazette of Government of Manipur”. As a matter of established practice, in promulgating the Ordinance, commencement clause should have been worded as, “it shall come into force at once”.

An Ordinance comes into force at once, the Governor promulgates it. This being the situation, it compels to say that there is no circumstances which render the Governor to promulgate the said Ordinance. In other words, the Governor had abused the Constitutional provision to promulgate the Manipur International University Ordinance, 2018.

Further in the Manipur International University Bill, 2018, there is no provision for repealing the said Ordinance thereby, operating the Ordinance and the Bill so made by the State Legislature. What will be the fate of actions taken on the basis, of the said Ordinance is very annoying.


* L Ibomcha Singh (Former Secretary, Law) wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on July 26 , 2018.



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