Political Movement to the "RULE OF LAW"
- A Legal Discussion on "Frontier Nagaland" -

Dr. Aniruddha Babar *

The movement of the Eastern people for the restoration of constitutional rights through separate constitutional entity has been rising through the struggle of decades. The first breakthrough that the movement achieved was through the 'Public mandate'. The movement for Frontier Nagaland is not run by the leaders but the people of the Eastern region. Movement is neither concentrated nor contained in the hands of ENPO leaders but spread in the nook and corner of the region of Eastern Nagaland.

The charismatic and wise leadership of Shri Tsapikiu Sangtam, President, ENPO and seasoned statesmanship of Shri Asungba Sangtam, Former Member of Parliament; ably supported by representatives and the leaders of different eastern tribes have successfully achieved the political objective of the movement. The demand for a Frontier Nagaland has now reached to the discussion and negotiation table of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The able, experienced and wise representatives of the Government of India under the leadership of Shri. A.K. Mishra, IPS (Rtd), Chairman, MHA Committee Advisor are busy working out the best solution with ENPO leaders to give justice to the demands of the Eastern Naga people. The current developments that we all are witnessing are the direct result of the success of political movement of eastern people.

The success of the negotiations between MHA and ENPO leaders will depends on how cleverly both the parties are able to achieve the win-win situation to reach Amicable, Legislative and Sustainable "SOLUTION" in the interest of the Eastern Naga people and the nation at large.

Now, the current situation is, as with open arms 'welcome' by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, Eastern people have already won half of the battle, they achieved their political success. The next objective would be to win the "legal" battle.

Let us not forget that the proposed Frontier Nagaland will be a constitutional entity constructed through legal modalities. We need a system that not only will incorporate all the demands of the Eastern Naga people but will also fulfill the requirements of the Constitution of India. The balance is vital for the federal system of government that we have in India under Constitution.

As an experienced Lawyer, Constitutional Expert, Political Theorist and part of the Frontier Nagaland movement, I stated before in the consultation meetings with our eastern people and the different leaders belonging to seven eastern tribes and also the ENPO on numerous occasions and i wish to state again that the focus of both the parties to negotiations needs to have been centered on Article 246 that gives Union List, State List and the Concurrent List under Schedule seven. Under Art. 246, in the context of ongoing negotiations on Frontier Nagaland only State List and Concurrent List is relevant at the background of Art. 371 (A) (1) (a).

The 7th Schedule of the Indian Constitution deals with the division of powers between the Union government and State governments. It is a part of 12 Schedules of Indian Constitution. The laws can be made on the subjects enumerated under the State List of the Indian Constitution exclusively by the State legislatures. However, all these can be done only under 'Normal Circumstances'.

Article 249 gives Parliament the power to legislate concerning a subject enumerated in the State List in the National Interest. Parliament can legislate on subjects that are enumerated under the State List on three conditions: When Rajya Sabha passes resolution, During a national emergency (Article 250), When two or more states pass a resolution requesting Parliament to legislate on subjects under State List.

On States resolution, the law made is only applicable to such states that passed a resolution however, other states can too adopt it by, passing the same resolution, moreover, the law made by the parliament on States resolution can be amended or repealed by the Parliament only and not the states for the implementation of International Agreements and during President's Rule.

The matters of regional and local importance and the matters which permits diversity of interest are specified in the State List which has twenty subjects upon which legislatures have an exclusive power to levy taxes. On the other hand Concurrent list has 52 subjects enumerated under it. Central Government and State Government both can make laws on the subjects mentioned under the Concurrent List.

While both Central and State Government can legislate on subjects mentioned under Concurrent List, however, in case of any conflict, the law made by the Central Government prevails. The matters on which uniformity of legislation throughout the country is desirable but not essential are enumerated in the concurrent list. There are 03 subjects in the Concurrent List on which both Central and state governments have the power to levy taxes. However, in the context of the Eastern Naga people the entire discussion on Art 246 must be done looking at Art. 371 (A) (1) (a).

The discussions and negotiations between MHA committee and ENPO now attempting to list out the suitable subjects in reference to Art. 246 and legal modalities mutually agreed upon. The discussion on legal competencies is very important as the negotiated outcome will finally decide the actual relationship between proposed Frontier Nagaland and the Government of India and also decide the future of Frontier Nagaland.

Invoking my understanding about the previous/current submissions and representations of the ENPO, it is clear that eastern people demand separate legislature, separate executive headed by Governor/Lieutenant Governor, separate administration headed by Chief Secretary, separate judiciary and extended constitutional protection under Art. 371 (A) (1) (a).

Also, competencies under Art 246 needs to be discussed and negotiated with extreme caution as the agreed competencies will decide the extent of the power of legislature of proposed Frontier Nagaland. The success of formation of Frontier Nagaland will be measured by the extent of its capability to make laws.

It is also important to remember that legal competencies and the policy matters are two different things. Competencies are something which ENPO talk team will be negotiating upon and not on the policy matters which will be dealt with in future by the interim/permanent government when proposed Frontier Nagaland will be formed as a constitutional entity.

Undoubtedly, Frontier Nagaland will be a unique experiment in the Constitutional history of India which likely to lay down the foundation of a constructive relationship between the desires, dreams and hopes of the people of Eastern Nagaland and the growth of the nation.

I was born and brought up in Mumbai, seen enough of the world, lived in best cities and encountered best governing practices. I have firm belief that the robust system of governance and genuine political will can make anything possible in the best interests of the citizens. Therefore it is of extreme importance that proposed Frontier Nagaland entity must have enough constitutional and legal space to grow independently responding to the needs and requirements of our ever-growing nation, cosmopolitan culture, global influences, modern time and circumstances.

It is important to understand that in the modern democratic setting, political power is never concentrated in the hands of one person or the group of persons or a community. Democracy is a form of social organization. It is primarily a mode of associated living, of conjoint communicated experience, it is an attitude of respect and reverence towards our fellow human beings. Frontier Nagaland will be founded on the principles of democracy that our Constitution cherished.

However, what is then the foundation of democracy? It is the people at the end which are the foundation of democracy. It is the people who are the foundation of the principle of 'RULE of LAW'. It is the 'Rule of Law' that will give wings to the dreams and aspirations of the people of the proposed new land –The Promised Land-The Frontier Nagaland.

The present state of Nagaland is a failure because of only one reason. We do not have Rule of Law here. We lack 'Legal Discipline' in Nagaland. People do not respect Rule of Law because they were never taught what "The Rule of Law" is by the founding fathers and successive governments of the State of Nagaland. People of Nagaland love their tribe, their village more than the State.

People are more concerned about their so called 'own' people than 'all' the citizens of the state. Tribal mentality, narrow tribe centric interests have caused havoc in Nagaland. People talk about Naga unity, but what is the ground reality? Evidences are available everywhere to examine.

Culturally, ethnically Nagas are one-no matter from where, whether Nagaland or any other state, Nagas are one, but why should Nagas not be one in their lawful share in development and social, political and economic justice? Why should there be difference in social, political and economic existence of Naga communities? Why should there be difference in social, political and economic reality of Eastern Nagas and the Western Nagas?

Why should Kohima, Dimapur etc. have all the Malls, best roads, health care system, transportation service, educations service, investments and all other civic amenities and not regions in Eastern Nagaland? Once a shining powerhouse of political and economic affairs, Tuensang looks like old, lonely Grandfather. Why?

The answer lies in a fact that system and its components too neither followed nor ever believed in the 'Rule of Law' as a result- the entire Eastern region which could have supplied abundant, uninterrupted wealth in the form of state revenue to entire Nagaland, categorically remained backward, orphaned and evolved into a 'haunted region'. It is not a joke.

How I wish I could make a documentary film on the plight of Eastern Nagaland but I neither have means nor any knowledge about the science of film making. If a detailed documentary film is ever made on our Eastern Nagaland, all the evidences will appear on public platform for examination.

The culture of Rule of Law needs to be cultivated which never happened in our beautiful state and as a result, we ended up creating a fractured system of governance severely infected with disease like corruption, social/political apathy, selfishness, tribalism, narrow mindedness etc.

The Constitution of India-the supreme law of land is a social document. It is not merely a legal charter but a document that was drafted with a focus on social justice for all the citizens of India. The human rights of all of us have been fortified in our constitution in the part III under 'Fundamental Rights'. The remedies against the violation of Fundamental Rights have also been provided.

The draftsmen of the Constitution under the leadership of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar has gifted us a system that not only protect an individual but help both the individual and the community to prosper, grow and evolve safely using their natural potential within the constitutional safeguards and protection mechanism. The time has come that people should understand the true meaning of Justice and should familiar themselves with the machineries available in our nation to ensure "Justice" to all.

Even though I have a talent to predict future, I do not do that. It is dangerous. Let future unfold on its own. However, as and when the Frontier Nagaland appears on the political horizons of India let the Rule of Law prevail over the Rule of Man. A New journey will begin.


* Dr. Aniruddha Babar wrote this article for
The writer is at Dept of Political Science, Tetso College, Nagaland
The writer can be contacted at aniruddha(AT)tetsocollege(DOT)org
This article was webcasted on 26 January 2023.

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