TODAY -

ADC Bill: Student body bares fangs at HAC
ATSUM warns of stir if Bill not tabled

Source: The Sangai Express / Newmai News Network

Imphal, July 30 2022: The All Tribal Students' Union, Manipur (ATSUM) has threatened to launch a series of agitation if the Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Councils Bill 2021 is not tabled in the ongoing second session of the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly.

In a statement today, the tribal student body said, "Resenting the deceitful act of the Hill Areas Committee (HAC) and the State Government, the ATSUM will resort to strong agitation anytime soon if the Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Councils Bill 2021 is not tabled in the ongoing second session of the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly" .

The ATSUM warned that the HAC Members should own responsibility and resign on moral ground for deceiving the tribal people of the State.

In the event of the ATSUM resorting to agitation, the State Government should be equally held accountable for failing to implement the agreement of November 25, 2021, the student body added.

Informing the background, the ATSUM statement sa d that Article 371 C of the Constitution of India read with the Manipur Legislative Assembly (Hill Areas Committee) Orders 1972 provided a scheme for separate administration of the hill areas of Manipur through the HAC for Executive and Legislative affairs on scheduled subject matters.

The HAC through the Autonomous District Councils is empowered with provisions for administration of the hill areas as defined in the 1972 Presidential orders, it added.

According to the ATSUM, since its enactment, the Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Councils Act 1971 has gone through several amendments yet the basic principle of developing the hill areas could not be achieved but has rather resulted in disproportionate development between hills and valley of Manipur during the said period as the principal Act, including all amendments, has served no purpose, being toothless in nature with no financial, executive and legislative autonomy.

As such, the tribal student body said that the HAC as empowered by paragraph 4(3), paragraph 7 and Rule 12A (the Third Scheduled) of the Manipur Legislative Assembly (HAC) orders 1972, unanimously recommended the Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Councils Bill 2021, which seeks to provide more autonomy to the ADC as envisaged under Article 371C of Indian Constitution read with the Manipur Legislative Assembly (HAC) orders 1972 of August 16, 2021, to be tabled and passed into an Act in the 13th session of the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly.

"But, the State Government flatly denied introduction of the Bill in the said session of the Assembly," the ATSUM added.

According to the ATSUM, despite the fact that the HAC on August 16, 2021 unanimously recommended a Bill to replace the existing principal Act of 1972 with an aim to ensure equitable development in the State of Manipur, it is learnt that the HAC is deviating from its previous position and opting on the new amendment of the Principal Act 1972 in the capacity of the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Councils (Sixth Amendment) Bill 2022."This deceitful act of HAC is a big blunder and a deception of the tribal people which is unforgivable and will remain as an irremovable stain in the history of tribal populace," the ATSUM also said.

The tribal student body further said that since the recommendation of the Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Councils Bill 2021 by the HAC on August 16, 2021, the succeeding eleven months had consumed mammoth amount of energy and time of the tribal people demanding the introduction of the Bill in the Assembly session.

"However, the HAC seems to have taken the sentiments and wishes of the tribals at pleasing the Government," it added.

The ATSUM stated that the Manipur Government has been clandestinely exploring every means of breaching the agreement inked with ATSUM, ANSAM and KSO-GHQ on November 25, 2021 whereby the State Govemment agreed to table the HAC recommended "Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Councils Bill 2021" in the winter Assembly session of 2021."However, even after a lapse of 8 months, neither was the winter Assembly session convened nor has the Bill been introduced in the first session of the 12th Manipur Legislative assembly which was held in the month, of March 2022," it also said.

Further, the State Government is aggravating the wounded feeling of the tribal people by trying to impose a mere amendment to the Principal Act of 1971 rather than addressing the wish of the people for introduction of the Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Councils Bill 2021 in the ongoing 2nd Session of the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly and enactment of the same into an Act, the ATSUM alleged.

According to the tribal student body, the HAC meeting notification of 28th July 2022 totally negated the wishes and desire of the tribals in the State.

"It also contradicts their own position and portrays themselves as spineless leaders," the ATSUM also said.

The ATSUM then said that it is a matter of fact that the recommended ADC Bill 2021 carries the sentiments of tribals as the same was framed and recommended unanimously by the then members of HAC but sadly the incumbent HAC Members are no longer in the position to uphold the same Bill and the tribal interest.

As per prevailing law, the ATSUM said, the Constitution or formation of ADC and framing of its Bill/Act is purely within the purview of HAC.

"Whereas on the contrary, they have embraced the alien Bill, the so called Manipur (Hill Areas) District Councils (sixth Amendment) Bill 2022 sans 'Autonomous' in its nomenclature which originated from their boss", the ATSUM added.


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