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Women group petition Governor, CLP Leader on 33% quota



Dimapur, March 21 (MExN): The Joint Action Committee for Women Reservation (JACWR) today wrote to the Governor of Nagaland and the Opposition Indian National Congress party in Nagaland, urging them to honor the judgment of the High Court and protect the rights of women by implementing 33% reservation of seats for women. The committee, the spearhead of frontal Naga women organizations, issued copies of representations addressed to the Governor of Nagaland Nikhil Kumar and Congress Legislature Party leader Tokheho Yepthomi.
The committee expected that the legislators of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly would honor their word and stand by the Nagaland Municipal Council First Amendment Act, passed by them, which guaranteed 33% reservation of seats for women.
“The decision of the Naga Hoho and the ENPO requesting for necessary amendment of the said Act based on land holding system and that it has gone beyond the Art.371 (A) is not tenable and misleading, as Reservation for women in local and urban decision making bodies of the Panchayati Raj and municipalities has been guaranteed through the 73rd and 74th Amendment of the Indian Constitution, which supersedes Article 371 (A),” the committee stated.
The representation also cited the judgment of the High Court on October 21, 2011 which ordered implementation of the reservation in the municipal elections: “The circumstances which weighed upon the Cabinet to postpone the elections cannot be said to be exceptional circumstances or special, emergent and unforeseen circumstances which alone can distract the authorities concerned from holding elections. Issue of reservation of seats for women in Municipal Councils and Town Councils and the ongoing peace process in the state have ,if at all , a tenuous link.”
The court had brushed aside concerns over Reservation clashing with conventions of Naga traditions and “law”. The court had stated that the “reservation of certain sections of society to the Amendment Act 2006 on the touchstone of Art 371 A (I) of the Constitution of India is misplaced”. The court also pointed out that “it is needless to state that no Act of Parliament is involved in the instant case and the Act and the Amendment Act of 2006, containing reservation of amongst others women, in section 23 A, flows from the provisions contained in the Constitution of India.”
Further, the committee said the Naga Hoho and the ENPO, which profess to be the “voice of the Naga people”, consist of only male representatives of the various tribes and not a single woman representative within these two apex Naga public organizations. “Therefore,” the governor is told, “questions of gender equity and justice are serious concerns when we consider the fact that women constitute almost half of the state’s population. When half of the total population is not taken into account, on the issue of reservation which affects women themselves, it is evident that there is injustice and discrimination within the Naga society.”
The women organizations have expressed confidence that the Governor’s office would honor the judgment of the High Court in totality and protect the rights of women as citizens by adhering to the stipulations of reservation of seats for women and ensure that the municipal elections to be held in April 2012 are conducted in a free, fair and peaceful manner.
The committee said all the apex Naga women organizations will request the Nagaland government to provide all necessary arrangements for women to participate in the coming civic polls and ensure free, fair and peaceful elections.
In another representation addressed to CLP leader Tokheho Yepthomi, the committee expressed confidence that the Congress party would ‘stand by the vision of Rajiv Gandhi which brought changes for women in the Amendments of the Constitution for the Panchayati Raj and Municipal/Town Councils.’
“We urge you all, as effective leaders to honor the Judgment order of the honorable High Court in toto and protect our rights by adhering to the stipulations of reservation of seats for women and ensure that the elections to be held in April 2012, to the Municipal and Town Councils are conducted in a free, fair and peaceful manner,” the committee stated to the Congress leader.
The representations were signed by members of the Joint Action Committee: Convener Abeiu Meru, adviser and member Rosemary Dzuvichu, and members Lochumbeni Humtsoe and Vilanuo Yhome.




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