Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Manipur Land Reform Act and ADC Election, 2010

“We feel happy that the ADC election has been conducted. However, the election was postponed for more than 20 years because of our demand for the Sixth Schedule. As for Kuki brethren, we welcome the election, but Nagas opposed it.” -- Sheikhomang Chongloi, a voter

“In 2010, the State government took the decision to conduct ADC election and consequently they are holding this election. We hope that this time the District Council will be fully operative and I believe the public residing at the hills will be benefited up to some extent” -- Paolun, voter.

The Government of India placed Manipur under the Fifth Schedule on the basis of the A.V. Thakkar Subcommittee’s report. The Government of Manipur passed two acts: the Manipur Land Reform and Land Revenue Act (MLR and LRA), 1960 and the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Councils Act, (MHADCA) 1971. The MLR and LRA is meant for all the districts of Manipur. The District Councils started functioning from 1973 till 1989; and since then it has been kept in abeyance for the demand for extension of the Sixth Schedule provision in the hill areas of Manipur till May-June, 2010.

The Manipur State Legislative Assembly passed the Manipur Hill Areas (Acquisition of Chiefs Rights) Act on 14 June, 1967 which authorized the state government to acquire the rights, titles and interests of the chiefs in the hill areas of Manipur. According to the Act, the chiefs were to be compensated on the basis of the following criteria: (1) the area of land under chiefs; (2) total number of households within each chiefdom; and, (3) compensation in installment or lump sum.

The Manipur Land Reform and Land Revenue Act (MLR &LRA),1960 which is amended from time to time is extended to (1) 89 villages of Churachandpur district in 1962, vide notification no.142/12/60, dated 22-2-1962; (2) 14 villages in Sadar Hills of Senapati district, vide notification no. 138/4/64, dated 25-2-1965; (3) 14 villages in Khoupum valley of Tamenglong district, vide notification no. 3/12/83, dated 14-11-1987.

The Government of Manipur enacted the Manipur State Hill Peoples (Administration) Regulation Act, (MSHPAR),1947 which divided the whole hill territory into circles. In each village of tax-paying 20 households or above, there was a village authority consisting of chiefs and elders. Above the village authority, there was circle authority comprising one circle officer appointed by the government and a council of 5 members elected by the village authorities falling within the circle.

To encourage people’s participation in the local administration, the Manipur (Village Authority in Hill Areas) Act was passed in 1956 which introduced for the first time election of members to the village authority on the basis of adult franchise by repealing the earlier MSHPAR Act, 1947. When Manipur attained statehood in 1972, the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council Act, 1972 was passed by the state government.

"The Manipur Assembly  passed the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Councils (Third Amendment) Act, 2008 only after the HAC consented to it following a six-month study of the provisions. "If the tribal population of Manipur did not like the bill, no tribal MLA would have had to courage to clear it in the HAC. The clearance by the HAC shows the Act has the support of the tribal people of Manipur," --Biren

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