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Adverse Effect Of Manipur (VA in Hill Areas) Act, 1956

The proposed Manipur (Village Authority in Hill Areas) (Amendment) Act, 2011 should be affected at the earliest if the amendment is to be made regarding the post of Chairmanship of village authority. It may be pertinent to mention that the Hill Commissioner, Govt of Manipur in its letter No.9/26/92-CHA(i) dated 31st August, 1992 addressed to the Deputy Commissioner, Tamenglong had clearly mentioned by clarifying the confusion created by the Manipur (Village Authority in Hill Areas ) Act, 1956.

It is undeniable fact that there is no uniformity or common system of village administration between the Kukis and Nagas. The khunbu is the head of the village in Tamenglong district whereas chief is in the Kuki village and khullakpa in Ukhrul district. However, the khunbu, who is the founder of village in Tamenglong district was inadvertently failed to incorporate or mention in the said Manipur (Village Authority in Hill Areas) Act, 1956 wherein the chief/khullakpa was found, due to unaware on the part of the law department, Govt of Manipur during the time of drafting of the law of the said Act of 1956. The said Act also mentioned that the khullakpa should be the Ex-officio chairman of the village authority. But the mistake and unawareness was later realized thereby issuing clarification in this regard in the said letter by stating that the Khunbu is above Khullakpa. As far as my own village is concerned Khullakpa is appointed to any elder person for specific period following the decision adopted by the people of the village from time to time irrespective of the background of the person whereas Khunbu is permanent, undisputed and exclusive right for village founder hereditary clan. This fact can be proved with historical evidences as and when needed.

The mistake of the law department, Govt of Manipur has created great confusion especially in the matter of chairmanship for village authority. In Tamenglong district, as mentioned above, khullakpa is appointed by the people of the village to discharge specific assigned duties on behalf of the village. The interpretation of meaning of the word itself, i.e. ‘khunbu’ which means the village founder and ‘khullakpa’ which means the administrator of the village is self explanatory of weightage and difference between the two different characters. Before the enactment of the said Act of 1956, khunbu is the overall authority of village in Tamenglong district. Therefore, this Act of 1956 is inappropriate to continue further operation in villages of Tamenglong district as the Govt had also issued clarification already in this regard long ago. It is universally acceptable if the principle of justice is enforced accordingly but the said Act of 1956 has adversely affected the traditional system and authority of Khunbu, the village founder legitimate rights. Many villages of Tamenglong district have challenged against the order issued as per the said Act of 1956 in the competent law court and it cannot be ruled out that no village will do so in future unless there is strong, vibrant, acceptable and applicable Law/Act is amended/enacted at the earliest considering the gravity of necessity.

Law recognizing khullakpa to be the Ex-officio chairman of village authority in Tamenglong district is akin to the law recognizing/declaring the housemaid of a family to inherit the properties and whatever of the house owner totally depriving the children’s legitimate rights to inherit his father. In such a situation and circumstances how can we imagine that the village affairs are smoothly conducted? It is better and as good to make law reserving the post of President, Prime Minister, Chief Minister or any other Minister posts to the kin of father of the nation considering his contribution. Opposing the proposed amendment of the said Act to be affected is nothing but imposing the unacceptable Act of 1956 against the will and interest of the people who are already discriminated, aggrieved, deprived legitimate rights and greatly suffered since the operation and enforcement of the said Manipur (Village Authority in Hill Areas) Act 1956. The best method in pursuing one’s aspirations, objectives and purposes is not to affect the other’s legitimate rights. It is appealed to tribal leaders to have deep thought and be fully aware of the factual context of reality if your expression, views, opinions, suggestions and efforts are for the welfare and in the real interest of the tribal people as a whole. Otherwise, it will be considered as willful, deliberate and intentional act on your part against the democratic citizens’ legitimate rights in the biggest democratic country.

*The opinion is written by Titus Kamei.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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