Too Early To Abolish Chieftainship: COPTAM

LAMKA, Mar 3: Voicing its disapproval on the attempt to introduce the Manipur (Village Authorities Hill Areas) Second Amendment Act, 2010, Committee on Protection of Tribal Areas in Manipur (COPTAM) today said it is too early to abolish chieftainship in tribal areas of Manipur.

‘It would be too premature to abolish chieftainship in tribal areas of Manipur, until and unless Constitutional safeguard under the Sixth Schedule is extended to tribal area and adequate compensation extended to the respective chiefs,’ said COPTAM.

It also argues that the case of land ownership in parts of Manipur cannot be compared with their counterparts in Mizoram or Nagaland.

The existing ADC (Third Amendment) Act, 2008 under the provision of the Fifth Schedule of the Indian Constitution is not comparable to the full and constitutional protection they enjoy under the Sixth Schedule, it stated and added that their tribal counterparts in these States decided to abolish chieftainship only after they enjoy full and Constitutional protection.

Besides, the tribals in these States are majority community in their respective States whereas the tribal of Manipur are minority and needs special constitutional protection, COPTAM asserted.

With all these affairs in the back drop, the manner in which the Government of Manipur designed the ordinance while there exists a popular ministry is unconstitutional, an aberration and abused of executive power, it contended.

The said ordinance replaced Village Authority with Village Council; which completely ignored the traditional and customary practices of tribal, subdued the chief and village authority court was not routed through the HAC as mandated by clause 4 of the committee’s order 1972. It also contradicts the second schedule of HAC 1972, COPTAM said.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express / S Singlianmang Guite)

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