KOHIMA, Feb 6 (NEPS): Naga Mothers’ Association (NMA), which has been fighting in court against the State Government’s failure to implement 33% reservation of women seats in Municipal and Town Councils in the State, however expressed their happiness to see that at least two women join “electoral fray” this time.
Rakhila Lakhiumong is contesting on BJP ticket from 54 Tuensang Sadar-II while Prof Yangerla as Independent. Other political parties have failed to put up any women candidates this time except BJP, a manifestation that women need reservation in decision making bodies.
Talking to North East Press Service here Wednesday, NMA president Mrs Abei-u Meru said they would all out extent moral support to the two women candidates who were contesting in the ensuing State general elections this time in the State. “Here we are not seeing who are contesting on which party tickets,” she explained. “We are extending moral supports to any women candidates irrespective of their party affiliations as we, as a non-political body, have been fighting for the implementation of the 33% reservation of women seats in Municipal and Town Councils in the State.”
The NMA president recalled that this Municipal Act 2001 was reviewed in 2006 with 33% reservation of women seats in Municipal and Town Councils in the State. “And since the State Government had not implemented the Act, we told them that they should implement it in 2009 when the tenure of the Municipal and Town Councils came to end that time,” she said. “Interestingly, the same Government that passed the Act revoked it again.”
Describing as “nor fair” the State Government’s further consultation with civil societies and NOGs for the implementation of the Act after it (the Act) was passed, Mrs Meru said the Government should have done it before it was passed. She also made it very clear that Article 371A of the Constitution of India has got nothing to do with the Act that gave 33% reservation of women seats in Municipal and Town Councils in the State. “The Act is for the development of the Towns,” she pointed out.
The NMA president also said they went to Court after the Government failed to implement the Act and further disclosed that the Gawahati High Court (GHC) had already passed judgments in favor of them. But the Government appealed against the judgment and now the matter is in Supreme Court.
The hearing has been fixed on February 8 but it has been deferred to February 26 in view of the State general elections in the State slated for February 23. So now, if the SC passes in favor of the NMA’s petition, then there is no option but to implement the Act in the State, Mrs Meru asserted.
The NMA president also expressed doubt that there would be “free and fair” elections in the State.