DIMAPUR, Aug 4 � The principal bench of the Gauhati High Court has ruled in favour of the Nagaland Government and allowed it to defer the holding of Municipal and Town Council elections in Nagaland with 33 per cent reservation for women.
The judgement was passed on July 31 by Justices Amitava Roy and PK Musahary giving the select committee of the State Assembly six weeks� time to complete the exercise it has been entrusted with.
In the lengthy judgement order released to the press, the court observed that the resolutions adopted by the State Legislative Assembly cannot readily be impeached as unwarranted and lacking in bonafide, the significant feature of unanimity of the House being redolent of the consensus in the overall public interest. It, therefore, said that it is in disagreement with the views and conclusions earlier recorded by the Single Judge of the Kohima bench.
The ruling said the impugned judgement and order, when judged in the larger perspective, calls for interference and thereby overthrew the order rejecting the State appellants� prayer for extension of time for holding the Municipal and Town Council Elections beyond April 30, 2012.
However, it said the decision of the State Legislative Assembly to defer the elections indefinitely cannot receive �judicial imprimateur�. It observed that the materials on record suggest that reference of the issues to re-survey the Act and to examine the applicability of Part IX-A of the Constitution of India to the State of Nagaland had been made to the Committee(s) in the year 2009 and reiterated on March 22, 2012.
The Court, therefore, said on an overall assessment of all relevant considerations, a further period of six weeks from the day of the judgement order for completion of the exercise entrusted to the committees would reasonably suffice to complete the task referred to it. The State Legislative Assembly as well as the State of Nagaland would thereafter take an appropriate decision on the issue within two weeks thereon, the verdict said.
It also advised that the exercise as a whole be pursued dispassionately by logically and rationally interpreting the constitutional as well as legal mandate involved with due deference to the autonomy and independence of the Naga community as per their custom, practice, usage, tradition arid religious beliefs.
The final hearing of the case had been held on June 27 last.
A communiqu� issued by Additional Advocate Generals K Sema and LS Jamir also informed that the Court has exhaustively interpreted Article 371-A of the Constitution, whereby the view of the Women Association, that the 74th amendment of the Constitution supersedes Article 371-A, has been rejected. The High Court has accepted the supremacy of Article 371-A, it said.
It may be recalled that the Kohima Bench had on April 27 last ruled in favour of the JACWR-NMA and directed the State Government and Election Commission to complete the process of elections to the civic bodies in the State within one month from the date of pronouncement of the judgement.
Following this, the State Government had decided to file an appeal petition against the judgement and order in the Division Bench of Gauhati High Court in Guwahati.