DIMAPUR, Jan 31 - In a major development, the Gauhati High Court has today ruled that the Nagaland government should constitute the municipalities and town councils in the State with 33% reservation of seats for women, a CMO release stated. The civic body elections in the State are scheduled for tomorrow.
However, the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC), comprising apex Naga tribal bodies which have been spearheading the agitation demanding postponement of the civic body elections seeking certain amendments in Nagaland Municipal Act 2001, including 33% women reservation, has called for indefinite statewide bandh from 6 pm today after the State Cabinet decided to conduct the elections in 12 town councils tomorrow as per schedule.
The High Court judgement came in the wake of a petition filed by a Naga woman who prayed that some extra constitutional bodies, who are opposed to the election, are creating hurdles in holding the election freely and fairly and that the State government be directed to ensure holding of free-and-fair elections to the urban local bodies (ULBs) with 33% reservation of seats for women.
�Having regard to the situation of the case, we are prima facie convinced that as per Notification dated 21.12.2016 of the State Election Commission, the election to constitute the municipal councils and town councils in the State of Nagaland with 33% reservation of seats for women should be held freely and fairly,� the judgement, passed this morning by Chief Justice Ajit Singh and Justice Achintya Malla Bujor Barua, read, the CMO release stated.
The court further directed the State �to ensure that the election in question is held freely and fairly and if necessary, adequate security provided to the candidates and voters.�
However, considering the fluid situation prevailing in several towns and municipal areas, the State Cabinet today wrote to the State Election Commission to postpone holding of polls to Dimapur Municipal Council and town councils of East Dimapur, Kiphire, Tseminyu, Bhandari, Wokha and Zunheboto. After considering the government�s letter, the State Election Commission, in a notification, this evening said it decided to postpone the elections to those councils.
Elections to 12 town councils � Peren, Jalukie, Tening, Aboi, Aboi, Tizit, Naginimora, Shamator, Noklak, Pungro, Longkhim and Longleng � will take place as scheduled on February 1. In three town councils of Meluri, Phek and Tuli, the candidates have been declared elected, and hence no polling is necessary, the CMO release stated.
Elections in 10 municipalities and town councils in Kohima, Mokokchung, Pfutsero, Chozouba, Changtongnya, Mangkolemba, Tuensang, Mon, Medziphema and Chumukedima will not be held as nominations could not take place.
It may be mentioned that on Sunday, a tri-partite agreement was signed at Chumukedima Police Complex here between the JCC and the State government under the initiative of Nagaland Baptist Church Council. The government delegation was led by Chief Minister TR Zeliang and the JCC team ws led by its convenor Supu Jamir. The third party, NBCC, was represented by its general secretary Rev Dr Zelhou Keyho. Dr Keyho said the government agreed to postpone the elections to the civic bodies and in return, the JCC had agreed to call off the bandh. Following the State government�s assurance to postpone the elections in Nagaland, the JCC had suspended the indefinite bandh in Dimapur.