Nagaland civic polls with 33% women quota opposed 

Three organisations write to Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio pointing out that Naga customary laws do not allow women to equally participate in political and socioeconomic decision-making 

March 11, 2023 12:39 pm | Updated 05:30 pm IST - GUWAHATI

Organisations in three major urban areas of Nagaland have opposed the State government’s decision to hold the civic polls on May 16 with 33% of the seats reserved for women. 

These organisations are the Association of Kohima Municipal Ward Panchayat, All Ward Union Mokokchung Town and Dimapur Urban Council Chairman Federation. 

In a letter on March 10, these organisations reminded Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio of Article 371A of the Constitution of India that says “no Act of Parliament would apply under the Legislative Assembly of Nagaland by a resolution decides in respect of Naga customary laws and procedures, administration of civil and criminal justice, ownership and transfer of land, land and social practices”. 

They pointed out that Naga customary laws do not allow women to participate equally in the political and socio-economic decision-making bodies. 

Rule 23A was inserted in the Nagaland Municipal Act of 2001 for the reservation of one-third of the seats for women as mandated by Article 243T of the Constitution of India but this led to violent protests and the death of two people in 2017, forcing the State government to withhold the civic polls through a Cabinet notification, the organisations said. 

Demanding an amendment to the Nagaland Municipal Act “to fulfil the aspirations of the Naga people”, the organisations said they would not compromise on their stand of not allowing or participating in the elections of the urban local bodies (ULB). 

ALSO READ | Nagaland gets its first women MLAs

Instead of reserving seats for women, the organisations advised the Nagaland Government to formulate a policy to nominate women with voting rights in the urban local bodies. 

The organisations also sought an amendment in certain provisions in the Nagaland Municipal Act relating to the ownership of land and buildings and associated taxes. They asserted that the demands are to ensure the rights guaranteed by Article 371A are not infringed upon. 

On March 8, the State Election Commission issued a notification announcing May 16 as the date for holding the elections to 39 ULBs across Nagaland with 33% reservation of seats for women. This elated women’s organisations such as the Naga Mothers’ Association, especially after Salhoutuonuo Kruse and Hekani Jakhalu created history on March 2 by becoming the first women MLAs in the State. 

The last and only election to Nagaland’s ULBs was held in 2004 without any reservation for women although the 74th Amendment to the Constitution of India in 1993 had paved the way for such quota.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.