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CM Rio, all MLAs call for exempting Nagaland from UCC


Kohima, Sep 11 (IANS) After all members of the Nagaland Assembly on Monday unanimously opposed the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio demanded that the state should be exempted from the UCC as a single law which deals with all matters relating to marriage and divorce, succession and inheritance, and adoption, including personal laws and practices.

Participating in the discussion on the UCC in the first day of the three-day Assembly session, he said that the state should be exempted on the grounds of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873, 9-Point Agreement, 1947 and 16-Point Agreement, 1960.

Under the BEFR, the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system was introduced in Nagaland and other northeastern states while the 9-Point Agreement granted judicial, executive and legislative powers, as well as autonomy in land-related matters in Nagaland and under the 16-Point Agreement 1960, the Centre recognised the formation of Nagaland as a full-fledged state.

Participating in the discussion, MLA Imkong L. Imchen highlighted that the implementation of UCC could potentially lead to inconvenience for the people of Nagaland. He further noted that the verbal assurance from Union Home Minister Amit Shah to exempt Nagaland from the UCC.

The Naga People’s Front legislature party leader, Kuzholuzo Nienu said that any attempt to enforce UCC on the diverse communities across the country would be futile and counterproductive and that it would be a direct threat to the fabric of a communitarian tribal ethos and values.

Imposing UCC is betraying the hope and trust of the minorities, especially the tribal communities, for whom constitutional provisions, like Article 371 (A), has been provided to protect and promote the customs, values and practices, he said.

Noting that though the Union Home Minister has given verbal assurance to Nagaland Chief Minister, Nienu urged the members of the house not to rely on verbal assurances and called upon the MLAs to pass a resolution seeking an exemption in toto.

Power and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, K.G. Kenye stated that Article 371(A) was left unused for the past few decades and has been in the limelight only a few years back. He said that Article 371(A) safeguards social and religious practices and provides constitutional guarantee.

MLA Achumbemo Kikon said that the UCC governs matters including marriage and divorce, succession and inheritance, adoption including other personal laws, though it is not enforceable in the court of law.

“Therefore, UCC should not come to our land for whatsoever reasons,” he stated.

MLA Neisato Mero said the idea of UCC is “One nation One vote”. “It is also a threat to our social, religious, customary laws, and direct indulgence to our personal laws besides contradicting Article 371 (A),” he added.

MLA Jwenga Seb said that UCC would have negative implications on their personal laws and traditions though its protection is clearly incorporated in the Constitution of India, and therefore, the state be exempted for the state by passing a resolution in the Assembly.


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