President Pranab Mukherjee in June 2016 returned 3 bills to Manipur Legislative Assembly for reconsideration.
The 3 bills that returned were –
i. The Manipur Land Reforms and Land Revenue (7th Amendment) Bill, 2015
ii. The Manipur Shops and Establishment (2nd Amendment) Bill, 2015
iii. The Manipur Protection of Peoples Bill, 2015
These bills, which were passed by the State Legislative Assembly in September 2015, had triggered violence leading to the death of nine people in the State. Their bodies are still being preserved by their families in protest.
The Manipur Protection of Peoples Bill, 2015 was returned on the following 2 grounds –
i. The definition of a “Manipuri” was based on the census conducted in 1951
ii. The Bill was passed by the Assembly as a Money Bill
Provisions: The bill proposed that - Manipur people means persons of Manipur whose names are in the National Register of Citizens 1951, Census Report 1951 and Village Directory of 1951 and their descendants who have contributed to the collective social, cultural and economic life of Manipur.
Further, the Bill also proposed to appoint a Director to register “non-Manipur” people and “owners who provide accommodation to the tenants (non-Manipur).”
Criticism: It has been argued that 1951 as the cut-off date is unfair as the State has seen a surge in migrant population from the neighbouring States in recent decades. The criterion was also questiond on the ground that the census exercise in 1951 did not cover the entire State, especially hilly areas that cover 90 percent of area, due to not availability of infrastructure and human resources.
And, had the criteria been approved, around half of the indigenous tribes, including the Kukis and Nagas of the hilly areas, would have been declared as non-Manipuri.
Secondly, the bill was passed as Money Bill in the unicameral legislature. It has been alleged that the bill was approved as Money Bill in order to bypass the scrutiny of the Hill Areas Committee of the Legislative Assembly.
The Hill Areas Committee was set up as per the provisions of the Manipur Legislative Assembly (Hill Areas Committee) Order, 1972. It was promulgated by the President of India under the provisions of the Article 371-C of Constitution.
As per the provision 4 (2) of the order, every bill, other than a money bill, affecting wholly or partly the hill areas and containing mainly provisions dealing with any of the scheduled matters shall, after introduction in the Assembly, be referred to the Hill Areas Committee of the Assembly for consideration and report to the Assembly.
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When: June 2016
Why: For reconsideration
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