Should article 371(A) override democratic principle?

Vihepu Asu Yeptho
Purana bazaar

Article 371 (A) is a part of the democratic institution and it will be unfair to use it as a draconian law. Article 371(A) is the heart and mind of our unique history and our statehood, we can’t afford to destroy it neither let it destroy the ethics and values of democracy. To be more specific, what is article 371 (A), it is a special provision to preserve and protect our unique social practices and its land and resources from alien intervention. If one is to agree to the definition above, then article 371(A) is only a protective provision and therefore if our society is to move ahead then we should look above and beyond article 371 (A). 

The fight for genders equality is a global movement and in the past few decades number of countries including India have taken a number of measures that will increase women’s participation in political decision making process, because women who constitute almost 50% of total population cannot afford to leave aside if a nation state is to move ahead. And in tune with the democratic ideals and global gender movement for women’s empowerment the Indian government came up with the idea of 33% reservation from grass root level to national. 

The main objectives of women empowerment are to give voice to the voiceless, participation of deprived section of the people in decision making process, decentralisation of power and authority. Back to the Naga context, one might disagree if 33% reservation i.e. part IX (A) article 243T is to be implemented in our state which is an Indian model and an Indian version, but no civilised society can afford to crush down the idea of global movement on women’s empowerment in the 21st century. The conflict between article 371(A) and part IX (A) article 243T is just a matter of time conflict. 

One wonder whether those respected leaders who shared the ideas of article 317 (A) in the early 1960’s foresee the possibilities of conflict with the importance of women’s political participations in the 21st century. Under this circumstance’s the fight for supremacy of one article over one another is not a solution to the problem. 

The only way out is, political leaders need to take a tough decision i.e. legislate its own laws accordingly with our social structure and bring reservation, not necessarily 33% reservation which is in tune with the Indian model but still can opt for different possible options be it 15%, 20%, 25% and bring under the ambit of fundamental rights article 15(3) which clearly stated that “Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for women and children.”