W. RANCHONG Vs. STATE OF MANIPUR
HIGH COURT OF MANIPUR
STATE OF MANIPUR
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KH.NOBIN SINGH -
(1.) Heard Shri D. Julius Riamei, learned Advocate appearing for the petitioners; Shri Serto T. Kom, learned Advocate appearing for respondent No.3 and Shri M. Rarry, learned Addl. AG appearing for the State respondents.
(2.) The validity and correctness of the order dated 06-05-2008 issued by the Addl. Deputy Commissioner, respondent No. 2 herein appointing respondent No.3 as GB/ Chairman of Irang Part-I village is under challenge in this writ petition.
3.1 According to the petitioners, they are the Chairmen of Thonglang Atongba village, Tapon Naga (old Tapon) village, Chawangkening village, Tapon Namsuan village, Harup Naga village, Thonglang Akutpa village and Makui village under Senapati and Kangpokpi Districts, Manipur. While Thonglang Atongba village, Thonglang Akutpa village and Chawangkening village are under Irang Part-I cluster of villages, Tapon Naga (old Tapon) village, Tapon Namsuan village, Harup Naga village and Makui village are under Irang Part-II cluster of villages, the people of which are Liangmai Naga Tribe. Under their village jurisdiction, the Nepali grazers were permitted to stay as the tenants for grazing purpose by the then Government during pre-independence period because of which the Nepali grazers have been paying grazing rent/ tax (Rampon in local dialect and Lousal in Manipuri). The Nepalese who came to the State of Manipur sometime in the 1st decade of 19th Century were ordered to move to Irang Part-I and Irang Part-II villages by the then Political Agent to rear cows and buffalos and since then, they have been living as the tenants of the petitioners by paying rampon regularly. The Nepalese gave declarations, undertakings, agreements and assurances, from time to time, to the effect that they as the tenants would abide by the customs, practices, traditions and abide the bye laws of the petitioners' villages before the village authorities and the police.
3.2 The Nepalese started claiming that they are the indigenous inhabitants and are making representations/ petitions to the Government of Manipur to grant a native resident status to them, because of which an NGO, namely Joint Action Committee for Protecting Liangmai Ancestral Lands submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister, Manipur not to grant such status to them. To their shock and surprise, the respondent No. 3 filed a suit being O.S No.2 of 2018 before the Court of Civil Judge, Junior Division, Kangpokpi praying for declaring the said declarations/ undertakings as null and void. In support of the said claim, respondent No.3 produced lists of documents including the order dated 06-05-2008 appointing him as GB/ Chairman of Irang Part-I villages. The said order was filed by respondent No.3 in his capacity as the GB/ Chairman of Irang Part-I villages.
3.3 Being aggrieved by the said order dated 06-05-2008, the instant writ petition has been filed by the petitioners contending inter-alia that the said order was issued by respondent No.2 without any jurisdiction and authority; that the said order passed by the respondent No.2 was dehors the provisions of Manipur (Village Authorities in Hill Areas) Act, 1956 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Hill Areas Act, 1956'); that the Nepalese are the tenants of the petitioners being grazers and that the Chairman of the Village authority is a statutory authority as provided under the provisions of the Hill Areas Act, 1956; that there cannot be a village or a Chairman of the village within the jurisdiction of the petitioners' village and that the Nepalese cannot claim any right independent of the petitioners' village rights. ;
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