Home » XII Ojha Sanajaoaba Memorial Lecture-2023, On “Jurisprudence For Constitutional Guarantee To Safeguard Manipur”

XII Ojha Sanajaoaba Memorial Lecture-2023, On “Jurisprudence For Constitutional Guarantee To Safeguard Manipur”

[In Concomitant with the 78th Birth Anniversary of Ojha (Prof.) Naorem Sanajaoba]

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XII Ojha Sanajaoaba Memorial Lecture-2023, On “Jurisprudence For Constitutional Guarantee To Safeguard Manipur”

By: Sougrakpam Bhubol
The political history of Manipur may be re-described as (i) Early Manipur state formation since the reign of King Nongda Lairen Pakhangba in 33 AD; (ii) Early State constitutional practices since the 11th Century AD, known as the ‘Loyumba Shinyel’; (iii) Emergence of modern State in the 16th & 17th Centuries AD by consolidation of a distinct territorial state and its ‘a people’ including all of the high and low lands viz-a-viz continuation of successive rules of 50 Kings ; (iv) Attainment of international status of Manipur with signing of many internationally recognized Treaties/Agreements starting from the Anglo-Manipuri Defence Treaty-1762, and entered into the Comity of Nations with fulfillment of all Montevideo parameters, and (v) Democratic set up with adoption of the Manipur State Constitution Act (MSCA-1947) on 26thJuly 1947 and under which Act, conducted the first Manipur General Elections to 52 seats in between 11-06-1948 to 27-06-1948 which was followed by the first Assembly (@ Parliament) session held on 18th October 1848. The established records, treaties and, documents support the fact that Manipur was an Asiatic sovereign state from 1826 to 1891, followed by serious interference into her administration by the British from 1891 to 1947, keeping it as a ‘Subordinate’ or ‘Protected State’ but not annexed to the territory of the British Empire. The State of Manipur regained independence on the 14th August, 1947. (cit. The Anglo-Manipur Defence Treaty, 1762; the Treaty of Yandaboo, 1826, the Anglo-Manipuri Treaty, 1833, The Kabaw Valley Agreement, 1834, the Bharak Agreement, 1874; the verdicts of Calcutta High Court, 1865, 1867, and Manamohon Ghosh’s ‘The Memorandum of Argument’, 1891 and the Government of India’s Resolution of Manipur, August,21,1891).
Manipur was contentiously merged into the Union of India in 1949.The first election for members of the Electoral College along with two Lok Sabha members and one Rajya Sabha Member under the Constitution of India was held in Manipur in January, 1952; the first Election of Manipur Territorial Council was held in January, 1957; the first Assembly Election of Manipur Territory was held in the early part of 1967; and the first General elections was held in February, 1972 and the first popular Ministry after attainment of statehood, was formed on the 20th March, 1972. (Cit. ‘Annexation of Manipur, 1949’ produced by PDM Manipur; ‘Souvenir’ published by PDF Manipur on the 18th October,2001, in commemoration of the 53rd Anniversary of the Manipur First Assembly; ‘Manipur Puwari 21 Suba Chahicha’ by N. Sanajaoba published by NRC Manipur, 2009; ‘The Greater Autonomy of Manipur’ by UCM…; ‘Why Pre-Merger Political Status for Manipur- under the framework of the Instrument of Accession, 1947’ by CIRCA, 2018; and others, including P. Bharat’s ‘Elections in Manipur’1997.)
Manipur was thus, historically, established as “a pre-existing-State” before the enforcement of India’s Constitution on the 26th January 1950, and thereby obliged the Government of India to have a bilateral agreement, the Manipur Merger Agreement, 1949, to take over Manipur into the fold of the Union of India, and the inviolable ‘preexisted territory’ of Manipur was, therefore, reflected as a (re-)established territory in the 1st Schedule of the Constitution of India. The first schedule of the Constitution of India defines the territory of Manipur as, “Manipur-The territory which immediately before the commencement of this Constitution was being administered as if a Chief Commissioner’s province under the name Manipur.” [Ins.by the North-Eastern Areas (Reorganization) Act, 1971-(81 of 1971, Sec. 9 (w.e.f. 21-1-1972].
Article 2(4) of the UN Charters states, “All members (sic.India) shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state (sic. Manipur), or in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.” which suggests the responsibility of India to safeguard the inviolable continuous multi-ethnic territorial boundary of Manipur while remaining within her Dominion. Government of India being a member of the United Nations has international obligation to literally comply with the non-derogable UTI Possidetis rule in safeguarding the continuity of the historically evolved territorial integrity of Manipur. The ‘Idea of Manipur’ as ‘Oneness of the highland (hills), lowland (valley) and all indigenous dwellers (brethren communities)’ staying and living together inseparably as ‘a people’ of Manipur for long even before the state was merged into the Union of India as ‘a sustaining historical legacy of an Asiatic Civilization’, and there connoting the unfailing responsibilities taken and to be taken by the Government of India for protection of the continuity of the preexisted State of Manipur within her dominion since 1949.
The people of Manipur are mutinying against the ongoing violent Manipur demolition practices perpetrated by the so-called armed Chin-Kuki-Zo militants, since May 3, 2023. The propositions for lasting peace and integrity of Manipur include the Memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister of India by the All Manipur United Clubs’ Organization, (AMUCO) on the 7th September, 2023, which incorporates a point that, “3. Amendment of the Indian Constitution, Article 3: A Proposal for amendment of Article 3 of the Indian Constitution by inserting a clause to safeguard the territorial integrity of Manipur and to provide a legal protection against future attempts at division”. Resolution of the one-day Dialogue on “Idea of Manipur: A Historical Legacy of an Asiatic Civilization”, organised jointly by the Ojha Sanajaoaba Memorial Trust(OSMT), and the Centre for Human Rights and Duties Education, Manipur University, on the 18th September, 2023, said, “Urges the Government of India for a Constitutional Guarantee to safeguard the status quo ante of the historically evolved and constitutionally re-established pre-state territorial integrity of Manipur, by way of Constitutional amendments to ensuring, (i). Restriction to the implementation of Art.3 of the Constitution in respect of Manipur, and (ii). Amendment of Art. 371C (1) & (2) of the Constitution so as to empower the state legislature to deal with the inherent politico-history, socioeconomic, and multi-ethnic cultural ethos of Manipur.”, and the one-day Dialogue on the “Idea of Manipur: Issues of Historical Inclusivity” organized by the North East Peoples’ Organization (NEPO), Manipur Chapter on the 29th October, 2023, said,” Resolved to endeavour towards attaining constitutional safeguard of the generations-old territorial integrity of Manipur along with protecting and respecting the rights and dignities of all the indigenous communities and rightful citizens of Manipur, regardless of diverse culture, religion and size of the population, under a strong bond of oneness of thought and aspirations, with natural and equitable growth and representation, under inclusive Idea of Manipur.”
Understanding all the above remarks as collective wisdom of the people of Manipur, it is highly felt that a study on relative jurisprudence is required for firm legal support to the Manipuri people’s earnest wish to get a Constitutional Guarantee in safeguarding the historically evolved, pre-exist, and continuous status of the multi-ethnic territorial boundary of Manipur, and also for living together of ethnic communities, the micro-nationalities of the state under a uniform land law in the state of Manipur, the Ojha Sanajaoba Memorial Trust (OSMT) Manipur, is organizing the ‘12th Ojha Sanajaoaba Memorial Lecture on “Jurisprudence for Constitutional Guarantee to Safeguard Manipur’, in connection with the 78th Birth Anniversary of Ojha (Prof.) Naorem Sanajaoaba, at the Ojha Sanajaoaba Library Hall of the National Research Centre, Manipur on Saturday, the 30th December, 2023. In the memorial lecture to be chaired by Prof. N. Rajmuhon Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Manipur University, and President of the OSMT, Irom Lalitkumar Singh, Senior Advocate (High Court & the Supreme Court) & Former Chairman of the Bar Council of Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, shall be the main speaker, Dr. N. Pramod, Head, Deptt. of Law, Dhanamanjuri University, Manipur; Principal-L.M.S. Law College, Imphal & Trustee-OSMT, and Dr. Arambam Noni, Associate Professor, Deptt. of Political Science, Dhanamanjuri University, Manipur shall give observations
(The writer is the Managing Trustee of Ojha Sanajaoaba Memorial Trust (OSMT) Manipur)

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