Home » Unless under duress Manipur’s territory cannot be segregated if India follows Intl. Law

Unless under duress Manipur’s territory cannot be segregated if India follows Intl. Law

by Rinku Khumukcham
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Unless under duress Manipur’s territory cannot be segregated if India follows Intl. Law

Late Professor N. Sanajaoba in one of his writings stated that the ongoing crisis in the state of Manipur is the outcome of the illegal annexation of Manipur to the Union.
Article 3 of the 1947 Manipur constitution provides, “The territories for the time being and hereafter vested in the Maharajah are governed by and in the name of the Maharajah. All rights, authority and jurisdiction which appertain or are incidental to the Government of such territories are exercisable by the Maharajah subject to the provision of this Act”. Any premier of any country in the neighbourhood or, his plenipotentiary who has claims over any part of the territory of Manipur in 1947 has to satisfy any commission or mediating party with his or her constitution that lawfully operates in his or her country in 1947 and cite the precise constitution provision relating to their territory.
This is the first sine qua non for both India and any other internationally recognised state for a peaceful negotiation of the claims, should there be any lawful claim as such.
The second instrument is the republican constitution of India which provides in Article 3, parliamentary power to alter areas, and boundaries of existing states after hearing ‘views’ of the state legislature concerned which will not bind the President at all. This article applies to India’s existing states and not to Manipur, which had been ‘a pre-existing state’ before the adoption of India’s Constitution. Rather, it has been an illegally annexed state to which Article 3 has no contextual bearing at all.
The first schedule of the constitution defines the territory of Manipur thus, “The territory which immediately before the commencement of this constitution was being administered as if it were a Chief Commissioner’s province under the name of Manipur.” The first schedule of the Constitution serial No. 19 on Manipur categorically established the fact that the territorial integrity of Manipur preceded the Indian Constitution. This status quo ante of the pre-existing state can not be disturbed by a subsequent provision of the Constitution like Article 3 or 4 of the Constitution.
The Constitution defines the matters specified in the Instrument of Accession for legislative purposes.
The international obligation of the state of India towards Manipur has been clearly stipulated in Article 2(4) of the UN Charter, which India subscribed to, two years before her official independence. The Manipur state had existed for two millennia and her independent status has been given international recognition since 1726 A.D. and 1826 A.D. onwards with the emergence of the modern state systems in the world. She had her defined territory, population, successive governments for two millennia, external relations with neighbours, economic centralisation, common official language, and common ancestry for two millennia even before the colonial British had recently coined terms like Kuki, Naga and others and above all, a full-fledged constitutional system, equipped with judicial mechanisms. Any claimant to the territory should have these parameters.
The government of India’s Charter obligations towards respecting the territorial integrity of Manipur emanates from Article 2(4) of the Charter, “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”.
The territorial integrity of Manipur has been fairly established for half a millennium, as one can verify easily from Henry Yule’s Map of Manipur in 1500 A.D., down to James Johnstone’s Map in 19th century (p. 34 of his Manipur and the Naga Hills) and to Surveyor General of India’s map of Manipur, 1984 AD. They have been corroborated and recognised by other countries in their official maps and records. The boundary had so firmly established as to reduce any baseless claim to a heap of mockery and puerile absurdity.
What is more significant that the corroboration, and recognition of the Manipur territorial areas for half a millennium is the moment at which the British paramountcy lapsed in regard to Manipur, for the application of the universal rule of UTI POSSIDETIS JURIS to Manipur and the neighbouring areas or states.. The pre-independence territorial integrity of Manipur was sustained on the 14th and 15th August 1947 _ which is material for the purpose of the universal principle, as cited.
The government of India and for that matter, any other member state of the UN or international protectorate within the UN system and recognised states in the comity of nations are under Charter and international obligations to literally comply with the UTI POSSIDETIS rule. The self-determining units can not claim exception to this rule after considering the 1960 Colonial Declaration and 1970 Friendly Relations Declaration. The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, 1969 affirms the concept of established boundaries, which cannot be altered except by mutual consent.

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