THE STATE OF NAGALAND ACT, 1962

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The Government of India reached consensus with the Naga Peoples Convention to transform the Naga Hills Tuensang Area (Nagaland) which was a part of tribal area in the State of Assam, to form a separate State in the Indian Territory. For the said purpose, the Parliament enacted The Constitution (thirteenth Amendment) Act, 1962 on December 28, 1962. Accordingly, Article 371 A was inserted to the Constitution of India which provides ‘special provision with respect to the State of Nagaland’.

Article 371 A provides that the laws made by the Parliament are not applicable to the State of Nagaland unless the Legislative Council of Nagaland passes a resolution in this regard. The Governor of Nagaland is entrusted with the responsibility to maintain law and order for so long as the internal disturbances happening in the Naga Hills-Tuensang Area continues before the formation of the new State and shall take action on his individual judgment after consultation with the Council of Ministers. To comply with Constitution, the Central Government enacted State of Nagaland Act, 1962 on September 4, 1962 which came into force on December 12, 1963.

From the inception of the Act, the State of Nagaland was formed consisting of the Naga Hills-Tuensang Area and after enactment the territories shall cease to be part of State of Assam. The State of Nagaland comprises of Kohima District, Mokokchung District and Tuensang District as provided in the Schedule. The Act amended the Schedule I of the Constitution which included State of Nagaland in the entry 15 and also amended Schedule VI of the Constitution. A seat in the Council of States and House of People shall be allocated to the State of Nagaland and election shall be conducted to fill the seats allocated in the Council of States to the State of Nagaland.

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The Legislative Assembly of the Nagaland State shall be filled by sixty members chosen by direct election, but the seats are to be allocated according to the provisions of Article 371 A of the Constitution of India. The assembly constituencies of the State shall be delimited by the Election Commission as per the provisions of the Constitution in accordance with the latest census assessment. In delimiting, the Election Commission shall consider the geographically compact areas, physical characteristics, the boundaries of administrative entities, capacity to communicate, convenience of the public and linguistic likeness of the people etc. The constituencies of the State shall be single member constituencies and the population of such constituency shall not exceed six thousand in the practical sense. To aid the Election Commission to discharge its functions, the Commission shall correlate five members out of which three members shall be members from the Interim Body constituted under the Nagaland (Transitional Provisions) Regulation, 1961 and other two members shall be proposed by the Central Government.

The Act provides for a common High Court of Assam and Nagaland for the State of Assam and State of Nagaland from the commencement of the Act. The salaries and allowances to be paid to the judges of the High Court shall be divided among the State of Assam and State of Nagaland in the ratio propounded by the President. The grants and benefits of the Governor shall be determined by the President, unless provided by the Parliament by law as per the provisions of Article 158(3) of the Constitution of India. The Act grants power to the President to prescribe the grants-in-aid of State of Nagaland with regard to revenues and share of the State in the excise duties of the Union, estate duty and income tax.

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Nagaland is the sixteenth state of the Indian Union known as the ‘falcon capital of the world’. The constitutional head of the state is the Governor with certain responsibilities entrusted under the Act as well as the Constitution. The real executive and the legislative body is the Legislative Assembly of Nagaland which is led by the Chief Minister. The peculiar feature of the state is that it possesses state autonomy and granted special authority to conduct its own activities.