The Naga Hills – Tuensang Area Act, 1957

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The Naga Hills – Tuensang Area now known as state of Nagaland is one of the smallest state of India. Naga Hills is the partition between India and Myanmar (earlier known as “Burma”). It is complex mountain ranges between the two countries. Tuensang is eastern most district of Nagaland which later merged with Naga Hills district to form a state of Nagaland in 1963. The time gap between independence and formation of sixteenth state is quite long. There are various reasons to it however the primary reason is to become an independent state. Independent because during 1947, Nagaland or naga hills district was a part of Assam. A great contribution, although unsuccessful, was made by Phizo led Naga National Council which demanded secession from India which later on led to several violent attacks. Finally in 1957, an agreement was made between the naga national council and the Indian government to form a separate region for Naga Hills district. Moreover, the Tuensang area was merged with Naga Hills to create a single political division namely the Naga Hills – Tuensang Area which was ruled directly by the central government. In order to legitimatize the above, the Naga Hills – Tuensang Area Act, 1957 and was published in the Gazette of India on 30th November, 1957.

The Naga Hills – Tuensang Area Act, 1957 (hereinafter referred to “The Act”) was created with the sole objective of forming the Naga Hills – Tuensang area of Assam as the administrative unit. The naga hills – Tuensang area was still a part of Assam at that time. The nagas were not happy with it. So they viciously attacked the Indian Government and demanded for a separate state for themselves. The then Prime Minister agreed for making Nagaland a fully fledged state. A sixteen point agreement was agreed between the two and finally in 1963, the Nagaland attained the statehood.

The Act consists of seven sections. Section 2 deals with the formation of a new administrative unit known as Naga Hills – Tuensang area. The area comprises of those tribes which came within the boundary of Naga Hills and Tuensang frontier division. The Constitution of India and the Delimitation of Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies Order, 1956 was amended for further procedures.  Also the amendment of the Representation of the People Act, 1950 was repealed by the Repealing and Amending Act, 1960.

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The Delimitation of Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies Order, 1956 came as a result of Delimitation Commission formed after the reorganization of states. The States reorganization Act, 1956 brought a transformation in the constituencies of India. The Government of India took a step to alter the boundaries for better regulation of the whole independent nation. Assam was also altered and in 1957, the government of India brought a new act for the formation of administrative unit in Assam.

Section 6 provides that the sitting members of the House of people will be deemed to have been elected by the constituencies as altered, although the constituency of Assam had been altered. Section 7 provides that the Act will not affect any other existing rule or law in regards to the territorial application. It means that any territory which has been altered before the commencement of this act will not be affected by the said act. However, the provision also provides that in case if any prior law affects the region which is mentioned in the administrative unit, that is, the naga hills district and the Tuensang frontier division, in that case, a competent court will decide whether the prior law will be applicable or not.

Therefore, the Naga Hills – Tuensang area Act were able to create it as an administrative unit. However, the naga people still insisted for separating the naga hills district and Tuensang frontier division to create a new state which after much attacks and negotiations came into effect in 1963 known as the state of Nagaland.

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by Neha Dayal.