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The North-Eastern Area (Reorganization) Act, 1971

The North-Eastern Area (Reorganization) Act, 1971 (Act No. 81 of 1971) being the Act of Parliament was assented by President of India on 30th December, 1971 and on the next day to it, the Act was published for general information. The Act was to mainly provide for establishment of the State of Manipur and Tripura and also for the formation of State of Meghalaya and Union territories of Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh by re-organization of the already existed State of Assam. Part two of the Act is important so far as it deals with said purpose of the Act to establish the aforesaid State. Sections 3 to 7 are respectively make provision as to such establishment or formation of those aforementioned States and Union territories.

The Constitution of India under its First Schedule listed the number of States existed within India. And as on such establishment of new State the Schedule required amendment. Thus, the Schedule was amended by Section 9 of the Act, and inserted entry 19 for State of Manipur, 20 for the State of Tripura and 21 for State of Meghalaya under the heading of ‘The State’. Similarly, this Section inserted the union territories namely Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh as entry 8 and 9, under the heading of ‘The Union Territories’.

Moreover, Part III of the Act consisting provisions as to make representation of these States and Union Territories in the State legislative Council by amending Fourth Schedule of the Constitution of India as per Section 10 of the Act. Similarly, Section 11 of the Act says about allocation of sitting members representing the existing Union territories of Manipur and Tripura. Further, Section 12 of the Act makes provision as to filling of the seats in the Council of States allotted to the State of Meghalaya and the union territories of Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh. Similarly, certain amendments were also made under Section 27A the Representation of the People Act, 1950.

The Same Part deals with representation from these States and Union Territories in the House of People, wherein Section 14 of the Act requires amendment of the First Schedule of the Representation of the People Act, 1950 by providing a specific table showing reservation and representation structure.

Section 24 of the Act provides that everything done for delimiting the constituencies of State of Manipur, Tripura and Meghalaya for elections of Legislative assemblies, before the commencement of this Act, should be valid on its commencement. Similarly, the amendment of the Constitution (Schedule Caste) Order, 1950 and the Constitution (Schedule Tribes)(Union Territories) Order, 1951 are also provided under the provisions of this Act.

Another important Part dealing with judicial arrangement for the newly established area. The High Court of Assam and Nagaland was required to stop functioning and abolished and a common High Court was provided for all, including State of Assam, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur and Tripura which is named under this Act as ‘Guwahati High Court’. And such transfer of High Court should not affect the already issued notices, orders of injunctions, etc. by such High Court. Section 29 says the about the powers and jurisdiction of such High Court and Courts of Judicial Commissioners for Manipur and Tripura were to be abolished under this Act after such High Court got jurisdictions over there. The place of Principal seat of such Common High Court should not be transferred and should be at the same place where the seat was originally located of that of High Court of Assam and Nagaland, however, the location of benches thereof can be provided by the President. Similarly, Section 34 of the Act speaks of entitlement of Advocates practicing in the High Court. Such Advocates who were practicing in the previous Courts should also be entitled to practice in the common High Court. And respective amendments were also made under the provisions of the Advocates Act, 1961.

Moreover, Part VI of the Act deals with all the property, assets and liabilities belonging to Union territory of Manipur and Tripura should be transferred to the States of Manipur and Tripura before the appointed day of commencement of this Act. Similar provisions are made in respect of properties, liabilities of autonomous State of Meghalaya which are required to pass to the State of Meghalaya. Similarly, the provisions contained in Part VII of the Act says that the State Electricity Board and State Warehousing Corporation should also continue functioning as they were functioning before enactment of this Act, however, should also require to function being subjected to the provisions of Act and directions of the Central Government. Similarly, the provisions were also required the continued functioning of Assam State Financial Corporation also. The Part VIII of the Act deals with provisions as to services.

The Last Part is dealing with certain legal and miscellaneous provision, wherein Section 71 deals with Amendment of certain Articles of the Constitution of India so far as it requires the incorporation of new States and legislative and other organs thereof. Similarly, The Reserve Bank Of India Act, Road Transport Corporation Act, States Re-organization Act, etc. were also amended by this Act. Section 88 of the Act empowers Central Government to frame rules for effecting the provisions of this Act. And also certain schedules are provided with clarifying provisions of this Act.

The Act was recently, amended by The North-Eastern Areas (Re-organization) and Other Related Laws (Amendment) Act, 2012 (Act No. 26 of 2012). This Amending Act was assented on 4th June, 2012 and enacted with the view to amend several provisions of the original Act and also of several other Acts, in order to provide updated solutions to the matters connected therein.

by Faim Khalilkhan Pathan