Mokokchung, 5 April (MTNews): The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice of contempt to the Nagaland government and the state election commission for violating its last month’s direction to hold urban local body elections with 33% reservation for women and stayed the state government’s order to cancel the polls, which were scheduled to be held on 16 May.


According to, a bench comprising justices SK Kaul and Ahsanuddin Amanullah said, “You (Nagaland government), as well as the state election commission, are in breach of the order of this Court. Our March 14 order is quite clear that any endeavor to tinker with the election process would be in breach of the order of
this Court.”


Disappointed with the non-compliance of its order dated 14 March, 2023, Justice Kaul told the Counsel appearing for the State of Nagaland, “This is not acceptable. Please convey that we will not allow this.”


On 14 March, 2023, in a petition challenging the Nagaland Assembly’s resolution dated September 22, 2021 exempting operation of Part IXA of the Constitution of India, which mandates 33% reservation for women in Municipalities and Town Councils of the State, the Nagaland State Election Commission informed the Apex Court that the local body elections in the State have been notified and are to take place on 16 May, 2023.


Accordingly, the Court had directed that the election schedule notified by the Commission should not be disturbed at any cost. At the request of the Advocate General for the State of Nagaland, KN Balgopal, the Bench had directed that “the State Election Commission and the State are to make necessary arrangements to ensure free and fair elections…Any authority/citizen in breach thereof would be in breach of orders of this Court.”


On Wednesday, Senior Advocate, Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the petitioner People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) mentioned the contempt petition before the Bench. He apprised it that the election, which was being held pursuant to the orders of the Apex Court, has been cancelled by a notification issued by the State Election Commission on 30 March.


He submitted – “The Nagaland elections are cancelled by a notification of the Election Commission with the consent of the Chief Minister who found three groups opposing the election…He said that ‘we cannot certainly go against the will of the people’”.


Justice Kaul said, “But we had said that it will go ahead. How can they say something contrary to a judicial order?”


The Counsel appearing for the State informed the Bench that the State of Nagaland will be filing an application in this regard.


Displeased with the cancellation of the election in the teeth of Apex Court’s order, Justice Kaul reckoned, “But you are in breach of the order of the court. So is the Election Commission. We will notice in contempt. We had said that it (the election) would not be postponed.”


The contempt plea filed through Advocate-on-Record, Satya Mitra is next listed on 17 April.

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