Do you think reservation of seats for Women in Urban Local Bodies in Nagaland as demanded by the Naga Mother’s Association is appropriate? Discuss the conflicting issue of reservation of seats for Women with that of the Naga Customary Law.
Article 371A of the constitution grants special permissions to Nagaland to frame its own laws. The Nagaland Assembly is required to pass a law (even a central law) before it applies to the state. The laws must comply with their culture, tradition and customs.
Reservation of seats for women in the municipalities, according to the tribal apex bodies, infringes upon their customary law and therefore should not be applied. But reservation of seats in the municipalities for women is valid according to the 74th Amendment Act of the constitution.
The debate is that whether women empowerment should be compromised due to traditional laws such as the one in Nagaland. Women empowerment is a wider aspect. Statically, Naga women are one among the safest in the country. But that has no direct relation with women empowerment especially in the political sphere.
Other reasons for maintaining rigidity on the customary law is the fear of paying taxes once the Municipal Act is legislated. Moreover, paying taxes on land to the government creates a sense of insecurity about their land and their resources. Some people also fear that the government might also take control over the villages where the tribal people dwell.
With time, traditions have evolved and changed for the better. Being rigid on any tradition is not advisable. Inclusion of women in politics is always a progressive idea. Some critics have also claimed that the customary laws have been misinterpreted. Therefore, there should be a correct interpretation of the laws and laws must be legislated by keeping development and progress in priority.