Gangtok, September 4, 2013
This is in reference to the letters dated 13/08/13 served to all 12 Bhutia-Lepcha (BL) MLAs and Sangha MLA requesting explanation for mentioning BL reserved seats is by virtue of BL being Schedule Tribe(ST) in their legislative body meeting held at Mintokgang on 4th August 2013, stated in a press statement issued by Tseten Tashi Bhutia and Chewang Rinzing Lepcha Co-Convenors, SIBLAC.
According to the statement, with no reply even after the lapsed of 21 days from 12BL MLAs and Sangha MLA, nevertheless we are thankful to the Chief Minister Pawan Chamling for his stand and statement made on the holy occasion of Pang-Lhab-Sol at M.G Marg on 21st August 2013, wherein he publicly announced that 12 seats reserved in Sikkim Legislative Assembly are meant for Bhutia-Lepcha (BL) only contrary to their own press release dated 05.08.2013.
“While appreciating, may we, therefore, support and authenticate the statement of the Chief Minister constitutionally and legally for the benefit and wisdom of general public, all MLAs, other public representatives, intellectuals, civil societies and specially BL MLAs and Sangha MLA in particular,” the statement said.
The press statement also quoted the followings:
1. Election Commission of India has clearly defined in Handbook for Candidates;
Chapter II, para3(c);
“If you are a candidate for a seat reserved for Sikkimese of Bhutia Lepcha origin in the Legislative aAssembly of Sikkim, then you must be a person either of Bhutia or Lepcha origin, and in addition you must also be an elector for any assembly constituency in that State”.
Chapter II, para3 (d);
“If you are a candidate for a seat reserved for the Sanghas in the Legislative Assembly of Sikkim, then you must be an elector for the Sangha Constituency in that State.”
2. Supreme Court’s Observations on 12 BL seats and one Sangha seat:-
Infavour of 12 BL seats:
(a) “Clause (f) of Art.371F enables a departure from Art. 332(2) – Provisions, in particular situation, and permissible latitudes, not unconstitutional,”
(b) “Clause (f) of Art.371F is intended to the clear operational effect of the non obstante clause with which Art.371 F opens. Therefore the provisions relating to reservation of seats of Sikkim Legislative Assembly in the particular situation and the permissible latitudes cannot be said to be unconstitutional.”
(c) “The reservation of seats for Bhutias and Lepchas is necessary because they constitute a minority and in the absence of reservation they may not have any representation in the legislative Assembly.”
(d) “Historical consideration and compulsions do justify inequality and special treatment.”
Infavour of one Sangha Seat:
(a) “Sangha is not merely a religious institution but historically a political and social institution. Reservation of seat for it in Legislative Assembly of Sikkim is not violative of Articles 15 (1), 325.”
(b) The Sangha had long been associated itself closely with the political development of Sikkim and was inter-woven with the social and political life of its people. In-view of this historical association the provision in the matter of reservation of a seat for the Sangha recognises the social and political role of the institution more than its purely religious identity.”
3. Representation of People (Amendment) Act, 1980:
The Act provided that out of 32 seats:
a) 12 seats shall be reserved for Sikkimese of Bhutia Lepcha origin;
b) 02 seats shall be reserved for Schedule Castes of that State;
c) 01 seat shall be reserved for the Sanghas referred to in Section 25-A.
SIBLAC termed calling 12 BL reserved seats in Sikkim Assembly are by virtue of being ST is not only illegal, unconstitutional and immature but irrational and ridiculous.
SIBLAC appeal and request the Chief Minister to guide, enlighten and have some political classes of his MLAs so that the future of Sikkim and Sikkimese be in safe hands.
Donggala, Sulawesi Tengah
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