Home / Politics / Policy /  Nagaland mothers’ body seeks to withdraw Supreme Court plea

New Delhi: A Nagaland association that has fought to enforce quotas for women in the state’s urban local bodies withdrew its petitions from the Supreme Court on Thursday after anti-quota violence by tribal groups in the state.

“Rosemary Dzuvichu, who is the petitioner, has instructed us to file an application for withdrawal (of both the petitions). They have been filed. We will mention either on Friday or Monday so that it is heard at the earliest," said lawyer Olivia Bang, who represents Dzuvichu. The withdrawal petition is yet to be heard, but it has already been filed, she added.

Dzuvichu is adviser to the Nagaland Mothers’ Association (NMA).

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Violence broke out in Nagaland after the state government decided to accord 33% reservation to women in the municipal body elections scheduled for 1 February. Internet and phone lines are down and prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure have been issued in Dimapur and Kohima.

Tribal groups opposed to reservation have blamed NMA, which has been trying to enforce the law, for the recent spate of violence.

“For the tribals, it is a matter of not disturbing the traditional set-up of society. They have been rebelling because they think that it goes against the societal design for women," said a senior home ministry official, requesting anonymity.

“When you withdraw the main petition, the interim orders go as a general rule. But in a public interest litigation, it is the court’s prerogative to close the petition," said lawyer Pratap Venugopal.

It is the decision of the court to allow the petitions to be withdrawn, lawyer Gopal Sankaranarayanan said. “The court can equally say no to the withdrawal. If the petitioner does not want to proceed with the case, the court can appoint someone else to do so," he added.

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At present, two petitions—one appeal against a Gauhati high court ruling from July 2012 and a writ petition filed in 2014—are pending before the Supreme Court on the issue of the 33% reservation to women in municipal body elections.

The Supreme Court in April 2016 stayed a Gauhati high court judgment from July 2012 which upheld the decision of the Nagaland government to indefinitely postpone elections to the municipal and town councils. The July 2012 decision had set aside an earlier judgment which stayed the cabinet decision and subsequent notification by the government to postpone the elections.

The stay order may be affected if the apex court allows the petitions to be withdrawn.

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