Das calls for amendment

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  • Published 3.02.12

Jamshedpur, Feb. 2: The political class is clearly divided on the recent high court order, calling for strict implementation of the Chotanagpur Tenancy (CNT) Act.

Jamshedpur East MLA and BJP leader Raghubar Das dubbed both the CNT Act and the Santhal Pargana Tenancy (SPT) Act as symbols of British colonialism meant to trigger social unrest. On the other hand, tribal leaders like former Mayurbhanj MP and national president of Jhakhand Disom Party Salkhan Murmu, two-time BJP MP Shailendra Mahto and president of Jharkhand People’s Party Surya Singh Besra warned of agitation by tribals if any attempt is made to amend the act.

Speaking to reporters at his residence today, Das said there was fear and uncertainty in the state over the CNT Act. “The government should take all sections of the society into confidence and set the ball rolling for bringing necessary amendments in the act,” the former minister said.

Calling the act a weapon devised by the British to create social divide for their own benefit, Das said: “It has lost relevance. The government should take steps to bring in amendments or make a fresh act that will be in sync with the changing social conditions and cater to the interest of all sections of the society.”

Tribal leader Salkhan Murmu, whose PIL prompted the high court to take a stand on the order, said: “The act has been in existence for years and with the high court order, steps should be taken by the government to ensure that the verdict is implemented.”

Murmu also asked all tribal leaders to forgo their party differences and put up a united stand. “We will chalk out a strategy for future agitation if the government does not take steps to implement the act. We might even lodge a contempt of court case,” he said.

Former legislator Surya Singh Besra said under Article 9, neither the Centre nor the state government could bring about amendments in the CNT Act.

“Only the President can intervene for amending the act. Chief minister Arjun Munda’s decision to call an all-party meeting on the issue defies logic,” he said.

In its ruling on January 25, the high court set aside a state government order and made it mandatory to seek the deputy commissioner’s permission for transfer of land belonging to backward classes in context of the CNT Act.