HC bench stays Mizoram policy

The Aizawl bench of Gauhati High Court has stayed Mizoram's flagship programme, the New Land Use Policy (NLUP), and ceased the disbursement of assistance under the policy, following a PIL filed by a social activist, sources said on Wednesday.

By Henry L. Khojol in Aizawl
  • Published 13.09.18
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Gauhati High Court

Aizawl: The Aizawl bench of Gauhati High Court has stayed Mizoram's flagship programme, the New Land Use Policy (NLUP), and ceased the disbursement of assistance under the policy, following a PIL filed by a social activist, sources said on Wednesday.

This comes more than a month after the state government failed to frame guidelines based on transparent criteria for selection of beneficiaries under the programme.

The high court on Tuesday issued an order staying the implementation of the policy and stopping disbursement of assistance under the flagship programme till the state government furnish proper guidelines based on transparent criteria for selection of beneficiaries.

Earlier, social activist Vanramchhuangi aka Ruatfela Nu had filed a PIL in the high court, challenging the implementation of NLUP.

Vanramchhuangi alleged that thousands of eligible beneficiaries were deprived of assistance under the flagship programme due to absence of transparent criteria for selection of beneficiaries.

She also alleged that the state government acted in an arbitrary and discriminatory manner by leaving out as many as six Opposition MLAs for selecting beneficiaries, while all the 34 ruling Congress legislators and four others Congress workers were assigned to select beneficiaries from their respective constituencies and areas.

Following the PIL, the high court on August 3 issued an interim order directing the state government not to disburse any assistance under the flagship programme till it framed guidelines based on transparent criteria for selection of beneficiaries.

Subsequently, the state government issued a notification on August 10, which has been published in the government gazette on August 27, by which the guidelines for the NLUP-New Economic Development Policy (NEDP) convergence scheme for livelihood project has been notified with immediate effect.

The petitioner's counsel, C. Lalramzauva, on Tuesday submitted to the high court that the perusal of the government notification on August 10 does not show that the state government has framed guidelines for selection of beneficiaries under the NLUP project as directed by the high court on August 3.

Lalramzauva also informed the high court that the criteria for selection of beneficiaries has not been reflected in the NLUP manual framed in 2009 according to which the Village-Level NLUP Committee (VLNC) will be formed in each village, consisting of a chairman and secretary to be appointed by the NLUP implementing board.

The order issued by the Aizawl bench of the high court, Justice Michael Zothankhuma on Tuesday, said the government should stop disbursing assistance under the NLUP programme till it framed proper guidelines.

He fixed the next hearing for September 18.

The NLUP is the Congress-led government's flagship programme that aims at giving all economically-backward people sustainable livelihood by providing them with suitable, permanent and stable trades.

The idea was conceived in 1984 and was implemented on a small scale during 1985-1992.

The policy was again implemented in 2011 after the Congress came back to power in 2008.