Who was in the dock during the 2001 census?

Published on August 1, 2007

By H. Benjamin Mate

August 2, 2007: In my previous articles I dealt at length on issues of delimitation process to facilitate readers’ awareness on the sinister designs of the all political parties of Manipur led by the SPF Government to derail the delimitation process and thereby deprived the political rights of the tribals of Manipur bestowed by the Constitution of India under “Delimitation Act 2002.

Unfortunately, the Writ petition filed by me on behalf of various tribal organizations’, namely, ATSUM, KSO, Kuki Chiefs Association etc…… of Manipur in the Imphal Bench of the Guwahati High Court dated December 2006 was not accorded appropriate judgment it rightfully deserved. It is evidenced now this was due to calibrated mala-fide intention and manipulations of the Guwahati High Court by the All Political Party Manipur in collusion with the State SPF Government.

The Honorable Guwahati High court instead, passed an order in January 19.2007 in violation of Article 226 of the Constitution of India and Census Act & Rules of 1948 to re-count heads in 9 (Nine) sub-division of tribal District Viz, Senapati, Ukhrul and Chandel, after deletion of 1 lakh tribal population in Mao,Maram,paomata and Purul Sub-Division in Senapati district in the provisional census results.

Being aggrieved by the Honorable High Court order of January 19.2007   a Special leave Petition was again filed on behalf of different tribal organization of Manipur challenging the Imphal Bench Guwahati High Court order of January 19.2007, in which the Honorable Supreme Court after a series of hearing on 13/07/2007 finally stayed the   Guwahati High Court order as impugned and unsustainable.

In the light of new development, Honorable CM. O.Ibobi lead anti- tribal SPF Government has pass a Cabinet decision on 30th July   rejecting the 2001 census publication against the Supreme Court order to sabotage the delimitation process in Manipur which against the spirit and intention of constitution of India and Census Act of 1948.The gross contempt and disregard of constitutional provisions shown by the incumbent and mainstream government of Manipur goes against the very spirit of peaceful co-existent is but condemnable.

The Registrar General and Census Commissioner has stated in their counter Affidavit file in the Supreme Court that, the Guwahati High Court has erred in allowing the Writ Petition of All Political Party Manipur under Article 226 of the Constitution of India without appreciating the fact that the evidence in the present case is in question which cannot be verified at this stage by any means by the court intervention.

Even by appointing the Special Commission, the population count that existed as on 1st March, 2001 in the sub-divisions under dispute, cannot be verified in the field after a lapse of 6 (six) years due to population and demographic changes on account of new births, deaths and inbound and out-bound migration of people. As such, the order dated 19.01.2007 passed by the Guwahati High Court Imphal Bench in Writ petition (PIL) No.16/2005 is not sustainable.

It also stated that the Imphal Bench Guwahati High Court has erred seriously by passing an order which is without taking into account the scheme of Census taking under the provisions of Census Act, 1948. Census is not merely counting of heads; it is total process of collecting, compiling, evaluating, analyzing and publishing or otherwise disseminating demographic, economic and social data pertaining, at a specified time, to all persons in a country or in a well delimited country.

Besides, individual enumeration which is one of the essential features, there are three other requirements of census. These are Universality, Simultaneity at a defined periodicity and with a reference date.

Thus, Mr.O.Ibobi lead SPF Government should know that, Census by definition is not a mere head count but a much larger statistical exercise to collect data on population at the same time and with defined periodicity. In India, the census has been conducted decennially and information has been collected on the number and characteristics of population across all geographical and administrative units under the provisions of the census Act, 1948 and the Census Rules 1990 made there under.

The process of census taking begins with a notification by the Central Government declaring its intention to conduct census under Sections 3 of the census Act 1948. This is followed by the appointment of census commissioner and the Director of Census Operation by the Central Government under the Act, census taking is a joint effort of both the central and state Governments.

Whereas, the Director of Census Operation of the State is appointed by the Central Government under section 4(1) of the Act, the Census functionaries at district and lower levels are appointed by the State Government under Section 4(2) of the Census Act.  Who else was there in the dock except the Mr. O.Ibobi lead SPF Government when Census 2001 was conducted in the State of Manipur? The Manipur State Cabinet decision of July 30 was a self contradictory and a disgrace for the whole State.

As per the provisions of Census Act, 1948 Section 3 of the Census Act “The Central Government in the official Gazette, declare its intention of conducting a census in the whole or any part of the territories to which this Act extends whenever it may consider it necessary or desirable so to do and there upon the Census shall be taken”.

There is no provision to conduct re-census in the Census Act, 1948 once the area has been censused with reference to a date and time. Section 17A which has been added after 1993 amendment, confers powers to central Government to extend the provisions of this Act, with such restrictions and modifications as if thinks fit, to pretests, pilot studies, census of houses which precede population count and post enumeration checks and evaluation studies as may be deemed necessary for the purpose of census.

Besides, the PIL filed by the All Political party Manipur praying for cancellation of Census final publication. The Naga People Organization also filed Write Petition (Civil) No.3226 of 2006 in the Guwahati High Court praying for restoration of provisional census results 2001. The Register General and Census Commissioner of India while releasing the final result of the Census of India, 2001 for India and the State of Manipur under Rule 5(1) (e) of the Census Rules, 1990 had cancelled the 2001 provisional census results in respect of three sub-division of Senapati district Viz., Mao,Maram, Paomata and Purul which were found to be unreliable after detailed demographic analysis and physical examination of census records.

However, the Register General and census Commissioner of India had provided the estimated population figures in respect of the three sub-divisions as there is no provision in the census Act, 1948 to conduct re-census, once an area is census with reference to a particular date and time. The Registrar General and census Commissioner of India has acted under the Provisions of the Census Act, 1948 and the census Rules 1990 as amended from time to time. Hence, once the Census final publication is publishes there is no provision under Census Act for considering the Provisional census reports.

The writer is the petitioner on delimitation, in the Hon’able Supreme Court of India on behalf of different tribal organizations of Manipur.