A petition has been filed in the Apex Court with demanding reservation for two Scheduled Tribes (STs) – Limboo and Tamang – in the Sikkim Assembly.
It may be mentioned that Limboo and Tamang were granted Scheduled Tribe status in 2003.
A report published on Wednesday by Bar & Bench stated the petition has been filed by five office-bearers of the Sikkim Limboo Tamang Tribal Joint Committee.
The petition, which has been filed through advocate Suvidutt MS, has been contended by the petitioners that no seats for Limboo and Tamang tribes have been reserved in Sikkim Assembly.
The petitioners placed reliance on Articles 332 and 371F(f) of the Constitution.
Article 332 mandates reservation of seats for STs in the State Legislative Assembly.
In view of that, the situation in Sikkim needs to be remedied so that the ST communities of Limboo and Tamang also get proper representation in terms of Article 332, the petition stated.
Article 371-F (f) states that Parliament may make provisions for protecting the rights and interest of different sections of the population of Sikkim by reserving seats in the Legislative Assembly for such sections of people.
Further, it empowers Parliament to delimit Assembly constituencies from which candidates belonging to such sections alone may contest elections.
The petitioners then cited the case of two other ST communities, Bhutia and Lepcha, who have been given reservation in the Legislative Assembly.
It has been alleged by the petitioners that the inaction on the part of the Central and State Governments amounts to a violation of Articles 14 and 21 which is “completely arbitrary and discriminatory”.
“Because the tribal communities of Bhutias and Lepcha are provided the seat reservation in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly, the failure of the Respondents herein to provide reservation of the two newly added Scheduled Tribes viz. “Limboo” and “Tamang” would deprive them of their constitutional right under Article 332 (1) and Article 371-F (f) which amounts to violation of Article 14 of the constitution.”
In addition to violating the fundamental rights of Limboo and Tamang tribes, the Central government has failed to discharge its Constitutional obligation by not amending the requisite provisions of the Representation of People Act, 1950 and Representation of People Act, 1951, the petitioners said.
The RP Act 1950 was amended in 1979 to include reservation for Sikkimese people of Bhutia-Lepcha tribe in the Legislative Assembly and this move came one year after these tribes were added to the list of ST.
However, the petitioners said, such amendment was not made when Limboo and Tamang tribes were added to the list of Scheduled Tribes in 2003.
The petitioners have prayed for a direction to be issued to the Central Government to amend the Section 7(1-A) in the Representation of Peoples Act, 1950 and Section 5A of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951 for providing reservation to Limboo and Tamang tribes in the Sikkim Assembly.