UNDERSTANDING SIKKIM’S DEMOCRACY
“Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think” - Albert Einstein
Revolutionary Movement for Democracy
Sikkim was a sovereign country ruled by the Chogyal of Namgyal Dynasty from 1642 to 1974 AD. The modern history of democracy in Sikkim begins from 8th May 1973 agreement. For the first time in the history, Sikkimese people witnessed a revolutionary movement in 1973 to establish democratic institutions. Consequently, this movement led the Chogyal of Sikkim fulfilled many wishes and aspirations of Sikkimese people. On 8th May 1973, the Chogyal signed a Tripartite Agreement between Government of India, the Chogyal of Sikkim and the leaders of three political parties of Sikkim at Gangtok. The Tripartite Agreement was a prelude to the process of Sikkim heading for formation of a democratic set up and administrative reforms for Sikkim
CONTENTS OF THE TRIPARTITE AGREEMENT, 1973
Whereas the Chogyal and the people of Sikkim are convinced that their interest and the long term interest of Sikkim as whole call for:
- The establishment of a fully responsible Government in Sikkim with a more democratic and greater legislative and executive power for the elected representatives of the people;
- A system of election based on adult suffrage which will give equitable representation to all sections of the people on the basis of the principle of one man one vote;
- The strengthening of Indo-Sikkim Cooperation and inter – relationship; and whereas the Chogyal as well as the representatives of the people had requested the Government of India;
- To take responsibility for the establishment of laws and order and good administration and rapid economic and social development in Sikkim;
- To provide the head of the administration (Chief Executive) in Sikkim to help achieve and to safeguard all the above needs and objectives.
And whereas the Government of India has agreed to discharge the responsibilities hereby renewed to them;
Now whereas the Government of India, the Chogyal of Sikkim and the leaders of the political parties of Sikkim, have agreed as follows:-
- The three parties hereby recognize and undertake to ensure the basic human rights and fundamental freedom of the people of Sikkim. The people of Sikkim will enjoy the right of election on basis of adult suffrage to give effect to the principle of one man one vote.
- There shall be assembly in Sikkim. The assembly shall be elected every four years. Elections shall be conducted under the supervision of a representative of the Election Commission of India, who shall be appointed for the purpose by the Government of Sikkim.
- (i) In accordance with this agreement, the assembly shall have the power to propose laws and adopt resolution for the welfare of the people of Sikkim, on any of the matters enumerated herein below, namely;
- Education (ii) public health (iii) excise (iv) press and publicity (v) transport (vi) bazaars (vii) forest (viii) public work (ix) agriculture (x) food supplies; and (xi) economic and social planning, including state enterprise (xii) home and establishment (xiii) finance and (xiv) land revenue.
- The assembly shall not discuss or ask question on the following:
- The Chogyal and the member of the ruling family.
- Any matter pending before the court of law
- The appointment of the Chief Executive and member of the judiciary and
Any matter which concerns the responsibilities of the Government of India under this agreement, or under any other agreement between India and Sikkim.
- There shall be an Executive Council consisting of elected members of the assembly who shall be appointed to the Executive Council by the Chogyal on the advice of the Chief Executive. The Chief Executive will preside over the meeting of the Executive Council.
- The system of elections shall be so organized as to make the assemble adequately representative of the various section of the population. The size and composition of the assembly and of the Executive Council shall be such as may be prescribed from time to time with care being taken to ensure that no signal section of the population acquires a domination position due mainly to its ethnic origin and the rights and interest of the Sikkimese of Bhutia Lepcha origin and of the Sikkimese of Nepali, which include Tsong and Scheduled Caste, origin, are fully protected.
- The Chogyal shall perform the functions of his high in accordance with the Constitution of Sikkim as set out in this agreement.
- To head the administration in Sikkim there shall be a Chief Executive, who shall be appointed by the Chogyal on the nomination of the Government of India.
- The Chief Executive shall have all the powers necessary for the discharge of his functions and responsibilities ; and exercise His powers in the following manner;
(i)With respect to matters allocated to a member of the Executive Council, he shall act in consultation with the members to whom administrative function in this regards have been allocated.
(ii) He shall submit all important matters to the Chogyal for his information and for his approval of the action proposed to be taken, except where immediate action is required. In the later case, he shall obtain the Chogyal’s approval as soon after the action has been taken as possible.
He shall have special responsibilities to ensure the proper implementation of the constitutional and administrative changes in Sikkim, the smooth and efficient running of its administration, the continued enjoyment of basic rights and fundamental freedom by all section of the population of Sikkim, and the optimum utilization for the benefits of the people of Sikkim of the funds allocated for the economic and social development of Sikkim.
- In case involving amity between the various sections of the population of Sikkim , on the development of democratic Government and efficient administration in Sikkim, any difference of opinion between him and Chogyal shall be referred to the Political Officer in Sikkim, who shall obtain the advice of the Government of India, which shall be binding.
- There shall be equality before the law in Sikkim. The judiciary shall remain independent.
- The Palace establishment and the Sikkim Guards shall remain directly under the Chogyal.
- The Government of India , who are solely responsible for the defence and territorial integrity of Sikkim and who are solely responsible for the conduct and regulations of the external relations of Sikkim, whether political, economic or financial, reaffirm their determination to discharge these and their other responsibilities for the benefit of the people of Sikkim for their communal harmony, good administration and economic and social development. It is hereby reaffirmed and they shall have the necessary powers for carrying out these responsibilities.
Done in triplicate at Gangtok on this the eight day of May of the year one thousand nine hundred and seventy three A.D.
Government of India
Palden Thondup Namgyal
The Chogyal of Sikkim
Leaders of the political parties representing the people of Sikkim
For the Sikkim janta Congress
- K.C Pradhan
- B.B Gurung
- S.K Rai
- B.P Dahal
- B.P Kharel
For the Sikkim National Congress
- K.Lhendup Dorji
- C.S Rai
- C.B Chettri
- N. K Subedi
- D.N Tiwari
For the Sikkim National Party
- Netuk Tshering
- M.B Basnet
- Tasa Thengay
- Padam Kharel
- K. Wangdi
The 8th may 1973 agreement has clearly protected the distinct identity of four ethnic Sikkkimese of Bhutia , Lepcha , Nepali and Tshong origins.
Subsequently, Government of India provided the special provision of article 371F based on the 8th May 1973 agreement by amending the constitution in 1975. For Sikkim, article 371F is the non obstante clause ( meaning – notwithstanding anything contained/ in opposition to/ in spite of/what has been stated/ is to be stated or admitted) in the Constitution of India. The texts of the non-obstante clause of Article 371F are reproduced here, as under:
Constitution of India (PART XXI): TEMPORARY, TRANSITIONAL AND SPECIAL PROVISIONS 317F. Special provisions with respect to the State of Sikkim.-Notwithstanding anything in this constitution.-
- The legislative Assembly of the State of Sikkim shall consist of not less than thirty member;
- As from the date of commencement of the Constitution ( Thirty –sixth Amendment ) Act , 1975 ( hereafter in this article referred to as the appointed day)-
- The Assembly for Sikkim formed as a result of the election held in Sikkim in April, 1974 with thirty-two members elected in the said elections( hereinafter referred to as the sitting member) shall be deemed to be the Legislative Assembly of the State of Sikkim duly constituted under this Constitution;
- The sitting members shall be deemed to be the members of the Legislative Assembly of the State of Sikkim duly elected under this Constitution; and
- The said Legislative Assembly of the State of Sikkim shall exercise the powers and perform the functions of the Legislative Assembly of a State under this Constitution;
- In the case of the Assembly deemed to be the Legislative Assembly of the State of Sikkim under clause (b), the references to the period of five years, in clause (1) of article 172 shall be construed as references to a period of four years and the said period of four years shall be deemed to commence from the appointed day;
- Until other provisions are made by Parliament by law, there shall be allotted to the State of Sikkim one seat in the House of the People and the State of Sikkim shall form one parliamentary constituency to be called the parliamentary constituency for Sikkim;
- The representative of the State of Sikkim in the House of the People in existence on the appointed day shall be elected by the members of the Legislative Assembly of the State of Sikkim.
- Parliament may , for the purpose of protecting the rights and interests of the different sections of the population of Sikkim make provision for the number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of the State of Sikkim which may be filled by candidates belonging to such sections alone may stand for election to the Legislative Assembly of the State of Sikkim;
- The Governor of Sikkim shall have special responsibility for peace and for an equitable arrangement for ensuring the social and economic advancement for ensuring the social and economic advancement of different sections of the population of Sikkim and in the discharge of his special responsibility under this clause, the Governor of Sikkim shall, subject to such directions as the President may, from time to time, deem fit to issue, act in his discretion;
- All property and assets ( whether within or outside the territories comprised in the State of Sikkim) which immediately before the appointed day were vested in the Government of Sikkim or in any other authority or in any person for the purpose of the Government of Sikkim shall , as from the appointed day, vest in the Government of the State of Sikkim;
- The High Court functioning as such immediately before the appointed day in the territories comprised in the State of Sikkim shall, on and from the appointed day, be deemed to be the High Court for the State of Sikkim;
- All courts of civil, criminal and revenue jurisdiction, all authorities and all officers, judicial, executive and ministerial, throughout the territory of the State of Sikkim shall continue on and from the appointed day to exercise their respective functions subject to the provisions of this Constitution;
- All laws in force immediately before the appointed day in the territories comprised in the State of Sikkim or any part thereof shall continue to be in force therein until amended or repealed by a competent Legislature or other competent authority;
- For the purpose of facilitating the application of any such law as is referred to in clause in relation to the administration of the State of Sikkim and for the purpose of bringing the provisions of any such law into accord with the provisions of this Constitution, the President may , within two years from the appointed day, by order, make such adaptations and modifications of the law, whether by way of repeal or amendment , as may be necessary or expedient, and thereupon, every such law shall have effect subject to the adaptations and modifications so made, and any such adaption or modification shall not be questioned in any court of law;
- Neither the Supreme Court nor any other court shall have jurisdiction in respect of any dispute or other matter arising out of any treaty, agreement, engagement or other similar instrument relating to Sikkim which was entered into or executed before the Sikkim which was entered into or executed before the appointed day and to which the Government was a party, but nothing in this clause shall be construed to derogate from the provisions of article 143;
- The President may, by public notification, extend with such restrictions or modifications as he thinks fit to the State of Sikkim any enactment which is in force in a State in India at the date of the notification;
- If any difficulty arises in giving effect to any of the foregoing provisions of this article, the President may, by order, do anything (including any adaptation or modification of any other article)which appears to him to be necessary for the purpose of removing that difficulty:
Provided that no such order shall be made after the expiry of two years from the appointed day;
- All things done and all actions taken in or in relation to the State of Sikkim or thee territories comprised therein during the period commencing on the appointed day and ending immediately before the date on which the Constitution ( Thirty – sixth Amendment) Act,1975, receives the assent of the President shall, in so far as they are in conformity with the provisions of this Constitution as amended by the Constitution ( Thirty- sixth Amendment) Act, 1975, be deemed for all purpose to have been validly done or taken under this Constitution as so amended.
SKM PARTY’S PLANS & PROGRAMS
We, all citizens of Sikkim, had a great hope in 1994 : but we has a lot of anxiety and disappointment today ! The future that was once so bright is now full of uncertainty and dark .the very idea of making Sikkim was betrayed by Maoist PK Chamling .We want to see different Sikkim –Sikkim of hopes, aspirants , full of scopes and opportunities ,and a place of to live worthy life. We want to see sikkimese of all walks of life to work for better governance .Our revolution is shaped by the radical ideas of enlightenment. We consider that will of indigenous citizen including Sikkimese Bapaari shall be supreme .Sikkimese including sikkimese bepaari shall be treated equal : they shall govern and serve their mother Sikkim .our all policies and programs of action shall be based on the key principles that Sikkimese shall govern to make their state as they want to see and secure generations .The SKM party , have envisaged the many salient policies , plans and programs for making New Sikkim.