Joint Action Council (JAC) today marked the golden jubilee of the historic Tripartite agreement of 8 May 1973 at Singtam. The agreement between the erstwhile Chogyal, Government of India and political parties of Sikkim that started the transition of the former Kingdom of Sikkim into an Indian state. The agreement firmly established a democratic framework keeping in mind all ethnic groups of the state.
A portion in the agreement also establishes the term Sikkimese,”the rights and interests of the Sikkimese of Bhutia-Lepcha origin and of the Sikkimese of Nepali which includes Tsongs and Schedule Castes origin are fully protected”.
The Agreement, among other things, provided for a Legislative Assembly for Sikkim elected on the basis of an adult franchise, an Executive Council responsible to the Assembly and safeguards for minorities.
Under the Agreement, India was to provide the head of administrator (Chief Executive) to ensure democratization, good administration, communal harmony and social development. The elections for the new Assembly were to be held within a few months. The Assembly was to be elected every four years on the basis of an adult franchise under the supervision of the Election Commission of India.
Today’s program was attended by former prince and head of the Namgyal Royal house, Wangchuk Tenzing Namgyal, president of Hamro Sikkim Party Bhaichung Bhutia, Vice presidents of JAC Passang Passang Gyali Sherpa, Sikkim Bhutia Lepcha Apex Committee (SIBLAC) Convenor and BJP leader Tseten Tashi Bhutia, JAC Vice President Duk Nath Nepal and other JAC members.
Likewise on 3rd May ,a high level delegation of JAC led by senior Vice President Duknath Nepal, VP Pempo Dorjee Lepcha, VP Passang Gyali Sherpa and Spokesperson Sonam Gyatso Sherpa visited the Ministry of Finance, Government of India and held a meeting with the Joint Secretary and the Director (TPL-l), Department of Revenue, CBDT.
The delegation apprised the officials about the discontentment and apprehensions arising in Sikkim after the passing of Finance Act 2023, mainly the expansion and distortion of term “Sikkimese”.
It is held that the insufficient and incorrect representation by the State Government of Sikkim in the Supreme Court is the root cause of distortion of “Sikkimese” defination vis a vis dilution of Article 371F.
The delegation further learnt that the errors arising out of Finance Act 2023 can be corrected by adopting political and judicial approach.
The Ministry of Finance assured the delegation that the matter raised by JAC will be taken up by the Finance Ministry and seek views from concerned ministries and legal luminaries and provide justice to the people of Sikkim.
“JAC (Joint Action Council) is happy to share with our fellow Sikkimese brothers and sisters that a path of negotiation has finally started with the Government of India and we are optimistic in correcting the distorted “Sikkimese” defination as guaranteed under Article 371F of the Constitution of India,” said Passang Sherpa,Vice President,Joint Action Council.
CM PS Golay has also credited the 8 May Agreement for securing the rights of Sikkimese people. While speaking at a separate function in Yuksam hesaid the tripartite agreement lead to creation of Article 371(f) in the constitution which has safeguarded the rights of Sikkimese people. “The protection enjoyed by the Sikkimese people is because of 8 May Tripartite agreement,” he said.
Nitesh R Pradhan
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