Nagaland, Nov 23: The Nagaland Dobashi Association expressed on Monday that as a result of the lack of customary courts, the Naga identity and customs will vanish, and therefore a customary court is being sought in Nagaland amid demands for its establishment.
The NDBA’s general secretary emphasized that although the customary courts are not formally set up by the government, the customary courts have been adjudicating cases of a traditional nature and are the only court capable of providing justice according to the customs and traditions of the Nagas.
As Yanthan explained, the customs and traditions of the people would disappear without the “people-friendly” customary courts in the sense that all cases where village courts are not able to hear the case will be sent to the high courts or Supreme Court, where the customary laws will be ignored.
Nagaland’s Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio was sought as an interventionist in constituting the customary courts by the NDBA, but no response has been received. The matter, he said, will be discussed in 3-4 months based on informal meetings with government officials.
In light of the unique history and customs of Nagaland, he suggested that the idea of having a unique court should be a top priority to protect the cultural practices of the Naga people and ensure their rights.
Naga customary law is best known by Nagas, according to NDBA president Noklemtoba Ao. According to him, customary courts are a necessity or the practices will be lost if they are not established.
Yanthan describes how the Dobashi system came into existence, noting that interpreters called Dobashis were sent to the then Naga Hills in 1879 during the British Raj to act as tribal courts on an experimental basis in 1946-1949, later called the Dobashi Court in 1950.
The Nagaland Dobashi Association said that customary courts in Nagaland protect the rights, culture, and traditions of the Nagas as well as the state’s first-class status under Article 371(A).