ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Tribal Land, Customary Law, and the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act

Tribal peoples in Manipur have been maintaining their commons under customary law. Interacting with outsiders has always led to the contestation of their customs, traditions, and beliefs. Tribal societies continue to administer their villages under customary law on the tenet of equity. Their law has even resisted the policies of Manipuri kings and the British administration. In the present day, tribal customary law stands challenged by the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act, 1960.

The author acknowledges the comments of the anonymous referee.

Geographically, Manipur is divided into valley and hilly areas. The valley comprises four districts—Imphal West, Imphal East, Bishnupur, and Thoubal1—and accounts for 9.97% of the total geographical area and 59.82% of the total population of Manipur as per the 2011 Census. On the other hand, the hill districts—Chandel, Churachandpur, Senapati, Tamenglong, and Ukhrul—account for around 90.03% of the total geographical area and 40.18% of the total population of Manipur (Ministry for Development of North Eastern Region [DONER] nd). The valley region enjoys a share of 40 seats out of the 60 available seats in the state legislative assembly, which is suggestive of its being the stronghold of political power (Chaudhuri 2002).

The hill districts of Manipur are not homogeneous in terms of population (Kom 2011). They are occupied mainly by two prominent tribal groups—the Kuki and the Naga. Each represents a different tribal group, and their customs relating to landownership differ (Ghosh 1987; Panmei 2010b).

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Updated On : 14th May, 2018
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