Dalits Media Watch – News Updates 29.03.16

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Hyderabad University Teachers On Mass Leave Against Police Action – Nyoooz

http://www.nyoooz.com/hyderabad/407662/hyderabad-university-teachers-on-mass-leave-against-police-action

Cops Threatened to Rape Students during University of Hyderabad Protests, Says Fact-Finding Team – Vagabomb

http://www.vagabomb.com/Cops-Threatened-to-Rape-Students-during-University-of-Hyderabad-Protests-Says-FactFinding-Team/

Dalits, tribals decry forest department curbs – Tha hans india

http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Andhra-Pradesh/2016-03-29/Dalits-tribals-decry-forest-department-curbs/217175

Dalit Man Ends Life, PWA Leaders Smell Foul Play – The new Indian express

http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil_nadu/Dalit-Man-Ends-Life-PWA-Leaders-Smell-Foul-Play/2016/03/29/article3351866.ece

Dalit death: HC allows plea seeking fresh autopsy – The hindu

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/dalit-death-hc-allows-plea-seeking-fresh-autopsy/article8407256.ece

Punjab: BSP reaches out to Dalit NRIs – The Indian express

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/bsp-reaches-out-to-dalit-nris/

Hyderabad University students get bail; central university teachers in Delhi ask for VC’s removal – Dna

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-hyderabad-university-students-get-bail-central-university-teachers-in-delhi-ask-for-vc-s-removal-2195295

Coming, VCK’s Velicham TV to Throw Light on Dalit Issues – The new Indian express

http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil_nadu/Coming-VCKs-Velicham-TV-to-Throw-Light-on-Dalit-Issues/2016/03/29/article3351654.ece

Court Affirms Tribal Courts’ Inherent Jurisdiction in Child Support Cases Alaska commons

http://www.alaskacommons.com/2016/03/27/court-affirms-tribal-courts-jurisdiction-child-support

Please Watch:

JNUSU Vice President Shehla Rashid speaks at the Protest against HCU crackdown #standwithHCU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dm2wZw-7sMQ

 

 

Nyoooz

Hyderabad University Teachers On Mass Leave Against Police Action

http://www.nyoooz.com/hyderabad/407662/hyderabad-university-teachers-on-mass-leave-against-police-action

Summary: Students say instead of helping him out, the official went ahead with suspending Mr Vemula for allegedly assaulting members of a rival student group affiliated to the BJP. Highlights Teachers protesting police charging batons on HCU students HCU teachers also protesting return of Vice Chancellor P Appa Rao to work They hold the Vice Chancellor responsible for Rohith Vemula’s suicideAround 55 teachers from the Hyderabad Central University have taken a one-day mass leave to protest the police charging batons on students and the return of Vice Chancellor P Appa Rao to office.The teachers who have launched the protest include around 40 from scheduled castes and schedule tribes.The University campus has been a volatile zone since January’s suicide of Rohith Vemula, a 26-year-old Dalit student. Last week, nearly 150 students held hostage Appa Rao for nearly six hours.How the police evicted them has been harshly reviewed by a team that included human rights activists and lawyers who found that women students were threatened with rape, and that Muslims were referred to as “terrorists” by the police The police have also been criticised for arresting 25 students and two faculty members.The Telangana government has not opposed bail for the group that was arrested and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has said he will ask Prime Minister Narendra Modi to remove the Vice Chancellor.That is one of the leading demands of a section of students who have composed a group called the Joint Action Committee which says the Vice Chancellor is guilty of persecuting Mr Vemula, driving him to hang himself in his hostel a month after he was suspended from classes.A month before he died, Mr Vemula wrote a letter to Mr Rao, plaintively describing insidious caste discrimination against Dalits on campus.

Highlights Teachers protesting police charging batons on HCU students HCU teachers also protesting return of Vice Chancellor P Appa Rao to work They hold the Vice Chancellor responsible for Rohith Vemula’s suicide Around 55 teachers from the Hyderabad Central University have taken a one-day mass leave to protest the police charging batons on students and the return of Vice Chancellor P Appa Rao to office.The teachers who have launched the protest include around 40 from scheduled castes and schedule tribes.The University campus has been a volatile zone since January’s suicide of Rohith Vemula, a 26-year-old Dalit student. Last week, nearly 150 students held hostage Appa Rao for nearly six hours.How the police evicted them has been harshly reviewed by a team that included human rights activists and lawyers who found that women students were threatened with rape, and that Muslims were referred to as “terrorists” by the police The police have also been criticised for arresting 25 students and two faculty members.The Telangana government has not opposed bail for the group that was arrested and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has said he will ask Prime Minister Narendra Modi to remove the Vice Chancellor.That is one of the leading demands of a section of students who have composed a group called the Joint Action Committee which says the Vice Chancellor is guilty of persecuting Mr Vemula, driving him to hang himself in his hostel a month after he was suspended from classes.A month before he died, Mr Vemula wrote a letter to Mr Rao, plaintively describing insidious caste discrimination against Dalits on campus. Students say instead of helping him out, the official went ahead with suspending Mr Vemula for allegedly assaulting members of a rival student group affiliated to the BJP..

Vagabomb

Cops Threatened to Rape Students during University of Hyderabad Protests, Says Fact-Finding Team

http://www.vagabomb.com/Cops-Threatened-to-Rape-Students-during-University-of-Hyderabad-Protests-Says-FactFinding-Team/

The situation in the University of Hyderabad has decidedly taken a turn for the worse, following the reinstatement of their Vice Chancellor Appa Rao, under whose administration Dalit student Rohit Vemula committed suicide. On March 22, Rao requested police personnel to come inside the campus and asked them to “deploy adequate police forces at all the gates of the University to back up our own security setup.”

This led to two consecutive days of brutal lathicharge on the students, which resulted in several students injured and one in the ICU. Around 25 students and two members of the faculty were arrested during these protests.

If this wasn’t enough, according to a report by ABP, policemen allegedly threatened to rape female students. An independent fact-finding team, which went into the campus, discovered that a great number of female students were assaulted. “Abusive language and threats to rape the women students were heard from police,” said the interim report by the panel comprising senior human rights activists, academicians and lawyers.

This team, which met with students, faculty members, police, and the Telangana home minister, also alleged that derogatory statements were directed at minority students, with the word “terrorist” being thrown around often. Speaking to reporters on Saturday, the team said that the students and faculty members arrested were not presented before a magistrate within 24 hours as the law requires, with their report saying, “Police could have given bail but the students and faculty were remanded in judicial custody.”

The committee also mentioned that the registrar banned the entry of media, and political, social and students groups, so that the situation inside the campus could not be viewed. They recommended that the Vice Chancellor be suspended pending the results of an investigation into his role in the death of Rohit Vemula, and that the police needed to step up their response while dealing with the case filed.

The members of the panel, which includes Henri Tiphagne (Human Rights Defenders Alert), Tara Rao (Amnesty International), Burnard Fatima (International Movement against all forms of Discrimination and Racism), Kuffir Nalgundwar (Round Table India), Kiruba Munusamy (Supreme Court lawyer), Beena Pallical (National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights), Ramesh Nathan (National Dalit Movement for Justice), and Asha Kowtal (All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch) and Paul Divakar (Asia Dalit Rights Forum), have recommended that a criminal investigation be conducted immediately, and action needs to be taken against the police who have neglected their duty under Section 4 of the SC/ST amendment act, 2016.

The panel also suggested that the university needs to start running according to its normal patterns. “Free mobility in and out of the university and this must be brought back to regular functioning. This is essential for the academic health of the university, which has suffered significantly,” they recommended.

Tha hans india

Dalits, tribals decry forest department curbs

http://www.thehansindia.com/posts/index/Andhra-Pradesh/2016-03-29/Dalits-tribals-decry-forest-department-curbs/217175

Chittoor: Braving the hot summer, petitioners arrived at district headquarters from far off places and submitted their petitions to Joint Collector Bharat Narayan Gupta at weekly grievance cell organised at the Collectorate here on Monday. He was assisted by District Revenue Officer Vijay Chander.

About 150 Dalit and tribal families from Kottur in BN Kandriga mandal have staged a dharna at the Collectorate against officials of the Forest department for not allowing them to cultivate lands which were allotted to them by the then State government two decades ago.

They came down heavily on forest officials for denying their right on lands which were abetting forest. Responding to their protest, the Joint Collector assured Dalit and tribal families that he would resolve their issue at the earliest. He spoke to forest officials of Tirupati Division and sought explanation from them as to why they were denying victims to cultivate their lands. On the advice of Joint Collector, protestors called off dharna.

Speaking to The Hans India here on Monday, the Joint Collector said that District Collector Siddharth Jain has been conducting the grievance cells at various places in the district to facilitate the petitioners so that there is no need for them to come all the way to Chittoor. He instructed mandal-level revenue officials to create awareness about grievance cells which were being conducted at different places in the district.

The new Indian express

Dalit Man Ends Life, PWA Leaders Smell Foul Play

http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil_nadu/Dalit-Man-Ends-Life-PWA-Leaders-Smell-Foul-Play/2016/03/29/article3351866.ece

CUDDALORE: People of Nochikadu and leaders of People Welfare Alliance (PWA) staged a protest on Monday alleging that a Dalit youth  committed suicide because of police pressure.

A private fish oil company was functioning at Semmankuppam village near Cuddalore. People of Semmankuppam and neighbouring villages have been complaining that foul smell emanating from the company has affected their health and they alleged they could not even sleep properly during the night.

Because of this, the people from surrounding villages and the supporters of the company had locked horns several times.

Matter had often been taken to the police. Police had registered cases in this regard.

When Karl Marx (25), a Dalit youth, committed suicide in his house on Monday morning, his relatives and the functionaries of VCK and PWA placed the body on the road and held a protest.

Superintendent of Police S Vijaya Kumar rushed to the spot and held talks with the protesters.

Police moved the body to the government Cuddalore hospital.

Following this, a peace meeting was held in Cuddalore. Rural Development Officer Uma Maheswari presided over it. VCK parliamentary constituency secretary P Thamarai Selvan and CPM district secretary T Arumugam, took part in the meeting. Relatives of Karl Marx were also present.

The deceased youth’s mother A Vasuki told the officers, “On March 25, Karl had gone to the company to complain about foul smell.

On the same day, police from Cuddalore Old Town station came and threatened him.

Later, 10 unknown persons came to our house and issued a death threat.”

The hindu

Dalit death: HC allows plea seeking fresh autopsy

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/dalit-death-hc-allows-plea-seeking-fresh-autopsy/article8407256.ece

The Madras High Court on Monday allowed a plea for a fresh autopsy moved by the son of a 50-year-old Dalit agricultural labourer, who was found dead under suspicious circumstances in a farm well near Erode.

Justice R. Mala passed the direction considering the circumstances that lead to the death of Chinnasamy . According to the direction, a team of doctors constituted by the Coimbatore Medical College and Hospital along with a doctor of petitioner’s choice are to conduct a fresh post-mortem examination, which shall be video graphed.

The petitioner, C. Balasubramanian, submitted that his father was working as an agricultural labourer in Perunthurai, Erode. He had recently opposed an atrocity committed against a Dalit in the area by the dominant community and organised a series of protests. He was also instrumental in registering cases against the offenders under provisions of SC/ ST (Prevention of atrocities) Act, 1989.

To settle the issue, the local administration along with the police arranged a peace talk on March 18. It was alleged that the victim was asked to withdraw charges under the SC/ ST Act against persons belonging to the dominant community, which he refused.

Mr. Balasubramanian submitted that on the very next day, his father was found dead in a well in the farm where he works.

“The authorities did not even allow my family members to see his body. Without any inquiry, they sent the body to the Coimbatore Government Hospital, though there is a government hospital in Erode,” he said.

“Our demand to register a case under Section 302 of the IPC and Sections under SC/ ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 was not accepted by the police,” he added. On Thursday, the High Court adjourned the plea for the government to submit its stand, with a direction to preserve the body in a cold storage facility till then.

When the petition came up for hearing on Monday, the court allowed the plea and directed the authorities to file a compliance report by April 4.

“The authorities did not even allow my family members to see his body”

The Indian express

Punjab: BSP reaches out to Dalit NRIs

http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/bsp-reaches-out-to-dalit-nris/

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is focussing on wooing NRIs this election season, particularly those from Doaba region – Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala and Nawanshahr districts. Dalits and NRIs are a sizeable populace in Punjab, one that every political party wants to tap. The Doaba region has a large chunk of Dalits. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, NRIs are said to have played a major role for AAP, which got around 24 per cent vote share in Punjab on debut.

Apart from financial aid that the party expects will come its way through NRIs, it also banks on the influence the section will have on their relatives back home. With the advent of social media, party workers are now tasked with reaching out to as many individuals as they can. “Many WhatsApp groups have been created to spread awareness among the lower class NRIs about plight of Dalits in Punjab,” said a senior BSP leader.

In a BSP rally at Nawanshahr district, addressed by party chief Mayawati, several NRIs are reported to have donated liberally. “I attended Mayawati’s rally and will attend more before leaving for Australia,” said Sonu Memhi from Jalandhar, who is a cab driver in Australia. “Supporters in Melbourne will contribute liberally during elections.” “We are still discriminated in by upper caste NRIs from Punjab. Whenever we visit religious places put up by upper caste NRIs in Australia, they see us as small people,” said Rajinder Singh, another NRI from Australia. BSP state chief Avtar Singh Karimpuri said that though they have not yet visited foreign countries, they have a lot many supporters in UK, USA, Canada, Australia and European countries. “Our leaders are constantly in touch with them on social media to make them aware about the real conditions of dalits in Punjab and how they were forced to leave the state owing to discrimination under the rule of ruling SAD-BJP in Punjab,” he said.

Dna

Hyderabad University students get bail; central university teachers in Delhi ask for VC’s removal

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-hyderabad-university-students-get-bail-central-university-teachers-in-delhi-ask-for-vc-s-removal-2195295

The day the 25 students and two teachers of Hyderabad Central University got bail, teachers from Delhi’s government universities strongly condemned their arrest, the police violence that took place on the HCU campus and called for the immediate removal of controversial Vice Chancellor Podile Appa Rao. The teachers addressed the press on Monday in New Delhi, saying there could be no compromise on removing Appa Rao.

The Telangana government did not oppose bail. Chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao also said that he would refer the matter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him to remove Appa Rao, after nearly a week of protests against his rejoining the campus.

Appa Rao had gone on an indefinite leave after the suicide of Dalit PhD student Rohith Vemula, and a case under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act had been filed against him, as his actions were found to be culpable to abetment to suicide. Teachers from Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Millia Islamia, Ambedkar University and South Asian University, under the banner of Federation of Central Universities’ Teachers’ Associations (FEDCUTA), a nation-wide body, took this issue up strongly, asking how could Appa Rao return when there was a pending judicial enquiry against him.

The teachers also demanded the immediate release of the arrested students and dropping all charges against them. They called for legal action against the police officers who “abused, manhandled and beat up” students and faculty; an independent enquiry into the incidents of violence and ABVP’s role in them; passage of the Rohith Act against caste discrimination in education; judicial enquiry into the role of the HRD Minister, and that of Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya in “inciting violence against Dalits on campus and the death of Rohith Vemula”.

Nandita Narain from DU, speaking as the president of FEDCUTA, called Appa Rao’s return highly “stage-managed” and “secretive”, despite the MHRD committee that investigated Vemula’s death holding HCU administration guilty.

She, and the other teachers such as Ajay Patnaik, president of the JNU Teachers Association and Manisha Sethi from Jamia Millia Islamia, called the police violence on protesting students, and cutting them off from food, water, electricity, ATMs, the Internet akin to “war crimes”.

Sethi added that the police behaviour on a university campus was reminiscent to state forces’ behaviour in areas in Chhattisgarh, where villages would be cut off and collectively punished.

“This is an attempt to close down public funded higher education,” said Narain, linking the matter back to student protests for their scholarships, under threat from WTO-GATS talks that will see the end of subsidies to public education.

They brought up that Rohith too was suffering because he hadn’t been given his scholarship for months.

Narain said that the crackdown was more on communities that have been historically marginalised, as they were the ones questioning the system.

“An attack on public education is an attack on dalits, adivasis, minorities, women,” said N Sukumar, a political science professor at DU, and a HCU alumni who was part of the Ambedkar Students Association.

The new Indian express

Coming, VCK’s Velicham TV to Throw Light on Dalit Issues

http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil_nadu/Coming-VCKs-Velicham-TV-to-Throw-Light-on-Dalit-Issues/2016/03/29/article3351654.ece

CHENNAI: Finding itself marginalised in time and space on most television channels in the State, the VCK is finally close to realising its five-year-old dream of launching a channel of its own. When it hits the airwaves on April 14, the birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar, Velicham TV would perhaps be the first Dalit channel in Tamil Nadu.

The 24×7 channel will initially have three news bulletins a day, said those behind the project. They added that it would highlight the issues faced by the oppressed and marginalised sections, including the Dalits.

“It is a channel for airing the views of the depressed sections of the society. At present, inequality prevails in the media where these sections have inadequate representation in programmes, content, etc. Though news items about the issues of the depressed classes are carried in the visual media, there is no equal opportunity for them,” VCK general secretary D Ravikumar told Express, explaining why the party wanted to have a separate channel in the already congested field.

This has been in the works at least since 2012, when party leader Thol Thirumavalavan asked his leaders and cadre to give him gold coins instead of regular gifts for this birthday so that the party can source the funds needed for launching its own channel. Thiruma then went around the State and also Puducherry collecting coins as funds to start the channel, but it took time in coming. The broadcasting guidelines issued by the Centre include a condition that the channel have a specific amount as corpus which adds to the cost of launching one.

The name Velicham signifies ‘light for change’, said one of the party office-bearers, who is in charge of the channel. “It is aimed at dispelling the darkness of casteism, communalism etc. It has been Thirumavalavan’s dream for over five years. 90 per cent of the works have been completed. Now final touches are being given to content. Though it is channel of the party, it won’t sing glories of the VCK leaders and will be a neutral entertainment channel with news bulletins.”

It has been a constant complaint among Dalit politicians and intellectuals that the community, despite being among the most depressed, seldom gets its issues covered by the media barring the patronising and condescending efforts to ‘give them space’. There are also studies that confirmed there are far less number of Dalits in newsrooms when compared to other castes.

In contrast, the United States has a rule which mandates that there should be opportunity for people of colour even in a television serial. “Such rules are not prevailing in India and many times, only one side of the view over issues pertaining to depressed classes gets aired,” Ravikumar lamented. There was once a channel that was closer to the party, before moving away to another nascent outfit.

PARTIES AND PAPERS

In the past, before the advent of visual media, parties such as DMK and Congress had their own newspapers, Murasoli and Navasakthi, respectively. For some time, the late writer Jayakanthan edited Jeyaperikai, which carried the views of Congress party

At the time of inception of the AIADMK in 1972, Thennagam, a daily run by senior leaders like KA Krishnasamy, became the official organ of the AIADMK. Later, former chief minister MG Ramachandran launched his own daily newspaper Anna, which remained the official organ of the AIADMK till his death in 1987. Now, Namadhu MGR is the official organ of the AIADMK. The Left parties have Janasakthi (CPI) and Theekathir (CPM)

Tv Channels run by outfits 

DMK 

Sun TV, Kalaignar TV and Kalaignar Seithigal

AIADMK

Jaya TV and Jaya Plus

Congress

Vasanth TV and Mega TV

PMK

Makkal TV

DMDK

Captain TV

Alaska commons

Court Affirms Tribal Courts’ Inherent Jurisdiction in Child Support Cases

http://www.alaskacommons.com/2016/03/27/court-affirms-tribal-courts-jurisdiction-child-support

The Alaska Supreme Court ruled Friday that the State must recognize child support orders from tribal courts and, with some disagreement, that tribal courts’ jurisdiction over child support extends to non-member parents of children eligible for tribal membership.

Under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), employers must withhold employee wages when they receive a child support order from another state or tribunal.

The administration of former Gov. Sarah Palin twice asked the federal Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that Alaska not have to enforce tribal child support orders under UIFSA.

The State was forced to comply in 2009 or lose related federal funds.

Similar to issues with enforcement of protective orders under the federal Violence Against Women Act, the succeeding administration of Gov. Sean Parnell did not recognize child support orders issued directly by tribal courts.

The Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska had to send its child support orders through the State of Washington before the State of Alaska would act on them.

The Central Council sued the State in 2010, arguing that tribal courts have inherent jurisdiction in child support cases when the child is a tribal member or is eligible for membership. The Central Council also sought to have the State enforce child support orders originating in tribal courts.

Oral arguments were held shortly after Parnell lost his bid for a second full term as governor.

In reaching its decision Friday, the Alaska Supreme Court turned repeatedly to John v Baker (John I), which retiring Justice Dana Fabe recognized as “Our foundational decision for the analysis of tribal courts’ exercise of subject matter jurisdiction on the basis of inherent, non-territorial sovereignty.”

Fabe also authored that decision.

“Do Alaska Native villages have inherent, non-territorial sovereignty allowing them to resolve domestic disputes between their own members?” the Court asked in John I. “After examining relevant federal pronouncements regarding sovereign power, we hold that Alaska Native tribes, by virtue of their inherent powers as sovereign nations, do possess that authority.”

In finding for the Central Council, the superior court concluded that tribal sovereignty over child custody extends to child support because they are so intertwined:

The determination and enforcement of the duty of parents to support a child who happens to be a tribal member is no less a part of the tribe’s internal domestic relations than the decision as to which parent the child will live with, which school the child will attend, or any of the other important decisions that custody courts make every day. Ensuring that tribal children are supported by their noncustodial parents may be the same thing as ensuring that those children are fed, clothed, and sheltered. The future of a tribe — like that of any society — requires no less.

In Friday’s ruling, Fabe wrote similarly, “Ensuring that parents financially care for their children is a pillar of domestic relations and is directly related to the well-being of the next generation. Setting, modifying, and enforcing such obligations is one way that ‘[t]ribal courts play a vital role in tribal self-government.’”

Court Affirms Tribal Courts’ Inherent Jurisdiction in Child Support Cases

Quoting from John I, Fabe noted, “We ‘follow federal law by beginning from the premise that tribal sovereignty with respect to issues of tribal self-governance exists unless divested.’”

Though the Indian Child Welfare Act did not directly apply to Central Council, the Court noted that in that law, Congress recognized, “there is no resource that is more vital to the continued existence and integrity of Indian tribes than their children.”

The Court said Congress’ finding is “relevant to both child support and custody.”

The executive branch has also weighed in on the issue.

The Central Council’s Tribal Child Support Unit is a certified child support enforcement program under the Social Security Act. The federal government has fully reimbursed the program since 2007.

“By accepting Central Council’s application to make the Tribal Child Support Unit a Tribal IV-D program, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed that this assertion of non-territorial jurisdiction over child support matters complies with the federal statutory and regulatory requirements for Tribal IV-D programs,” Fabe wrote.

With that evidence, the Court concluded, “We hold that tribal courts have inherent, non-territorial subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate parents’ child support obligations.”

Court: Tribal Court Jurisdiction Over Non-members “Ripe for a Decision”

While the Court was unified that the State must comply with tribal support orders under UIFSA and that tribal courts have jurisdiction in child support cases where the child is a tribal member, the Court went a step further, explicitly extending that jurisdiction to situations where a parent is a not a member of the tribe.

“We… agree with the State that the issue is ripe for a decision,” wrote Fabe. “[A]s reflected in the parties’ statements at oral argument, guidance from this court can resolve this long-standing question and allow the parties to move forward together in enforcing child support orders for the benefit of the Tribe’s and the State’s children.”

“We hold that because tribes’ inherent authority over child support stems from their power over family law matters concerning the welfare of Indian children — an area of law that is integral to tribal self-governance — the basis and limits of that authority are tied to the child rather than the parent,” the Court ruled.

As it has in the past, the State used Montana v United States, a case involving hunting and fishing on reservation land, to argue that only the State has jurisdiction over non-members.

“The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly and explicitly emphasized the context-bound nature of each of its rulings on tribal court civil jurisdiction, looking to various indices of congressional and executive action and intent in enlarging or diminishing retained inherent tribal sovereignty,” the Alaska Supreme Court noted in Simmonds v Parks.

Montana does not apply to this case,” the Court ruled Friday.

Even if it did, the Court concluded, child support cases would fall into either of two “Montana exceptions” included in that case:

 A tribe may regulate, through taxation, licensing, or other means, the activities of nonmembers who enter consensual relationships with the tribe or its members, through commercial dealing, contracts, leases, or other arrangements. A tribe may also retain inherent power to exercise civil authority over the conduct of non-Indians on fee lands within its reservation when that conduct threatens or has some direct effect on the political integrity, the economic security, or the health or welfare of the tribe.

The U.S. Supreme Court clarified in Nevada v Hicks that “other arrangements” in the first exception include private consensual relationships.

Given that, wrote Fabe, “In the context of membership-based inherent tribal sovereignty, relationships that give rise to the birth of a child fit within the first Montana exception.”

In light of federal precedent that recognizes that serious damage to territorial resources fits within the second Montana exception when a tribe’s inherent sovereignty is based on territory, the serious potential for damage to the next generation of tribal members posed by a tribe’s inability to administer parental financial support of member or member-eligible children brings the power to set nonmember parents’ child support obligations within the retained powers of membership-based inherent tribal sovereignty.

The Court returned to the Central Council’s Tribal IV-D application to DHHS for supporting evidence of executive approval. That application “asserted jurisdiction on, among other things, the basis of ‘sexual conduct which results in the paternity of a [Central Council] child and the corresponding obligation to provide for the child.’”

“By approving Central Council’s application, the Secretary implicitly recognized that tribal courts’ assertion of subject matter jurisdiction over nonmember parents complied with the federal statutory and regulatory requirements for Tribal IV-D programs,” Fabe wrote.

“We are sympathetic to the concerns that nonmember parents may have about contesting their child support rights and obligations in a court system that may be less familiar to them than the state courts,” she continued. “But tribal courts that take on this responsibility share the goals of state courts and parents everywhere: They are, as Central Council’s child support enforcement agency states in the first sentence of its governing policy guide, ‘motivated and dedicated to bettering the future of our children.’”

Justice Winfree: Decision Dispenses With Judicial Restraint

Justice Daniel Winfree and Chief Justice Craig Stowers did not join the decision on jurisdiction over non-member parents, who Winfree recognized were not party to the suit.

“The State’s position on the nature and extent of tribal sovereignty has waxed and waned depending upon the politics of the day,” noted Winfree.

The choice to seek U.S. Supreme Court review of today’s decision belongs solely to the State, not to a non-member parent of a tribal child. That decision — like all previous State decisions regarding tribal sovereignty — will be primarily a political decision, based on how the State wishes to co-exist with sovereign tribes within its boundaries. Who in this case represents the legal interests of non-member parents of tribal children? No one. I do not find this particularly satisfying for a court that prides itself on procedural fairness.

Both Fabe and Winfree listed child custody cases previously adjudicated by the Supreme Court where non-members were involved, yet the Court did not rule on the issue of jurisdiction over non-member parents.

“I see no reason to dispense with this judicial restraint today,” Winfree wrote.

Though Winfree and Stowers did not issue a formal dissent, in a footnote, Winfree included some “casual observations”:

First, I am dubious of any analysis about tribal court adjudicatory authority over non-members that begins by rejecting Montana v. United States as the fundamental lens for the analysis. Second, the court conspicuously avoids discussing substantial case law indicating that the Montana exceptions to the presumption that tribal courts do not have adjudicatory authority over non-members relate only to non-member conduct within reservations, which are virtually non-existent in Alaska. Finally, under a Montana exception a non-member may consent to tribal court jurisdiction even if the tribal court otherwise would have no adjudicatory authority over the non-member. It is difficult to understand why the non-member parent’s consent to tribal court adjudicatory authority inJohn v. Baker, now — in retrospect — demonstrates that tribal courts have adjudicatory authority over all non­-member parents of tribal children regardless of consent.

While the State has recognized tribal child support orders since the superior court ruling, Central Council President Richard Peterson said Saturday, “This is a very important court ruling for not only our children and families, but for tribal sovereignty.”

“The Tribe and the State’s Child Support Services Division have developed a successful working relationship and we will continue to work in a spirit of cooperation to ensure our children receive the support they need,” Peterson said.

News monitored by AMRESH & AJEET

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