Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Who was Kihota Hollohan?

At the core of numerous 'landmark judgments' passed by the Supreme Court of India, are individuals who stood up against the system and ended up re-defining the Indian Constitution.

Mr. Inder Golak Nath protested against the Punjab government for delaring his land 'surplus', and fit to be taken over by the state. His legal battle went on for years until the Supreme Court not only ruled in his favor but also decided on 27 Feb., 1967, that the Parliament's power to amend the Constitution could not be used to curtail fundamental rights.

Another landmark case was filed in 1970 by Swami Keshavananda Bharati, head of a monastry (muth) in Kerala. He was objecting against attmempts by the Kerala state government (under land reform acts) to restrict control over the monasty's property. This case too went on to address the much grander issue of the Parliament's power to amend the Constitution. It marked the beginning of something that has been called the "basic structure" of the Constitution which cannot be altered by any government, under any circumstances.

Now we come to Kihota Hollohan. A legal battle between this gentleman and Mr. Zanchillu also resulted in a Supreme Court judgement (1992) that not only has a bearing on how elected representatives behave in the Parliament and Legislative Assemblies, it unwittingly also prevents prevents the legislature from performing one of its principle functions: scrutiny of the executive. It does this through an anti-defection law which rests on the assumption that  'elections are won by political parties rather than persons'.

Whatever be the pros and cons of the anti-defection law, one curious thing about Kihota Hollohan is that there is hardly any information about him or about his opponent, Zanchillu, in the legal tomes that rest in cyberspace. Nothing in Manupatra; nothing in .

So far, the only bit of information I could find is that Mr. Hollohan was the Nagaland state minister for social security and welfare, in 2003.

Wonder what was it that Zanchillu did to so upset him...


North East Enquirer (7 July 2003) -,%2003/oh17.htm

Supreme Court of India: Shri Kihota Hollohon vs Mr. Zachilhu And Others on 18 February, 1992 - URL -

Scribd: A Case Analysis on Kihota Hollohon -

Khanna, Kartik and Dhvani Shah (2012): ANTI-DEFECTION LAW: A DEATH KNELL FOR PARLIAMENTARY DISSENT? NUJS Law Review 2012; URL -

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