Meghalaya HC issues warrant against union secretary

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Shillong, Jan 13 (IANS) The Meghalaya High Court on Wednesday issued a bailable warrant against union minority affairs secretary Amarendra Sinha after he failed to appear in court in a case related to minority tribes being deprived of fundamental rights and human rights.

On December 12, the court directed the state secretary of minority affairs and chief secretary P.B.O. Warjri to appear before it in connection with a writ petition that said the Niam Khasi and Niam Tre tribes and other minority tribes were being deprived of their fundamental rights and human rights, particularly those guaranteed under Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution.

Issuing the bailable warrant for a sum of Rs.20,000, the bench of Chief Justice Uma Nath Singh, Justice T. Nanda Kumar Singh and Justice Sudip Ranjan Sen directed the Delhi Police Commissioner to execute the bailable warrant and secure the appearance of Sinha in court on the next date of hearing on January 27.

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“We are informed by the central government counsel that the last order of summoning of the secretary, minority affairs, government of India, has already been communicated, but till date, there is no response,” the court said

“Thus, we issue a bailable warrant in the sum of Rs.20,000 against the secretary concerned to secure his appearance on the next date of hearing,” it added.

Warjri clarified that there was no discrimination in grant of benefits to all the minorities in the state.

It was, however, strongly refuted by defence counsel H.S. Thangkhiew on the ground that none of the schools where children of the minorities were studying and applying for minority scholarships, grant benefits of such scholarships on the ground that there was no declaration/notification to the effect.

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Warjri also said the Meghalaya government has constituted a task force committee on minorities.

However, the court noted: “We are surprised that the state of Meghalaya has constituted this committee after 23 years of coming into force of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992…”

The court also asked the commissioner and secretary of the social welfare department, Tining Dkhar, who is also the chairperson of the task force committee, whether the committee has given any interim report to the central government.

Dkhar assured the court that the committee will submit its report within three weeks.

The court directed the Meghalaya government to send its recommendation to the central government and inform that these tribes have been declared as minorities and, therefore, the same benefits of central and state scholarships and other benefits available to the minorities should also be extended to them.

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The court directed that the entire exercise should be completed within eight weeks.

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