Meghalaya HC directs no physical demarcation, posts in disputed areas with Assam

The Meghalaya High Court on Thursday directed that no physical demarcation or erection of boundary posts in six disputed areas for which the March 29 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Meghalaya and Assam shall be carried out “till the next date”.

The MoU was signed in presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma and his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma on March 29 “resolving” the six of the 12 disputed areas along the two states in the first phase.

Four traditional heads of the Khasi Syiemship and Sirdarship in Meghalaya have filed a writ petition in the High Court seeking a stay of the operation of the MoU signed by the two states.

Fixing the next hearing on the matter on February 6 next year, Justice H.S. Thangkhiew ordered that during the intervening period, no physical demarcation or erection of boundary posts on the ground, pursuant to the MoU dated March 29 shall be carried out, till the next date.

The petitioners in their submission said : “The impugned MoU was signed without consulting or taking the consent of or involving the constitutionally recognized native Chiefs and their Durbars such as the Petitioner Syiems and Sirdar, etc. under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution and also the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council.”

They claimed that the MoU violated the provisions of the Sixth Schedule of the constitution as the legislative and executive powers bestowed upon the autonomous district council over subjects like water, soil, land, local customs and culture.

On Wednesday, the High Court issued a notice to the Assam government while hearing the writ petition filed by four traditional heads of the Khasi Syiemship and Sirdarship, questioning the maintainability of the MoU.

There are 36 disputed villages in the six disputed areas — Tarabari, Hahim, Pilangkata, Khanapara, Ratacheera and Gijang — covering 36.79 square kilometres.

Of this disputed area taken up for settlement in the first phase, Assam would get full control of 18.46 sq km and Meghalaya of 18.33 sq km.

The Assam government is holding talks with the neighbouring Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh besides Meghalaya to resolve the decades old inter-state border disputes.




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