A newly constituted joint action committee on border of Meghalaya (JACBOM) will move the Supreme Court against the border agreement signed between Meghalaya and Assam.
Chairman of the committee, Erwin K Sutnga said that the agreement signed by the two chief ministers has no legal status and was in violation of the five parameters including ethnicity, administrative convenience, historical perspective, etc.
He said that the landholding system between Meghalaya and Assam differs and residual ownership of land in the case of Assam remains with the government, not like in Meghalaya.
Stating that the MDA government had started this on wrong principles, he said, “The Supreme Court under article 131 has the original jurisdiction in a dispute between two states, between one state and central government, two or more states and central government, between state to state, etc.”
“In 1983 late Williamson A Sangma who was the chief minister then had laid down the principles that these lands included in the Khasi states in Assam formed part of the constitutional boundary of the state of Meghalaya. However, the MDA was so fast to go and signed the MOU that has no basis without following the constitutional process,” he stated.
According to Sutnga, if the MOU is to have a legal validity it has to be decided by an inter-state council because if they take and pass it in the parliament it will be against the democratic and constitutional rights of the people of Meghalaya not only to those affected.
He said that the government of Meghalaya also has a legal and moral responsibility to protect the unique identity of the Khasi, Jaiñtia, and Garo people who follow the matrilineal system.
He also questioned why the Autonomous District Councils that have authority over tribal land as per para III of the Sixth Schedule were not consulted.
Sutnga also announced the committee’s support to landowners and Himas affected by the border deal and its co-chairmen—Lamphrang Kharbani and C Rani— will convene meetings and collect land documents only after taking into confidence landowners, syiems and traditional heads to work out on strategies and procedures with regards to fighting the issue in the court of law.