A delegation of MDCs from the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) led by chief executive member Dipul Marak today met chief minister, Conrad Sangma to seek his assistance in passing the codification of the Garo Customary Law Bill that requires assent from the Governor.
The bill was passed by the NPP led executive committee in 2018 after deliberations between various stakeholders of Garo Hills. However it was met with criticisms over the definition of who would be considered a ‘Garo’ or ‘Achik Mande’. All 29 MDCs had given their assent to the Bill while it was passed.
Speaking of the passage of the bill, executive committee member and MDC from GNC, Augustine Marak stated that it was passed after consultation with various people, including NGOs of Garo Hills. While there was some opposition to the Bill itself, 24 out of 25 NGOs from the region wants the bill passed.
“The bill was placed in the House twice to discuss after which all 29 MDCs gave their support to the move. Everyone felt the Bill needed to be passed and given the Governor’s assent,” said Augustine.
Augustine added that there was opposition to the bill from certain sections over inter-tribe relations and their offspring as well as division of property. However he added that there were provisions in the bill to take care of these.
Codification of Garo customs is an important bill which is expected to move the tribe from oral traditions to a documented one. Currently almost all tradition, laws and customs with Garo society is still verbal, passing on from generation to generation.
“We sought his (chief minister) help in the matter as the bill is still with the Governor. It needs to be passed quickly as it will, in the future assist scholars and others alike in understanding the Garo tribe through the written word,” said the EM.