Opposition members in the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) today staged a walkout after the executive committee decided to go ahead in passing the Administration of Elaka (Second Amendment) Bill 2023.
The opposition members had proposed that the amendment should first be referred to a select committee.
Speaking to reporters, Leader of the Opposition Titosstarwell Chyne said that they walked out to protest against the EC, which “forcefully” went ahead to pass the bill without paying heed to the suggestion given by the opposition that it will be better to refer the bill to a select committee as there are many clauses that are in conflict with the acts of the various Himas.
“We did not even get enough time to study and understand the content of the bill. We are not against the bill but we suggested that it should not be passed hastily so that there are no contradictions,” Chyne said.
On one particular point, Chyne said that the desire of the EC for the KHADC’s Deputy Secretary to function as a magistrate is unjustifiable as the person does not have a legal background. Instead, the opposition suggested that the tribunal should be led by a judicial magistrate and the appellate authority be a judge so that every dispute can be adjudicated fairly.
“We have expressed our dissatisfaction in the house to the passage of the bill but since the EC went ahead we will take steps by writing to either the government or the Governor with our suggestion and also convene a meeting with the traditional heads,” Chyne added.
Meanwhile, Deputy CEM, who is also in charge of Elakas, Pynshngain N Syiem, said that the amendment does not require much time to study.
“The traditional institutions like the dorbar shnong do not have administration rules to function and I think that passage of this amendment is crucial for the dorbar shnong, dorbar dong, seng samla, seng longkmie, etc to function properly,” he told reporters.
According to him, the bill was formulated in consultation with legal experts and officials of the council and a copy of the draft bill has been circulated to all the members since Friday.
Stating that the EC feels that there should not be any delay in passing the bill, Syiem further stated that he failed to understand why the opposition members had to stage a walkout when he had clarified their concerns point by point.