Rectified VAB gets Council nod

ARPA stages protest in spl KHADC session

SHILLONG: Despite strong objections from the Opposition MDCs, the report of the Congress-led Executive Committee on the KHADC (Village Administration), Bill 2014 was passed by a voice vote during the special session of the KHADC on Saturday.
During the deliberations on the report, the MDCs of ARPA were of the view that the  corrections suggested by the State Government on the Bill are detrimental to the interests of the indigenous community.
“We want a Bill which will protect the interests of the indigenous community,” the ARPA MDCs said.
Of the 23 corrections suggested by the Government, the ARPA had opposed the rectification and deletion of around three including sub section (VIII) and sub section (XVI) of Section 5 of the VAB, which was, however, turned down by the PDF.
In the report, the EC said, “In Sub section (VIII) of Section 5, the words “non Khasi of India who have been ‘residing within the village/locality’ for a period of not less than 14 years preceding the date of application of such non Khasi citizens and such certificate shall be granted subject to prior approval from the Chief and his Dorbar and the District Council and on such pre-requisites as may be prescribed from time to time by the Executive Committee by way of notification,” appearing after the words ‘certificates to’ shall be omitted and substituted by the words “inhabitants of the village”.”
“Sub section (XVI) of Section 5 (which says -“The EC in recognition of the customary practices prevailing within the Hima(s) or Raid(s) or Village(s) may from time to time by notification prescribe the restrictions, terms and conditions of entry of a person other than a tribal native resident”) shall be deleted,” it said.
HSPDP MDC and former CEM Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit said that they are not against the passing of this bill.
“We want a Bill which will protect the interests of the indigenous community but we would certainly not like to have a Bill which will please the Governor or the Law department,” Basaiawmoit said.
The HSPDP MDC made this remark after the KHADC CEM Pynshngnaiñ N Syiem continued to laud the Governor and the Law department for their facilitation to ensure the smooth passage of this Bill in his address to the House.
Meanwhile, Opposition leader and ARPA chairman Metbah Lyngdoh also slammed the Executive Committee (EC) for agreeing with the suggestions of the Government in deleting some of the important provisions in the bill.
According to him, these sections are important for protection and regulating the entry of people from outside since there are many instances where Rangbah Shnong have misused their powers by issuing rampant residential certificates.
“It is disappoint that the Executive Committee has agreed to delete the critical sections from the bill,” Lyngdoh said while also maintaining that he was not against the passing of the bill.
Based on the suggestion of the ARPA, the EC decided to retain the words “Ka Teh Rangbah’ in sub section (18) of Section 2 instead of substituting it with the words “Pynskhem Dkhot”.
‘Teh Rangbah’ means the annual process of identifying, introducing and inducting of Khasi inhabitants of the village who have attained the age of 18 years in the dorbar shnong. In his reply, the KHADC CEM said that every dorbar shnong will have a village register which would record the names of all the residents. It would however, depend on the wisdom of the dorbar shnong how to frame the rules on how the village register is to be maintained. This would restrict entry of people from outside, the CEM, stated.
Finally, the KHADC (Village Administration) Bill, 2014 was passed by voice vote.
Earlier, when the Chairperson asked the members to put up a show of hands in support of the Bill all the 17 MDCs of the ruling side raised their hands. The opposition MDCs refused to so as a mark of protest.
“The report of the EC has now been accepted by Council,” Thangkhiew declared on the floor of the House.
Later, Syiem told newsmen after the session that the Bill would immediately be submitted to the State Government on Monday for getting the Governor’s assent.
Meanwhile, the ARPA chairman, Metbah Lyngdoh said that the PDF pushed the VAB 2014 bill through brute majority and not on the basis of discussion.
He reiterated that the ARPA wants the VAB passed but based on the clauses and sub section 5 which clearly enunciates how to protect the indigenous people of Meghalaya according to the constitution of India which has paved the way for the Councils to make laws to protect the Schedule tribes.
“We talk about the section 5 and sub section 8 which has clearly stated that any non tribal individual who comes and stay in a locality has to settle for at least 14 years before he can get a permanent residential certificate from the Rangbah Shnong but the bill passed on Saturday has removed this important clause,” he said. Interestingly the same clause was accepted last year by the PDF when this bill was passed.

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