Ampareen’s move for law to protect state’s citizens defeated in House

SHILLONG: A resolution moved by the MLA of East Shillong, Ampareen Lyngdoh   on the floor of the House to urge the Government to enact a law at the earliest for inclusion of the historical instrument of accession in Article 371 of the Constitution to protect the citizens of the state, was defeated by voice vote.

Moving the motion, Lyngdoh said that as the   state was gripped by suspicion and fear emanating from certain policies of the Central Government adversely affecting the citizen of the state, she urged the Government to enact a law at the earliest for inclusion of the historical instrument of accession in Article 371 of the Constitution to protect the citizens of the state.

Stating that there is a merit to substantiate for the inclusion of Meghalaya under Article 371 (J) of the Constitution of India, she added that several political parties in the state time and again have committed to support the instrument of Accession and Annexed agreement’s inclusion in Article 371.

According to Lyngdoh, it is now clear that Meghalaya is no longer protected by the constitutional provisions of the Sixth Schedule   as the provision has been compromised and even para 12 A (b) could not be defended in recent times.

She also stated that MMDR Act has been operationalised and   Article 244 (2) of the Sixth Schedule was set aside and ignored while terming the MMDR Act as a serious threat to the customary rights and practices especially in context of the Sixth Schedule.

Asking the Government to constitute a joint committee with KHADC and back the move of the Council, she added that India today was vulnerable to a political tyranny from a Government which will subvert constitutional provisions   to ignore the existing constitutional provisions.

The motion was also supported, Umroi MLA George Lyngdoh, who said that Sixth Schedule was only for tribals but now it has been shredded even as he added that there should be reservation of seats for Rangbah Shnongs and Dollois in the autonomous District councils

The request for the formation of the Committee to study the previous reports and laws was also made by the Opposition Leader, Mukul Sangma who said that Centre is imposing many things on the state even as he lamented that the Government at the centre does not understand the great diversity of the nation

Replying to the motion, District Council Affairs Minister, James Sangma said that all the matters pertaining to instrument of Accession and Annexed agreement have been placed under the Sixth schedule and the autonomous District Councils have made several laws including the Land Transfer Act, Christian Marriage Act, Trading by non-tribals and others.

Informing that the Bill to amend the sixth schedule is under the examination of a standing committee of the Union Government, Sangma said that adequate protection for the interest of the residents of the state have been taken in the Sixth Schedule which is indicated by the fact that 55 of the 60 legislative seats are reserved for the local indigenous population.

Admitting that ample mechanisms are required to be put in place   for the protection of the people, Sangma, he said that several Union Ministers were visiting Meghalaya to understand the local situation which would be a game changer.

“It is wrong to say that federal structure is in jeopardy. In fact, more interactions are taking place now between the states and the Centre,” he said while adding that the Government is working towards bringing a mechanism to allay the fears of the state.

He also said that there was no need to instrument of accession and annexed agreement under Article 371    as Meghalaya has a special provision of District Council under the sixth schedule

“We cannot abolish District Councils. The decision to replace District Councils with Article 371 would be negative for the state, “he said to which Mukul Sangma intervened and stated that the Opposition never demanded for the removal of District Councils but it is asking for the reinforcement of the existing constitutional provisions

James Sangma also said that there was no need for a committee to be set up on the matter as a committee already exists for the amendment of the Sixth Schedule.

Meghalaya Chief Minister, Conrad Sangma also intervened in the matter saying that a committee has been formed to look into all the aspects and if needed, the Government would seek opinions of all the political parties

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