Court may decide case ex parte

Next hearing on Rs 31 crore damage suit against 12 pressure groups on Feb 17

SHILLONG: With 12 pro-ILP pressure groups not showing any inclination of contesting the damage suit of over Rs.31 crore filed against them by the State government, the Special Court hearing the case is likely to pass an ex parte order asking the leaders of the pressure groups to pay for the damages incurred during the 2013 ILP related agitations in the State, an official source said on Sunday.
The next hearing of the case will be held on February 17, the source said.
Except the Civil Society Women’s Organisation (CSWO) and the All India Garo Union (AIGU), leaders of the remaining 12 pressure groups have neither turned up in person nor deputed anyone for the hearing whenever the matter was taken up by the Special Court of Rithelda Rymbai.
The Court had, on more than one occasion, summoned the presidents and general secretaries of the KSU, FKJGP, GSU, Hynniewtrep National Youth Front (HNYF), Synjuk Seng Samla Shnong, (SSSS), All Jaintia Youth Welfare Organisation (AJYWO), Jaintia Youth Federation (JYF), Jaintia Students’ Union (JSU), Ri Bhoi Youth Federation (RBYF), Khasi Women Welfare and Development Association (KWWADA), Association of Democratic Empowerment (ADE) and A’chik Youth Welfare Organization (AYWO) to appear in the court in person or through their advocate, but in vain.
During the last hearing on December 19, the Special Court decided to fix the date for submission of list of witnesses who will be examined in due course of time.
Later, the court fixed Feb 17 for the submission of list of witnesses to proceed with the case.
The State Government filed the damage suit before the Special Court due to the loss of property following a series of cases of arson during the pro-ILP agitations called by the 14 pressure groups in 2013.
Through the damage suit, the government is seeking compensation of over Rs.31 crore from the pressure groups for the loss of private property, both individual and community-owned, and government property caused during the ILP agitation.
It was based on various clauses of the Meghalaya Maintenance of Public Order Act and the Supreme Court order banning bandh and other forms of agitations that the government had filed the damage suit.

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