Why facilitation centres, HC asks state govt

SHILLONG, Sep 21: The High Court of Meghalaya has asked the state government to spell out the purpose of establishing the facilitation centres under the Meghalaya Residents’ Safety and Security Act (MRSSA).
It also asked the government to specify whether the state has no other effective mechanism for weeding out “known” anti-social elements without impeding the fundamental rights of residents and if this can be done only through the creation of the facilitation centres.
A division bench of the court said it is prima facie evident that the State of Meghalaya had legislative competency to enact MRSSA, 2016, in exercise of powers conferred under various Constitutional provisions.
However, according to the court, it is also evident from a plain reading of the affidavit filed by the Chief Secretary – particularly paragraph 21 thereof – that the purpose of establishing the facilitation centres under Sections 17 and 18 of the MRSSA, 2016 is “only” for the verification of tenants and weeding out any “known” anti-social elements and wanted criminals.
“This specific averment is not indicative of the fact that the State of Meghalaya possesses other effective mechanisms for weeding out any known anti-social elements and/or wanted criminals and the situation in the State of Meghalaya is such that it requires to create and/or establish a facilitation centre only for weeding out any known anti-social elements and/or wanted criminals. This averment can also only mean the obvious, which we do not want to elaborate at this stage,” the division bench said.
The court granted liberty to the government to file a fresh affidavit by giving a clearer and better explanation as to the manner in which the State wishes to use the facilitation centres which are to be set up under relevant provisions of MRSSA, 2016.
The affidavit has to be filed on or before the next date of hearing.

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