Friday, June 21, 2024

HC dismisses plea questioning jurisdiction of KHADC court


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By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, May 20: A single bench of the High Court of Meghalaya on Monday dismissed a petition challenging the jurisdiction of the Sub-ordinate District Council Court of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (Trial Court) to try the suits even though both the plaintiff and defendants belong to different districts, notwithstanding the fact that the disputed property was situated within the jurisdiction of the KHADC.
Justice HS Thangkhiew has made this observation in the case between Amos Dkhar and Sngewbha Siangshai (appellants) against Donush Siangshai and Edwin Kyndiat (respondents) in reference to a civil case concerning ownership of a property located at Bhagyakul, Laitumkhrah, under the jurisdiction of the KHADC.
“The objection to jurisdiction as raised by the appellants is not sustainable due to the peculiar facts and circumstances of this case,” Justice Thangkhiew stated in his judgment, while observing that the court deems it not necessary to relegate the parties to the regular courts.
“Further it may be added this finding, has been arrived at keeping in mind the object and intent of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India, in providing for such Courts under Paragraph – 4 thereof, and the purpose for which they have been established, which is to adjudicate matters between tribals. These appeals therefore fail and are accordingly dismissed,” he said.
Justice Thangkhiew further stated that as the title suits have been pending for long many years, the Trial Court (Sub-ordinate District Council Courts of the KHADC) is to immediately take up these matters on a war footing and ensure expeditious disposal.
“Parties to put to notice to appear before the Trial Court on June 10, 2024,” he added.
It may be mentioned that the appellants, during the pendency of the suits, had filed applications with the Trial Court which rejected the plaints on the ground that the Court had no jurisdiction to try the suits. Following this, the appellants had moved the high court.
The contention of the appellants was that according to the Supreme Court, a District Council Court has jurisdiction in respect of people who belong to the Scheduled Tribe, within such area for which the District Council is constituted and would have no jurisdiction if one of the parties belong to another area that is under the jurisdiction of another District Council.
The counsel for the appellants submitted that the KHADC Court has no jurisdiction to determine the dispute since the appellants belong to Jaintia Hills which is under the Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council.
However, the counsel for the respondents argued that since the property is in Khasi Hills, the trial court had the jurisdiction to hear the case.
The single bench later gave the judgment after hearing both the parties and dismissed the objections to the jurisdiction of the trial court.


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