News Alerts
prev next

SC empowers dist councils to regulate headmen

Citizens can stay in any part of the state freely, says apex court

SHILLONG: The Supreme Court has stressed that the persons occupying the posts of headmen may continue to function subject to various instructions framed by the District Council as per the Sixth Schedule to the Indian Constitution.
The order of the Supreme Court was made available to the media on Monday by KHADC CEM PN Syiem.
A portion of the order said, “Until further orders, the persons occupying the post of headmen may continue to function subject to the various instruction framed by the Autonomous District Council as per law under the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India”.
However, the Apex Court has asked the counsel of the State Government to submit a proposal as to what parts of the January 13 High Court order/ directions will be implemented by the State Government to ensure that “Fundamental rights of the of the citizens particularly, the right to reside freely in any place of their choice is not adversely affected by the action of any statutory authority including headmen.”
Earlier, the January 13 order of the High Court had recommended a series of measures to be imitated by the State Government including framing rules for the functioning of headmen.
The Apex Court, while issuing notices to concerned parties, has decided to  hear the matter after six weeks.
Meanwhile speaking to reporters, the KHADC chief  Syiem expressed relief and said that the headmen can now function as per rules and regulations framed by the District Council. (“A notification will be issued to all the Sordars, Syiems, and Headmen specifying that traditional heads can now exercise their duties as per the Supreme Court order until the final verdict arrives,” Syiem said.
Syiem further stated that the traditional institutions of the State have the backing of the Indian Constitution envisaged under the Sixth Schedule where the headmen can function as per the rules and regulations laid down by the District Council as per the law under the Sixth Schedule.
He said, “Different departments and institutions within the jurisdiction of the District Council should respond positively to any orders issued by the headmen as per the rules and regulations laid down by the District Council as per the Sixth Schedule and should accept the certificates of the headmen.” Asserting that confusions over headmen continuing in the posts and issuing certificates has now subsided, the KHADC chief said that headmen can resume their functions as empowered by the District Council.
In connection with the Supreme Court order, he expressed gratitude to the MDCs and officials involved in filing the Special Leave Petition before the Supreme Court after the District Council was aggrieved over the High Court ruling that has stripped headmen off their powers.
The Supreme Court, however, has stayed the portion of the High Court order to pay Rs 2 lakh  by way of compensation to the villagers who were excommunicated  by the headmen in East  Jaintia Hills.
The  High Court had pulled up the SP, Additional District Magistrate, the Headmen and members of Village Defence Party for the plight of  villagers after they married non- tribals.

Full text of SC order dated Feb 12, 2016 on SLP filed by KHADC
ITEM NO. 39             COURT NO. 11                 SECTION XIV
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS
Petition (s) for Special Leave to Appeal (C) No (s). 3656/2016
(Arising out of impugned final judgment and order dated 13/01/2016 in WA No. 2/2015 passed by the High Court of Meghalaya at Shillong)

KHASI HILLS AUTONOMOUS DISTRICT COUNCIL          Petitioner (s)
VERSUS
THE STATE OF MEGHALAYA & ORS.             Respondent (s)

(with appln. (s) for permission to file lengthy list of dates and interim relief and office report)
Date: 12/02/2016 This petition was called on for hearing today.
CORAM:
HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE SHIVA KIRTI SINGH
HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE ROHINTON FALI NARIMAN
For Petitioner (s)         Mr. Vijay Hansaria, Sr. Adv.
Mr. Amit Kumar, Adv.
Mr. Shaurya Sahay, Adv.
For Respondent (s)     Mr. Ranjan Mukherjee, Adv.
Mr. S.C. Ghosh, Adv.
Mr. S. Bhowmick, Adv.

UPON hearing the counsel the Court made the following
ORDER
Since respondent Nos. 1 to 4 have appeared, no notice need be issued to them.
Issue notice to the remaining respondents in the special leave petition as well as on the prayer for interim relief returnable within six weeks.
Since State of Meghalaya has appeared before us, we request the learned counsel for the State to submit a proposal as to what parts of the impugned order/directions the State Government deems appropriate for implementation with a view to ensure that Fundamental rights of the citizens particularly, the right to reside freely in any place of their choice is not adversely affected by the action of any statutory authority including Headmen. Until further orders, the persons occupying the post of Headmen may continue to function subject to the various instructions framed by the Autonomous District Council as per law under the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India.
The direction to pay penalty of Rs. 2,00,000/- (rupees two lakhs) will remain stayed until further orders.

(Rajni Mukhi)                        (Renu Diwan)                  Sr. P.A.                        Court Master

You might also like More from author

Comments