SC Halts HC Order Staying Assam-Meghalaya Border Pact, Calls it ‘unwarranted’


The Supreme Court on Friday stopped the execution of the Meghalaya High Court order staying the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the chief ministers of Assam and Meghalaya for settling the festering boundary dispute between the 2 states, terming it “unwarranted”.

A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala took note of the submissions of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and the lawyers representing Assam and Meghalaya, and directed the Meghalaya High Court order to be stayed.

“Prima facie, it appears that the single judge (bench of Meghalaya HC) has not furnished any reasons. Whether the MoU requires further consideration by Parliament is a distinct issue. However, the interim stay was not warranted. Notice shall be issued to respondents… Meanwhile there shall be stay on the order of the single judge,” the bench said in its order.

The court took note of the submissions that some of the areas, which are covered under the MoU, are not getting the benefits of the developmental schemes due to the old border disputes and, moreover, the boundary between the two states has not been altered due to the agreement.

It also issued notices to the four people who had originally moved the high court against the execution of the MoU on various grounds including that the settlement breached Article 3 of the Constitution.

Article 3 empowers Parliament to make a law related to the formation of new states and alteration of the boundaries of existing states.

The solicitor general, at the outset, said that the MoU signed by the chief ministers to resolve the long standing inter-state boundary dispute, particularly in respect of six areas, was a decision taken in “the political thicket”.

Lawyer Pragyan Pradip Sharma, showing for the unique writ petitioners earlier than the excessive courtroom, mentioned the pact between the 2 states didn’t have concurrence of Parliament as mandated below Article 3.

“Tribal land is being converted into non-tribal land. There are attacks on citizens by police officers of Assam because the process for demarcation is not followed. Let a copy of the petition be given to me, I will address the arguments…,” he mentioned.

The counsel for Assam contended the MoU isn’t redrawing the boundary and it information “the arrived position” between the 2 states.

The CJI-led bench, whereas staying the excessive courtroom’s path, agreed to think about the plea of transferring the case to the apex courtroom itself at a later stage and glued it for listening to after two weeks.

Earlier through the day, the apex courtroom agreed to listen to the plea difficult the order of the Meghalaya High Court.

“We will hear it. Please provide three copies of the petition,” the CJI mentioned.

A single decide bench of the Meghalaya High Court had on December eight ordered an interim keep on bodily demarcation or erection of boundary posts on the bottom following the inter-state border pact.

Later, a division bench of the excessive courtroom refused to intervene with the order of the only decide bench, prompting the petitioners to an enchantment within the high courtroom.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Ok Sangma and his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma had in March final yr signed an MoU for demarcating the border in no less than six of the 12 contested places that always raised tensions between the 2 states.

The single decide bench of the excessive Justice had ordered the interim keep until the subsequent date of listening to on February 6, 2023 on a petition filed by 4 ‘traditional chiefs’ of Meghalaya.

“It is however understood that during the intervening period, no physical demarcation or erection of boundary posts on the ground, pursuant to the MoU dated 29.03.2022 shall be carried out, till the next date,” the excessive courtroom had mentioned.

The ‘traditional chiefs’, of their petition, had urged the excessive courtroom to put aside the MoU signed between the 2 northeastern states, claiming it violated the provisions of the sixth Schedule of the Constitution which offers with particular provisions for the administration of tribal areas.

They alleged that the MoU was signed “without consulting or taking the consent of or involving the constitutionally recognised native chiefs and their durbars”.

On March 29 this yr, the settlement was signed within the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah by the chief ministers of Assam and Meghalaya.

The pact sought to resolve the protracted dispute in six of the 12 locations alongside the 884.9-km border between the 2 states.

The boundary dispute between Assam and Meghalaya has lingered for 50 years. However, the trouble to resolve it gained tempo in latest occasions.

Meghalaya was carved out of Assam as a separate state in 1972, however the brand new state had challenged the Assam Reorganisation Act, 1971, resulting in dispute in 12 border places.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 employees and is printed from a syndicated information company feed)

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