Shillong, Feb 7: A writ petition against the Meghalaya government is in the offing for not accepting a Bill passed by the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) which has provisions of the Inner Line Permit (ILP).
KHADC chief executive member (CEM), H.S. Shylla told reporters on Thursday that the Council has decided to file a petition against the state government because it claimed that the Bill “is outside the legislative competency of the Council.”
The KHADC had last year passed the KHAD (Inner Line as adapted from the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1873) Regulation, 2018 to implement the ILP system to curb influx in scheduled areas.
But the District Council Affairs (DCA) department of the state government through the Deputy Secretary, W. Rapthap sent a letter to the KHADC on February 4 informing that the Bill has been examined in consultation with the law department.
The letter said, “….it is opined that the KHAD (Inner Line as adapted from the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873) Regulation, 2018 passed by the District Council on October 26, 2019 is outside the legislative competency of the Council as it does not fall under any of the law making powers as provided under the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India.”
“The KHADC has decided to challenge the decision of the state government by filing either a writ petition or a contempt petition before the Supreme Court or High Court after consulting with the Supreme Court lawyer, BJ Hansaria,” Shylla informed.
Shylla said that the claim of the state government that the Bill is outside the legislative competency of the KHADC has reflected that the law department of the state government is “very weak” adding, this also shows that due to lack of understanding, the state government is treating the KHADC as its department but not an autonomous body.
Shylla said that the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 is one among many laws listed under the United Khasi-Jaintia Hills District (Application of Laws) Regulation, 1952, which according to the Supreme Court’s ruling, the law still continues to operate.
He also referred to a case filed in 1971 which challenged the validity of the Regulation, 1952 promulgated by the Governor of Assam under paragraph 19 (1)(b) of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution, but the Supreme Court in its judgment had stated that the Regulation (1952) came into force at once and continued to remain in force even after the District Council was set, so also the power thereunder conferred on the Governor to extend them either to the District as a whole or to any part or parts thereof.
Shylla also quoted the Supreme Court judgment which said, “Assuming however that the legislation was a delegated piece of legislation, there is no question of such a delegation being excessive nor it is correct to say that the power so delegated lapsed with the lapse of the legislative authority of the Governor under paragraph 19 (1) (b). The power of the Governor to legislate ended when the District Council was constituted. But the power conferred thereunder on the Governor to bring into force the laws set out in the Schedule continued and would continue so long as the Regulation remained on the statute book.”