State Govt panel meets on Sixth Schedule Amendment Bill

Shillong Sept 19: The State government’s committee which was constituted to study the Sixth Schedule Amendment Bill held its first meeting on Thursday.

The meeting, chaired by District Council Affairs minister, James K Sangma at the conference room, Main Secretariat discussed various issues concerning the state especially clauses in the Bill that may affect the interest of the indigenous people and functioning of autonomous district councils (ADCs).

The meeting was attended by chief executive member (CEM) of the three district councils besides representatives which comprised of various groups and traditional heads under the banner of Meghalaya Indigenous Tribal Constitutional Rights Movement (MITCRM).

Urban Affairs Minister, Hamletson Dohling, Shillong MP, Vincent H Pala, and other officials also attended the meeting.

After the meeting, James told reporters that the meeting discussed about the amendment bill which has been placed in Rajya Sabha, and being referred to the Parliament Standing Committee.

He said the committee will again meet on September 26 to further discuss the issue, before compiling a representation to be submitted by the state government to Parliament Standing Committee.

On the demand to delete the word “unrepresented” tribes from the proposed sixth schedule amendment bill, James however said that nothing can be revealed at present, as the view of the government would be included in the representation to be submitted to the Parliamentary Standing Committee.

Asked about the need to amend the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950, which provides ST status to other tribes from the North Eastern Region apart from Khasi, Jaiñtia and Garo indigenous tribes of Meghalaya, James said that the ST order is a different matter.

Spokespersons for MITCRM, Samuel B. Jyrwa said that the words “village council” and “municipal council” which have been included in the amendment bill was discussed in the meeting, but it was assured that the words “village council” and “municipal council” as indicated in the proposed amendment would not apply to district councils in Meghalaya.

The MITCRM also opposed the inclusion of “unrepresented” tribes in the Bill.

Jyrwa said that the word “unrepresented” tribes was included only for district councils in Meghalaya.

Jyrwa however said that all issues would be again taken up in the next meeting on September 26.

He said that apart from suggestions that would be incorporated in the representation to be submitted by the state government, the MITCRM would also send a separate representation to the Parliamentary Standing Committee.