Down Memory Lane – (1952-2002) - W. Kharkrang, Secretary, KHADC
On successful completing the 50th milestone of it journey towards pre-serving the culture and tenets of the Khasi People; this Council witnessed periods of stress and strain but withstood the test of time. The major landmark activities of the Council since, its humble beginning is chronologically recapitulated hereunder.
1952: (i) The Sixth schedule to the Constitution of India came into effect from the 26th January, 1950. Since, the United Khasi-Jaiñtia Hills Autonomous District Council was yet to be constituted then, an Advisory Council was formed by the Governor of Assam, Shri Sri Prakasa for the constitution of the District Council as empowered under the provisions of the said schedule. The Advisory Council which was inaugurated on the 24th of May 1950by the Chief Minister of Assam, Shri. Gopinath Bordoloi consisted of the following.
(1) U Olim Singh, Syiem Khyrim
(2) Mrs Bonily Khongmen, B. A, M. L. A.
(3) Miss. Mavis Dunn, B. A., B. T, B. L
(4) Mr. Larsingh Khyriem, M. L. A
(5) Dr. H. Lyngdoh
(6) Prof. R. R. Thomas, M. A, B. L, P. R. S
(7) Mr. Wilson Reade
(8) Mr. H. Philip
(9) Mr. A. Alley, B. L
(10) Mr. P. Lewis, B.L
(11) Prof. G. G. Swell, M. A
(12) Mr. Horen Jones, B. A
(13) Dr. R. K. Tariang
(14) Mr. Sorendro Bareh
(15) Mr. Rostanwell
(16) Dr. S. R. Laloo
(17) Mr. Kat Shallam, B. A
(18) Mr. Kistobin Rymbai
(19) Deputy Commissioner (Ex-Officio Chairman).
The United Khasi-Jaiñtia Hills Autonomous District Council was inaugurated by the new Governor of Assam, Shri. Jairamdas Daulatram on the 27th June 1952 at the Dinam Hall, Jaiaw, Shillong. On this day, there was the first ever crowds of the people protested against the State Government’s nomination of six members to the District Council which included three non-tribal members.
Below is a verbatim reproduction of the vernacular paper reporting of the incident:-
“La pynjaw Snam ha ka 27th June 1952” : 43 ngut la kem, bun ki la mynsaw. Da ki spah ki al mad erbih. La khang khlem daw ia ki Khasi ban iaid ha la ki surok. Ki soh ka jinglaitluid hapoh ka Sorkar u Medhi.
Ha ka 27th June 1952, ka snam sa shisien pat ka la tuid ha ka “Ri-Umsnam”, sa shisien pat ka la meh ka jingieit ri jong u Tirot Sing, khnang ban pynkhein ia ki sum ba thapdung jong ki lehjuborbad ban bthat ia ki sia khum jong ka jingteh mraw.
Da ki spah ki khun ka ri ki la aiti ia la ki jong ki met kum ki jingknia namar ka jingbha jong kiba bun. Kynthei bad khynnah bad tymmen naphang lin ki la shah iuh, shah kyrdem, shah kynjat bad shah tangon ha ki pulit Sorkar, ia ki kynthei bad tymmen ym don jingburom shuh. Kane ka long kata ka Sorkar laitluid ba u Medhi bad kiwei ki kren sngewsarong haduh katta katta. (Ka Step Vol. ! No. 1 dt. August 1952).
(ii) Mr. F. War and Mr. Josingh Rynjah were elected as Chairman and CEM respectively by the newly constituted District Council.
(iii) On December 5, a resolution was adopted approving the Council’s official Seal. The resolution read:…”this Council resolves that the District Council, United Khasi-Jaiñtia Hills have for its Seal the symbol of the Bow, Sphere and Sword mounted in a round plate with the words – District Council, United Khasi-Jaiñtia Hills – around the Symbols”.
1953: (i) Mr. Hobel Rynjah became the Chief Executive Member of the District Council.
(ii) A resolution was adopted on the 31st March that pending framing of the Account Rules, the Executive Committee was authorised to exercise full control over the Budgets of the Elakas in allocating the expenditure on different items under the following principles:-
a. 1/8th of the income to go to the privy purse of the Syiem, etc., as pay and allowance;
b. 3/8th to schools, roads and other improvements of the particular Elakas;
c. 2/8th to Establishment
d. 1/8th to Reserve Fund.
e. 1/8th at disposal of the District Council.
1954: (i) Mr. B. M. Roy was elected as the new Chief Executive Member.
(ii) A two-days conference of all Chief Executive Members of the Autonomous District Councils of the Hills Districts of the then undivided Assam was held on the 16th & 17th June, at Shillong, under the Presidency of Mr. B. M Roy to discuss the formation of a separate Hills State and Amendment of the Sixth Schedule.
1955: Mr. Probin Kumar Choudhury was nominated to the District council replacing Mr. Hari Prasad Barua
1956: Mr. Josingh Rynjah was re-elected as the Chief Executive Member.
1957: Mr. R. Nongrem was elected as the Chairman of the Council on September 5.
1958: (i) After the second General Elections, the newly elected District Council was constituted on 3.1.1958.
(ii) Mr. W. Reade and Mr. B. M. Pugh were elected as Chairman and Chief Executive Member respectively
(iii) A Resolution was passed urging upon the Assam government to take steps for total prohibition of gambling in the whole Autonomous District.
1959: Rev. J. J. M. Nichols Roy, the architect of the District Councils, slept in the bed of honour on the 1st November and the District Council adopted the resolution, expressing its sorrow and grief as reflected in the minutes below:-
“This Council is hereby resolve to place record its profoundest sorrow and grief at the sudden passing away of Rev. J. J. M. Nichols Roy who, as a political leader had dedicated his life-time to serving the cause of the tribal people in all spheres of human activities and who, as posterity will remember, was a friend of the poor, a great patriot and a God-fearing man and, who, as the main architect of that part of the Constitution of India known as the Sixth Schedule, had made it possible for the tribal people of Assam to preserve and maintain their traditional and customary entity in Free India. His sudden demise has created an irreplaceable loss to this District Council in particular and the other Autonomous Districts in general and while this Council prays for the peace of his soul, it also offers its most heartfelt condolence to the members of the bereaved family at their loss.It is further resolved that a copy of this resolution be sent to his widow and other relatives he had left behind.”
1960:The District Council elected Mr. T. Cajee as its new Chief Executive Member.
i. A resolution was passed for checking the drunkenness of drivers while driving their vehicles which was the root cause of many road accidents.
ii. The Council adopted a resolution urging upon the Chairman of the Advisory Council (Hills) to convene an emergent Session of the Advisory Council to deliberate upon the issue relating to the proposed legislation for the recognition of Assamese language as the official language of the State of Assam.
iii. A court Case (C. A. 394 of 1960) between T. Cajee, Chief Executive Member –vrs- U Jormanik Syiem & Others pertaining to the authority of the District Council in matter relating to the suspension-removal of the Syiem of Mylliem.
1961: During the July Session, the resolution below was adopted:-
“This Council urges upon the State Government to extend the Excise Act to the former Khasi State areas of the United Khasi-Jaintia Hills immediately as in the absence of any control on the liquor traffic, drunkenness is spreading in the Khasi ills like wild fire, resulting in the widespread breakdown of the law and order situation. If the Act is not extended to the whole districts immediately, this Council will understand that the State Government is unwilling to control drinking in the district so that the tribals may remain a backward and morally degraded people”.
1962: The council sent a resolution to the Government of India condemning the unabashed and naked aggression of the Chinese on the sacred land of India and pledged its full support to the Prime Minister. The Council also contributed Rs. 2000 to the National Defence Fund as a token of collective responsibilities inspite of its limited resources then.
1963: Mr. Edwingson Bareh became the Chief Executive Member.
i. On September 14, a no Confidence Motion against the Executive Committee was passed by 11 members of the Council which had then a total numerical strength of 24 members. A case was filed before the High Court of Judicature in Assam and Nagaland (Civil rule No. 177 of 1963) by Mr. Edwingson Bareh and others (petitioners) versus Mr. Henry Cotton and others (respondents), challenging the validity of the no-confidence motion so passed. On 5-2-1964, the High Court delivered its ruling that the resolution of no-confidence motionpassed on 14th September was invalid as it was not passed by the majority of the members of the District Council, as prescribed under the Rules.
ii. Mr. W. Reade resigned as Chairman on September 14 and was re-elected on October 5 of the same year.
1964: On 23rd November, the Government of Assam, vide Notification NO.TAD/R/50/64, created a new Autonomous District to be known as the Jowai District by excluding the Jowai Sub-Division of the United Khasi-Jaintia Hills District with effect from 1st December and the boundaries of the Jowai District were the boundaries of the Jowai Sub-Division of the United Khasi-Jaintia District.
Petition against the above notification were filed before the High Court of Assam and Nagaland by Mr. Edwingson Bareh and other versus the State of Assam and other and later on, the case was brought before the Supreme Court which upheld the Government’s Notification to be constitutionally valid. The first session of the Jowai Autonomous District Council was held on the 8th April 1967, and Mr. Edwingson Bareh became the first Chief Executive Member.
1965: A Resolution was adopted supporting the Nation’s clarion call to combat against the Pakistani aggression and apprehension of the Chinese threat. A donation of Rs. 10,000 was sent towards the national Defence Fund.
1966: During Fecruary – March session, Mr. Gilfred S. Giri and Mr. W. Reade were elected as Chairman and Chief Executive Member respectively. (the term of the second Council had to be extended till 1967 due to non-completion of the delimitation of constituencies amongst other reasons).
1967: (i) After the 3rd General Elections, the District Council was re-constituted on 23.3.1967.
(ii) Mr. Rokendro Dkhar and Mr. Justman Swer were elected as Chairman and Chief Executive Member respectively.
(iii) A draft agreement concerning the Umiam Hydro Electric Project between the District Council and the Assam State Electricity Board was approved by the Council on August 5.
(iv) A Market Commission was constituted to enquire into the administration and functioning of the markets in the District with Mr. H. Hynniewta, M.L.A & M.D.C as its Chairman.
(v) A Resolution was also adopted impressing upon the Union Government to fulfill its commitment to the Hills people by immediately creating a separate Hill State since the Federal Plan had been rejected by the Assam Valley Politicians.
1968: (i) The formation of the Hill State people’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) as an opposition party in the District Council with Mr. H. S. Lyngdoh as its Leader.
(ii) Civil Appeal sNos. 1546 & 1547 of 1968 – District Council of United Khasi-Jaintia Hills & others versus Miss Sitimon Sawian & others in the matter of the United Khasi-Jaintia Hills District (Transfer of Land) Act, 1953.
1969: Civil Appeals Nos. 1475 & 1476 (NCM) of 1969 - The District Council, United Khasi-Jaintia Hills & onother –versus- Ka Dripsila Lyngdoh & others over the jurisdiction of the District Council at Bara Bazar.
1970: The Council welcomed the announcement made by the Prime Ministr of India in the Lok Sabha on November 10, to grant full statehood to Meghalaya.
1971: A new paragraph 12 A was inserted in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India.
i. A new District Council was re-constituted on May, 23.
ii. Mr. B. Wanniang and Mr. L. G. Shullai were elcted as Chairman and Chief Executive Member respectively.
iii. A Resolution was adopted to rename the District as the “Khasi Hills District” since the Jaintia Hills had been separated.
iv. A Midnight Session was held on the 14th & 15th August at the District Council Hall, to celebrate the twenty fifth Anniversary of the Independence of India.
1974: Mr. L. G. Shullai resigned as C.E.M on May 11 and Mr. B. Wanniang and Mr. J. Khongjoh became the new Chief Executive Member and Chairman of the Council respectively.
i. Mr. B. Wanniang resigned as C.E.M. on July
ii. During July-August, the District Council was under the Governor’s rule and Mr. J. M. Thangkhiew was appointed as the Administrator for that period.
iii. Mr. Rokendro Dkhar was elected as the Chief Executive Member on August 17, and remained in office till November 24.
iv. Mr. B. Wanniang was re-elected as the Chief Executive Member on November 26.
v. The vote on Account could not be passed in a meeting held on 1st December and the Council again was placed under the Governor’s rule till fresh elections in December 1978. R. T. W. Pakyntein and Mr. T. Budkma were appointed as the Administrators of the Council for the two separate periods during the overnor’s rule.
1978:The fifth General Election to the District Council was held in December.
i. The newly elected Council was constituted on February 12.
ii. The Council elected Mr. Latho Manik Syiem and Mr. B. Wanniang as Chairman and Chief Executive Member respectively.
iii. An Advisory Committee on Customary Laws constituted with Mr. G. S. Massar, MDC as Chairman and Mr. Rayland Singh Lyngdoh, MDC as Vice-Chairman. Other members of the Committee were: Mr. R. T. Rymbai, Mr. Kynpham Singh; Mr. L. Marbaniang, Advocate and Mr. B. Kharnaior, MDC. The Committee ceased functioning on the expiry of its terms.
iv. Mr. l. M. Syiem resigned as Chairman on November 8, and Mr. Dlosing Lyngdoh became the new Chairman on November 30.
i. A Resolution was passed urging upon the State Government and as well as the Central Government to bring forward necessary amendment for deletion of Paragraph 12A of the Sixth Schedule. Similar resolution was passed in 1994.
ii. The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (Khasi Social Custom of Lineage) Bill was passed. The Bill was returned by the Governor in 1987 with a message for its re-constitution.
iii. The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (Inheritance of Self Acquired Property) Bill was passed. Governor’s assent withheld vide Governor’s letter dated 29.3.1985.
1982: The Council implored upon the State Government to take serious steps for an early settlement of the boundary disputes between Assam and Meghalaya.
1984:(i) The District Council was constituted on March 29.
(ii) Mr. H. S. Lyngdoh and Mr. P. G. Marbaniang were elected as Chief Executive Member and Chairman respectively.
1986: A Resolution was adopted demanding that the Government of India and the Government of Meghalaya to take strong steps and concrete employment policy to ensure improvement in the recruitment of the indigenous tribals of Meghalaya in all Central government Offices, Public Sector undertakings and institutions in the State.
1987:(i) In its resolution the Council demanded that all the sixty seats to the State Assembly be treated / declared as Reserved Seats for the indigenous tribals.
(ii) Petition (s) for Special Leave to Appeal (Civil)/Criminal No. 8394 of 1987 – Bara Bazar Merchant & Shop Keepers Association versus Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council & others regarding jurisdiction of District Council over Bara Bazar.
1988: (i) Mr. P. G. Marbaniang resigned as Chairman on March 15 and Mr. B. Wanniang was elected as Chairman on March 24.
(ii) A resolution was sent demanding the Government of Assam to transfer all such territories/areas comprising of the erstwhile Khasi States under the Council’s jurisdiction to the State of Meghalaya.
(iii) Civil Appeal No. 1831 of 1988 – Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council & Others –versus- u Franciswell Syiem in the matter of the suspension of the Syiem.
1989: (i) The Seventh Council Election was constituted on March 27.
(ii) Mr. G. S. Massar and Mr. R. R. Makdoh became Chief Executive Member and Chairman respectively.
1991: In a meeting convened by the Chief Minister, Mr. B. B. Lyngdoh, on February 7, the Chief Executive Member of the District Council agreed to co-operate and coordinate with the State Government in the matter of Cadastral Survey of lands provided that the Survey did not affect the prevailing customs on land tenure system.
1992: (i) A resolution was passed resolving to hand-over formally to the State Government regarding the management and control of Primary Education and Primary Schools until such time that alternative arrangement could be made by the Central or State Government.
(ii) A resolution was adopted that with a view to expediting the recognition of Khasi language by the Sahitya Akademi and its inclusion in the Eight Schedule to the Constitution of India, the Council urged upon the State Government of Meghalaya to bring forward necessary legislation/ take necessary steps to make Khasi as an official / associate official language in the autonomous districts of Khasi and Jaintia Hills.
(iii) The Executive Committee led by Mr. G. S. Massar, Chief Executive Member lost the support of the majority of the members on March 20. The election to elect a new C.E.M could not be held within 48 hours as required under the rules as March 22 was a Sunday and the Chairman, therefore, fixed Monday, the 23rd March for holding the said election but the governor issued a Notification on March 22 appointing Mr. Rowell Lyngdoh as an acting C.E.M. A petition against the said Notification of the Government was filed before the High Court by Dr. F. A. Khonglam who was a candidate for Chief Executive Membership.
In its order, the Court directed that the election to elect a new C.E.M should be held within two weeks’ time. An election was held on April 4 and Mr. Rowell Lyngdoh was elected as CEM.
1993: (i) On 1st March, Mr. Rowell Lyngdoh vacated his office of the Chief Executive Member.
(ii) Mr. D. R. Nongkynrih was elected as a new Chief Executive Member on March 6.
(iii) A new Advisory Committee on Khasi Customary Laws was constitute to consider and submit proposals of codification or legislation of the Khasi Customary Laws. The Committee is actively still functioning and presently has the following members.
(1) Chairman, KHADC - Chairman
(2) E. M i/c Elaka Admn etc - Vice Chairman
(3) Leader of Opposition - Member
(4) Mr. G. S. Massar, Sr. Advocate - Member
(5) Mr. M. G. Lyngdoh, Advocate - Member
(6) Mr. E. W. Dkhar, retd. Director NES, AIR – Member
(7) Mr. S. S. Sawian, Editor of Apphira - Member
(8) Mr. R. S. Shadap, MCS (retd) - Member
(9) Mrs Sweetymon Rynjah - Member
(10) Dr (Mrs) H. Giri, NEHU - Member
(11) Mr. W. R. Laitflang, IAS (retd) - Member
(12) Secretary, KHADC - Secretary.
1994: (i) A newly elected Council was constituted on March 8.
(ii) Mr. R. R. Makdoh and Mr. D. R. Nongkynrih were re-elected as Chairman and Chief Executive Member respectively.
1995: The State Government was strongly urged upon by the Council to reclaim whenever possible, both used and unused lands within the occupation of Army Cantonments and under Defence Forces and to forthwith stop further geographical expansion of Defence establishments in the District. Similar resolutions were adopted in later years.
1996: (i) July – withdrawal of support to the Executive Committee led by Mr. D. R. Nongkynrih, C.E.M.
(ii) Mr. R. R. Makdoh resigned as Chairman and was elected as Chief Executive Member on August 2.
(iii) Mr. Y. K. Lyngdoh became the new Chairman on November 5.YK Lyngdoh
1997: (i) A fresh Bill on Khasi Custom of Lineage was passed. The Bill is yet to receive the assent of the Governor.
(ii) Writ Petition (C) No. 673 of 1977 – Non-tribal Youth Union & another –versus- the Union of India & Others challenging the validity of the United Khasi-Jaiñtia Hills District (Trading by Non-Tribals) Regulation 1954 as amended
1998: (i) Mr. R. R. Makdoh resigned as Chief Executive Member on February 27.
(ii) Mr. W. D. Lyngwi was elected as Chief Executive Member on March 5 and remained in Office till April 3.
(iii) The Khasi Hills Autonomous District (Leader of Opposition) (Salary and Allowance) Act, 1996. Mr. W. D. Lyngwi was the first recognized Leader of Opposition under this Act. Other members who had served as L. O. during different periods were Mr. I. G. Lyngkhoi and Mr. B. M. Lanong.
(iv) Mr. D R. Nongrih was re-elected as C.E.M on April 7 and resigned on august 17.
(v) Mr. W. D. Lyngwi was re-elected as C.E.M on August 24.
(vi) Mr. Y. K. Lyngdoh resigned as Chairman on May 4 and Mr. B. M. Lanong was elected as new Chairman on May 20.
1999: (i) The Ninth District Council was constituted on March 18.
(ii) Mr. B. M. Lanong was re-elected as Chairman.
(iii) Mr. W. D. Lyngwi was re-elected as the Chief Executive Member and resigned on October 27.
(iv) Mr. B. M. Lanong resigned as Chairman and bcame the new Chief Executive Member on October 29.
(v) Mr. H. Marwein was elected as Chairman on November 4.
(vi) Civil Appeal No. 41-42 of 1999 – Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council –versus- Pawan Sharma & others relating to Council’s jurisdiction over the areas comprised within the Shillong Municipality.
2000: (i) Mr. B. M. Lanong resigned as C.E.M on June 28.
(ii) Mr. W. D. Lygwi again became C.E.M. on July 10.
2002: (i) Mr. W. D. Lyngwi resigned as Chief Executive Member on January 25.
(ii) Mr. P. K. Raswai was elected as the new Chief Executive Member on February 7.
(iii) A report of the Inquiry Committee relating to the reported threat received by some members during October Session 2001 was submitted. In its findings, the Committee concluded that in view of a Press Release issued by the Hynniewtrep nation Liberation Council (H. N. L. C) rejecting any role in the said controversy, the reported threat was mischievously schemed by some unknown persons to malign the good image of the District Council for their personal interest, and the Committee, therefore, recommended that the matter be treated as closed.
(iv) The District Council celebrated its 50th Anniversary on June 27. The Golden Jubilee Year celebration was inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Meghalaya of Meghalaya, Dr. F. A. Khonglam, who was also a former member of the District Council.
(v) An office room within the Council building for the Chiefs of Elakas was opened by the Chairman, Mr. H. Marwein on November 6.
(vi) Review Petition (Civil) No. 1327 of 2002 - Non-Tribal Youth Union & another –versus- the Union of India & others. The review Petition was dismissed.
(vii) Civil Appeal No. 4882/2002 – Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council –versus- Charlesstone Sohtun & others in the matter of suspension of u Laborious Manik Syiem, Syiem of Mylliem.
2003: (i) A special session was summoned by the Governor on April 16, to prove the majority of the Chief Executive Member, P. K. Raswai. Mr. Raswai resigned as C.E.M on the same day.
(ii) Mr. W. D. Lyngwi was elected as the Chief Executive Member on April 22. And he was suddenly demised by an accident on December 11.
2004: (i) Mr. G. G. Syiemlieh was elected as a caretaker on January…, for the term of four months, to look upon the administration of the Council.
(ii) The Tenth Council General Election was constituted on ………..
(iii) Mr. Prestone Tynsong and Mr. M. Pyrbot was elected as the new Chief Executive Member and Chairman respectively.
(iv) Workshop on Capacity Building was held on the 1st to 3rd September, 2004 at the MDC’ Hostel Conference Hall, KHADC, Shillong.
2005: (i) Mr. Prestone Tynsong elected as a new Chief Executive Member on 24.02.2004 and resigned on 27.07.2004
(ii) Mr. H. S. Shylla was elected as a new Chief Executive Member on 28.07.2004. and resigned on 05.02.2008.
(iii) Mr. C.B. Syiem was elected as a new Chief Executive Member on 07.02.2008
2009: (i) Dr. C. Lyngdoh was elected as new Chief Executive Member on 23.02.2009.
(ii) Mr. Manstudy Nongrem was elected as new Chief Executive Member in place of Dr. C.Lyngdoh on 08.06.2009
2010: (i) Shri. Pynshngainlang Syiem was elected as new Chief Executive Member on 20.08. 2010