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INTRODUCTION

 

Introduction: The hill state of Meghalaya came into being on 21st January 1972, carved out of the then composite state of Assam. It encompasses three distinct autonomous areas known as the Garo Hills, the Khasi Hills and the Jaintia Hills, each predominantly inhabited by the three ethnic major tribes, viz., the Garo Tribes, the Khasi Tribes and the Jaintia Tribes respectively. Today, the Garo Hills have been subdivided into three districts, the Khasi Hills into another three and the Jaintia Hills remains a single unit.

 State of Meghalaya is the only State in the North East, the entire area of which is governed by the Provisions of Sixth Schedule (except Cantonment and Municipality of Shillong). United Khasi-Jaintia Hills District and Garo HillsDistrict were parts of tribal area of Assam having been placed at serial no. I an2 of Part A of the table appended to paragraph 20 of the Sixth Schedule, as originally enacted.

An autonomous State of Meghalaya within the State of Assam was formed by the Assam Reorganisation (Meghalaya) Act, 1969 comprising of the United Khasi-Jaintia Hills District and the Garo Hills District. This Act also inserted paragraph 12A making special provisions with respect to application of lawsmade by the Parliament and the State Legislature to the tribal areas in Meghalaya.

The States in the North Eastern Region were reconstituted by the North Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Act 1971 and State of Meghalaya was formed comprising of (a) the territories which immediately before that day were comprised in the autonomous State of Meghalaya and (b) so much of the territories comprised within the cantonment and municipality of Shillong, as did not form part of that autonomous State. The table appended to paragraph 20 was divided into three parts. Part II of the table covered the tribal areas of the State of Meghalaya as under:

1.        United Khasi-Jaintia Hills District.

2.        Jowai District.

3.        Garo Hills District.

The Governor of Meghalaya altered the names of 'the United Khasi-Jaintia Hills District' as 'the Khasi Hills District'; and the name of 'the Jowai District' as 'the Jaintia Hills District' by notification dated 14-6-19733 issued under paragraph 1 (3)(ff) of the Sixth Schedule.

It is pertinent to note that Part XXI of the Constitution does not contain any special provision with regard to the State of Meghalaya unlike other States in the North East. However, paragraph 12A was inserted by the Assam Reorganisation (Meghalaya) Act, 1969 with the formation of autonomous State of Meghalaya within the State of Assam making special provisions with respect to application of laws in Meghalaya. As per sub paragraph 1(a) if the laws made by the District Council under paragraph 3(1)(b) (the management of any forest not being reserved forest) and under paragraph 3(1)(c) (the use of any canal or water course for the purpose of agriculture) is repugnant to any law made by the Assam Legislature "with respect to any project declared by the legislature of that State to be of State importance" then the law made by the District Council to the extent of repugnant shall be void. Sub paragraph 1(b) provided for supremacy of the law made by the Meghalaya Legislature over the laws made by the District Council in matters specified in paragraph 3(1)(b) (the management of any forest not being reserved forest), paragraph 3(1)(c) (the use of any -anal or water course for the purpose of agriculture) and paragraph 3(1) (f) (any other matter relating to village and town administration, including village and town police and public health and sanitation). Sub paragraph (2) and (3) empowered the legislature of Meghalaya to make laws on any subject covered by paragraph (3) if so requested by two or more District Council or Regional Councils in Meghalaya. Under sub paragraph (4), the Governor was given power, with respect to any Act of the Legislature of Assam, and the President was given power, with respect to any Act of Parliament, to issue notification, directing that the any Act will not apply to Meghalaya or shall apply with such exception or modification, as may be specified in the notification, with prospective or retrospective effect.

Paragraph 12A after being substituted by the North Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Act, 19715 provides that if any law or regulation made by the District or Regional Council under paragraph 3, 8 or 10 is repugnant to the law made by the Meghalaya Legislature, then the law or regulation made by the District or Regional Council, to the extent of repugnancy be void and the law made by the State Legislature shall prevail. With respect to Acts of Parliament, the power of President to issue notification directing that the any Act will not apply to Meghalaya was retained.

As of now, there are following of District Councils in the State of Meghalaya:

1.       Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council.

2.       Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council.

3.       Garo Hills Autonomous District Council.

 

 

This site was last updated 05/21/15

 

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