GoI refusal to exempt CMN Act 1973 from Meghalaya is violation of Federal spirit of India:John

Shillong, Sept 20: The Government of India refusal to exempt Coal Mines Nationalisation Act 1973 from Meghalaya is violation of Federal spirit of India said Mr John F Kharsiing Chairman, Grand Council of Chiefs of Meghalaya, Spokesperson, Federation of Khasi States in the press statement issued today.

In the press statement Mr John pointed out that, the Status Report submitted on Behalf of the Union of India before the Hon’ble Supreme Court  by the Under Secretary, Ministry of Coal, Government of India reveals the actual difficulty of the State Government both past and present including the Central Government in resolving, recognising the ownership over the Minerals in the Khasi Jaintia and Garo Hills of Meghalaya due to the constitutional anomaly existing within the Constitution of India vis-a-vis the non-fulfillment of a conditional Instrument of Accession and Annexed Agreement on 17th August 1948 entered into between the Federation of Khasi States and the Government of India (refer Khasi States – Constitutional anomaly in the First Schedule of the Constitution of India)

A letter  No.38028/3/2014CA-II dated 8th May 2018, from the Under Secretary Ministry of Coal, Government of India, addressed to the Chief Secretary, Govt of Meghalaya stated quote ” 1. I am directed to refer to Hon’ble Chief Ministers D.O. No. PLR 91/2017/Pt6 dated 13 April 2018, requesting therewith inter-alia for issuance of a Presidential Notification under Paragraph 12A(B), of Sixth Schedule of Constitution to exempt applicability of MMDR Act 1957 in respect of Meghalaya.

In this connection it is informed that the said proposal was earlier examined in the ministry and accordingly a meeting was held on 30.01.2017 to discuss the issues under the Chairmanship of Secretary (Coal) with Secretary (Mines) , JS (MOEF) , CMD CIL and CMD CMPDIL, Chief Secretary and Additional Chief Secretary, State Government of Meghalaya .

After detailed deliberation on various options for mining the only viable option in the present Statutory regime found to be mining by State Government Corporations. The State Government Corporations can be allocated the local coals block in the State under current previous of Law. The State Government Corporations can involve the local communities  or land owners through any suitable arrangement that is either by making them shareholder in the corporation or entering into contractual agreements with them for revenue or/profit sharing or any other mode found suitable in the context of State.”

Similarly a recent affidavit by the Union of India submitted before the Hon’ble Supreme Court states at para; quote “29. The Government of Meghalaya’s different stand vide the above three letters dated 2.12.2017, dated 13.04.2018 and dated 18.07.2018, despite agreeing to the decisions taking in the meeting dated 1.12.2016 and with Secy(coal) on 30.01.2017 , will require the examination of the proposal of Government of Meghalaya afresh and will take some time as it requires consultation with various concerned Ministries and  Department of Government of India.   30. Hence, the Union of India is Bonafidely filling the present status Report in terms of the Order dated 02.04.2018 passed by his Hon’ble Court.”

The Federation of Khasi States urge the Hon’ble Chief Minister and his Cabinet colleague to also seek exemption not only on the basis of the weak Paragraph 12A(B) of Sixth Schedule of Constitution but on the basis of the  conditional Instrument of Accession and Annexed Agreement on 17th August 1948 entered into between the Federation of Khasi States and the Government of India (refer Khasi States – Constitutional anomaly in the First Schedule of the Constitution of India).

The National Commission for Schedule Tribes based on a petition from the Federation of Khasi States, and after prolonged hearings issued a directive on 26th April 2012 to the Ministry of Home Affairs, government of India to incorporate the Annexed Agreement under a special Article into the Constitution of India. Similarly a petition filed by the Federation of Khasi States before the National Human Rights Commission confirmed the  “matter to be within the Legislative competence of Parliament. The petitioner may approach the Government for redressal of their grievance.” unquote.

It is a violation of the concept of the Federal system of Government when the Central Government refuses to comply with the two unanimous official resolution of the State Assembly supported by all 60 MLAs. There needs to be a Constitutional amendment to provide provisions for mandatory compliance of State Resolutions in a Federal Structure, otherwise it will be a Constitution of the Majority by the Majority for only the Majority communities of India. Said Bah John F Kharshiing,Chairman, Grand Council of Chiefs of Meghalaya,Spokesperson, Federation of Khasi States.


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