Meghalaya is a State composed mainly by three Autonomous Districts and a small portion of an areas known as Normal Areas of Shillong (Shillong Catonment Areas, European Ward, Jail Road and Police Bazar). Out of the three Autonomous District, two Autonomous District Council viz. Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council and Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council are already covered by the Eastern Bengal Frontier Regulation, 1873; the only matter left is for the Governor to announce the date or dates and the area or areas to which the Inner Line Permit will be enforce, this is as per the Ruling of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of The State Government and Ors. Vrs Ka Byrhien Kurkalang and Ors. [AIR 1972 SC 223, (1972) 1 SCC 148, 1972 2 SCR 506, 1972 (4) UJ 262 SC]. This is the excerpt from the said ruling – Quote “17. The effect of the Regulation was that the competent legislative authority, in this case the Governor, selected certain laws enumerated in the Schedule for their being applied to District Council. It, however, left to the Governor to decided on what date or dates and to which part or parts of the District any one or more of them should be extended and brought into force. The Regulation itself determined which laws were to be applied in the District. The only matter left to the Governor was the time when and the area to which they or any more of them should be extended. The Regulation came into force at once and continued to remain in force even after the District Council was set up; 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.” Unquote
The only Autonomous District Council not covered by the said Regulation of 1873 is the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council which the Government has to come out by a separate legislation.
The urgency to implement the Inner Line Permit now comes from two main reasons : i) The provision in the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 has clearly stated that Meghalaya being a State where Sixth Schedule is being in operational is exempted from the provisions of CAA 2019. As such the Autonomous District Councils has to abide by the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court to protect itself from any kind of influx. ii) The entire North Eastern States (Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Parts of Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram) have been well protected by the said Regulation of 1873. As such the only State which is left out is our Meghalaya. The reason behind this, is crystal clear : Meghalaya has to be another Non-Tribal State like Tripura as could be understood from the twisted news item appeared today (16.12.19) in the Shillong Times under the caption – Centre may exempt entire State from CAA – where it is written Quote “For the Central government, it will be easier to bring the remaining parts of Shillong under Sixth Schedule rather than accepting ILP.” Unquote
HS Shylla, Ex CEM KHADC.