5-decade border issue : Supreme Court Halts Meghalaya HC decision

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Today, the bench of the Supreme Court comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala, and Justice PS Narasimha halts the order of Meghalaya High Court. An interim stay was put by the Meghalaya High Court on the MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) signed for settling the border dispute between the two states. The HC claimed that this agreement violates the provisions of the Constitution’s sixth schedule related to the “Administration of Tribal Areas” in the North East States. MoU was signed by the Chief Ministers of Assam and Meghalaya, Himanta Biswa Sarma and Conrad K Sangma, on March 29, 2022, with the motive of demarcating the border in six out of 12 contested locations that were the cause of tension between them. Through further investigation, it was analyzed that no development benefits were provided to these villages or areas as they neither belong to Assam nor Meghalaya. In 1972, Meghalaya was carved out as a separate state from Assam. This separation challenged the Assam Reorganization Act of 1971 which further lead to disputes in 12 border locations.  While hearing the case, Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General of India, submitted the signed MoU and stated that “When Meghalaya was separated from Assam, some boundary issues were decided politically. These are all decision in the political thicket.” The Chief Justice of India declared that “The interim stay was not warranted. Notice shall be issued to respondents. Keep it after two weeks. Meanwhile there shall be stay on the order of the single judge.”  

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