Guwahati, Dec 15: The Meghalaya High Court last week put an interim stay on the execution of the Assam-Meghalaya border pact, which was entered into between two States subsequent to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) dated 29.03.2022.
The MoU turned into signed through Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Meghalaya counterpart Conrad Sangma to resolve the long-standing interstate boundary dispute, in particular in respect of six areas.
The arrangement dictated Assam preserving 18.49 square kilometres of land, with Meghalaya keeping 18.28 square kilometres of land, for the 36.79 square kilometres of total land.
Justice H. S. Thangkhiew passed the interim order on a plea moved by Tribal Chiefs, claiming that the MoU violates provisions of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution which relates to the ‘Administration of Tribal Areas’ in NE States.
The petitioners said that if the MoU is gone through and demarcation is effected physically, their petition will be rendered infructuous.
The application was opposed by the respondents arguing that no interim orders have been required for the reason that petitioners had no locus to challenge the MoU in the first place and since no irreparable loss would be caused to them, should the MoU move forward.
The High Court however stated that an objection in the form of an affidavit is necessary to be filed. Thus, it granted an interim stay in favor of the petitioners, effectively halting the operation of the MoU and the construction of boundary pillars thereof.
“During the intervening period, no physical demarcation or erection of boundary posts at the ground, pursuant to the MoU dated 29.03.2022 will be carried out, until the subsequent date,” i.e., February 6, 2023.