SHILLONG, Jan 31: Notwithstanding the recent ruling by the Meghalaya High Court, a conglomeration of traditional heads under the banner of the Synjuk Ki Rangbah Shnong (SKRS) on Saturday unanimously decided to continue issuing certificates and demanded the Meghalaya government to grant ‘official recognition’ to the dorbar institutions.
The meeting which was attended by headmen from over 100 dorbar shnongs also resolved to constitute a Joint Action Committee (JAC) to take up the matter with the state government and District Council.
“The JAC will soon meet the state government and Chief Minister Dr. Mukul Sangma to discuss the matter, the date of which will be decided on its sitting slated on February 4,” SKRS president W Kharshiing told pressmen after a meeting held here on Saturday.
The SKRS comprises 38 dorbar shnongs and 62 associate members (dorbar shnongs from suburbs areas).
He informed that the Committee, at the same time, is also tasked with the responsibility to pressurize the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) to speed up the process of resubmitting the Khasi Hills District (Village Administration) Bill, 2014, to ensure it gets the approval and assent of the Governor at the earliest.
According to him, the meeting in one voice felt that the state government should give official recognition to the traditional institutions including headmen in view of the fact that the government cannot avoided their assistance.
“It is high time for the state government to give us ‘official recognition’,” he said in this regard.
Kharshiing said that the headmen have further decided to continue issuing certificates to residents in their respective jurisdictions.
“We will continue to issue certificates to residents if they require the same as instructed by any government department or financial institution such as banks,” he said.
It may be recalled here that the Meghalaya High Court in its order passed on December 10, last year has directed the state government and its district administrations to refrain from asking people to obtain No Objection Certificates (NOCs) from headmen even as it asked the former to carry out their duties independently as per rules and laws.
Despite the ruling, he however revealed that the residents are still coming to the headmen for various certificates.
“The State Bank of India (SBI) till today is still asking the people for residential certificates from the headmen,” the president claimed.
In addition to this, the SKRS vice president H Syiem questioned that how the Deputy Commissioner (DC) East Khasi Hills District can circulate an order that a headman certificate is not required while at the same time invite headmen to participate in the upcoming meeting to discuss on the National Population Registration (NPR) slated on February 11.
“This is a controversial situation which we fail to understand,” Syiem said while adding, “The same person is saying don’t entertain our certificates while still seeking assistance from the headmen.”
He said, “Till now, the government still seeks our assistance for implementing the national pulse polio campaign in the state,” while adding, “Therefore, we reiterate that there is need for official recognition to the dorbar shnong.”
Asked, the leaders of the SRKS categorically maintained that they are not ready to file any appeal on the ruling of the court.
So far, only the KHADC has filed an appeal before the division bench while its counterpart in Jaintia Hills is yet to take a call on the matter.
“The state government who has been silent on the matter all this while, should also contest the ruling,” opined the headmen.