Defying Meghalaya HC, Chieftains Issue NOCs

Published: 02nd February 2015 06:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd February 2015 06:11 AM   |  A+A-

GUWAHATI:Retaliating to a recent Meghalaya High Court order, village chiefs’ association Synjuk Ki Rangbah Shnong has decided to continue issuing No Objection Certificates (NOCs) to locals who are “in need of such documents”.

The association said the decision to do so was taken in the interest of the residents.

“We learnt that headmen in several villages are still being approached by the people seeking residential certificates for opening bank accounts and other purposes,” association president Werlok Kharshiing told reporters.

The group’s vice-president, H Syiem, said they had not yet received any official communiqué from authorities directing them not to issue certificates. The village chiefs in the state started the practice of issuing NOCs in the late 1980s.

Hearing a case, the court had ruled that the headmen did not derive any right from law or the Constitution to issue NOCs. The court was miffed that the headmen were running a “parallel government”.

However, the ruling had not gone down well with the Chief Executive Member of Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council Adelbert Nongrum, who challenged it saying the court had a “hidden agenda” against the decades-old customary laws and practices of the tribals. However, the court dismissed his charge.

“This court is not against any custom or practice unless it is unreasonable. Customs  cannot be rigid, they must be flexible and change with the times as per the requirements of the people. It is also a fact that, there was no such practice for a headman to issue NOCs or to interfere in the work of the district administration or police prior to the 80s,” Justice S R Sen had said.

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