KHNAM demands special session on Roster System

April 5, 2023 by MT Bureau

Staff Reporter

Shillong, April 5: The Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) today demanded Governor Phagu Chauhan to call for a special session for a discussion on the roster system in the State Assembly.

This came after the Meghalaya High Court had dismissed a PIL with a note that the decision for a cut-off date or how far back the roster system would be made applicable was left at the discussion of the State Assembly.

“Therefore, in the interest of the general public at large we strongly demand that the Governor of Meghalaya call for a special session under article 174 of the constitution of India so that the matter is allowed to be discussed in length at the Legislative Assembly,” KHNAM vice president Thomas Passah said in a statement.

Passah said that the Court has apparently made it clear that it was up to the legislative to have a discussion in length and breadth on the subject matter.

He however said that the Speaker of the House has not allowed the discussion to be held in the last concluded Budget Session, which clearly implies that the MDA-1 and MDA-2 is fighting all out to ensure that the State Reservation Policy (SRP) and subsequently the Roster prepared was to benefit only a section community in the state.

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“Right from the induction of the SRP we have seen that there has been an injustice done to the Khasi and Jaintia Communities,” he alleged.

Passah, while mentioning a few instances, said, the SRP Resolution dated January 12, 1972, clearly stated that the reservation is to be done based on the population of the communities while also ensuring maintenance of administrative efficiency.

“The population of Khasi and Jaintia was 4,88,350 and of the Garo Communities was 3,25,872 as per the census 1972, therefore, allocation of equal percentage of 40 per cent each is not justified and violation of the clause of the SRP itself,” he added.

Further, the KHNAM leader alleged that the reserved quota for Garo Communities has been allowed to be carried forward multiple times.

“Initially, it was allowed to be carried over for one year vide O.M PER/222/71/141 dated 20 Apr 1972 and further the reserved quota for Garo Community was allowed to be carried over for the total of three years vide O.M PER(AR)/654/79/15 dated 12 Sep 1979. The State Government vide O.M PER (AR)/654/79/15 dated 12 Sep 1979 has also allowed special recruitment for the Garo Communities. This does not stop here, further the O.M PER 222/72/163 dated 28 May 1974 also allowed the 40% quota allocated to the Garo Community to be extended to candidates who do not belong to the Garo community and to Candidate from outside the State,” he said.

The initial SRP dated January 12, 1972, stated that: “If a sufficient number of suitable candidates for filling up the particular year are not available, then such vacancies will be available to others”.

“However, this provision has been manipulated and tampered with multiple times which is not only seen as an injustice to the Khasi and Jaintia Community but also a violation to the SRP itself which talks about “Administrative Efficiency”, Passah said.

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On the talking point “the Roster System”, the KHNAM leader also alleged that “the state Government (MDA-1) have introduced the Roster System retrospectively is seen as a political move pre 2023 General Election and it has been implemented by violating several proviso of Reservation Policy and its OM issued from time to time,” while adding that “the Roster System prepared have included in it the reservation that has been treated as lapsed as per the Notifications issued by the Personnel Department, therefore, it’s illegal.”

Yesterday, the division bench headed by Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee dismissed a PIL filed by one Greneth M Sangma without going into the merits of the matter pertaining to the roster system for reserved seats in the State and said, “The Court may be called upon to look into the matter at a more appropriate stage.”

The Court said the judicial notice needs to be taken of the discussions pertaining to the roster in the new Assembly.

“However, it does not appear that any decision has yet been taken as to a cut-off date or the like or how far back the roster system would be made applicable. These are policy matters that are best left to the legislature and the executive and upon a firm stand being taken, it will be open to any citizen affected thereby to question the propriety thereof in accordance with law,” it had said while adding that “As of now, and without a decision in such regard having been taken by the Assembly which is actively discussing the matter, the present petition should not be entertained.”

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