Government vs KHADC: Clash of authority or egos?


They say a man with two wives is often burdened with tensions one after the other, similarly, Meghalaya being a state which is governed by two administrative bodies—state government and the autonomous district councils, often encounters the same fate.

Past incidences in the state stand testimony to this fate. The continuous tug of war between the two has dragged the political state of affairs into a mess, getting the people involved into their political entanglement.

When confronted, each defends its point of view as relevant in a democratic country like India. As both are empowered as per the Indian constitution, the power to govern is thereby divided between two parties just like a man would divide his properties between his two wives.

Caught in the web of confusion, the people ultimately reap the fruits of any differences arising between the two. Let's not forget that the tiff between the government and the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council is nothing but clash of egos.

Who has more power? Well the answer is still debatable. The recent clash between the two over the decision of the former to amend the Meghalaya Services (Conduct) Rules is probably an invitation for more tension and dispute and claim for jurisdiction and so on so forth.

There seems to be no end to the issue of 'Who is more eligible to codify the powers of a Rangbah Shnong and the traditional institutions?'

It is a known fact that the traditional institution has been in existence for generations in Meghalaya, the powers of which are being distributed respectively amongst different governing bodies—Hima (kindship), Dorbar Shnong, Rangbah Shnong, Executive Committee.

Hence, Democracy is nothing new for the people of Meghalaya; it has been practiced even before India attained Independence. But the question arises "Can they still perform their duties at this present age and not get caught in a legal entanglement?"

The answer is 50-50. They can very well organise and maintain discipline in the society but they do not have the legal power to grant any certificates. This problem should have been fixed a long time ago, but it takes a stern order from the Meghalaya High Court to realise this requirement.

Soon after entering the realisation mode, the state witnessed a breach of trust between the government and the KHADC. What followed next is history; Claims after claims, amendments after amendments and policies after policies.

This dispute between the two has also provided a chance for some politicians to take advantage of the whole situation thereby resulting in political instability. This trend is clearly visible within the KHADC whereby shift of allegiance by members of the council is more or like a daily affair.

The recent Black Flag Day observed by members of the KHADC in protest against the State Cabinet's decision to amend the Meghalaya Services (Conduct) Rules has raised many an eyebrow as unity amongst members of the council was absent.

How can a family fix an external problem if its members are not united? Similarly, how can the district council perform its duty of preserving the indigenous rights of the people of the state if its members are disarrayed? Well, the KHADC first needs to clear the air of suspicions and instability before it decides to make a clarion call to protect the rights and powers passed on from generations.

'A house divided against itself cannot stand"– American President Abraham Lincoln.

(By Ibankyntiew Mawrie)

(Featured Image courtesy: JD's image –