Proceedings of the Emergent Session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly held at 9 a. m. on the 6th May, 1975, in the Assembly Chamber, Shillong with the Speaker in the Chair.
Mr. Speaker :- Let us begin the business of the day. And since there are no questions, I am to announce that I have received notice from Mr. W. Syiemiong who decided to raise a very important urgent matter during Zero Hour today. Mr. Syiemiong.
Shri Syiemiong :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, actually the object of my raising this particular question is to seek clarification from the Government because I understand that certain persons within the District of Khasi Hills and in different places also have recently, within the last one week been raided by officials of both Central and State Governments. As far as I understand many of these people do not now the reason why these raids were conducted in their houses in the early hours of the morning. There were rumors a float; but then we can hardly rely on these rumors that some of them were contractor and there were defalcations of huge amount of money from certain Divisions with probably the connivance or without the connivance of the Executive Engineers concerned. That may be actually a fact or may not be, but the point is, even it is a fact, I wonder and the people also wonder why only certain persons in that case- their houses were raided. Some of these people have got two houses and both the houses were raided on the same day. As far as I understand there are many contractors whose houses wee raided in the same way and there are others also whose houses were not raided even when their cases are genuine.
Mr. Speaker :- In what places?
Shri W. Syiemiong :- One in Mawsynram, one in Nongthliew, one in Kench's Trace and one in Shillong; that is as far as I know, Sir. Had it been a case of the type of case like Haji Mastaan where a huge and vast smuggling is going on then naturally, Sir, we understand that Government should do something because these people indulge in such activities. But, Sir, it appears there is no rhyme or reason whatever for Government to conduct such raids and so we would like to know the reason.
Mr. Speaker :- Will the Minister-in-charge of Law make a statement on this?
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Law) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, it has come to the notice of the Government that in the course of investigation of some cases registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation, Government of India on the basis of the complaints against certain officials for the acts done by them relating to the period 1969-71, the houses of a new business-men in Shillong and also in some other parts of Khasi Hills were searched by the officers of Central Bureau of Investigation. The Central Bureau of Investigation officers had taken the necessary search warrant from the Magistrate and the search was conducted in the presence of responsible witnesses. It is further learnt that the houses searched belong to both tribals and non-tribals. Apart from Shillong, the searches were conducted in Mawsynram and Nongthliew in Meghalaya and also in Gauhati and same day viz., 27th April, 1975. At the request of the Central Bureau of Investigation, some members of the State Police were deputed to the places concerned in Meghalaya as a routine precautionary measure.
On the 5th May, 1975 some of the persons whose houses were searched met the Chief Minister, Meghalaya, and alleged that while conducing the searches, the officers acted in excess of their powers. The matter will be looked into the action, as deemed appropriate, will be taken.
Shri W. Syiemiong :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may I ask for a clarification? I understand from the reply of the Minister that the searches were conducted at the instances of the Central Bureau of Investigation. But then as far as I know there are other parties from the Income Tax and Customs Departments. There are other parties other than the Central Bureau of Investigation. I do not know what connection they have with this search.
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Law) :- These are mainly witnesses taken by the CBI in the search.
Shri W. S. Syiemiong :- Is it a procedure that certain personnel should be taken from the Customs by the CBI?
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Law) :- Any respectable person could be taken.
Shri Maham Singh :- May we know in what connection?
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Law) :- Cases were registered against them in connection with the works done by them during the period 1969-71.
Shri H. Hadem :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, we could not catch the exact date of the search.
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Law) :- 27th April, 1975.
Shri W. S. Syiemiong :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, may we know the names of the persons whose houses were searched?
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Law) :- I cannot give the details.
Mr. Speaker :- Let us pass on to the next item. Prof. M.N. Majaw to call the attention of the Minister in charge of Revenue to a news item appearing in Assam Tribune relating to the border dispute between Assam and Meghalaya. The hon. Member is not present, but if the Minister would like to make a statement on this, he may do so.
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Law) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, we do not know how far the newspaper report corresponds to the exact statement said to have certain differences with the Assam Government in certain sectors of the border between Assam and Meghalaya. We have particularly the vexed question of Blocks I and II in Mikir Hills District which the Government of Assam had since 1957 decided to reconsider and directed the two District Councils concerned to conduct a joint enquiry and survey of the Areas with a view to retransfer certain portion of Blocks I and II to the the parent district, viz., the United Khasi and Jaintia Hills District. The Joint enquiry was conducted but its findings and recommendations have not been accepted or implemented till today. After the creation of Meghalaya, the Government of Meghalaya pursued this matter. In the meeting at the Chief Ministers and the Ministers' levels in 1970 and 1971, it was again decided to have a joint enquiry by the officials of the two Governments. It is regretted that the Government of Assam have not up till now come forward to implement the decision for joint enquiry.
In some other border areas also we have certain differences with regard to the interpretation and demarcation of the boundary lines. The Government of Meghalaya has written and suggested to the Government of Assam for a joint demarcation but the response from the Government of Assam was very slow. We have also taken steps to arrange meetings at the Minister's level to discuss all controversies and settle peacefully and amicably all these differences.
Mr. Speaker :- Let us pass on to the next item. The Chief Minister to move a resolution.
Ratification of the Constitution (Thirty-eight Amendment) Bill, 1975
Shri W.A. Sangma (Chief Minister) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I beg to move that this House ratifies the amendments to the Constitution of India falling within the purview of the proviso to clause (2) of Article 368 there of, proposed to be made by the Constitution (Thirty-eight Amendment) Bill, 1975, as passed by the two Houses of Parliament, which seeks to make Sikkim a State in the union and the short title of which has been changed into the "Constitution (Thirty-sixth Amendment) Act, 1975".
Mr. Speaker :- Motion moved.
Prof M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I may be allowed to say a few words on this resolution. As a matter of fact, it is practically a fait accompli but we would like to make a few observations on the principles involved in it an the manner in which it is brought about. I am referring, Mr. Speaker, Sir, to the Statement of Objects and reasons given on page 5 of the copy of the Bill as introduced in the Lok Sabha. We are told that the Sikkim Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution on the 10th of April, 1975, and that the context of the resolution was that the institution of the Chagyal is hereby abolished and Sikkim shall hence forth be a constituent unit of India enjoying a democratic and fully responsible Government. Now, in the next paragraph, we are told that it was decided that this should be submitted to the people of Sikkim for their approval and a special opinion poll be conducted by the Government of Sikkim on the 14th April, 1975, resulting in the total of 59.637 votes in favour and 97,000 people. Now this aspect of it although as I say, is now practically a fait accompli - makes some of us pause or think twice about the manner in which this poll was held. Even in an advanced country like Great Britain where........
Mr. Speaker :- Prof. Majaw, I think you do remember that according to the convention of the Houses we cannot take up any discussion on anything that that happens in any other countries. The poll that was conducted in Sikkim was at the time when Sikkim was not a part of India.
Prof M.N. Majaw :- That may be true Mr. Speaker, Sir, but since this Bill has been placed on the Table of the House and since the Statement of Objects and Reasons has been incorporated in it, I m not bringing any extraneous material. It is a part of the objects and reasons and I am only observing on the haste and the manner in which it has been brought about. How could the opinion of the people be really ascertained within 4 days - actually, in 3 days? Even in a country like a Great Britain-and there they have a referendum as to when to hold the next election or whether England should remain in the European Common Market- they have allowed two months' time and that too in a country with television service, radio networks, etc.; whereas, in a country such as ours where we do not have these facilities only 3 days' notice had been given. So, Sir, how was the opinion of the people ascertained? You might say as a bye-thought or an after thought, but it is still in the Statement of Objects and Reasons. We are only mentioning this because of the likelihood that when a party is in power with an overwhelming this majority, it might be like the sword of Damocles hanging in other parts of the country where suddenly the the constitutional framework or set-up may be changed with a mere brute majority without without properly finding out or ascertaining the wishes of the people. We only want to ensure that in future, when such drastic changes are brought about-particularly , in this part of India like Sikkim where communications are poor-that such sudden changes will not be brought about in such haste. Now, other hon. Members may have other views to express, of course but we, ultimately having gone through this Bill and ultimately having read what has been stated in the papers and also having listened to the B.B.C. commentary with perhaps all this feminine politics between the wife of the Chief Minister and the wife of the Ghogyal - both foreigners (Laughter) having listened to and read all these, we also give our approval to this resolution.
Mr. Speaker :- I do not think the Chief Minister will reply to what the hon. Member has stated because whatever was conducted in Sikkim is purely and primarily their concern at the time when the Constitution of India was not in force in that region. So, let me put the question before the House. The question is that this House artifices the amendments to the Constitution of India falling within the purview of the proviso to clause (2) of Article 368 thereof, proposed to be made by the Constitution (Thirty-eight Amendment) Bill, 1975, as passed by the two Houses of Parliament, which seeks to make Sikkim a State in Union and the short title of which has been changed into "the Constitution (Thirty-sixth Amendment) Act, 1975".
(The motion was carried and the resolution was passed).
Let us pass on to the next item. Last time the resolution moved by Prof. Majaw was fully debated but the Minister could not have time to reply during the last Session. Now, he Minister-in-charge.
Shri Hopingstone Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, we want to continue. At least, the subject-matter is in the mist of the discussion and some of us from this side would like to participate.
Mr. Speaker :- I do not say that I will not allow if the Hon. Members from all sides of the House have still some more points to contribute. So the resolution is still open for discussion. (After a pause) I think nobody would like to participate.
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, while I would like to give my support to this resolution I would like to point out here that in our Shillong Town we are having vagabonds and it is as if flooded here. Some of them are even suffering from various diseases I would like to request the Government that it should either take them to Shillong-especially the diseases or even dysentery-as they make the streets dirty thereby affecting the health of the people. So what is better is to take them out outside the State.
Mr. Speaker :- Do you mean to say to throw them to the responsibility of some other States?
Shri Rowell Lyngdoh :- No Sir, I mean to find out some other places where the Government can look after them. We must find out whether they want to stay in this State or they want to go to other States. Besides that, these vagabonds are roaming freely here and we do not know what trade or business that they are doing here. We find there are plenty of them and so it is the duty of the State Government to find out what are their business and trade. I would like to suggest that these people should also b checked and he police and other agencies should be very strict in dealing with these persons. With these few words, I support the resolution.
Shri Jormanik Syiem :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, I would like to make some observations on this resolution because I did not get chance during the last session. It cannot be denied that the presence of beggars here in Shillong is a menace, but how are we to tackle this problem, Sir. I cannot agree with the Hon. member who had suggested just to throw them out from the State. But some legislation will be necessary if the Government introduces a Bill as to how the beggars in Shillong and vagabonds in Meghalaya should be prevented from coming in. I think this would be a much better procedure to keep a check on them, If the Government thinks that they do not like to introduce such a Bill it may be possible for any private Member to introduce it in the next session after going through the situation whether we can introduce or pass such an Act to check or stop the beggars from coming to Shillong and other towns in Meghalaya. Mr. Speaker, Sir, I think it is just fit and proper for us if we take up this question with all seriousness and I do not want to say anything more on this, and so with these few words I resume my seat.
Mr. Speaker :- Will the Minister in-charge give a reply?
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Law) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, we do appreciate the concern and interest shown by the hon. Members on this question on the problem of beggars and vagabonds in the State. It is true, as remarked by the hon. Member from Mylliem, Mr. Jormanik Syiem, that the problem is growing by and by in Shillong and other places in the State though when looked in a comparative manner, the problem is not as great or as big as in other parts of the country. But in view of the fact that these Hill Areas were historically perhaps free from these problems before and so even this small problem is quite big to us now. So at present, we have provision in the existing laws pf the country to prevent any citizen be he a beggar or a vagabond or any person to come to this part o the country. As suggested by the hon. Member from Mylliem we do have legislation which was passed in the previous composite State of Assam. We have the Begging Act. Now, it is a question of implementation of this Act in our State. It is under the active and serious consideration of the Government to implement the Act and in what manner to implement it and what may be the real benefit to the whole State, the Government should see to it.
Mr. Speaker :- But that Act covers only the beggars and not the vagabonds.
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Law) :- So far as the vagabonds are concerned, Sir, there is a provision under the Cr.P.C. Act, under Sections 107 and 110 though the amendment had to be a little more restrained to this provision where the police and the courts can take action against those people who are without obvious bad apparent means of livelihood. So we have to be a little more restrained by applying an acting under these provisions. We have taken certain steps. For example, the Shillong Police have succeeded in persuading 102 beggars in 1974 and 17 beggars in 1975 to leave the State.
Then we have also the rolls issued to other States regarding persons of dubious character or to issue the rolls to parent States. These are being done and so far as beggars are concerned perhaps we will have to go into the question of implementation of the Begging Act. Other members also have raised certain matters like Prof. Majaw. He referred to the influx of foreigners and of course it is not within the purview of this resolution. They are not vagabonds, they come and work here, the yare active workers, cultivators and graziers and we cannot say that they are vagabonds. They have come to do business and work here.
Of course Prof. martin Narayan Majaw has raised his question several times about the people coming from Himalayan region and we have also exercised over this matter. But today this matter is not within the purview of this resolution and we will discuss this matter later. Some questions have also been raised by Prof. M.N. Majaw regarding the vagabonds from Bhutan and Nepal. Actually they are not vagabonds. They are very hard-working people, they are also very good cultivators, cattle rearers and good people.
Mr. Speaker :- It depends upon the meaning of the word vagabond.
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Law) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir Mr. Syiemiong has also raised the question about Pathans running money-lending business. There were about 47 Pakhtoons in the State in 1972 when the State came into existence. The number now has been reduced to 37 although four of them were ordered to leave the state. No fresh entrants are allowed to come or stay here permanently. As regards the high rate of interest, excepting two cases of complaints, no complaints have been received so far. Those two persons were expelled from the State. So Sir, in view of this matter, not purely being a matter for the State only, we will have to take it up with the Government of India - specially the question of influx if the people from the Himalayan region and also the influx of vagabonds. To tackle with the question we will to take up the matter with the concerned authorities. So Sir, this clarification and assurance I would request the hon. member to withdraw his resolution.
Prof M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, some very important matters have been raised in the reply of the Hon'ble Finance Minister. But now since we have very little time, I request if you could kindly give us little more time for further clarification on certain important matters. For example, Assam's Begging Act. With the implementation of this Act by the Assam Government most if the beggars have been driven out from the State. So to bring this amendment of the Act in our State also I suggest that the Ruling Party adopt my amendment of the Act with much interest.
Mr. Speaker :- This is a different question. We have been finding it difficult to implement this Assam Begging Act.
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Law) :-Mr. Speaker, Sir, and then regarding the persons coming from outside the State, if I remember well, in our discussion, we had asked some of the authorities about what has happened to this case.
Prof M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, about these two vagabonds Pakhtoons and Afghanistan, they are completely two different nationals the Pathans are from Pakhtoonistan which is a part of Pakistan and Afghans are from Afghanistan which is a part of the country. It is the Government of India's policy to ascertain help to these Pakhtoon people, but whereas in the case of Afghans they must have passport, the Pathans must have visas.
Mr. Speaker :- But are they vagabonds? Actually the explanation given by you is not relevant to the resolution, though of course you may have an occasion to discuss this matter through some other means.
Prof M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, the word 'vagabond' comes from the Latin word 'vagari' which means to roam from place to place. So in the literal sense, they are the people who roam from place to place. But Mr. Speaker, Sir, as told by the Finance Minister these two tribes are not the same people. They are completely two different tribes. The Pathans are from Pakhtoonistan and the Afghans are from Afghanistan. and this should be properly clarified.
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Law) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, so far as the implementation of the Begging Act is concerned, I would suggest that for processing and implementation, we will consult the Leader of the Opposition. And as to the question of the Residential Permit Bill, I think, it is outside the scope of this resolution. Then regarding Pathans and Afghans, so far as this Government is concerned, we have been treating them on the same basis as said before.
Prof M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, sir, then what steps have been taken about the sick beggars lying around the streets of Mawkhar, Barabazar and Police Bazar?
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Law) :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, Mother Teresa will take care of them. Therefore we will like to have more persons like Mother Teresa. (Laughter). Yes, Mr. Speaker, Sir, the Government will take care of them. But so far we have not been informed about this matter, we will take necessary action when it comes to the notice of the Government.
Shri W. Syiemiong :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, we have been talking about this matter for the last six months.
Shri B.B. Lyngdoh (Minister, Law) :- But you have brought it to our notice only today.
Prof M.N. Majaw :- Mr. Speaker, Sir, however, we are happy that some of these beggars have been sent away from our State and the Government have not allowed any new comers to enter our State. So I beg leave of the House to withdraw the resolution.
Mr. Speaker :- Has the Hon. Member leave of the House to withdraw the resolution? (Voices- Yes, Yes). The resolution is with leave of the House withdraw.
Leave of absence
Now let me make an announcement. There is an intimation from Shri B. Kharkongor, MLA., addressed to the Secretary, Meghalaya Legislative Assembly in writing which runs as follows :-
Meghalaya Legislative Assembly,
I regret to inform you that I shall not be able to attend the meeting summoned by the Governor on 5th May, 1975 at 9 A.M., as I am still confined in bed at the Civil Hospital.
This has a reference to your No.AS.1/MLA/75/1543., dated 29th April, 1975.
|Dated, Shillong||Sd/- B. Kharkongor, MLA|
|The 3rd may, 1975||Dienglieng Constituency.|
Is it the sense of the House to grant leave of absence to the hon. Member?
(Voices- Yes, Yes). (Leave was granted).
Now since is no more item for discussion, let me read the propagation order from the Governor:
"In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (2) (a) of Article 174 of the Constitution of India, I, L. P Singh, Governor of Meghalaya, hereby prorogue he Meghalaya Legislative Assembly at the conclusion of its sitting on the 6th May, 1975.
|L. P. Singh,|
|Governor of Meghalaya."|
The House stands prorogued.
|R. T. Rymbai|
|Dated Shillong :||Secretary,|
|The 6th May, 1975||Meghalaya Legislative Assembly|