The Supreme Court (SC) on January 6 agreed to hear a plea of the Assam and Meghalaya governments against a High Court order that stayed the operation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two states over settling their boundary dispute.
A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala took note of the submissions of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that the matter needed an urgent hearing as the High Court stayed the operation of the inter-state pact which was signed earlier last year.
“We will hear it. Please provide three copies of the petition,” the CJI said.
It is worth mentioning that Assam and Meghalaya have a longstanding dispute in 12 stretches of their 884-km shared border.
The two states had signed a pact in March resolving the dispute in six out of 12 areas and in August, they decided to form regional committees.
Later, on December 9, the Meghalaya High Court had ordered an interim stay on the border pact that was signed between the two states.
The development came after four 'traditional chiefs' filed a petition and after hearing them Justice H S Thangkhiew ordered the interim stay till the next date of hearing on February 6, 2023.
''During the intervening period, no physical demarcation or erection of boundary posts on the ground, pursuant to the MoU dates 29/3/22 shall be carried out, till the next date,'' Justice Thangkhiew said.
The 'traditional chiefs' in their petition had urged the high court to set aside the MoU signed between the two states, citing that it violated provisions of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, which deals with special provisions for the administration of tribal areas.
''The MoU was signed with consulting the constitutionally recognized native chiefs and their durbars,'' the traditional chiefs alleged.
They further claimed that the pact was ''in-principle contrary to the provision of Article 3 of the Constitution under which Parliament exclusively is competent to alter the area or boundaries of existing states”.
On March 29 this year, both Assam and Meghalaya government had signed the agreement in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
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