Meghalaya High Court: The Division Bench of Biswanath Somadder, CJ. and H. S. Thangkhiew, J., dealt with a PIL which was filed challenging the constitutional validity of Meghalaya Resident Safety and Security Act (MRSSA), 2016.

The Court observed that it was evident that State of Meghalaya had legislative competency to enact the MRSSA, 2016 in exercise of powers conferred under the various Constitutional provisions. But at the same time the Court objected to the establishment of facilitation centers under sections 17 and 18 of the MRSSA, 2016.

Counsel of the petitioner had informed in the affidavit that purpose of establishing facilitation centers was “only” for verification of tenants and weeding out any “known” anti-social elements and wanted criminals.

The Court observed that,

“This specific averment is not indicative of the fact that the State of Meghalaya possesses other effective mechanisms for weeding out any “known” anti-social elements and/or wanted criminals and the situation in the State of Meghalaya is such that it requires to create and/or establish a facilitation centre “only” for weeding out any “known” anti-social elements and/or wanted criminals. This averment can also only mean the obvious, which we do not want to elaborate at this stage.”

The Court further provided the State with an opportunity to clearly and categorically spell out the purpose of establishing facilitation centres under the provisions of sections 17 and 18 of MRSSA, 2016, and also to let the Court know specifically as to whether the State, as of date, has no other effective mechanism for weeding out “known” anti-social elements from the State without impeding upon the fundamental rights of the residents and it will “only” be possible to do so by creation of the facilitation centres under the relevant provisions of MRSSA, 2016. The State was directed file a fresh report in the form of an affidavit in this regard by giving a clearer and better explanation as to the manner in which the State wishes to use the facilitation centres which are to be set up under relevant provisions of MRSSA, 2016.[Ibahunlang Nongkynrih v. State of Meghalaya, PIL No. 13 of 2020, decided on 21-09-2021]

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

For the Petitioner/Appellant(s) : Mr N. Syngkon

For the Respondent(s) : Mr K. Khan, Sr. GA with Mr A.H. Kharwanlang, GA

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