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HC questions purpose of MRSSA 2016  

Shillong, Sept 21: The High Court of Meghalaya on Tuesday wanted to know the purpose of Meghalaya Resident Safety and Security Act (MRSSA), 2016.

Hearing a pending PIL on the matter, the division bench comprising Chief Justice Biswanath Somadder and judge HS Thangkhiew observed that  prima facie it is evident that Meghalaya had legislative competency to enact the Meghalaya Resident Safety and Security Act (MRSSA), 2016, in exercise of powers conferred under the various constitutional provisions but it is also evident from the reading of the report in the form of an affidavit affirmed by the Chief Secretary particularly paragraph 21 that the purpose of establishing facilitation centres under sections 17 and 18 of the Meghalaya Resident Safety and Security Act (MRSSA), 2016, is only for verification of tenants and weeding out any known anti-social elements and wanted criminals.

“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 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”, the court said.

According to the court, this can only mean “the obvious, which we do not want to elaborate at this stage rather, we give an opportunity to the state of Meghalaya 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 court hence wanted the state to file a fresh report in the form of an affidavit 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.

“Such report in the form of an affidavit shall be filed on or before the next date”, the court said.

The matter will come up for hearing after a fortnight.

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