KHADC refers inheritance bill to Select Committee

District council CEM Titosstarwell Chyne to head panel

Shillong, Nov 10: The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council on Wednesday referred the KHAD (Khasi inheritance of Property) Bill, 2021, to a Select Committee for fine-tuning following the opposition’s demand.

The bill, which seeks to ensure equitable distribution of property among children of a Khasi family, was tabled on the first day of the winter session on November 8.


Before the House could pass the Bill, an amendment motion was moved by opposition Congress demanding the need to refer the bill to the Select Committee on the ground that not enough time was given to the MDCs to study and give their suggestions.

The Congress had raised concern that the bill, if passed in its present form, may disturb the age-old customary practices of the Khasi indigenous people.

In his reply, KHADC chief executive member Titosstarwell Chyne said the executive committee welcomes the suggestion of the members. “However, the Select Committee should not take so much time in order that the bill can be passed within the next session. The question of again referring the Bill to other committees should not arise thereafter,” he added.

Chairman of the KHADC Pyniaid Sing Syiem announced that the select committee will be headed by the CEM as chairman and secretary to the EC as its secretary.

Its members will include Leader of Opposition Pynshngainlang N Syiem and MDCs Carnes Sohshang, Charles Marngar, Lamphrang Blah and Paul Lyngdoh.

Speaking to reporters, Chyne said he is in no rush to pass the bill at this juncture since it is related to the customary practices of the indigenous Khasis.

“(The decision taken) will give the select committee a chance to seek the views and opinions of all the stakeholders including elders, legal advisors and even social organisations, who are concerned with our customary laws. Hence, the Bill has been referred to the select committee,” he said.

When asked, the CEM informed that he would call the first sitting of the committee by next week.

He also reminded that the intention of introducing the bill was to streamline the customary practices to ensure equal distribution of self-acquired property and ancestral property among the children in a Khasi family.

“However, this will not be mandatory as everything will totally depend on the ‘will’ of the parents,” Chyne said as he asserted that the bill would not disturb the Khasi customary practices.

“It will encourage the Khasi males to have a sense of security and belongingness, making them to become more responsible and have more confidence as a member of the family,” he added.

Clauses ‘do not suit’ Khasi practices

The leader of the opposition, Pynshngainlang N Syiem, said members should have enough time to study the bill as “there are some new modified clauses which do not suit the Khasi customary practices”.

Syiem also questioned how a district council court can be involved in the issuing of certificates as per the proposed bill.

“(As per) practices, judges cannot issue documents on behalf of the executive. You cannot mix the executive and the judiciary. That is why we need to send this Bill to the select committee so that we can come up with a beautiful and acceptable Bill,” he added.

Syiem pointed out that the bill may interfere in the love life of children. “The bill says if children go against the wish of the parents during marriage, then they will lose their inheritance rights, I think that is not so importance to put in the Bill because we need some kind of language to use so that it will not directly interfere with the love affair of our children.”

Equal shares won’t work: Syiem

The Congress leader further expressed reservation against the objective of ensuring equal distribution of wealth among the siblings.

“I think equal shares will not work. Out of total assets of the family, we may put at least 20-30% for male members as we cannot do away with our custom and tradition. To say equal share that will be totally against the customary practices,” he asserted.

When asked, Syiem said, “We don’t want to disturb or spoil or do away with the present customary practices, but we need to improve here and there as we should not exploit anyone in the family.”

“The objective of sending the bill to the Select Committee is to ensure we need codification (of the customary practices) but not doing away with the backbone of the custom and traditions and that no one can just use the word custom for exploiting someone,” he added.

The bill says a person will lose the right of inheritance if she/he loses Khasi status as defined under the provision of the KHAD (Khasi Social Custom of Lineage) Act, 1997, and its rules framed thereunder.

“In case a Khasi woman who is married to a non-Khasi and has adopted the custom of her non-Khasi husband (will lose the right of heritance),” it said.

It also added that the offspring of a Khasi woman who follows the custom of the non-Khasi father will also lose right of inheritance.

The other offences include marriage against parental consent, disobedience of parental commands, marriage and commission of incest with a kur or within the prohibited degree of kindred.

Related Articles

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Kindly Disable Ad Blocker