State

KHADC to introduce new Bill against surname misuse

Shillong,July 6: The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) has called back the KHAD (Khasi Social Custom of Clan Administration) Bill, 2018, which seeks to bar a non-tribal from taking the surname of a Khasi clan.

The purpose is to introduce a fresh Bill.

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“The executive committee (EC) has gone through the report of the Advisory Committee and decided that the KHAD (Khasi Social Custom of Clan Administration) Bill, 2018 should be recalled and replaced by a fresh Bill, with some corrections/modifications as advised by it,” KHADC chief Titosstarwell Chyne said while tabling a report on the matter in the first day of council’s session

He said the EC in its meeting held on March 7, this year had discussed and considered the report of the Advisory Committee in the matter pertaining to The Khasi Hills Autonomous District (Khasi Social Custom of Clan Administration) Bill, 2018.

Thereafter, the EC deemed necessary to send the comparative copy of the Bill, 2018 and the proposed KHAD (Khasi Social Custom of Clan Administration) Bill, 2022 which had been prepared by the Advisory Committee to all the members, which was communicated vide letter dated April 5, this year for views/ comments and the same was not received from any member, he said.

The KHAD (Khasi Social Custom of Clan Administration) Bill, 2018 was introduced by the council in session on November 20, 2018 and was passed on November 22, 2018.

It was then forwarded to the Governor for assent. However, the Governor vide message dated May 6, 2019 returned the Bill for reconsideration.

The 2018 Bill had clearly stated that a non-tribal claiming to be a Khasi tribal by taking a Khasi surname within the jurisdiction of the KHADC for economic and personal interests will face a jail term of three years with a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh.

“Whoever commits an offence under this Act and other provision of this Act shall on conviction by a first class magistrate be punishable with imprisonment for a term of 3 years or with fine which may extend from Rs 20,000 up to 1 lakh or with both for the first offence and above punishment shall be doubled for every subsequent offence. An offence under this Act is also cognisable and non-bailable,” it had said.

The Bill seeks to empower the Dorbar of Seng Kurs (clan organisations) registered with the KHADC to issue Khasi Clan Certificate and stated that no Khasi Tribe Certificate will be issued without such Clan (Kur) Certificate.

The EC had then constituted the Advisory Committee on Law and Traditional Affairs to re-examine the Bill and to advise the EC with concrete suggestions.

The Bill was posted in the council website for views and opinions where various groups – Seng Khasi Kmie, Seng Kur Kharshiing, Seng Kur Suting, Syngkhong Rympei Thymmai, Hynniewtrep Youth Council (Sohiong Circle), Seng Kur Thabah and Michael N Syiem had submitted their views and suggestions, some of which have been incorporated in the proposed Bill.

The proposals of Syngkhong Rympei Thymmai and Michael that persons who adopted their father’s surname was however, not accepted by the Advisory Committee as the Bill itself is based on the matrilineal system of lineage practices by the Khasis, the CEM said.

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