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SC issues notice to Assam on illegal construction in border

Shillong, July 16: The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to Assam for the alleged illegal construction of Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) depot in Meghalaya.

The direction was as per the petition raising issues pertaining to border dispute between Meghalaya and Assam.

The case in point is the alleged illegal encroachment of the land of  Newyearly Thangkhiew Nongkseh, a resident and owner of land in Them Marwet, Umling Community & Development Block (village code no.277460 at  serial number 212 of the list of villages of Ri Bhoi), Khanapara, Raid Marwet, Mylliem Syiemship, Ri Bhoi.

The matter was listed on Friday before a bench of Justice  Nazeer and Justice Murari . The court after hearing the matter issued notice to Assam government.

The petition argued by Counsel Pragyan Pradip Sharma, raises important questions of law relating to border issues between Assam and Meghalaya and as also issues pertaining to the 6th Schedule of the Constitution of India.

The petitioner filed the petition under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution as the ongoing border dispute between  Assam and Meghalaya for the last almost five decades have posed a direct threat to the petitioner and her family’s livelihood.

The petitioner also alleged that the ASTC has illegally encroached into Meghalaya territory and started constructing the depot in the plot owned by her.

She argued that it is a tribal land governed by the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution and if at all, petitioner’s land is allowed to be encroached and retained by Assam, the same will result in conversion of tribal land to non-tribal land. The Assam State Transport Corporation had in 2020 started the construction of the building on 30,000 sq. feet of petitioner’s land.

The petition also raises the issue of livelihood of people affected by inter-state boundary dispute, as there are around similarly placed 100 families on the Meghalaya side of the border alone, affected by the dispute.

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