Dhubri, June 13: Gauhati High Court has showcaused the Assam government and demanded the reason behind the 17-year delay in holding elections to the Rabha-Hasong Autonomous Council, in response to a writ petition filed by the community’s leaders.
The high court yesterday gave the government two weeks to reply to the show cause notice.
Several Rabha-Hasong organisations of Goalpara and Kamrup, including the All Rabha Students’ Union (Arsu) and Sixth Schedule Demand Committee, have been demanding elections in the council for the past few years.
The community leaders filed the petition (number WP (C) 5766/11) in the court of Justice B.P. Kataki. Advocate Manas Sarania represented the petitioners in court.
The petitioners, while bringing the prevailing situation in the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council areas to the notice of the high court, also sought its intervention in formation of an ad hoc body and holding of elections there.
An Arsu source said the state government had constituted the Rabha-Hasong Autonomous Council in 1995 with 779 villages and formed an ad hoc body in order to protect the political rights and uplift the socio-economic condition of the Rabha and Hasong people living in Goalpara and parts of Kamrup district.
In the notification about formation of the council, it was stated that elections would be held within six months from the day of formation of the ad hoc body. Though 17 years have elapsed, no election had been held for the council, the source added.
Arsu president Tonkeswar Rabha said prior to yesterday’s order, the high court had also passed a verdict on February 11, 2011 on holding elections and inclusion of villages in council areas in response to a writ petition (WP (C)/5545/2005) filed by the student body in 2005. “In 2011, Gauhati High Court clearly passed its verdict stating that there was no legal complication in holding elections to the council. But the government has so far been reluctant to do so,” he added.
Goalpara district unit Arsu secretary Jiban Rabha said after the last hearing held on August 11, 2011, there was no hurdle left for holding elections. “We do not find any reason other than political in not holding the elections. It is ridiculous that a council formed 17 years ago has not seen an election till date. How will the socio-economic condition of the community be uplifted and how will its political rights be protected?”
Goalpara district administration officials refused to comment on the show-cause, saying the state government would deal with the matter.