Guwahati, Sept. 7: Gauhati High Court today directed Dispur to hold elections to the Mising Autonomous Council within six months.
A division bench of Chief Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Subhasis Talapatra passed the order while hearing a PIL filed by Lakshmi Nath Pangging.
Pangging, a prominent Mising leader, had filed the petition last month seeking an order from the high court for holding elections to the council at the earliest.
Pangging’s counsel Manas Sarania said the high court has directed the state government to hold the elections as mandated by the Mising Autonomous Council Act, 1995, within six months.
Government advocate B.J. Talukdar represented the state government. “The state government is yet to hold a single election to the council since it was created in 1995 in complete violation of the Section 52 of the act,” he said.
“Section 52 of the act provides for holding of elections for the purpose of constitution of general council of the MAC and Section 80 provides that the government should take immediate steps for the constitution of an interim council by nomination of members until the general council is constituted by the elected members under the act,” he said.
He said from 1995 till June 30, 2009 an interim council ran the autonomous council, with state government-nominated members.
“After the state government dissolved the council led by Paramananda Chayengia, vide an order issued on June 30, 2009, according to the act it should have constituted another interim council to run the administration till elections were held but the government failed to do so,” Sarania said. “Following dissolution of the interim council on June 30, 2009, the state government was running the council by appointing bureaucrats as administrators whereas there was no provision in the act for appointment of an administrator to run the affairs of the council.”
Elections to the council was a long-pending demand of various organisations.
During a July seminar on the council’s functioning, Aswini Kumar Pegu, former principal secretary of Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council, had stated that an amount of Rs 41.35 crore was allotted to the council for 2010-11 but it lapsed as the schemes could not be implemented because of non-existence of either an interim or elected body.