In a significant move, the Meghalaya Cabinet has granted a crucial six-month extension to the terms of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) and the Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council (JHADC). The decision ensures the continued operation of these key councils, whose terms were initially set to expire on March 5, 2024.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Sangma, announcing the decision on his official handle, stated, “Cabinet today approved the proposal to extend the present terms of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) and the Jaiñtia Hills Autonomous District Council (JHADC) for a period of 6 months. Since the terms of both the Councils will expire on 5th March 2024, the extension will be effective from that date.”
The extension comes in response to the ongoing efforts of Delimitation Committees established by the Governor last year. These committees are currently engaged in the crucial task of redrawing constituency boundaries to ensure fair representation. Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong, who oversees District Council Affairs, communicated the cabinet’s approval, emphasizing the necessity of more time for the Delimitation Committees to complete their guidelines-prescribed duties.
The decision to extend the terms of the KHADC and JHADC aligns with the provisions of the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. Enacted to safeguard the rights of tribal populations, this constitutional provision allows for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram. The extension not only ensures the smooth functioning of the councils but also reflects a commitment to upholding the principles of equitable representation and tribal rights.
While the extension provides the necessary flexibility for the Delimitation Committees to carry out their responsibilities diligently, it also underscores the state government’s commitment to a democratic and participatory governance structure. The move exemplifies a balanced approach to governance, considering the unique needs and rights of the tribal communities in Meghalaya.
As the extended terms take effect from March 5, 2024, the councils will continue their essential work, contributing to the development and well-being of the tribal populations in the Khasi and Jaintia Hills. The decision stands as a testament to Meghalaya’s commitment to constitutional principles and the preservation of tribal rights in the region.