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Meghalaya HC questions State Government on facilitation centres at entry points

“Such report in the form of an affidavit shall be filed on or before the next date”, the court ordered ans listed the next hearing for the matter after a fortnight.

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Shillong: The Meghalaya High Court has asked the State Government to spell out the purpose of establishing the facilitation centres under the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act (MRSSA), 2016.

Hearing a pending PIL on the matter, the division bench comprising Chief Justice Biswanath Somadder and judge H.S.Thangkhiew on Tuesday asked the government to specify whether the state has no other effective mechanism for weeding out “known” anti-social elements without impeding the fundamental rights of residents and if this can be done only through the creation of the facilitation centres.

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The High Court also observed that from prima facie it is evident that Meghalaya had legislative competency to enact the Meghalaya Resident Safety and Security Act (MRSSA), 2016, in the exercise of powers conferred under the various constitutional provisions.

However, the bench also observed that it is also evident from the reading of the report in the form of an affidavit affirmed by the Chief Secretary particularly paragraph 21 that the purpose of establishing facilitation centres under sections 17 and 18 of the MRSSA, 2016, is only for verification of tenants and weed out any “known anti-social elements” and “wanted criminals”.

“This specific averment is not indicative of the fact that the state of Meghalaya possesses other effective mechanisms for weeding out any known anti-social elements and/or wanted criminals and the situation in Meghalaya is such that it requires to create and/or establish a facilitation centre only for weeding out any known anti-social elements and/or wanted criminals,” Somadder and Thangkhiew stated in their order.

The Court also directed the State government to file a fresh report in the form of an affidavit by giving a clearer and better explanation as to the manner in which the state wishes to use the facilitation centres which are to be set up under relevant provisions of MRSSA, 2016.

“Such report in the form of an affidavit shall be filed on or before the next date”, the court ordered ans listed the next hearing for the matter after a fortnight.

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