Guwahati: The Supreme Court has directed the Meghalaya high court to defer the hearing of the writ petition related to the border dispute between Assam and Meghalaya.
A division bench of the apex court directed the high court not to take up the matter till it was before the Supreme Court.
Earlier, the top court stayed the Meghalaya high court order which had put an interim stay on the execution of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two neighbouring states deciding to resolve disputes in at least six areas out of 12 areas of concern.
In March 2022, the two states’ chief ministers signed the MoU. However, later several village heads from the Meghalaya side moved the high court there alleging that not all stakeholders were taken into confidence before signing the MoU by the government of Meghalaya.
As per the MoU, Assam was supposed to include 18.51 square kilometres of land within its territory whereas Meghalaya was keeping 18.28 square kilometres of land, out of an area of 36.79 square kilometres of the total disputed land.
The tribal chiefs of Meghalaya side moved the high court saying that the MoU violated the provisions of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution which relates to the ‘Administration of Tribal Areas’ in northeastern states.
The Supreme Court bench observed, “It’s an agreement between two chief ministers of two different states. The high court, acting on a writ petition by a citizen, stays the operation of the agreement. Now we have to hear the arguments. There should be a stay on further proceedings before the Meghalaya high court.”
The apex court also dictated to list the special leave petition on a non-miscellaneous day in February.