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Meghalaya CIC pass landmark ruling on traditional bodies
Correspondent SHILLONG, JUN 23:
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Published on 24 Jun. 2010 12:12 AM IST
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Meghalaya’s Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) G P Wahlang today said Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) and traditional bodies would fall under the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act 2005.
Wahlang passed his landmark ruling after hearing the petition filed by a pressure group - Federation of Khasi Jaiñtia and Garo People (FKJGP) against the Syiem of Hima (chiefdom) Mylliem for denying furnishing information under RTI Act on revenue collection.
Hima Mylliem is one of the traditional political institutions in Khasi Hills.
The two major tribes of Meghalaya the Khasis and Garos have their own traditional political institutions ruled by the chiefs (Syiem in Khasi and Nokma in Garo) respectively. These traditional institutions have existed for hundreds of years.
Wahlang who examined the petition, observed that the Syiem (chieftain) was an administrative officer of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) as enshrined by Para 2(4) of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution and as confirmed by the Supreme Court in a case between T Cajee and Jormanik Syiem.
All the traditional heads are public servants duly appointed by respective ADCs and hence they automatically attract the provisions of Rule 2 (h) of the RTI Act, the CIC said
There are three ADCs in Meghalaya namely the KHADC, Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council (JHADC) and Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC).
In Meghalaya, the RTI Act 2005 has become a powerful tool where several cases on lack of transparency and accountability in the functioning of various government departments including cases of embezzlement of public money were unearthed by various RTI activists.
Earlier in the month of January this year, FKJGP had filed a RTI application with the office of the Syiem of Mylliem seeking information on the status of revenue collection and expenditure of the Syiem. Till date the Syiem has not responded claiming that his office was not within the purview of the RTI Act.

 
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