Assam, Mizoram can approach Supreme Court, Centre, say legal experts

Security personnel stand guard in front of the Mizoram House in Guwahati on July 27, 2021.

Security personnel stand guard in front of the Mizoram House in Guwahati on July 27, 2021.

The long-standing border dispute between Assam and Mizoram can be resolved either by the Supreme Court or the Centre, legal experts said on Tuesday.

One of the experts called the brewing border dispute “a failure of the Constitutional machinery”.

Also read | Centre calls meeting of top Assam, Mizoram officials over border row

At least five Assam Police personnel were killed on Monday while defending the “constitutional boundary” of the State with Mizoram, and more than 60 people, including an SP, were injured in a sudden escalation of the border dispute, officials said.

While senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi and Assam's standing counsel Debojit Borkakati said the Centre should intervene and take steps for a peaceful settlement, another senior lawyer Dushyant Dave was of the view that both the States should be put under President’s Rule.

Mr. Dave said there was a failure of the Constitutional machinery in both the States and the violent incident was the ugliest manifestation of the insurrection between the States since Independence.

Also read | Congress team to visit violence-hit Assam-Mizoram border areas

“If these States had any grievances, they should have addressed them by bringing appropriate suits before the Supreme Court. It is their right. They should have first moved the court and sought some relief against each other,” Mr. Dave said.

He said these north-eastern States had conducted themselves poorly and the incident justified sacking both the governments and keeping the States under the President's Rule through Governor.

‘Litigation takes time’

Mr. Dwivedi, a Constitutional law expert, said the two States could avail themselves of two options; one was to approach the Central government and ask it to resolve the problem in an appropriately agreed manner through a legislation. “They can also move the Supreme Court under Article 131 of the Constitution, but litigation takes time. Meanwhile, the Centre can form a high-level committee, sit down with the States, and sort out the issue,” he said.

Debojit Borkakati, Advocate-on-Record at Supreme Court, said that the States should move the apex court if they desired but legal recourse would take time. “Border disputes do not resolve in a short span of time because of the process of bringing forth the evidence and evaluating them. So, instead of finding a legal recourse, the States should exercise restraint for a while so that things do not go out of hand,” he said.

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Printable version | May 29, 2022 11:59:02 pm |