Assam, galand to slug it out in trial
BORDER ROW IN SUPREME COURT
After failure of all mechanisms to resolve dispute, apex court to take fil call on 28-year-old case
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Dec 6: The 'origil suit' on the Assam-galand border dispute filed by the then AGP government at the Supreme Court in 1988 has reached the trial stage.
In fact, an official in the Assam Home department said that this is the 'first origil suit' at the Supreme Court to reach a trial stage, after all efforts - institution of a boundary commission, appointment of an interlocutor and an appeal to both the States to sort out the difference - failed to yield any results.
Origil suits are State versus State cases, pertaining to issues like territory, water disputes etc.
At the trial stage, both the parties will produce their witnesses.
galand government has submitted a list of around 250 witnesses before the apex court, but the neighbouring State has been directed to cut down the number.
State Border Areas Development commissioner LS Changsan has already appeared on behalf of Assam government. The PCCF is likely to appear next, followed by deputy commissioners of the districts where there are disputes and Revenue department officials.
It is learnt that the witnesses are examined directly by the judges. The counsels cannot assist the witnesses at the time of examition.
"Out stand has been clear from the beginning. We will stick to the constitutiol boundary. galand wants to redraw the boundary citing historical rights. Ultimately, we are back to square one - that we are back to where it started," Assam Border Areas Development commissioner LS Changsan told The Sentinel, when asked about the State's stand at the court.
"But how much will we go back in history? There have been debates regarding history. We feel constitutiol boundary should be acceptable to all," she added.
Assam claims galand has usurped 59,159.77 hectares of State's territory in Golaghat, Jorhat and Sivasagar districts. galand says these tracts historically belong to them.
The boundary dispute between the two states dates back to 1963 when galand was carved out of Assam as a separate state.
galand has been insisting on a resolution on the basis of history and traditions which are difficult to define.
To examine such claims of galand, Government of India set up Sundaram Committee in 1971, with KVK Sundaram, the then chairman of Law Commission of India, as Chairman.
However, galand government refused to accept the report of Sundaram Committee for resolution of boundary dispute, though Assam government was ready to accept it. In 1988, Assam government petitioned the Supreme Court, seeking its intervention to resolve the boundary dispute with galand. However, mediators appointed by the Supreme Court too failed to find a solution to the problem. The apex court then directed government of India to facilitate a solution to the boundary dispute through political dialogue between the two state governments. But that too did not yield tangible results. Now the two sister states will have to slug it out in the trial stage for the apex court to make a decision.