Demand to segregate Meghalaya cadre

Shillong, March 26: The demand to bifurcate the joint cadre system of IAS, IPS and IFS officers of Assam and Meghalaya has gathered steam after Meghalaya finally got a separate high court on March 23.

It took 41 years for Meghalaya, which achieved statehood in 1972, to have a high court of its own. All along, the state was under the Gauhati High Court.

On Saturday, Justice T. Meena Kumari took oath as the first Chief Justice of the Meghalaya High Court while Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir inaugurated the high court building yesterday.

Along with Meghalaya, Manipur and Tripura were also granted separate high courts, thereby fulfilling one of the constitutional obligations where states of the Union should have a high court of their own.

But unlike in Meghalaya, the joint cadre system for IAS, IPS and IFS officers of Manipur and Tripura was bifurcated last year after the North-Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Amendment Bill, 2011, was passed by Parliament.

"If other states can have their own cadre of IAS, IPS, and IFS officers, why can't Meghalaya have the same?" Hill State People's Democratic Party (HSPDP) general secretary Enbin K. Raswai told The Telegraph.

In fact, the HSPDP, the oldest regional political party in Meghalaya, has been demanding the bifurcation for several years now but not much headway has been made.

"It now depends on the state government to approach the Centre for abolition of the joint cadre system," he added.

Maitshaphrang Movement leader Michael N. Syiem also said there was a need to demolish the joint cadre system.

"Since we have a high court of our own now, it is about time that the government moves the Centre to demolish the joint cadre system shared with Assam," he stated.

Syiem has maintained that the joint cadre system was one of the factors responsible for Meghalaya losing land to Assam.

In September last year, the Mukul Sangma government gave assurances in the Assembly that it would examine the demand to bifurcate the current joint cadre system.

"We will properly examine the demand although the joint cadre system has its own advantages and disadvantages. One of the advantages is that we can now see a better synergy between officers of the two states," the chief minister had stated.

The question remains as to whether the state government will move the Centre for amending the North-Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Act, 1971 to facilitate the abolition of the joint cadre system.