The Meghalaya High Court yesterday in a matter relating to the relocation of the residents of Punjabi Lane in Shillong has directed the State Government to take immediate action and close the matter as expeditiously as possible.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice W. Diengdoh said, “It is hoped that the government takes immediate appropriate action and brings the matter to a close as expeditiously as possible.”

The Bench noted that the respondents are playing fast and loose both with the government and with the Court.

Earlier, the Court had listed this matter for hearing on July 3, 2023.

AAG N.D. Chullai with GA R. Colney appeared on behalf of the appellant while Senior Advocate V.G.K. Kynta, and Advocates R. Khatri and M. Kynta appeared on behalf of the respondents.

In this case, the State Government submitted before the court that the residents of Punjabi Lane in Shillong have agreed, in principle, to the blueprint prepared by it for the purpose of relocating more than 340 families. The blueprint came up after rejecting the Harijan Panchayat Committee’s demand that 200 square meters of land be provided to each of the families within the European ward besides bearing the cost of construction of their homes.

Earlier, clashes erupted in the said area in the year 2018 between the people of the Khasi tribe and Sikhs living there and after the same, the Shillong Municipal Board started an exercise to determine the legal residents of Punjabi Lane. There was a demand from various quarters to relocate the ethnic Punjabis from the said area.

The High Court in the above regard observed, “It appears that the respondents are playing fast and loose both with the government and with the Court. A false impression was given on the last occasion that a minor matter had to be attended to but a subsequent statement was made that the Court had misinterpreted the submission.”

The Court, therefore, said that the matter will appear a fortnight for the government to report on the progress made.

Accordingly, the Court listed the matter for the next hearing on July 18, 2023.

Cause Title- State of Meghalaya v. Harijan Panchayat Committee & Ors.

Click here to read/download the Order