Shillong: The Meghalaya cabinet on Tuesday deferred the first municipal elections in the state slated for next week in the wake of opposition from various organisations.
Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said the elections to the four municipal boards in the three districts of Garo Hills, which were slated to be held on September 29, has been deferred.
"The issue raised by the organisations would be looked into by a committee headed by the principal secretary of the urban affairs before the government decides to conduct the
elections," Sangma said after a cabinet meeting, indicating that the government wanted to hold the civic polls within this year.
The Joint Action Committee (JAC), a conglomerate of several organisations, are apprehensive about holding the municipal elections claiming that "it would be violating the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution and lead to erosion of powers of the traditional bodies like the Council of Nokma (Village Council)".
The JAC had last week enforced a two-day shutdown in three districts of Garo Hills protesting the municipal elections. The proscribed Khasi militant outfit Hynniewtrep
National Liberation Council (HNLC) has also warned people of dire consequences if they participated in the proposed municipal elections.
Earlier, the Gauhati High Court had issued a notice to the government on a petition by the Garo Students Union which challenged the municipal polls contending, "following the 1992 amendment in the Constitution, panchayat and municipal provisions do not extend to the tribal areas which are under Sixth Schedule".
The court is likely to hear the case this week.