Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday admitted a petition by GNLF chief Subhas Ghishing challenging the constitutional validity of the proposed Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) and asked the West Bengal government to submit a reply in three weeks.
The GTA, with more powers than its earlier avatar the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC), is a new hill council proposed to run the administration in the north Bengal hills.
"The court today admitted the petition and has ordered the government to file a reply within three weeks," Ghishing`s counsel Arunava Ghosh said.
The GTA agreement has been challenged on the ground that it contravenes the constitution.
"The constitution provides that if the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council Act, 1988 (DGHC) is repealed, the entire area will come under the purview of the Indian Panchayat and Municipalities Act.
"Under this clause, if the DGHC goes, the new act can`t come into force without amending the constitution," added Ghosh.
Ghishing spearheaded the demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland to be carved out of the north Bengal hills in the 1980s. He was chairman of the DGHC for two decades.
However, Ghishing became virtually irrelevant after his trusted aide Bimal Gurung broke away from the Gorkhaland National Liberation Front to form the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) in 2007.
The GJM has now taken over the mantle of the Gorkhaland movement.
The GJM forced Ghishing to leave the hills in 2008. He returned before last year`s assembly polls but left after his party suffered a drubbing.
Ghishing`s move is likely to add a new dimension to the GTA issue after the GJM, upset over a high-powered committee`s report recommending only five additional areas to be included in the GTA, has threatened to renew agitation in the hills.