The Meghalaya High Court has directed the Community and Rural Development, represented by the Commissioner and Secretary to the Government of Meghalaya, to convene an open meeting on February 26, in order to resolve the issue of lack of cremation ground for the people belonging to Seng Khasi/Niam Tynrai/Niam Tre faith residing all over the State of Meghalaya.
A bench led by the Chief Justice Biswanath Somadder and Justice H.S. Thangkhiew directed Community and Rural Development, represented by the Commissioner & Secretary to the Government of Meghalaya, to call an open meeting on February 26 along with petitioner and other members of the indigenous faith including any organisation(s) espousing the cause of the indigenous faith involving Seng Khasi/Niam Tynrai/Niam Tre.
The Court has also directed the Department to issue a Public Notice for the said meeting and the same shall be widely circulated. It also directed the Department to look into the grievances of the writ petitioners, as well as others who may be present in the meeting and after giving an adequate opportunity of hearing to all concerned, shall render a decision in the matter supported with cogent reasons.
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“The entire exercise in terms of this order shall be completed by respondent No 2 as expeditiously as possible, preferably within a period of eight weeks, but not later than ten weeks,”
-said the Court while disposing of the matter.
The Court passed its directions in the petition filed by Phidingstar Khongsit through Advocate N Syngkon, who had alleged that people belonging to Seng Khasi faith after death of their family members have to approach court seeking directions to provide space for cremation and death being inevitable, the same has become a day to day affair in the State for having no public space for cremation.
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The petitioner had contended that he had filed the petition in public interest of the people belonging to Seng Khasi/Niam Tynrai faith in the State of Meghalaya as a whole and had sought directions to the State to provide/ allot adequate space on the basis of its requirement from place to place for its use as cremation ground/crematorium.
The petitioner had further stated in his plea,
“that the followers of Niam Khasi/ Niam Tynrai religious faith, like the Hindus, disposal of the dead is effected by cremation, however due to no such allotment of land by the State for use as public cremation ground/ crematorium, the people following the said indigenous faith are facing lots of hardship on the occasion of death of their family members which has even led to filing of cases in the Court in the recent past.”