GUWAHATI, Oct 2 - The PG Department of Law, Gauhati University in collaboration with the Indian Law Institute, New Delhi and Assam Chapter conducted a one-day workshop on ‘The Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India’ at the PD Hall, Gauhati University recently. Numerous luminaries and experts attended the workshop to enlighten and educate the participants on the subject of the workshop. This was stated in a press release.
Senior advocate Niloy Dutta while reflecting on his personal experiences, spoke on the basic legal basis, the financial powers of the district councils, and the role of the Governor. Speaking of the future course, he strongly felt that the powers of the Governor and the conflict with the state and district council must be sorted at the earliest.
The inaugural speech was delivered by the the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Mridul Hazarika, who highlighted the diversity of the North-east region and the need to strengthen it to ensure growth for all. The chief guest, Justice Hrishikesh Roy recalled the words of Justice Hidayatullah and his experiences as a budding lawyer in his initial years of practice. As a judge, he felt most issues pertain to the conflict between State Government and the government of the council in question.
Justice Suman Shyam, the guest of honour spoke at length on the constitutional provisions and felt that like most laws, the main lacuna is in its implementation in the true letter and spirit. Believing Article 14, the right to equality to be the essence of India, he said that all must contribute to develop the society. With reference to the Sixth Schedule, he said that the North East is bestowed with ample resources. The organised utilisation of these resources should be the main focus.
Delivering the welcome address, the honorary secretary of the Indian Law Institute highlighted the observation of Justice Hidayatullah on the Sixth Schedule that it was a ‘Constitution within the Constitution’.
The inaugural session was chaired by Head of the Department, Professor S Rajkhowa who reiterated the need to protect tribal groups and fill the gaps in the implementation. He acknowledged the importance to learn and unlearn, develop and understand the issue further.
The technical session began with an intriguing lecture by senior advocate, Supreme Court, Vijay Hansaria who dealt with the historical aspect of the drafting of the Sixth Schedule while making a detailed presentation. He also enlightened the participants on the status of the Sixth Schedule in various States of the North-East. While providing numerous concrete measures, the senior advocate felt there is a need to undertake in depth study to review the implementation and utility of the Sixth Schedule.
Dr. Samujjal Bhattacharya, advisor, AASU described the ground realities of Assam and the need to collaborate at the level of States and within the North-east to ensure that autonomy is truly given to the people under the Sixth Schedule.
Dr. Stuti Deka, Professor, Gauhati University focussed on the drawbacks and lacunas and cited possible solutions for these issues and felt that these provisions should not remain a dead letter.
This was followed by a question and answer open session wherein many participants interacted with the speakers on numerous issues pertaining to the Sixth Schedule.