A resolution moved by a Congress MLA seeking to bring Meghalaya under Article 371 of the Constitution to protect the interests of the tribals was defeated by voice vote in the state Assembly on Wednesday.
Congress member Ampareen Lyngdoh also wanted that the Centre recognise the Instrument of Accession signed by the independent Khasi states with the Union of India in 1948.
“The Instrument of Accession and Annexed Agreement, signed and accepted by the Government of India, did not find place in the Constitution primarily due to lack of representatives in the constituent Assembly,” Lyngdoh, a former education minister, told the House.
A total of 25 Khashi states had individually signed the Instrument of Accession with the Indian Union between December 15, 1947, and March 17, 1948, and Governor General C Rajagopalachai signed a joint treaty on August 17, 1948.
Lyngdoh said although tribal interests are safeguarded by the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, the state is not under Article 371 which grants special provisions to several states of the country.
The Sixth Schedule provides for the administration of tribal dominated areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram by setting up autonomous district councils.
In Mizoram, she said, there are three autonomous district councils and yet they were brought under the Article 371 (G) following a constitutional amendment in 1986.
Leader of Opposition Mukul Sangma pressed for setting up of an all-party committee to examine the matter but that was rejected by Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma who said a government committee is examining the issue.
After Lyngdoh did not withdraw the motion, it was put to vote and was defeated.