CHT land commission keeps hearing casesAbdullah Juberee
The Chittagong Hill Tracts Land Dispute Resolution Commission keeps hearing cases amid quorum crisis because of the boycott by members from the hill people demanding amendment to the 2001 act that set up the commission.
The commission is set to hear cases filed with it today and tomorrow at its office in Khagrachari if there was a quorum.
Th hearing in the cases was adjourned twice for the absence of members from the hill people, including the chief of the Mong circle and the chairman of the Khagrachari Hill District Council on February 28 and 29.
‘We will hear the cases filed with us on April 1 if the members, particularly of hill community origin, come,’ said the commission chair, Khadimul Islam. Commission members from the hill communities said that they had been informed of a meeting, but not about the hearing in cases.
Saching Prue Chowdhury, chief of the Mong circle, told New Age that he had been invited to a commission meeting but he was yet decide whether he would attend.
Attempts at case hearing were initiated in December 2010 but it was suspended in the face of widespread protests by the hill communities that prompted the National Committee for the Implementation of CHT Accord, which was also having a meeting in Khagrachari then, to announce that commission activities would be suspended till the 2001 act was amended.
Protests brewed against the activities of the commission after its chair pushed for carrying out a cadastral survey before the settlement of land disputes.
Although the accord implementation committee gave an assurance that a bill seeking amendment to the act would be placed in the first parliament session of 2011 but it was yet to be finalised.
A year after on January 22, 2012 the committee accepted all the 13 proposals for amendment to the act and sent them to the land ministry.
A meeting between the land and the CHT affairs ministry on Wednesday agreed on 10 proposals and sent it back for more clarification on the remaining three proposals, the CHT affairs secretary, Naba Bikram Kishore Tripura, said.
The commission chairman, a retired Supreme Court judge, said neither the accord implementation committee nor the government had informed him of the move to amend the act regarding the commission or sought his opinion. He also said that he was aware of the points the hill people were seeking amendment to.
He also said that none on the committee or of the government had any authority to stop the commission’s activities. ‘It was not even true that the implementation committee had stopped our activities. You can see the decisions of the committee. They cannot do it. It is out of their jurisdiction,’ he said.
Khadimul was of the opinion that things which were absolutely legal affairs were being politicised to protect vested interests of ‘certain’ groups.
The commission chair finds the demand for amending the act was delayed. ‘If any amendment is required, it should be done before forming the commission. Once it is formed, it cannot sit idle,’ he said.
He also said that if the act was amended in keeping with the demand of the hill people, it would go against the basic character of the CHT accord which was signed under the framework of the country’s constitution. ‘It should be kept in mind that nothing against the constitution should be done.’
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