SHILLONG, Sept 19 - Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma has got a huge relief from the Supreme Court after a writ petition challenging his Scheduled Tribe status was rejected on Friday.
A bench consisting of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Uday U Lalit rejected the writ petition, stating it had no merit. The case was filed before the Supreme Court by Tennydard M Marak.
�The Supreme Court rejected the writ petition and said that if the petitioner can think of any alternative remedy they can avail of it,� Supreme Court lawyer Ranjan Mukherjee, counsel of Meghalaya Government and the Chief Minister, said over the phone from New Delhi.
Marak approached the Supreme Court challenging Sangma�s ST status, arguing that his mother was a non-tribal and as the Garos are a matrilineal society, Sangma cannot claim to be a Garo ST. Under the Garo matrilineal system the surname is inherited from the mother�s side.
In January last year, the Supreme Court directed the National Commission on Scheduled Tribe and Caste to adjudicate the case and dispose it off. It gave the Commission eight week�s deadline to dispose the case.
However, the Meghalaya Government instituted its own committee on the case. Based on another petition filed by Marak, the Supreme Court stayed the proceedings of the hearing of the committee and issued notices to the State Government, Sangma, his brother Zenith Sangma and others asking the respondents to file their reply.
The case dragged on for several months and was deferred 14 times and as such Marak�s counsels approached the Chief Justice of India, HL Dattu with a Mention Memo for an early hearing of the case.