Garo organisations refuse to pay Rs 50 lakh compensation
NGOs to appeal in High Court
From Our Correspondent
TURA: Stung by the district sessions court to penalise five organizations of South Garo Hills for dragging the name of a senior government official into false charges of corruption and having been ordered to pay a compensation of Rs 50 lakh, the leaders of these student and social groups have now decided to approach the Gauhati High Court in the hope of squashing the latest order which severely goes against them.
The Garo Students’ Union, Southern Zone, along with the Youth Development Vigilance Committee of Baghmara, Mothers’ Union of Baghmara, Southern Youth and Cultural Organization of Baghmara and the GSU Nangalbibra unit have been asked to pay the fifty lakh compensation by the court of the Additional Deputy Commissioner and Civil Judge Ronald S Sangma after a gruelling three-year court battle in which the ten defendants from the five NGOs failed to submit necessary documents to the court.
General secretary of Southern Youth and Cultural Organization, Chingchang D Sangma, and the president of Youth Development and Vigilance Committee, South Garo Hills, Asith N Sangma, who are both named in the defamation suit, have refused to accept the district court’s verdict.
“There was no summons and no arguement took place in court because time and again the Magistrate under whom the case fell was either busy or had been transferred before the hearing,” claimed Chinchang D Sangma.
“We are not going to pay the fifty lakh sum and instead we will be approaching the Gauhati High Court in a
week’s time,” added Asith N Sangma hoping for a favourable verdict.
The NGOs had targetted the then additional Deputy Commissioner of South Garo Hills, Santosh R Marak, accusing him of improper implementation of the SSA mid-day meal scheme and misuse of developmental funds of the government.
These NGOs sought Marak’s removal from the district and went on a smear campaign putting up banners and posters and even calling for a general strike to strengthen their case against him. The then government ultimately bowed to the wishes of the NGOs and transferred him out. However, the officer, not known to give in, went ahead with the filing of the defamation case against the NGOs for their lack of any evidence against him.
He named Clever M Sangma and Prosper S Marak, president and secretary of GSU Southern Zone, Asith N Sangma and Newton M Sangma, president and secretary of Youth Development Vigilance Committee, Ms Jonika M Sangma and Ms Krimila A Sangma, president and secretary of Mothers’ Union, Chingchang A Sangma and Rakkan A Sangma, president and secretary of Southern Youth Cultural Organisation, Justin M Sangma and Prosanto Ch Marak, president and secretary of GSU Nangalbibra unit.
Although the NGOs are hoping the High Court will rule in their favour, the Shillong Bench of the High Court had previously dismissed their appeal to transfer the case from Tura to Baghmara district court.
To make matters worse for these NGOs, the district court ruling has clearly stated that they failed to file a written statement along with documents on their allegations inspite of being granted an extended time. “Instead, they continued filing several applications and even after the lapse of three years they failed to defend themselves by filing the written statement and hence as per Order VIII Rule 10 CPC, the plaintiff ( Santosh R Marak) is entitled to a Decree for the sum prayed for,” stated the district court order.
Source: The Shillong Times/theshillongtimes.com