Areas where the District Council Courts exercises jurisdiction, the Judge District Council Court exercises powers similar to that of a District Judge: High Court of Meghalaya

The District Council Courts are conferred with powers and jurisdiction to try suits and cases between members of the Scheduled Tribes community residing within the territorial jurisdiction of such courts as upheld by the High Court of Meghalaya through the learned bench led by Justice W. Diengdoh in the case of Smti. Clarinda Momin Vs. Smti. Brishmony G. Momin (FA. No. 1 of 2019)

The brief facts of the case are that the Appellant herein is the executor of the last Will and Testament of her elder brother (Late) Pleander G. Momin, who during his lifetime had executed his last Will and Testament on 31.08.2004, bequeathing all his landed property including four residential standing houses and other belongings, moveable and immoveable to the Appellant to the exclusion of the Respondent who was his first wife. The said elder brother of the Appellant expired on 23.09.2004. The Appellant had made an application before the Garo Hills District Council Court at Tura for administration of the last Will and Testament as stated above and the learned Court vide order dated 10.05.2007 had granted probate of the Will in favour of the Appellant. Respondent being aggrieved by the said order had approached the Hon’ble Gauhati High Court, Shillong Bench with a revision application and the Hon’ble High Court after hearing the parties vide judgment and order had allowed the said revision application and has set aside the probate of the Will and has further directed that the case be transferred to the learned Judge, District Council Court, Shillong. On being pending before the said court for a long time, the Learned Additional District Magistrate (Judicial) has concluded that the court is a wrong forum for the parties to pursue the matter both being tribal belonging to the Garo community and as such, only the Garo Hills District Council Court has got jurisdiction to try the matter. The Appellant has failed to array the Respondent herein as a necessary opposite party in the said Probate which prompted the Court of the Judge District Council Court, to pass the impugned order rejecting the application of the Appellant herein. Hence, this appeal.

After the perusal of the facts and arguments, the Hon’ble Court held “Given the facts as stated above and having held that the said Court of the Judge, District Council Court, GHADC has the jurisdiction to try the matter, the issue of limitation ought to have been taken up taking into account the provision of Sub-Section 2 of Section 14 of the Limitation Act, 1963 which squarely covered the case of the Appellant/Petitioner. In view of the above, this appeal is allowed. The impugned order is hereby set aside and quashed.”

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Judgment reviewed by Vandana Ragwani

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