Constitutional amendment necessary for GTA Act: Centre to HC

In an embarrassment to the state government, the Centre on Friday told the Calcutta High Court, which is hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the legality of the Gorkha Teritorial Administration (GTA) Act, saying a constitutional amendment is required to enforce the Act and an amendment bill in this connection will soon be placed in Parliament.

Both the state government and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, which is currently ruling the GTA, had earlier told the court that no such constitutional amendment was required to enforce the GTA Act, which was passed by the State legislature following a tripartite agreement signed between the GJM, state government and the Centre earlier this year.

Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) chief Subash Ghisingh is one of the petitioner who has challenged the constitutional validity of the GTA Act saying the Act could not stand legal validity unless the word GTA replaces the word Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC) in the constitution. Three other petitions also challenge the GTA Act and the formation of the new administrative unit saying the law did not honour the sentiments and demands of other ethnic communities in the area except the Gorkhas.

Following the Centre's submission, Justice Dipankar Dutta today said what would be the consequences if the court scrapped the GTA Act? "A vacuum would be created?" questioned Justice Dutta.

To which Ghisingh's counsel Arunava Ghosh replied that in such a scenario the DGHC would replace the GTA.

The next hearing will take place after two weeks.

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