News & Events
National Seminar on Customary
Laws of North East India: Practices and Prevalence
Ri Bhoi, Meghalaya, 21 October 2017: “The customary
practices among different tribes of North East India reflect
small practices of the whole of India. But there is difference
between mainstream and periphery regions.” This was stated by
Prof. (Dr) Poonam Saxena, Vice Chancellor, National Law
University, Jodhpur today while addressing a two-day-long
National Seminar on “Customary Laws of North East India:
Practice and Prevalence” organized here from 21 to 22 October by
the University School of Law and Research, University of Science
and Technology Meghalaya.
Inaugurating the Seminar, the Chief Guest on the occasion, Prof
Saxena spoke on customary laws and their contradiction with
modern legislation and said that the force and power of customs
is still very much continuing in many parts of India, for
example, female feoticide, child marriage, and dowry.
Addressing the Seminar, Prof. (Dr) Amarjyoti Choudhury, Vice
Chancellor of USTM, said that customary law as a human practice
is very fundamental to existence. He said that the dream of
every common person is that legal practice is to be made more
humane, more effective, less expensive and less time consuming.
Prof. (Dr) R C Borpatragohain, Dean and faculty of law, Gauhati
University, said that customary laws are to be adopted with an
innovative revivalism. According to him, the advisory litigating
system in the formal courts of law is totally discouraging and
due to a delayed justice delivery system, many have to loss
prime years of their lives. Earlier, welcoming the delegates and
all participants, Prof. (Dr) AK Sinha, Dean, University School
of Law and Research, USTM, said that different tribes of people
in the North East practice different customary laws and as a
result, very few cases come to the formal courts of law.
Speaking on the occasion, Prof. (Dr) Jeuti Barooah, former
Director, Law Research Institute, Gauhati High Court, said that
the customary laws in the North East are in a transitional
state—from the traditional to modern. She said that for the
purpose of mediation, one has to look after the provisions in
the customary law and the provisions in the modern law.
Prof (Dr) BK Chakraborty, Head of the Department of Law, Tezpur
University, pointed out that there is a difference of opinion
regarding whether customary laws should be codified or only
documented. He added that documentation with recommendations
could be one of the solutions.
Prof. (Dr) Nuzhat Parveen Khan, Dean and Faculty of Law, Jamia
Milia Islamia, New Delhi was the Guest of Honour in the
Inaugural session. She said that customs and traditions give
identity to the tribes of India and that most of the laws
revolve around the principle of connectivity of community. She
added that most of the tribal communities face cultural
misappropriation of traditional customs and practices. This
could be because of lack of documentation.
In his speech, Dr Yaseen Khan, a Senior Advocate at the Supreme
Court, said that he is in favour of enacting customary laws. If
any custom comes into contradiction with the Constitution, the
Constitution should be followed.
A total of 51 participants from different colleges and
universities are presenting papers on various relevant themes
related to customary laws in the two-day-long National Seminar.
The vote of thanks was delivered by Akkas Ali, Coordinator,
University School of Law and Research.