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
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
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
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.