Meghalaya autonomous council introduces bill to change Khasi customary law

The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) in Meghalaya on November 8 introduced a bill to change the ancient Khasi customary bar on sons getting a share of parents’ ancestral property to allow them a share.

The bill will permit distribution of ancestral and self-acquired property even to the sons of the family if the parents so will it.

Chief executive member of KHADC, Titossarwell Chyne, tabled the Khasi Inheritance of Property Bill, 2021 on the first day of the reassembled budget session of the council.

“The objective of this bill has been misunderstood. It is not mandatory that all the children will get a share of the parental property. It depends on the will of the parents to decide who will be the genuine heir of the property,” Chyne said.

The Khasis — a scheduled tribe of about 904,653 people — are a matrilineal community. Under their customs, no male member in the family has the right to inherit the ancestral property. It is the youngest (Khadduh) daughter in the family, who is entitled to inherit the ancestral property under Khasi custom. This legislation would change an age-old practice of the Khasi Hills forever if passed by the council.

“There is no disagreement with the ongoing practice in which the youngest daughter of the family inherits the property, but since there are parents who are willing to share their property to all their children, this legislation would come into play,” Chyne clarified.

He said there are parents who give share to all the siblings even now. The bill would be taken up for discussion on November 10.

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