Chapter 38: SCHEDULED AREAS AND TRIBAL AREAS

Introduction

Fifth schedule: Administration of scheduled areas and tribal areas in India except states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.

Sixth schedule: Administration of scheduled areas and tribal areas in states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Manipur.

Administration as per fifth schedule:


  1. President can notify, denotify, renotify, and alter boundaries of scheduled areas in a state after consulting the governor concerned.
  2. Governor has to submit reports on administration of such areas annually or as president may determine. Centre can give directions to the states for administration of such areas.
  3. Tribal advisory council is established with 20 members 3/4th of who are representatives of ST members in legislative assembly. It advises on welfare and advancements on ST in scheduled areas.>
  4. Governor may direct that an act of parliament or state legislature applies to scheduled areas or applies with modifications. He can make rules for peace, progress and good government of such areas after consulting tribal advisory council. Such regulations might repeal the act of parliament too but this needs assent of president.

 

Sixth Schedule:

To promote self government for tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.

Features:

  1. Governor has the power to create autonomous tribal districts for each tribe of that region. Executive authority of state is applicable here.
  2.  Each tribal autonomous district has a district council with 30 members [26-elected, 4 – nominated] elected members have 5 yr term and nominated occupy post during governors pleasure.
  3. Each autonomous region also has regional council. The district and regional council makes regulations for certain specified matters. But all such laws need governor’s assent.
  4. They can also form courts to hear disputes between tribes. Jurisdiction of HC over them is specified by governor.
  5. The district councils can collect land revenue and certain taxes. They can establish civic facilities in these districts. They can also make regulations to control trading, money lending by tribes. But such regulations need governor’s assent.
  6. Act of parliament and state legislatures don’t apply to these regions but apply with modifications or exceptions. Governor of Assam has the power on both central and state laws. Governor of Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram have with respect to state laws and president with respect to central laws.
  7. Governor can make a committee to examine administration of such regions. He can dissolve district and regional councils based on their recommendations.

Manipur Unrest


The State assembly decided to form 7 new districts in the state by bifurcating the existing 9 and now leading to a total count of 16 districts. The Chief Minister claims that the reasons for this were to fulfill long standing demands of people and also for administrative efficiency. However there have been violent protests and blockades against the decision. The Naga leaders complain that the Non Naga areas have been merged with Naga areas in order to bifurcate the Nagas. The Hill Area Committees which were constituted under Article 371 of the constitution also weren’t consulted before such a decision was taken.The Naga tribal population in the hilly areas has long believed that the State leadership is communal and anti tribal. So when unpopular bills like Protection of Manipuri people’s bills, Manipur Shop and establishment Act and Manipur Land revenue and land records bills were introduced the tribes began protesting. There was already tension in tribal areas due to demand for introduction of Inner line permit in Manipur. The bifurcation of districts in such a tense situation was seen as a Insider vs Outsider issue.


In the police firing many deaths occurred but the bodies weren’t allowed to be buried till the demand for the withdrawal of bills is withdrawn. The association of Naga militants with political parties has also led to tensions.


The government should have consulted other parties and tribal communities before such a decision was taken.


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