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Scheduled and Tribal Areas in India

31-JUL-2015 10:02

    Article 244 deals with the administration of Scheduled areas and Tribal areas. The provisions of the Fifth Schedule of the constitution apply to the administration and control of the scheduled areas and scheduled tribes in any state other than the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.

    Administration of Schedule Areas

    The Features of the Fifth Schedule are Mentioned Below:

    1. Declaration of Scheduled Areas: The constitution empowers the President to declare any areas as scheduled area. The president can increase or decrease its area or alter its boundaries. He can cancel such designation after consultation with the governor or can make fresh orders redefining the schedule areas.

    2. Executive Power of State and Centre: Subject to the provisions of this schedule, the executive power of state extends to the scheduled areas therein. The governor of each state having scheduled areas annually, or whenever required by the president, make a report to the president regarding the administration of the scheduled areas in that state. The executive power of the union extends to the giving of directions to the state as to the administration of such areas.

    3. Tribes Advisory Council: Each state having scheduled areas needs to establish tribes advisory council consisting of not more than twenty members of whom about three-fourth members should be the representatives of the scheduled tribes in the legislative assembly of the state.

    4. Law Applicable to Scheduled Areas: The governor is empowered to direct that any particular act of parliament or of the legislature of the state does not apply to a scheduled area subject to such exceptions and modifications as he may specify in the notification.

    (a) Prohibit or restrict the transfer of land by or among members of the scheduled tribes in such area;

    (b) Regulate the allotment of land to members of the scheduled tribes in such area;

    (c) Regulate the carrying on of business as money-lender by persons who lend money to members of the scheduled tribes in such area.

    In doing so, he may repeal or amend any act of parliament or the state legislature or any existing law which is for the time being applicable to such area. All the above regulation requires the assent of the president.

    Tribal Areas

    The Sixth Schedule deals with the administration and control of the tribal areas in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.

    Administration of Tribal Areas

    The Sixth Schedule of the constitution provides special provisions for the administration of the tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. The provisions of the schedule are as follows:

    1. It provides for autonomous districts and autonomous regions.

    2. The governor can increase, decrease, re-organise or alter the boundary of these districts.

    3. If there are different scheduled tribes in an autonomous district, the governor may divide the area or areas inhabited by them into autonomous regions.

    4. Each autonomous district has a district council consisting of not more than thirty members, of whom not more than four persons shall be nominated by the governor and the rest shall be elected on the basis of adult suffrage. The elected members of the district council hold office for a term of five years and nominated member hold office at the pleasure of the governor.

    5.  The district and the regional councils can make laws on matters such as land, forests, canal water, Jhum cultivation, local administration, inheritance of property etc.

    6. The district and the regional councils may constitute village councils or courts for the trial of suits and cases between the parties all of whom belong to Scheduled Tribes within such areas.

    7. The district council can establish, construct, or manage primary schools, dispensaries, markets, ferries, fisheries, roads, road transport and waterways in the district.

    8. A district fund for each autonomous district, and a regional fund for each autonomous region is constituted to which money received respectively by the district council

    9. The district and the regional councils have powers to assess and collect land revenue and to impose certain taxes.

    10. The district council is empowered to make regulations for the Control of money-lending and trading by non-tribals.

    11. Estimated receipts and expenditure pertaining to autonomous districts has to be shown separately in the annual financial statement of the state.

    12. An act of parliament or of the legislature of the state does not apply to a autonomous districts and autonomous regions or apply with specified exceptions and modifications.

    13. If at any time the Governor is satisfied that an act or resolution of a district or a regional council is likely to endanger the safety of India he may suspend such an act or resolution and take such steps.

    14. The governor can appoint a commission to look into and report on the matters related to administration of the autonomous districts or regions.

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