Arunachal groups push for 6th Schedule status
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Indian Polity – Schedules
Some political parties and community-based groups in Arunachal Pradesh called for –
- bringing the entire Arunachal Pradesh under the ambit of the Sixth Schedule or Article 371 (A) of the Constitution
- revival of the demand for two autonomous councils
Currently, Arunachal Pradesh is a Fifth Schedule State, that “does not provide special rights for the indigenous communities” unlike the Sixth Schedule.
Important Value Additions:
Fifth and Sixth schedules of Indian constitution
These two schedules provide for alternate or special governance mechanisms for certain ‘scheduled areas’ in mainland and certain ‘tribal areas’ in north-eastern India.
- The Fifth Schedule designates Schedule areas in large parts of India in which the interests of the Scheduled Tribes are to be protected. The Scheduled area has more than 50 per cent tribal population.
- The Sixth Schedule is related to the administration of North Eastern states i.e. the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram in the North-east. It has provisions for the formation of autonomous districts and autonomous regions within the districts as there are different schedule tribes within the district.
Why demand for 6th schedule over 5th schedule?
The Sixth Schedule consists of provisions for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram, according to Article 244 of the Indian Constitution.
- Passed by the Constituent Assembly in 1949, it seeks to safeguard the rights of tribal population through the formation of Autonomous District Councils (ADC).
- ADCs are bodies representing a district to which the Constitution has given varying degrees of autonomy within the state legislature.
- The governors of these states are empowered to reorganise boundaries of the tribal areas. In simpler terms, she or he can choose to include or exclude any area, increase or decrease the boundaries and unite two or more autonomous districts into one. They can also alter or change the names of autonomous regions without a separate legislation.
Autonomous districts and regional councils
- Along with ADCs, the Sixth Schedule also provides for separate Regional Councils for each area constituted as an autonomous region.
- In all, there are 10 areas in the Northeast that are registered as autonomous districts – three in Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram and one in Tripura.
- These regions are named as district council of (name of district) and regional council of (name of region).
ADCs empowered with civil and judicial powers
- The ADCs are empowered with civil and judicial powers, can constitute village courts within their jurisdiction to hear trial of cases involving the tribes. Governors of states that fall under the Sixth Schedule specifies the jurisdiction of high courts for each of these cases.
- The councils are also empowered to make legislative laws on matters like land, forests, fisheries, social security, entertainment, public health, etc. with due approval from the governor. The roles of the central and state governments are restricted from the territorial jurisdiction of these autonomous regions.
- Also, Acts passed by Parliament and state legislatures may or may not be levied in these regions unless the President and the governor gives her or his approval, with or without modifications in the laws for the autonomous regions.