North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

KHADC to invite talks on Instrument of Accession


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Autonomous District Council (ADC)

Mains level: Read the attached story

The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) in Meghalaya has called for a meeting of traditional heads to revisit the Instrument of Accession that made the Khasi domain a part of the Indian Union.


  • KHADC is an autonomous district council in the state of Meghalaya in India.
  • It is one of the three autonomous district councils within Meghalaya, and one of twenty-five autonomous regions of India.
  • Meghalaya is divided into three regions dominated by as many matrilineal communities — the Khasis, Garos and Jaintias.
  • The Khasi hills straddle 25 Himas or States that formed the Federation of Khasi States.

Why in news?

  • Some members of the KHADC agreed that the Instrument of Accession and Annexed Agreement signed with the Dominion of India between December 15, 1947 and March 19, 1948, should be studied.
  • The treaty was signed by Governor General of India, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, on August 17, 1948.

What is Instrument of Accession?

  • It was a legal document first introduced by the Government of India Act, 1935.
  • It was used in 1947 to enable each of the rulers of the princely states under British paramountcy to join one of the new dominions of India or Pakistan created by the Partition.
  • The instruments of accession executed by the rulers, provided for the accession of states to the Dominion of India (or Pakistan) on three subjects, namely, defence, external affairs and communications.

Back2Basics: Autonomous District Council (ADC)

  • The Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution allows for the formation of autonomous administrative divisions which have been given autonomy within their respective states.
  • Most of these ADC are located in North East India with the exception of two in Ladakh and one in West Bengal.
  • Presently, 10 Autonomous Councils in Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura are formed by virtue of the Sixth Schedule with the rest being formed as a result of other legislations.

Powers and competencies

(1) Executive and legislative powers

Under the provisions of the Sixth Schedule, ADCs can make laws, rules and regulations in the following areas:

  • Land management
  • Forest management
  • Water resources
  • Agriculture and cultivation
  • Formation of village councils
  • Public health
  • Sanitation
  • Village and town level policing
  • Appointment of traditional chiefs and headmen
  • Inheritance of property
  • Marriage and divorce
  • Social customs
  • Money lending and trading
  • Mining and minerals

(2) Judicial powers

  • ADCs have powers to form courts.
  • They can hear cases where both parties are members of Scheduled Tribes (STs) and the maximum sentence is less than 5 years in prison.

(3) Taxation and revenue

  • Autonomous district councils have powers to levy taxes, fees and tolls on: building and land, animals, vehicles, boats, entry of goods into the area, roads, ferries, bridges, employment and income and general taxes for the maintenance of schools and roads.


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