North-East India – Security and Developmental Issues

Sixth Schedule areas of Assam

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sixth Schedule

Mains level : Read the attached story

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has informed the Lok Sabha that presently, there is no proposal to implement the Panchayat system in the Sixth Schedule areas of Assam.

Try this question from CSP 2015:

Q.The provisions in Fifth Schedule and Sixth Schedule in the Constitution of India are made in order to-

(a) protect the interests of Scheduled Tribes

(b) determine the boundaries between States

(c) determine the powers, authority and responsibilities of Panchayats

(d) protect the interests of all the border States

What is the Sixth 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 the 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 reorganize the 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 separate legislation.

Autonomous districts and regional councils

  • The ADCs are empowered with civil and judicial powers can constitute village courts within their jurisdiction to hear the trial of cases involving the tribes.
  • Governors of states that fall under the Sixth Schedule specify the jurisdiction of high courts for each of these cases.
  • 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.

The specified tribal areas are the North Cachar Hills, Karbi Anglong and the Bodoland Territorial Area in Assam, Khasi Hills, Jaintiya Hills and Garo Hills in Meghalaya, Tribal Areas in Tripura, Chakma, Mara and Lai districts in Mizoram.

  • These regions are named as district council of (name of district) and regional council of (name of region).
  • Each autonomous district and regional council consists of not more than 30 members, of which four are nominated by the governor and the rest via elections. All of them remain in power for a term of five years.
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