Arunachal groups push for 6th Schedule status

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News: The revival of the demand for two autonomous councils in Arunachal Pradesh has led to the call for bringing the entire Arunachal Pradesh under the ambit of the 6th Schedule or Article 371 (A) of the Constitution.Currently, Arunachal Pradesh is under 5th Schedule.

Facts:

  • Sixth Schedule: It consists of provisions for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram, according to Article 244 of the Indian Constitution.It was passed by the constituent Assembly in 1949.
  • The schedule also seeks to safeguard the rights of tribal populations through the formation of Autonomous District Councils (ADC).

Autonomous Districts: These are administrative bodies constituted in accordance to Sixth Schedule, Article 244 (2) & Article 275(1) of the Indian Constitution.

  • There are 10 autonomous districts – three in Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram and one in Tripura.
  • Composition: Each autonomous district has a district council consisting of 30 members, of whom four are nominated by the governor and the remaining 26 are elected on the basis of adult franchise.
  • Term: The elected members hold office for a term of five years (unless the council is dissolved earlier) and nominated members hold office during the pleasure of the governor.
  • Regional Council: Each autonomous region also has a separate regional council.
  • 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 specify the jurisdiction of high courts for each of these cases.
    • Empowered to make legislative laws on matters like land, forests, fisheries, social security, entertainment, public health, etc. with due approval from the governor
    • Acts passed by Parliament and state legislatures may or may not be levied in these regions unless the President and the governor gives approval.

Additional Facts:

  • Article 371-A: Parliament cannot legislate in the matter relating to religious/social practices of Nagas, Naga customary law, and procedure, transfer of land & resources unless the state Assembly decides to do so.
  • Fifth Schedule: It deals with the administration and control of Scheduled Areas as well as of Scheduled Tribes residing in any State other than the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.