The Constitution under Sixth Schedule contains special provisions for the administration of tribal areas in the four north-eastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. The rationality behind the special arrangements in respect of only these four states lies in the following:
“The tribes in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram have not assimilated much the life and ways of the other people in these states. These areas have hitherto been anthropological specimens. The tribal people in other parts of India have more or less adopted the culture of the majority of the people in whose midst they live. The tribes in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram, on the other hand, still have their roots in their own culture, customs and civilization. These areas are, therefore, treated differently by the Constitution and sizeable amount of autonomy has been given to these people for self-government.”
Administration of Tribal Areas
The various features of administration contained in the Sixth Schedule are as follows:
- The governor is empowered to organise and reorganise the autonomous districts. Thus, he can increase or decrease their areas or change their names or define their boundaries and so on.
- If there are different tribes in an autonomous district, the governor can divide the district into several autonomous regions.
- The district and regional councils administer the areas under their jurisdiction. They can make laws on certain specified matters like land, forests, canal water, shifting cultivation, village administration, the inheritance of property, marriage and divorce, social customs and so on. But all such laws require the assent of the governor.
- The district and regional councils within their territorial jurisdictions can constitute village councils or courts for trial of suits and cases between the tribes. They hear appeals from them. The jurisdiction of the high court over these suits and cases is specified by the governor.
- The acts of Parliament or the state legislature do not apply to autonomous districts and autonomous regions or apply with specified modifications and exceptions.
There are 3 tribal areas in each state of Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram. and 01 tribal areas in Tripura. So. the total 10 tribal areas are in these three states. So, let’s have a look at them.
There are 03 tribal areas in Assam.
1. The North Cachar Hills District
2. The Karbi Anglong District
3. The Bodoland Territorial Areas District
The first and the second are a district. But the third one i.e. The Bodoland Territorial Areas District consists of 04 districts viz. Kokrajhar, Baksa, Udalgiri, Chirang.
There are 03 tribal areas in Meghalaya.
1. Khasi Hills District
2. Jaintia Hills District
3. The Garo Hills Districts
There are 03 tribal areas in Mizoram.
1. The Chakma District
2. The Mara District
3. The Lai District
There is only one Tribal District i.e. Tripura Tribal Areas District.
The whole Tripura is a tribal area.
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