Scheduled And Tribal Areas

By Ashutosh Yadav|Updated : April 27th, 2021

Article 244 in Part X of the Constitution has special provisions for administration of certain areas designated as “scheduled areas” and “Tribal areas”. The areas under the Fifth schedule deals with the administration and control of scheduled areas and scheduled tribes in all states except for the four states of Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram. While the Sixth schedule deals with the administration of the tribal areas of  Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram.

Scheduled And Tribal Areas: Provisions under schedule 5; Provisions under schedule 6

Why Scheduled areas are treated differently from the other areas in the country?

This is because they are inhabited by the ‘aboriginals’ who are socially and economically rather backwards, and needs affirmative actions to improve their conditions. Therefore the administrative machinery which works in the normal state doesn’t extend to the scheduled areas and central government has a greater responsibility in dealing with these areas.

Provisions under schedule 5:

In 2016, 10 states of India had scheduled areas these include Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa and Rajasthan. The various provisions of administration in the Fifth schedule area are as follows:-

  1. The President is empowered to declare any such area as scheduled area. He can also alter the boundary of these areas by either increasing it or decreasing the areas in consultation with the governor of the concerned state.
  2. Powers of State and Centre: The executive power of a state extends to the scheduled areas in the state. But the governor has special power with regard to such areas. He had to submit a report to the President regarding the administration of such areas, annually or whenever so required by the President. The executive power of the centre extends to giving directions to the states regarding the administration of scheduled areas.
  3. The governor has the power to direct that any particular act of Parliament or the state legislature doesn’t apply to a scheduled area or apply with certain modifications. He can also make rules for the peace and good governance of these areas after consulting with the tribe advisory council. Such regulations by the governor have an immense impact such as regulation to prohibit or restrict the transfer of land by or among members of the scheduled tribes. Also, a regulation has the power to repeal or amend any act of Parliament or the State Legislature, which is applicable to scheduled areas. But all such regulations require the assent of the President.
  4. Tribe Advisory Council (Composition and work): States having scheduled areas have to establish a tribe advisory council to advise on the subject of welfare and advancement of the scheduled tribes. It consists of 20 members, out of which three-fourths are to be the representative of the scheduled tribes in the state legislative assembly. A similar council can be established in a state having schedules tribes but not scheduled areas if the President directs.
  5. The Constitution requires the President to establish a commission to report on the administration of scheduled areas and scheduled tribes in the states. He can appoint such a commission at any time but it’s compulsory to constitute one after 10 years of the commencement of the Indian Constitution. Therefore in 1960s U.N. Dhebar Commission was established. In 2002 another commission was established under the chairmanship of Dilip Singh Bhuria.

Provisions under schedule 6:

The Constitution under this schedule contains special provisions for the administration of tribal areas in the four north-eastern states of Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram. The causes behind special provision for this state was – the tribes in these four states haven’t much assimilated in the life and ways of other people in these states. The tribe in these areas haven’t adopted the culture of the majority of the people among which they live. These tribes are a unique embodiment of culture, customs and civilization.

The various features of administration in Sixth Schedule areas as enshrined in our constitution are:-

  1. The tribal areas in these four states are provided with a sizable amount of autonomy by the Constitution.
  2. The tribal areas in these four states have been constituted as autonomous districts. These autonomous districts fall inside the executive authority of the state concerned.
  3. The governor has the power to organise and reorganise the autonomous districts.
  4. If there are different types of tribes in an autonomous district, then the governor can divide the district into several autonomous regions.
  5. Each autonomous council consists of 30 members, out of which 26 are elected on the basis of adult Franchise and 4 are nominated by the governor. The term of elected members is 5 years and nominated members hold office as per the pleasure of the governor.
  6. Each autonomous district also has a regional council.
  7. The regional and district councils administer the areas under their jurisdiction. They can make laws on specified matters like forest, land, canal, water, shifting cultivation, village administration, marriage and divorce and others. But the lawmaking on such subjects requires the assent of the governor.
  8. The district and regional council can constitute courts for trial of cases between the tribes in their administrative areas.
  9. The district council can establish, construct or manage primary schools, markets, ferries, fisheries, roads, dispensaries, markets and so on in the district. It can also make rules and regulations for the control of money lending and trading by non – tribal’s. But such kind of regulations requires the assent of the governor.
  10. The acts of Parliament or the State Legislatures don’t apply to autonomous districts and autonomous regions. Even if applied, the applicant with specific modifications and exceptions.
  11. These councils are empowered to assess and collect land revenue and impose certain specified taxes.
  12. The governor can appoint a commission to report on the matters related to the administration of the autonomous districts or regions. He may dissolve a regional or district council on the recommendation of the commission.

Thus provisions of Schedule Five and Schedule Sixth of the Indian Constitution have proven to be very effective in the effective administration of the areas coming under their ambit.


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