Related Topics: Indian Polity, Special Category Status
Union Home Minister has assured the North-Eastern States that the Centre would never touch Article 371 of the Constitution that grants special provisions to the region.
About Article 371
- Article 371 of the Indian Constitution is connected to granting special provisions for some states of the Indian Union.
- As part of XXI and XXII of the Constitution of India, Article 371 grants some temporary, transition and special provisions to some states in the country.
- Ranging from Article 371 to Article 371-J, this Article gives special provisions for the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa and Karnataka.
- The main objectives behind the Article 371 granting special provisions to some states are to meet the unique needs of the backward regions of these states, protect the economic and cultural interests of these regions, combat the local challenges and protect the customary laws in these regions.
Article 371 – Maharashtra and Gujarat
Governors of the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat are given special responsibilities to set up development boards in regions such as Vidarbha, Marathwada, Kutchh etc.
Article 371A – Nagaland
- It states that no act of Parliament would apply to the state of Nagaland in matter relating to religious or social practices of Nagas, Naga customary law and procedure, administration of civil or criminal justice involving decisions according to Naga customary law and ownership and transfer of land and its resources.
- The Legislative Assembly of Nagaland must pass a resolution for an act to be applicable to the state.
- The governor is given special responsibilities with respect to law and order in the state as well.
Article 371B – Assam
The President may provide for the Constitution and functions of a committee of Legislative Assembly of the state consisting of members elected from the tribal areas of Assam.
Article 371C – Manipur
- The President may provide for the Constitution and functions of a committee of Legislative Assembly of the state, but consisting of members elected from the hill areas of Manipur.
- The Governor must submit an annual report to the president regarding the administration of hill areas.
Article 371D (32nd Amendment Act, 1973; substituted by The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014), Andhra Pradesh and Telangana:
- President must ensure “equitable opportunities and facilities” in “public employment and education to people from different parts of the state”.
- He may require the state government to organise civil posts or direct recruitment to posts in local cadre as required.
It states that Parliament may by law provide for the establishment of a University in Andhra Pradesh.
Article 371F – Sikkim
- It states that the Legislative Assembly shall consist of not less than 30 members.
- In order to protect the rights and interests of the different sections of the population in the state of Sikkim, seats in the assembly are provided to people of these different sections.
Article 371G – Mizoram
- The Legislative Assembly of the state of Mizoram must consist of not less than 40 members.
- In addition, following the same provisions as Nagaland, an act of Parliament would not apply to Mizoram in matters relating to religious or social practices of Mizo, Mizo customary law and procedure, administration of civil or criminal justice involving decisions according to Mizo customary law, ownership and transfer of land and its resources.
Article 371H – Arunachal Pradesh
- The Legislative Assembly of the state of Mizoram must consist of not less than 30 members.
- The governor will have special responsibility with respect to law and order in the state.
Article 371I – Goa
- The Legislative Assembly of the state of Goa must consist of not less than 30 members.
- It does not include any provision that can be deemed ‘special’.
- It grants special status to six backward districts of Hyderabad-Karnataka region.
- The special provision requires that a separate development board be established for these regions (similar to Maharashtra and Gujarat) and also ensures local reservation in education and government jobs.
Concerns of North Eastern States
- While Article 370, which limited purchase and inheritance of property to permanent residents, was abrogated for J&K, similar provisions are also provided under Article 371 in many north eastern states.
- Article 371A prohibits anyone who is not a resident from buying land in Nagaland, which may only be bought by tribals who are residents of the state.
- Article 371F bestowed on Government of Sikkim, the right of ownership of all land in the state, even if it was owned by private individuals prior to the state’s merger with India.
- Article 371F states that “neither the Supreme Court nor any other court shall have jurisdiction in respect of any dispute or other matter arising out of any treaty, agreement, engagement or other similar instrument relating to Sikkim”, however, a specific condition allows the President to step in if the need arises related to constitutional law.
- Article 371G is similar to Article 371A, as it limits the ownership of land to Mizoram’s tribals except for setting up of industries by the private sector, land can now be acquired by the state government as per the provisions of Mizoram (Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement) Act, 2016.
- Both Article 371A and Article 371G limit the Parliament’s authority to enact any law that interferes with tribal religious laws, customs, including their justice system.
Related Topics: Culture, Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG)
- Nine months ago, American national John Allen Chau was allegedly killed by the Sentinelese on the North Sentinel Island of Andaman and Nicobar islands.
- A recent publication by the Anthropological Survey of India (AnSI) throws more light on the incident and also the ways of one of the most isolated tribes in the world.
What is in the new report?
- The paper titled ‘The Sentinelese of the North Sentinel Island: A reprisal of Tribal Scenario in an Andaman Island’ in context of Killing of an American Preacher was published in the journal of AnSI.
- It discusses in detail the “mission” of the American national, the possibility of retrieval of the dead body and also the charge of murder which the police in the Andamans have pressed against “unknown tribal members of Sentinelese Community”.
- In March 1896, three convicts escaped from Andaman and drifted to the North Sentinel Island where they tried to escape in a raft made of bamboo. While two of them drowned, the third person was speared to death by the tribal people.
- In January 2006, when two fishermen, Sunder Raj and Pandit Tiwari, were reportedly killed by the Sentinelese when they were illegally collecting mud crabs in the protected area.
- Chau was guided by some kind of “pathological curiosity” which led him to visit the island despite knowing the consequences.
- Chau’s journal was an extremely important anthropological document, which should be preserved.
Hands off, Eyes on approach
- The study emphasises on the “Hands off, Eyes on” approach of the administration towards the Sentinelese.
- It recommends that circumnavigation of the island should be carried out to keep a vigil to ward off and report on any attempt by outsiders to stray into the territory.
- It is important to make systematic observations of the Sentinelese and their territory from a distance.
- They are negrito tribe, who live on the North Sentinel Island of the Andamans.
- They are connected to the Jarawa on the basis of physical, as well as linguistic similarities.
- They the only remaining tribe in the Andamans to still maintain their isolation from the rest of the world and live like hunter gatherers.
- Based on carbon dating of kitchen middens by the Anthropological Survey of India, Sentinelese presence was confirmed in the islands to 2,000 years ago.
- Genome studies indicate that the Andaman tribes could have been on the islands even 30,000 years ago.
How are they protected?
- The Govt. of India issued the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Regulation, 1956 to declare the traditional areas occupied by the tribes as reserves, and prohibited entry of all persons except those with authorisation.
- Apart from the land territory the coastal sea up to fixed extent of 1 Km to 5 Km abutting the tribal territory has also been notified as tribal reserve so that marine resources like fish, turtle etc are available exclusively for the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).
- The Government has adopted an ‘eyes-on and hands-off’ practice to protect and safeguard the Sentinelese tribe.
- A protocol of circumnavigation of the North Sentinel Island has been notified.
- Photographing or filming the tribe members is also an offence.
How many are there?
- From 1901 to 1921 they were estimated to be 117
- In 1931, the number dropped to 50.
- In 1991 their head count was put at 23.
- Census 2001 counted 39
Issues faced by the tribals
- Attempts to “civilise tribes”: These tribes have faced social disintegration among them with cultural erosion in the wake of contacts.
- Spread of diseases: Some expeditions to establish contact with these tribes have led to spread contagious diseases among them.
- Natural Disasters: The islands inhabitated by these tribes are often faced with natural disasters such as the Tsunami of 2004.
- Tourist Influx: Unsustainable and exploitative tourist influx in the region has led to serious problems for these tribes and for the region.
- Loss of food: Loss of forests, overfishing, etc. has diminished their food sources.
- Efforts must be made to ensure that their customs, languages, religious practises etc. are not lost as a result of outside influence.
- Specific issues like natural disasters, endemic diseases such as anaemia, etc. must be addressed.
- The policy of non-intervention should continue and at the same time the ‘eyes-on’ policy has to be implemented strictly.
- Rigorous awareness programme among the fishermen is required as the American tourist, who was killed recently, took the help of local fishermen to reach the island.
[Source: The Hindu, PIB]
Related Topics: Social Issues, Culture
- Acute malnutrition among Saharias, a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG), due to crushing poverty, delayed breastfeeding, premature pregnancies and seasonal migrations is continuing to take away lives.
- Every second child under five in the Shivpuri and Sheopur districts of central India is underweight.
- According to the National Family Health Survey 2014-2015, just 2% of children under three were breastfed within the first hour of their birth in rural parts of Sheopur district.
- An Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) study revealed that, among Saharias, TB prevalence is an alarming 1,995 per 1, 00,000 persons.
Who are Sahariyas?
- The Saharia, Sahar, Sehariya, or Sahariya are an ethnic group in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
- The Saharias are mainly found in the districts of Morena, Sheopur, Bhind, Gwalior, Datia, Shivpuri, Vidisha and Guna districts of Madhya Pradesh and Baran district of Rajasthan.
- They are a particularly vulnerable tribal group.
Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)
- PVTG (earlier Primitive Tribal Groups) was the category created within Scheduled Tribes on the recommendation of Dhebar commission.
- Presently there are 75 tribal groups categorized by Ministry of Home Affairs as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG).
- They reside in 18 States and UT of A&N Islands.
FACTS OF THE DAY
Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has issued new guidelines to State governments for identifying accident black spots on national highways and rectifying them and has urged them to give “special attention in a strictly time-bound manner” to the issue. The guidelines detail the process for inspecting the spots, framing a proposal and obtaining sanctions for rectifying them and suggest a timeline for submitting an inspection report and completing the civil works. A black spot is defined as a stretch of not more than 500 metres in length where five accidents have taken place or where 10 fatalities have happened in the last three years.
Noted jurist and and former Union Minister Ram Jethmalani passed away at the age of 95. He was the Union Law Minister and the Urban Development Minister during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government. He also served as the Supreme Court Bar Association president in 2010. He was born in Shikarpur in Sindh province (now in Pakistan) on September 14, 1923 and obtained a law degree at the age of 17.
COMMON HIGH COURT FOR UNION TERRITORIES OF J&K AND LADAKH
Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh will become two separate Union territories from October 31, 2019, but will have a common High Court. 108 Central Laws would be applicable for the two UTs while 164 state laws would be repealed and 166 state laws will continue to be applicable. The Centre on August 5, 2019, nullified Article 370 of the Constitution, revoking the special status of the state. The Constitution provides that there shall be a High Court in each State (Article 214) but Parliament has the power to establish a common High Court for two or more States (Article 231).