Context:

Rajya Sabha passed The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which seeks to amend the constitutional list of Scheduled Tribes as recommended by Arunachal Pradesh.

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Constitution (Constitutional Provisions), GS-II: Social Justice and Governance (Issues related to Minorities, Government Policies and Interventions)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Definition of STs
  2. Constitutional Provisions regarding STs
  3. The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2021

Definition of STs

The Constitution does not define the criteria for recognition of Scheduled Tribes.

  • However, Article 366(25) of the Constitution only provides process to define Scheduled Tribes: “Scheduled Tribes means such tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342 to be Scheduled Tribes for the purposes of this Constitution.”
  • Article 342(1): The President may with respect to any State or Union Territory, and where it is a State, after consultation with the Governor, by a public notification, specify the tribes or tribal communities or part of or groups within tribes or tribal communities as Scheduled Tribe in relation to that State or Union Territory.

Constitutional Provisions regarding STs

  • Art. 15(4): Special provisions for advancement of other backward classes (which includes STs);
  • Art. 23: Prohibition of traffic in human beings and beggar and other similar form of forced labour;
  • Art. 24: Forbidding Child Labour.
  • Art. 29: Protection of Interests of Minorities (which includes STs);
  • Art. 46: The State shall promote, with special care, the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and in particular, of the Scheduled Castes, and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.
  • Art.164(1): Provides for Tribal Affairs Ministers in Bihar, MP and Orissa;
  • Art. 243: Reservation of seats in Panchayats.
  • Art.244: Clause (1) Provisions of Fifth Schedule shall apply to the administration & control of the Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes in any State other than the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura which are covered under Sixth Schedule, under Clause (2) of this Article.
  • Art. 275: Grants in-Aid to specified States (STs&SAs) covered under Fifth and Sixth Schedules of the Constitution.
  • Art. 330: Reservation of seats for STs in Lok Sabha;
  • Art. 337- Reservation of seats for STs in State Legislatures;
  • Art. 334: 10 years period for reservation (Amended several times to extend the period);
  • Art. 350: Right to conserve distinct Language, Script or Culture;
  • Art. 350: Instruction in Mother Tongue.
  • Art. 371: Special provisions in respect of NE States and Sikkim.

The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2021

  • The new bill provides for modifying Part-XVIII of the Schedule to the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950, relating to state of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The Bill removes the Abor tribe from the list of identified STs in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • It replaces certain STs with other tribes. This includes Tai Khamti, Mishmi-Kaman (Miju Mishmi), Idu (Mishmi) and Taraon (Digaru Mishmi).

-Source: The Hindu

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