Why in News?
- The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has recently constituted a high-powered committee for the Union Territory of Ladakh to “ensure protection of land and employment” for the people of Ladakh
- According to a few members of the committee, the MHA’s order is vague and does not address their demand for inclusion in the Sixth Schedule.
- In September 2019, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes recommended the inclusion of Ladakh under the Sixth Schedule, noting that the new UT was predominantly tribal (more than 97%) and its distinct cultural heritage needed preservation.
- To discuss measures to protect the region’s unique culture and language taking into consideration its geographical location and strategic importance.
- To strategize inclusive development and discuss issues related to the empowerment of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill District Councils of Leh and Kargil.
- The Sixth Schedule under Article 244 provides for the formation of autonomous administrative divisions — Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) — that have some legislative, judicial, and administrative autonomy within a state.
- The Sixth Schedule contains special provisions for the administration of tribal areas in the four north-eastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram
- The tribal areas in these four states have been constituted as autonomous districts. The governor is empowered to organise and re-organise the autonomous districts.
- The acts of Parliament or the state legislature do not apply to autonomous districts or apply with specified modifications and exceptions.
- The power of direction, in this regard, lies either with the President or Governor.
- 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.
- They 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 district council can establish, construct or manage primary schools, dispensaries, markets, ferries, fisheries, roads and so on in the district.
- They are empowered to assess and collect land revenue and to impose certain specified taxes.