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Explainer: What is the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution? Which special status is Ladakh asking for, know

New Delhi: Ladakh got the status of Union Territory in 2019. Since then the demand to include Ladakh in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution gained momentum. Renowned educationist and social worker Sonam Wangchuk is on fast with this demand. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh reiterated the same demand during the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’. The Congress registered a victory in the results of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) that came this month. Senior Congress leader and Leader of the Opposition in the Council T. Namgyal said the people of Ladakh wanted implementation of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution to protect employment, land and culture in the region. For the last one year, several demonstrations took place in Ladakh regarding four important demands. Among these rights to Ladakh under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution is the main demand. BJP MP Jamyang Namgyal from here has also made the same demand in December 2021. Means, from BJP to Congress and at the local level, there is unanimity about it. Then why Ladakh was not included in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution? After all, what is there in the sixth schedule that is being demanded so strongly.

What is the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution?
The Sixth Schedule contains special provisions under Article 244(2) and Article 275(1) of the Constitution. The subjects of the Sixth Schedule are the administration of tribal areas in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. This schedule was included in the constitution on the recommendations of the Bardaloi Committee. Under the Sixth Schedule, there is a provision to create autonomous districts in tribal areas. These districts enjoy legislative, judicial and administrative autonomy within the state. The Governor has the right to increase or decrease the boundaries of these districts. If there are different tribes in a district, several autonomous districts can be formed.

There is a provision to create an Autonomous District Council (ADCs) in every autonomous district. The ADC can have 30 members with a maximum term of five years. This council has the right to make laws, rules related to land, forest, water, agriculture, village council, health, sanitation, village and city level policing, inheritance, marriage and divorce, social customs and mining etc. The only exception in this regard is the Bodoland Territorial Council of Assam which has more than 40 members and has the power to legislate on 39 subjects.

Where does the Sixth Schedule apply?

State autonomous council
Assam Dima Hasao, Karbi Anglong, Bodoland Territorial Council
Meghalaya Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills, Garo Hills
Mizoram dodge, hit, hit
Tripura Tripura Tribal Areas

Sixth Schedule of the Constitution

Why does Ladakh need a place in the Sixth Schedule?
After the abolition of Article 370, the people of Leh-Ladakh were very happy. Leh, which is dominated by Buddhists, complained that the politicians of Jammu and Kashmir used to ignore them. On August 5, 2019, when the central government changed the constitutional status of India’s northernmost state, there was hope for change. Later it came to know that after the formation of UT, Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislature but Ladakh will not. In the earlier assembly there were four MLAs from the area, now the entire administration is in the hands of bureaucrats. Many feel that now the government has become more distant from them. Moreover, the change in the domicile policy of Jammu and Kashmir has also increased the fear of loss of land, employment, demography and cultural identity of the region. At present there are two hill councils in Leh and Kargil, but they are not in the Sixth Schedule. His powers are limited to certain local taxes and the use of land received from the Centre.

Can Ladakh be included in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution?
In September 2019, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes recommended the inclusion of Ladakh in the Sixth Schedule. Said that more than 97% of the population of the new union territory is tribal. There are restrictions on buying and acquiring land from other parts of the country, there is a distinct cultural heritage that needs protection. So far no area other than the North East has been included in the Sixth Schedule. Even the autonomous councils of Manipur, which have tribal-dominated areas, are not part of the Sixth Schedule. Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, which are completely tribal states, were also not included in the Sixth Schedule.

A Home Ministry official told The Indian Express in December 2021, ‘It will be difficult to include Ladakh in the Sixth Schedule. The Constitution is very clear, the Sixth Schedule is for the North East. There is a fifth schedule for the tribal areas of the rest of the country. However, if the government wishes, it can bring an amendment proposal to this effect in the constitution. Till now the attitude of the government in this regard has not been very positive.

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