The Constituent Assembly appointed the “North Eastern Frontier (Assam) Tribal and Excluded Areas Committee” to study and suggest measures for the administration of tribal areas and for the protection of tribal interests. The Committee submitted a scheme for tribal administration which was approved by the Constituent Assembly and incorporated in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India.
The Sixth Schedule has mentioned a separate administrative arrangement for the hill tribes of Northeast. According to it an administrative area can be created by the Governor for the administration of the hill areas. Such administrative unit is known as District Council (Autonomous Council). District Council is an autonomous body which has the authority to administer the tribal areas.
Presently, in Assam there are three District Councils (Autonomous Council) under the Six Schedule of our Constitution. These are
- Dima Hasao Autonomous Council, 1952 (earlier North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council),
- The Karbi Anglong Autonomous council, 1952 and
- Bodoland Territotial Areas District Council, 2003.
The administration of the areas under the jurisdiction of the Sixth Scheduled in Assam is carried on by these three Autonomous Councils.
Tribal Autonomous Council
- The members of the Council are elected by the people of the respective area.
- The District Council is an autonomous body which is entrusted with numerous powers and functions viz., legislative, administrative, financial and judicial.
- The term of office of a member of the District Council is five years.
- Each District Council has an Executive Council with a Chief Executive Councillor and he is responsible for the administration of the District Council.
- Apart from this, the District Council has a Secretariat with Chief Secretary and other Secretaries.
- The District Council acts as the legislature of the areas within its jurisdiction.
- The District Councils have the power to make acts, rules, but the Governor must give his assent to these acts and rules.
- The Governor has the power to suspend any act or resolution of the Council if he is satisfied that it is likely to endanger the safety and security of India.
- The District Council performs the activities like management of forest not being reserved forest, regulation of Jhum, marriage and divorce, social customs, establishment of village court, trial of intra-tribal suits both civil and criminal, construction and management of primary schools, markets, dispensary, etc.
- The District Council may establish, construct or manage primary schools, dispensaries, markets, cattle pounds, ferries, fisheries, road and waterways in the district and in particular may prescribe the language and manner in which primary education should be imparted in the primary schools of the district.
No Act of Parliament or of the State Legislature can apply to these areas unless the Governor by public notification so directs. Matters relating to labour and employment, and setting up of industries (excepting those declared by Parliament to the necessary for defense or war or expedient in the public interest) fall usually under the jurisdiction of the District Councils.
The concurrence of the District Council is necessary for the purpose of prospecting for, or extraction of minerals, and the royalties thereof will be shared with the District Council. Any dispute regarding sharing of such royalties shall be referred to the Governor for final decision.