The Constitution, under Sixth Schedule, contains special provisions for the administration of tribal areas in the four north-eastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
The various features of administration contained in the Sixth Schedule are as follows:
- The tribal areas in the four states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram have been constituted as autonomous districts4. But, they do not fall outside the executive authority of the state concerned.
- The governor is empowered to organise and re-organise the autonomous districts. Thus, he can increase or decrease their areas or change their names or define their boundaries and so on.
- If there are different tribes in an autonomous district, the governor can divide the district into several autonomous regions.
- Each autonomous district has a district council consisting of 30 members, of whom four are nominated by the governor and the remaining 26 are elected on the basis of adult franchise. The elected members hold office for a term of five years (unless the council is dissolved earlier) and nominated members hold office during the pleasure of the governor. Each autonomous region also has a separate regional council.
- The district and regional councils administer the areas under their jurisdiction. They can make laws on certain specified matters like land, forests, canal water, shifting cultivation, village administration, inheritance of property, marriage and divorce, social customs and so on. But all such laws require the assent of the governor.
- The district council can establish, construct or manage primary schools, dispensaries, markets, ferries, fisheries, roads and so on in the district. It can also make regulations for the control of money lending and trading by non-tribals. But, such regulations require the assent of the governor.
- The district and regional councils are empowered to assess and collect land revenue and to impose certain specified taxes.