Prelimsverse: About Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of India (Fifth Schedule areas)

In the Article 244(1) of the Constitution, expression Scheduled Areas means such areas as the President may by order declare to be Scheduled Areas.

The President may at any time by order:

1. Direct that the whole or any specified part of a Scheduled Area shall cease to be a Scheduled Area or a part of such an area;
2. Increase the area of any Scheduled Area in a State after consultation with the Governor of that State;
3. Alter, but only by way of rectification of boundaries, any Scheduled Area;
4. On any alteration of the boundaries of a State on the admission into the Union or the establishment of a new  State, declare any territory not previously included in any State to be, or to form part of, a Scheduled Area;
5. Rescind, in relation to any State of States, any order or orders made under these provisions and in consultation with the Governor of the State concerned, make fresh orders redefining the areas which are to be Scheduled Areas.

Criteria for Declaring Schedule Areas

1. preponderance of tribal population;
2. compactness and reasonable size of the area;
3. under-developed nature of the area; and
4. marked disparity in economic standard of the people.
These criteria are not spelt out in the Constitution of India but have become well established. They embody principles followed in declaring ‘Excluded’ and ‘Partially-Excluded’ Areas under the Government of India Act 1935, Schedule B of recommendations of the Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas Sub Committee of Constituent Assembly and the Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes Commission 1961.

Extra Reading: Special Provisions for Fifth Schedule Areas

  1. The Governor of each State having Scheduled Areas (SA) shall annually, or whenever so required by the President, make a report to the President regarding the administration of Scheduled Areas in that State.
  2. The Union Government shall have executive powers to give directions to the States as to the administration of the Scheduled Areas.
  3. Para 4 of the Fifth Schedule provides for establishment of a Tribes Advisory Council (TAC) in any State having Scheduled Areas. If the President so directs, there will be established a TAC in a State having Scheduled tribes but not Scheduled Areas therein, consisting of not more than twenty members of whom, three-fourths shall be the representatives of the Scheduled Tribes in the Legislative Assembly of the State. If the number of representatives of the STs in the Legislative Assembly of the State is less than the number of seats in the TAC to be filled by such representatives, the remaining seats shall be filled by other members of those Tribes.
  4. The TAC shall advise on such matters pertaining to the welfare and the advancement of the STs in the State as may be referred to them by the Governor.
  5. The Governor may make rules prescribing or regulating
    1. the number of members of the Council, the mode of their appointment and the appointment of the Chairman of the Council and of the officers and servants thereof,
    2. the conduct of its meetings and its procedure in general; and
    3. all other incidental matters.
  6. The Governor may, by public notification, direct that any particular Act of Parliament or of the Legislature of the State shall or shall not apply to a SA or any part thereof in the State, subject to such exceptions and modifications, as specified. The Governor may make regulations for the peace and good government of any area in the State which is for the time being a SA. Such regulations may
    1. prohibit or restrict the transfer of land by or among members of the Scheduled tribes in such area;
    2. regulate the allotment of land to members of the STs in such area;
    3. regulate the carrying on of business as money-lender by persons who lend money to members of the STs in such area.
  7. In making such regulations, the Governor may repeal or amend any Act of Parliament or of Legislature of the State or any existing law after obtaining assent of the President.
  8. No regulations shall be made unless the Governor, in case a TAC exists, consults such TAC.

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