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Ladakh, Article 371, and the Sixth Schedule

Why is it in the news?

  • In a recent meeting, Union Home Minister Amit Shah assured Ladakh’s representatives of extending Article 371-like protections to address concerns over jobs, land, and culture.
  • However, Shah indicated that Ladakh wouldn’t be included in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution despite ongoing protests in the region.
  • He also promised representation and participation of locals through hill councils and indicated willingness to provide up to 80% reservation in public employment.
Background

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 After the repeal of Article 370 in August 2019 and the subsequent enactment of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, Ladakh was recognized as a separate Union Territory “without legislature.”

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 This meant Ladakh lacked its own Legislative Assembly like Union Territories such as New Delhi and Pondicherry.

Demand for Inclusion in Sixth Schedule

  • Organizations like the Leh Apex Body (ABL) and the Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) have advocated for Ladakh’s inclusion under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
  • The Sixth Schedule contains provisions for the administration of tribal areas in certain states such as Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram.

Benefits of Inclusion:

  • It would allow Ladakh to establish Autonomous District and Regional Councils (ADCs and ARCs) with administrative powers over tribal areas.
  • These councils would have the authority to make laws on various subjects including forest management, agriculture, administration of villages and towns, inheritance, marriage, divorce, and social customs.
  • Additionally, ADCs and ARCs could constitute village councils or courts, appoint officers, and try certain offences under criminal and civil laws.
  • The Schedule also grants powers to collect land revenue, impose taxes, regulate money lending, collect royalties, and establish public facilities such as schools, markets, and roads.

 

Article 371

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Article 371 and its subsections provide “special provisions” for specific states, aimed at giving representation to certain religious and social groups and allowing them to exercise autonomy over their affairs.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 While similar protections are not as extensive as those provided under the Sixth Schedule, they still offer safeguards for local populations.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Examples of such protections include Article 371-A for Nagaland, Article 371-G for Mizoram, and Article 371-F for Sikkim, among others.

 

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