The Demand of Autonomous State in Assam

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INTRODUCTION

Autonomous Subdivision or Region relies upon government with the degree of independence or autonomy of an external authority. The sixth schedule covers the administration and management of the tribal and planned areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram. At the beginning of 2021, a demand was raised to give the status of Autonomous State to Assam under article 244A of the Indian Constitution. An autonomous region is a part of a government with a degree of sovereignty or independence from outside authorities. It is common for it to be physically isolated from the rest of the world or be home to a racial minority. Federacies are countries that have independent regions.

In some tribal areas of Assam, Article 244(A) provides an “autonomous state.” It also has provisions for a Legislature and a Council of Ministers, which were inserted into the Constitution by the then-Congress government in 1969 by the Constitution (Twenty-Second Amendment) Act 1969. Under these terms, some parts of Assamese society have called for an independent state within the state. This demand has been raised by the group of Assam lawmakers from the BJP, including a Lok Sabha member, who has submitted a memorandum to the Centre requesting that Article 244A be implemented to establish an autonomous state within Assam in the region of Karbi Anglong.

Since the 1980s, three hill districts namely, Karbi Anglong, West Karbi Anglong, and Dima Hasao – have demanded the implementation of Article 244A, which calls for creating an autonomous state comprising some tribal areas of Assam and the establishment of a local legislature or Council of Ministers.

The residents of the three hill districts have been seeking the implementation of Article 244A of the Constitution for three decades, but the Centre has ignored them. Since 1986, the Centre has not decided to implement Article 244A of the Indian Constitution in Assam.

BACKGROUND

The Center has been called for the establishment of a Karbi-Anglong autonomous state. Since 1986, this has been a request. Two autonomous bodies, Karbi Anglong and North Cachar oversee the current districts. The regions used by ‘Aboriginal*s’ are considered Scheduled Areas, which have a social and educational background. Two schedules (fifth and sixth), with specifics of regulation and administration of the Scheduled and Tribal Areas, are included in the Indian Constitution. Under the fifth schedule, the rules relating to the management and monitoring of scheduled and tribal areas of every state except the four states (Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram). The 10 States currently have five scheduled areas: Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Telangana.

Certain parts of the tribal community of undivided Assam demanded a separate hill state in the 1950s. The All-Party Hill Leaders Conference was established in 1960 when different political parties in the hill areas combined to claim a separate state. Meghalaya became a state in 1972 after years of unrest.

This campaign included representatives from the Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills. They could either remain in Assam or move to Meghalaya. They remained because the government offered them more authority, like Article 244A of the Constitution. There has been a need for its introduction since then. This demand became a movement in the 1980s, with several Karbi groups resorting to abuse. It quickly devolved into an armed nationalist movement seeking complete independence.

Though 1,040 militants from five Karbi Anglong district militant groups ceremonially laid down weapons in Guwahati in February 2021 in the presence of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, the entire political discourse in the area continues to revolve around the demand for the region to be granted ‘autonomous state’ status.

In Article 244A, the implementation prescribes a local legislature or council of ministers in an autonomous State composed of some tribal regions of Assam. Two autonomous councils now administer the districts of Karbi Anglong and Hills of North Cachar. After 1986, the Autonomous State Demand Committee of Karbi Anglong-North Cachar Hills began a campaign.

CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES OF ARTICLE 244(A)

In the year 1969, Article 2 of the 22nd amendment incorporated into the Constitution the new article 244A, which authorizes Parliament, as well as providing for the legislative or Council of Ministers or both with such powers and functions as may be defined by that Law, to enact a law for establishing an autonomous State in the State of Assam.

Article 275 was revised in Section 3 of the 22nd amendment as regards amounts and grants due to, and on the basis of Article 244A, the autonomous State. Paragraph 4 introduced new Article 371B providing for the formation and functions of the State of Assam Legislative Assembly Committee composed of the members of that Assembly elected from tribal areas as stipulated in Paragraph 20 of the Sixth Schedule and of those other Members as specified in the order.

DEMAND OF AUTONOMOUS STATE IN NORTHEAST INDIA

To address autonomy in the northeastern states in general and Assam in particular, identity creation is needed. The whole concept of sovereignty revolves around citizenship issues and the right to natural and cultural land ownership. In popular parlance, one crucial dimension may be found among the Autonomy campaigns, which indicates that both of these demands are directed at gaining a certain amount of geographical freedom and institutional concession for a nation believed to have traditionally possessed the concerned community. In this context, the land is referred to as an ethno-symbolic unit. The query is not about the land’s pattern, nor its consistency and quantity indirect forms; instead, it is about which group the land belongs. As a result, racial control or cultural ownership of land is linked to conceptions of autonomy.

Many ethnic groups in the Northeast have requested an independent council based on this claim, and almost all of them have been recognized, although others continue to seek recognition. It is worth noting that most of the Northeast demands have resulted from mutually established comparison points. We may now establish a trend to research the genealogy of the background of demands for autonomy in the Northeast in general and Assam based on this early presumption. The essence and strength of the decentralized movement fluctuate often.

SUGGESTIONS

The sole right to legislate on topics pertaining to the list of states should be guaranteed by Article 248 of the Indian Constitution. The residual powers are not the Center, but the States. In current age of globalization, this might serve to increase and protect the autonomous of the state. Article 249 authorizing Parliament to act on matters relating to the lists of States is to be repealed as in the guise of national interest it leads to the arbitrary concepts. States require additional taxing authority and the public bonds they need to determine. This would assist to attain the objectives that the state desires instead of the central government’s objective. In accordance with Article 289, the center should not have the ability to tax property. Above all, Article 302 should be removed with, enabling a center to regulate trade and trade. The emergency provisions of Article 356 should likewise be used with a view to calling on the presidential rule. An election and the installation of a new administration should be provided.

CONCLUSION

One such electorate section is Scheduled Tribes, 8.6 percent of the population of the nation according to the 2011 Census. The Fifth and Sixth Schedule — the most mysterious chapter of the Indian Constitution — governs this segment of society. In Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram, the sixth Schedule grants autonomous district councils, exercise legislative and executive authority to rule themselves differently to the rest of India, the right to preserve their language and culture. As a fascinating indication of democracy’s scope to shield marginalized tribes from a turbulent and violent environment, the micro government of ADC in Assam and their proportional participation in the Lok Sabha, as the autonomous district constituency, in the three autonomous districts of Assam. Before the elections to Lok SABHA, it describes the autonomous district – one of Assam’s 14 electoral districts in Lok SABHA (constituencies) – voting for itself, governing itself while bringing various ethnic interests together in one political representative.

Written By

Ayush Garg

Gujarat National Law University

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