The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Second Amendment) Bill 2019

Author: Shubhangi Saxena, 3rd Year, B.Com LL.B, School of Law, Jagran Lakecity University. The article has been written by the author while pursuing the internship programme with us. Introduction The Constitution of India is considered as one of the best Constitutions of the world. It’s the longest written constitution in the world with 448 Articles, 25 parts, 12 schedules and 124 amendments. Since India is a welfare state, the constitution has prescribed provisions for the people who are financially, socially, economically not sound. Since, India is the second largest country in the world in terms of population, it has numerous castes, communities, creeds etc. and many amendments have been done time and again to meet the present needs one such is article discussed the recent bill passed by the parliament i.e. The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019. The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 deals with the tribal communities that are considered as Scheduled Tribes. The present bill of 2019 prescribes amendment for part VI of the Order that deals with the Scheduled Tribes in Karnataka. Historical Background The Constitution of India has been framed in such a manner so as to provide benefits to all the sections of the society particularly to those who are financially, socially, educationally unsound i.e. the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Since decades, the tribal communities of India have been given names like aboriginals, animists, backward Hindus, depressed classes, backward tribes etc. These communities have their own distinct languages, customs, cultural patterns and are said to be backward. Hence, the framers of the constitution had included many provisions for the economic, social, cultural and educational safeguard of these communities. The present bill also focuses on adding some communities within the group of tribal communities. Need and Objective of the Bill Article 342 states that the President can consult the Governor and can specify by public notification, the tribal communities or groups of any state or union territory by public notification for the purpose of constitution, be considered as Scheduled Tribes of the respective state or union territory[1]. Also, Parliament has the authority to exclude or include any group or part of a tribal community from the list of Scheduled Tribes by issuing a public notification which shall not be amended by any kind of notification. In conformity to Article 342 of the Indian Constitution, the first list of Scheduled Tribes for Karnataka had been issued via the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950. List of Scheduled Tribes of State of Karnataka has been modified through the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Order (Amendment) Act, 1956, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 1976, the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Second Amendment) Act, 1991, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 2002 and the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Act, 2012. Currently, 106 communities are stated in the list of Scheduled Tribes of the State of Karnataka. The state has suggested to include some more tribal communities in the list of Scheduled Tribes which are : (i) “Parivara” and “Talawara” in entry 38[2] as similar to “Nayaka” and (ii) “Siddi” community of Dharwad and Belagavi districts in addition to the already existing “Siddi” Community of Uttar Kannada district in entry 50[3] of the list of Scheduled Tribes. [4] Therefore, to fulfil this objective given under Article 342, the current bill has been introduced. Reasons for Amendment The estimated results have shown that the population of Parivara Community is around 2.58 lakh and the population of Taliwara community is roughly 8.6 lakh. Mostly, these communities reside in Mysore, Mandya, Tumkur district and also in Udipi and Canara district of Karnataka. A major sect of this community is employed in husbandry, cottage industry, collection of firewood and work of similar nature. Various surveys and studies have been conducted, the result of which has shown that the standard of living, language, rituals, educational and economic status of these communities is similar to those of Nayaka and Valmiki which have been mentioned in the list of Scheduled Tribes for the State of Karnataka. Also the government has stated that Pariwara and Taliwara are the communities that are not socially sound. Also their economic and education status is very low. [5] As far as the Siddi community is concerned that is also called as Habshi, they are considered to be of African origin as their physical features are similar to the Negroid racial strain. The Arabs brought them into India as slaves in around the 7th century. When the slavery, the Siddis went into the jungles being dreadful of torture and capture. Currently they are residing in Maharashtra and Karnataka in the Dharwad and Belagavi district and in Gujarat. The Central government has classified the Siddis as Scheduled Tribes in 2003. The Centre’s list of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups also mentions the Siddi Community. The Siddis largely depended on hunting and gathering but in the present scenario, they earn income mainly through labour and agriculture. Therefore, considering the standard of living of these communities, the bill has been introduced. Amendments proposed by the Bill The bill provides for amending Part VI dealing with Scheduled Tribes of Karnataka. It states the following: ● In entry 38 that mentions only words “Naika, Nayaka ”, the bill proposes to substitute – “Naikda, Nayaka (including Parivara and Talawara). ● In entry 50, the word “(Belagavi, Dharwad and Uttar Kannada District)” shall substitute the words “(in Uttar Kannada District)”. [6] Article 366 of the Constitution defines Scheduled Tribes as those tribes or communities or parts or groups of such tribes that are dealt in Article 342 for the purpose of Constitution. Effect Prior to the Amendment Since, the studies have shown that these communities have languages, rituals, economic and social status similar to the Tribal communities like Nayaka and Valmiki and lack of their representation in the Constitution had deprived them of the facilities and welfare schemes which the other tribes were entitled to. Also their history shows that they have been the sufferers of various atrocities which had made their position vulnerable and this was one of the prime impediments in their growth and development. Also, since these communities have their own distinct culture, it required protection under the Constitution which necessitated their inclusion in the Scheduled Tribe Order. Effect after the Amendment The Indian Constitution under Article 14 provides for reasonable classification and Article 15 which is the extension of Article 14 deals with differential treatment. These Articles provide that the Government can make special provisions for the people who are financially, socially and economically not sound in order to bring them at par with mainstream society. Therefore the amendment will help in securing the benefits provided by the government. Also this will lead to protection of the richest culture that these tribal communities possess and practice. Critical Analysis The amended bill focuses on inclusion of tribes like Naikda, Nayaka in the list of Scheduled Tribes. Tribal communities constitute 10% of Indian population. They belong to the weaker sections of society and are deprived of some of the basic facilities of government and have been subject to exploitation. The current Bill proposes to include very few tribal communities of the State of Karnataka. But there exist certain other tribes in other states of India which still require representation in the Constitution. Thus the bill is not comprehensive and it must have focussed on inclusion of more tribal communities. Also, the conditions of inclusion of tribes in the Constitution must be made more simple so that the vulnerable sections are not further deprived of the benefits of government. Conclusion The population of India consists of people from all strata but a major chunk of population belongs to the backward class and India being a welfare state provides for numerous initiatives of the government to improve the conditions of these backward communities through its policies, laws, welfare schemes and programs. Protective arrangements have been made by the government to enforce equality and to eliminate the practices of segregation and inequities. Various laws have been implemented for instance Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993, etc. Though its practical application has been a bit difficult due to many reasons some of which are lack of proper planning and coordination at ground level, poor infrastructure facilities, lack of awareness among people, political intervention and corruption, grievance redressal mechanism and most importantly check and balance system. Similarly, reservations have been made in the educational, employment sectors in order to bring these communities at par with the society. The Mandal Commission has laid many guidelines for the welfare of tribal communities. Hence, to comply with the provisions of the Indian Constitution, various legislations have been framed time and again among which one is The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Second Amendment) Bill 2019 that tries to include some more tribal groups in the list of Scheduled Tribes. References: [1] Universal’s Bare Act of The Constitution of India, Re. 2017. [2] The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 provides a list of different tribal communities of different states of India and Part VI of the Order deals with communities of the state of Karnataka and entry 38 includes “Naikda, Chollivala Nayaka, Nana Nayaka. [3]The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 under Part VI mentions Siddi in entry 50 that is a community found in Uttar Kannada District. [4] The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, (Second Amendment), Bill no. IV of 2019. [5]Scheduled Tribes in Karnataka, DRISHTIIAS, (Feb.12, 2020, 10:10 A.M.) https://www.drishtiias.com/daily-updates/daily-news-analysis/scheduled-tribes-in-karnataka. [6] Supra note 2. DISCLAIMER: Views and opinions as expressed in the Research Articles are solely of the author and any member of the core team of the website shall not be liable for the same.

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