Union Home Minister Amit Shah recently said that the Centre will not dilute Article 371 for the states where it is applicable. With the Centre abrogating Article 370, which provides special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and bifurcating the state into two parts – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, there were concerns among the North Eastern states that Article 371 would also be scrapped by the Centre.
Article 371 and Article 371 (A-J) grants special provisions to certain states, primarily in the Northeast, in a bid to preserve the culture of indigenous communities.
We take a look at which states have special provisions and what they are.
Article 371 (2): Maharashtra and Gujarat: In effect from 1960, Article 371 gives the President of India the power to set up separate development boards for Vidarbha, Marathwada and the rest of Maharashtra or, Saurashtra, Kutch and the rest of Gujarat. It also focuses on the the equitable allocation of funds for developmental expenditure over the said areas, and equitable arrangement to provide adequate facilities for technical education and vocational training, and adequate opportunities for employment in services.
Article 371 A: Nagaland: The Article provides special status to Nagaland and protects the Nagas, their land and resources. It states that no Act of the Parliament will apply to the state in respect to the religious and social practices of the Nagas, Naga customary law and procedure, administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to the Naga customary law and the ownership and transfer of land and its resources. Further, the governor has special responsibilities with regards to the law and order of the state.The special provision was granted to the state as partial fulfilment of an agreement in 1960, that created Nagaland in 1963.
Article 371 B: Assam: Under the Article, the President may provide for the the Constitution and functions of a committee of Legislative Assembly of the state, consisting of members of elected from the tribal areas of the state. A major objective of Article 371 B was also the creation of the state of Meghalaya.
Article 371 C Manipur: As with the case of Assam, Article 371 C, which deals with Manipur, also states that the President may provide for the the Constitution and functions of a committee of Legislative Assembly of the state, consisting of members of elected from the hill areas of the state. The Article further requires the Governor to annually, or whenever required by the President, make a report to the President regarding the administration of the hill areas of the state. Manipur became a state in 1972.
Article 371 D and E: Andhra Pradesh: The Article safeguards the rights of the local people in terms of employment and education. It was created after agitations in Andhra Pradesh and was added to the Constitution in 1974. The Article, however, hasd become a bone of contention after the bifurcation Andhra Pradesh and telangana. Article 371 E states that the Parliament may, by law, provide for the establishment of a University in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
Article 371 F: Sikkim: This Article stipulates that the Legislative Assembly in Sikkim shall not have less than 30 members. The Parliament is also empowered to provide a number of seats in the Sikkim administrative assembly for people belonging to different sections of the Sikkim population, to protect their rights and interests. It further gives the Governor in his discretion (on the direction of the President) special discretion for peace and equitable arrangement for the socio-economic development of different parts of the state.
Article 371 G: Mizoram: Providing for special provisions to the state of Mizoram, the Act stipulates that the Legislative Assembly shall not have less than 40 members. Also, in the lines of Nagaland, the Act states that any act of Parliament would not apply to Mizoram in the matters relating to the religious or social practices of the Mizo, Mizo customary law and procedure, administration of criminal or civil justice involving decisions according to Mizo customary land ownership and transfer of land and its resources.
Article 371 H: Arunachal Pradesh: As in the case of Sikkim, Article 371 H states that the Legislative Assembly shall not have less than 30 members, and, on the directions of the President, the Governor will have special responsibilities for the law and order of the state.
Article 371 I: Goa: This Act again determines the strength of the Legislative Assembly, which should not be less than 30 members.
Article 371 J: The Act grants special status to the six backward districts of the Hyderabad-Karnataka region. Similar to Maharashtra and Gujarat, Article 371 J requires that a separate development board be set up for these regions and also ensure local reservation in education and government jobs. The Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on September 7, 2012.