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Constitution (J&K) ST Order (Amendment) Bill, 2024

  • 08 Feb 2024
  • 9 min read

For Prelims: Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Tribes Order (Amendment) Bill, 2024, Other Backward Classes (OBCs), Municipal Bodies.

For Mains: Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Tribes Order (Amendment) Bill, 2024, Process and Criteria of Inclusion in the ST List.

Source: PIB

Why in News?

Recently, the Lok Sabha has passed the Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Tribes Order (Amendment) Bill, 2024, aiming to include specific ethnic groups and tribes from Jammu and Kashmir into the list of Scheduled Tribes.

What is the Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Tribes Order (Amendment) Bill, 2024?

  • About:
    • The bill particularly focuses on including four ethnic groups in the list of Scheduled Tribes (STs) in Jammu and Kashmir.
    • The ethnic groups are Gadda Brahmin, Koli, Paddari Tribe, and Pahari Ethnic Group”.
    • By extending Scheduled Tribe status to these communities, the bill intends to ensure their socio-economic and political empowerment.
  • Significance:
    • The bill ensures that the reservations for these existing communities such as Gujjars and Bakarwals remain unaffected while providing new reservations for the newly listed STs.
      • Gujjars and Bakarwals are nomadic — they migrate with their livestock to the higher reaches in the summer, and return before the onset of winter.
    • The bill is seen as a significant step towards inclusive development in Jammu and Kashmir, aligning with the government's commitment to the holistic development of all sections and communities under the "Sabka Sath, Sabka Vishwas" (Together with All, Trust of All) mantra.

Earlier Status of Paharis

  • The Paharis got 4% reservation in jobs and educational institutions in 2019.
  • Also in 2019, the Justice (retd) G D Sharma Commission was appointed to identify groups that were socially, educationally, and economically backward.
    • The Commission in its report recommended ST status for Gadda Brahmins, Kolis, Paddari Tribe, and Pahari Ethnic Group.

What are the Key Features of Jammu and Kashmir Local Bodies Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2024?

  • Amendment of Certain Provisions: The bill aims to amend certain provisions of the J&K Panchayati Raj Act, 1989, the J&K Municipal Act, 2000, and the J&K Municipal Corporation Act, 2000 to provide reservation to OBCs in Local Bodies (panchayats and municipalities) in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Alignment with Constitutional Provisions: The proposed amendments seek to bring consistency in the laws with the provisions of the Constitution, particularly Part IX and Part IXA, which relate to Panchayats and Municipalities.
    • This includes providing reservation for backward classes of citizens in Panchayats and Municipalities, as empowered by Clause (6) of Articles 243D and 243T of the Constitution.
  • Superintendence of Elections: The bill addresses inconsistencies regarding the superintendence, direction, and control of the preparation of electoral rolls and the conduct of elections to Panchayats and Municipalities.
    • It ensures that the provisions regarding the State Election Commission are in line with the Constitution, specifically Articles 243K and 243ZA.
  • Removal of State Election Commissioner: The bill seeks to rectify the variance between the provisions of the J&K Panchayati Raj Act, 1989, and the Constitution concerning the removal of the State Election Commissioner.
    • It aims to align the removal process with the constitutional provisions, ensuring that the State Election Commissioner can only be removed under circumstances similar to those of a Judge of a High Court.

What are the Constitutional Provisions and Initiatives related to Tribes in India?

  • Constitutional Provisions:
    • As per Census-1931, Schedule tribes are termed as "backward tribes” living in the "Excluded" and "Partially Excluded" areas. The Government of India Act, 1935 called for the first time for representatives of "backward tribes" in provincial assemblies.
    • The Constitution does not define the criteria for recognition of Scheduled Tribes and hence the definition contained in 1931 Census was used in the initial years after independence.
    • However, Article 366(25) of the Constitution only provides process to define Scheduled Tribes: “Scheduled Tribes means such tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under Article 342 to be Scheduled Tribes for the purposes of this Constitution.”
      • 342(1): The President may with respect to any State or Union Territory, after consultation with the Governor, by a public notification, specify the tribes or tribal communities or part of or groups within tribes or tribal communities as Scheduled Tribe in relation to that State or Union Territory.
    • The Fifth Schedule of the Constitution lays out provision for Administration and Control of Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes in states other than Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
    • The Sixth Schedule deals with the administration of the tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
  • Legal Provisions:
  • Related Initiatives:
  • Related Committees:
    • Xaxa Committee (2013)
    • Bhuria Commission (2002-2004): It recommended the recognition of more tribal communities as ST, thereby extending various benefits and protections to these marginalized groups.
    • Lokur Committee (1965): Its recommendations included measures to safeguard tribal land rights, improve access to education, healthcare, and employment opportunities for ST communities, and enhance tribal welfare schemes to address their Socio-Economic Challenges.

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question


Q. If a particular area is brought under the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of India, which one of the following statements best reflects the consequence of it? (2022)

(a) This would prevent the transfer of land of tribal people to non-tribal people.

(b) This would create a local self-governing body in that area.

(c) This would convert that area into a Union Territory.

(d) The State having such areas would be declared a Special Category State.

Ans: (a)

Q. Under which Schedule of the Constitution of India can the transfer of tribal land to private parties for mining be declared null and void? (2019)

(a) Third Schedule
(b) Fifth Schedule
(c) Ninth Schedule
(d) Twelfth Schedule

Ans: (b)


Q. What are the two major legal initiatives by the State since Independence addressing discrimination against Scheduled Tribes (STs)? (2017)

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