Multiple states, many in the Northeast, enjoy special provisions to some extent, under a different Article – 371.
President Ram Nath Kovind issued an order on August 5, effectively taking away Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. India's northern-most state had, until now, enjoyed certain special provisions under Article 370 of the Constitution.
But, J&K is not the only Indian state with special provisions. Multiple states, many in the northeast, enjoy special provisions to some extent, under a different Article – 371. Some of these states are Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Sikkim.
Here are some of the special provisions that these states enjoy:
- In Nagaland, Article 371A of the Constitution was introduced to protect Naga culture. Parliament cannot legislate on Naga religion or social practices, without the approval of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly.
- In Assam, there is Constitutional provision allowing the President to set up a committee of the state Assembly consisting of members elected from the state’s tribal areas.
- In Manipur, the Constitution allows the President to form a committee of elected members from the state’s Hill areas in the Assembly.
- There are also provisions to ensure that rights of various sections of Sikkim were protected. There are 30 seats in the Sikkim Assembly reserved for candidates belonging to those sections.
- In the state of Mizoram, according to certain Constitutional provisions, Parliament cannot make laws on the religious or social practices of the Mizos, their customary law, and ownership and transfer of land. This is unless the state’s Assembly approves any such move.
- In Arunachal Pradesh, the Governor has been given special responsibility regarding the state’s law and order situation. The Governor can overrule the chief minister's decision on this front.
- Some of the other states such as Maharashtra and Gujarat have designated ‘Scheduled Areas’ that are governed under special provisions. This has been done to give the tribal population more autonomy.
But this move by the government has led to concerns in other regions that their special provisions could be taken away. Congress leaders have expressed apprehension that the government might unilaterally modify Article 371.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, however, has told the Lok Sabha that the Centre does not plan to do so and there is no cause for worry.For more on this, watch the video by Nachiket Deuskar