Co-Written by Kumar sanjay and Debmalya Nandy
A lecture was organized on the fifth schedule of Indian Constitution, on Saturday in the Aryabhatta Auditorium of RU by the Welfare Department of Jharkhand Government. While addressing the program, the Governor Draupadi Murmu had said that currently ,there is no separate tribal Ministry in the state and had further added that she had spoken to the State Government and a separate tribal ministry will be announced by the State Government on 15th November. She also said that this discussion on the fifth schedule will benefit the people of the state.
Government only did Crisis Management in pathhalgadi, did not try to resolve the issue: Subhash Kashyap
Constitution expert Subhash Kashyap said in his lecture that there are special laws available for the tribal areas but adhering to them is subject to the intensions of the executives of the Law. The Governor has been given special Powers for the fifth scheduled areas. One can make laws through the Tribal Advisory Council for these areas and implement them accordingly. The central government is suppose to receive annual reports from the governor of the States,on the status and development of the fifth schedule areas, however, these reports from the states have now merely become departmental reports. Constitution expert Subhash Kashyap further said that as far as the fifth schedule and tribal rights are concerned, people of Jharkhand know better than him. he further went on to say that the Pathhalgadi movement is on-going in the state, which has not been dealt properly and that the Government only did Crisis management. Post lecture, the participants were asked to come up with questions. It is notable that Subhash Kashyap could not answer many of the questions asked by the participants.
The following questions were posed at Mr. Subhash Kashyap
- Is it possible for a non-tribal to become the president of Tribal Advisory Council? If yes then under which provisions of the Law it is possible.
- How many “parts” and “schedules” are there in the Indian Constitution? What is the difference between “part” and “ schedule”?
- The private companies have acquired land in the fifth schedule areas and have started mining activities. Is itlegal or illegal?
- PESA Law was enacted in the fifth Schedule areas. Is the power of municipal corporation and municipality expanded in the fifth scheduled area? If yes, then when was the constitution amended for this? If not, then are the Municipal Corporation and the municipality falling in the fifth scheduled area constitutional ? What Does Article 243ZC Say?
- A participant fromKhunti said that, Pathhalgadi movement started in Khunti when the CNT ACT amendment was proposed and constitutional provisions were being written on the stine slabs. He further questioned that how is this act unconstitutional? It is notable that the state government had been trying to project the pathhalgadi movement as unconstitutional.
- Under section 40, the provision of self-governing Zilla Parishad at the district level in the fifth schedule areas, was to be implemented as per the pattern of the Sixth Schedule, but this could not be done. The participants asked whether this right or wrong.
Premchand Murmu,Prakash Chandra Oraon,Prabhakar Kujur, Sushma Biruly,Pushpa were among the participants who posed these hard questions at the Constitution Expert to which Mr. Kashyap did not have an answer. However, he tried to address a few questions but the participants did not seem satisfied with the answers and kept on questioning. The organizing authority had to end the programme in a hurry to manage the chaos at the meeting hall.
However during the conversation Mr. Kashyap did say a few things which are important in this regard. He said that it is unconstitutional to provide mining rights to private companies or non-tribals in the fifth schedule areas. He has advised that the state govt. should work on protecting the rights of the tribal people and intervene when there is a violation.
He has added, that rules for PESA( Panchayat Extension for scheduled Areas) which has not been framed by the state as yet should be a matter of concern and if needed public action should happen for demanding the same.
He has also advised that, however Pathhalgadi is constitutional and practiced traditionally but the people associated with the movement should be conscious that they don’t perform any act which is illegal or unconstitutional.
People Appreciated The Initiative:
Although most participants in the program were not satisfied, but participants did appreciate this initiative of the government. People had said that the government organizing this kind of discussion is a welcome move and such consultation will help people get more aware.
The larger question however is, does the Govt really want to resolve things through Dialogue or only want to do crisis management?
The lecture and consultation on fifth schedule is an appreciable initiative as this was the first attempt by the govt. to hold dialogue with the people regarding this issue, however, their actions in the future will clarify their true intentions.
Kumar sanjay and Debmalya Nandy are social workers.
This article is a translated and updated version of a hindi article first published in Newswing.com.