The scheduled areas are treated differently from the other areas in the country because they are inhabited by ‘aboriginals’ who are socially and economically rather backward, and special efforts need to be made to improve their condition. Therefore, the whole of the normal administrative machinery operating in a state is not extended to the scheduled areas and the Central government has somewhat greater responsibility for these areas’.
The various features of administration contained in the Fifth Schedule are as follows:
1. Declaration of Scheduled Areas: The president is empowered to declare an area to be a scheduled area. He can also increase or decrease its area, alter its boundary lines, rescind such designation or make fresh orders for such redesignation on an area in consultation with the governor of the state concerned.
2. Executive Power of State and Centre: The executive power of a state extends to the scheduled areas therein. But the governor has a special responsibility regarding such areas. He has to submit a report to the president regarding the administration of such areas, annually or whenever so required by the president. The executive power of the Centre extends to giving directions to the states regarding the administration of such areas.
3. Tribes Advisory Council: Each state having scheduled areas has to establish a tribes advisory council to advise on welfare and advancement of the scheduled tribes. It is to consist of 20 members, three-fourths of whom are to be the representatives of the scheduled tribes in the state legislative assembly. A similar council can also be established in a state having scheduled tribes but not scheduled areas therein, if the president so directs.
4. Law applicable to Scheduled Areas: The governor is empowered to direct that any particular act of Parliament or the state legislature does not apply to a scheduled area or apply with specified modifications and exceptions. He can also make regulations for the peace and good government of a scheduled area after consulting the tribes advisory council. Such regulations may prohibit or restrict the transfer of land by or among members of the scheduled tribes, regulate the allotment of land to members of the scheduled tribes and regulate the business of moneylending in relation to the scheduled tribes. Also, a regulation may repeal or amend any act of Parliament or the state legislature, which is applicable to a scheduled area. But, all such regulations require the assent of the president.
The Constitution requires the president to appoint a commission to report on the administration of the scheduled areas and the welfare of the scheduled tribes in the states. He can appoint such a commission at any time but compulsorily after ten years of the commencement of the Constitution. Hence, a commission was appointed in 1960. It was headed by U N Dhebar and submitted its report in 1961. After four decades, the second commission was appointed in 2002 under the chairmanship of Dilip Singh Bhuria. It submitted its report in 2004.