It is thus clear that extraneous reasons prompted the constitution-makers to leave the tribal issue ambiguous. The result is there for everyone to see. Even after many years after Independence, uncertainty still prevails in North-East and the nation continues to pay a heavy price. Running away from the problem is no solution to the problem. The problem becomes more and more intractable. It has to be construed that hesitation to face the situation head on in North-East prevented the constitution makers from laying down uniform norms applicable to tribes throughout the country.
It needs no great wisdom to know that if things were difficult in 1950, they can only be more difficult in 2012. The Tribal communities in North-East are totally different from those in Fifth schedule areas. They are far more civilized and advanced than many of the advanced and civilized societies in the rest of India. Civilization and tribal life are two ends of a spectrum. It is futile to try to reconcile them for political or electoral reasons. Any objective intervention to set right matters at this stage will meet stiff resistance. India has unwittingly created a Frankenstein incompatible in the wider canvas of secular fabric. They can neither countenance the monster nor abdicate the avowed faith in the principles of equality
Preamble is the soul of Constitution. The people of India resolved in this preamble to secure to all Citizen justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. It is for this reason; discrimination by state between citizen and citizen on the grounds of religion, race caste, sex or place, is prohibited under Article 15 of the Constitution. Though the ideal is lofty, the fact remains that there is inequality in several sphere for historical reasons in Indian society and this fact could not be glossed over. The very first Amendment(1951) to constitution took care of this aspect by adding “Nothing in this article or clause (2) of article 29 shall prevent the state from making any special provision for advancement of any socially or educationally backward classes of citizen of for the scheduled castes and the scheduled tribes.” India is a welfare State. The principle of democratic equality can become meaning full only if the nation as a whole is brought on the same level. It is a utopian concept but the effort should be to achieve it to the extent practicable. The constitution prescribes certain temporary measures to help the backward section to come up to the same level with the rest of the nation. The tribes are undoubtedly the deprived section of the society and it is only logical that some special provisions are made in their favour.
Special provisions relating to Certain Classes made in Part XVI of the Constitution come into focus in this context . Articles 330,332,334,335,338,339 and 342 relate to Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled classes. Briefly stated, the special provisions in respect of STs & SCs are :
- The general ban against discrimination on the grounds of race, caste etc of Article 15 is relaxed in Art 15(4) to provide for special provisions for advancement of the backward classes, SCs and Sts.
- The rights of free movement and residence and acquisition and disposition of property throughout the territory of India guaranteed to every citizen can be specially restricted by the state for the protection of the interests of STs. The state may make laws to prevent alienation and fragmentation of tribal property except with the permission o of the specified authority.
- The claims of the members of the SCs & STs shall be taken into consideration consistently with the maintenance of administration in making appointments to services and posts of the Government.
- There is a provision for the appointment of a Special Officer (since designated as Commissioner) for SCs & STs to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided under constitution and report directly to the President of India who will cause it to be laid before the Parliament.
- The president shall appoint a Commission to reports on the administration of Scheduled Areas and the welfare of the Scheduled Tribes.
- The executive power of the union shall extend to issuing directions to any state in respect of drawing up and execution of schemes for the welfare of the STs.
- The Central Government is required to provide financial aid as grants-in-aid to meet the costs of the schemes of welfare of STs and for raising the level of administration of scheduled Areas in a state to that of the administration of the areas of the state.
- The states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh Orissa shall have a Minister in charge of Tribal Welfare.
- Special provisions are laid down in fifth and sixth schedules of the constitution, read with Art. 244, for administration of areas inhabited by Sts.
- There is a Directive in Art. 244 that the state shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections, particularly the SCs & STs and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.
- Reservation of seats for SCs & STs is provided in Lok-Sabha.
- Reservation of seats for SCs & Sts is provided in Legislative Assemblies of the States.