Constituent Assembly Of India - Volume VII
Dated: November 04, 1948
(C) Statement showing the value of service postage stamps supplied annually free to States
(D) Statement showing the values of immunities granted annually to Indian States in the shape of free conveyance of their official correspondence within the State limits
correspondence within the State limits
(E) Statement showing the amounts of telephone revenue accruing in India on behalf of Indian States and vice versa
Amount of revenue accruing in India on behalf of States
Amount of revenue accruing in India on behalf of India
STATEMENT SHOWING REVENUE AND THE PERCENTAGE OF LAND CUSTOMS INCLUDED N THE REVENUE OF CERTAIN STATES
(In lakhs of Rupees)
STATEMENT SHOWING REVENUE AND THE PERCENTAGE OF LAND
CUSTOMS INCLUDED N THE REVENUE OF CERTAIN STATES
(In lakhs of Rupees)
AMENDMENTS RECOMMENDED IN THE DRAFT CONSTITUTION
Provisions relating to procedure in financial matters
Clause 75. - To clause 75 add the following, namely:-
Clause 79. - In sub-clause (3) of clause 79, for the words "succeeding section" substitute the words "two succeeding sections".
New clause 80-A. - After clause 80, insert the following new clause namely -
Clause 145. - For sub-clause (1) of clause 145, substitute the following namely: -
Clause 146. - For clause 146, substitute the following, namely:-
(2) If at a joint sitting of the two Houses summoned in accordance with the provisions of this section the Bill, with such amendments, if any, as are agreed to in joint sitting is passed by a majority of the total number of members of both Houses present and voting, it shall be deemed for the purposes of this Constitution to have been passed by both Houses:
New clauses 146-A and 146-B. - After clause 146, insert the following clauses, namely:-
"146-A. Special provisions in respect of Money Bills.-
146-B. Definition of "Money Bill", -
Clause 148. - In the proviso to clause 148, after the words "Provided that insert the words "if the Bill is not a Money Bill".
Clause 151. - In the sub-clause (3) of clause 151, for the words "succeeding section" substitute the words "two succeeding sections."
New Clause 152-A. - After clause 152, insert the following clause namely: -
Clause 153. - For clause 153, substitute the following clause, namely: -
Provisions relating to the Auditor-General of the Province
Clause 174. - For sub-clause 93) of clause 174substitute the following namely. -
Provisions relating to distribution of revenues between the Federation and units and miscellaneous Financial provisions
Clause 194-A. - For, clause 194-A substitute the following, namely:-
"194-A. Interpretation. - In this Part -
Clauses 196 to 199. - For clause 196 clause 196 to 199, substitute the following, namely:-
"196. Certain succession duties.-
196-A. Certain terminal taxes. - Terminal taxes on goods or passenger carried by railway or air shall be levied and collected by the Federation, but the net proceeds in any financial year of any such tax, except in so far as those proceeds represent proceeds attributable to Chief Commissioners' Provinces, shall not form part of the revenues of the Federation, but shall be assigned to the units within which that tax is leviable in that year, and shall be distributed among the units in accordance with such principles of distribution as may be prescribed.
196-B. Certain stamp duties. - Such stamp duties as are mentioned in the Federal Legislative List shall be levied by the Federation and collected, in the case where such duties are leviable within any Chief Commissioner's province, by the Federation and in other cases, by the units within which such duties are respectively leviable, but the proceeds in any financial year of any such duty leviable in that year within any unit shall not form part of the revenues of the Federation, but shall be assigned to that unit.
197. Taxes on Income. -
198-A. Taxes not enumerated in any of the lists in the Ninth Schedule. - If any tax not mentioned in any of the lists in the Ninth Schedule to this Constitution is imposed by Act of the Federal Parliament by virtue of entry 90 of the Federal Legislative List, such tax shall be levied and collected by the Federation but a prescribed percentage of the net proceeds in any financial year of any such tax, except in so far as those proceeds represent proceeds attributable to Chief Commissioners' Provinces, shall not form part of the revenues of the Federation, but shall be assigned to the units within which that tax is leviable in that year, and shall be distributed among the units in accordance with such principles of distribution as may be prescribed.
198-B. Grants in lieu of jute export duty. - Until the abolition of the export duty levied by the Federation on jute products or the expiration of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution, whichever is earlier, there shall be charged on the revenues of the Federation in each year as grants-in-aid of the revenues of the Provinces mentioned below the sums respectively specified against those Provinces:
199. Grants from Federation to certain units. - Such sums as the President may, on the recommendation of the Finance Commission, by order fix shall be charged on the revenues of the Federation in each year as grants-in-aid of the revenues of such nits as the President may on such recommendation determine to be in need of assistance, and different sums may be fixed for different units:
Clause 200. - In sub-clause (2) of clause 200, for the word "fifty", wherever it occurs, substitute the words "two hundred and fifty".
New Clause 201-A. - After clause 201, insert the following clause, namely: -
Clause 202. - For Clause 202, substitute the following, namely:-
New Clause 202-A and 202-B. - After clause 202, insert the following clauses, namely:-
Clause 207. - To clause 207, add the following Explanation, namely: -
Provisions relating to borrowing
Clause 210. - In sub-clause (3) of clause 210, for the word "Province", in the two places where it occurs, substitute the word "unit".
Provincial Legislative Lists
In the Provincial Legislative List in the Ninth Schedule -
CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY OF INDIA
New Delhi, the 4th March 1948.
The HONOURABLE SARDAR VALLABHBHAI J. PATEL,
ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON MINORITIES FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS, ETC.,
CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY OF INDIA.
On behalf of the members of the Advisory Committee I have the honour to forward herewith the reports of the Northeast Frontier (Assam) Tribal and Excluded Areas and Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas (Other than Assam) Sub-Committees, adopted by the Committee at the meeting held on the 24th February 1948. The two sub-Committees had been setup by the Advisory Committee in their meeting held on the27th February 1947 in pursuance of paragraphs 19(iv) and 20of the Cabinet Mission's Statement dated the 16th May 1946and the two reports had been drawn up after they had undertaken extensive tours of the provinces, examined witnesses and representatives of the people and the provincial governments and taken the views of the different political organizations.
2. Acting on an earlier suggestion of the Advisory Committee made on the 7th December 1947, the Drafting Committee had already incorporated in the Draft Constitution provisions on the basis of the recommendations contained in the reports of the two sub-Committees. This coupled with the fact that the recommendations were practically unanimous made our task easy, and except for the two amendments mentioned in the Appendix to this report, the Advisory Committee have accepted all the recommendations of the two sub-committees. In regard to these amendments, it was agreed that these should be noted for the present and necessary amendments made later.
3. Summaries of the recommendations of the two sub-committees are given on pages 208 to 218 of the report (Volume I) of Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas (Other than Assam) Sub-Committee. Provisions embodying these recommendations are contained in the Fifth, Sixth and Eight Schedules attached to the Draft Constitution.
(V J Patel)
North East Frontier (Assam) Tribal and Excluded Areas
1. The following proviso is to be added to paragraphD(1) of appendix` A' to Part I on page 20 of the report:-
2. In Schedule `B' on page 23 of the report the words" excluding the plains portion" be added after each of the items in the schedule so as to read as follows:-
The Sativa and Bali Para Frontier Tracts (excluding the plains portion).
The Tiara Frontier Tract (excluding the Lakhimpur Frontier Tract and the plains portion).
The Nag a Tribal Area (excluding the plains portion).
The 28th July 1947,
NORTH-EAST FRONTIER (ASSAM) TRIBAL & EXCLUDED AREAS
ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS, MINORITIES,
TRIBAL AREAS, ETC.,
CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY OF INDIA,
COUNCIL HOUSE, NEW DELHI.
I have the honour to forward herewith my Sub-Committee's report on the Tribal and Excluded Areas of Assam. The report has been drawn up by us after a tour of the Province which included visits to the Lushai Hills District, the North Cachar Hills Sub-Division, the Mikir Hills and the Nag a Hills District. The Committee could not visit the Garo Hills District on account of bad weather and difficult communications and the Jowai Sub-division of the Khasi Hills District could not also be visited for the same reason. We however examined witnesses and representatives of the Garo Hills District at Gauhati and paid a visit also to certain Garo villages on and near the Goalpara road. At most of the places we visited, we had to be satisfied with a visit to the headquarters of the district or tract and with a visit to one or two villages in the neighborhood. To visit places in the interior would have taken us a great deal more of time and delayed our report considerably. Representatives of the tribes however visited the headquarters, even from long distances, and on the whole we feel that we have been able to get into contact with all the important representatives of the hill people and to take their views on the future administration of the areas. We have also taken the views of the different political organisations in the province and recorded the evidence of officials.
2. Except for the Frontier Tracts and Tribal Areas, we co-opted two members from the tribes of each of the districts visited. The co-opted members, with the exception of Mr. Kezehol (representative of the Kohima section of the Nag a National Council and himself an Angami) who submitted his resignation during the final meeting at Shillong, discussed the proposals and signed (subject to dissent in the case of Mr. Kheloushe & Mr. Aliba Imti) the minutes of the meeting.
3. In connection with the co-option of members we would like to mention the "District Conference" convened by the Superintendent of the Lushai Hills as an elected body purporting to be representative of the whole of the Lushai Hills. The election to this body which consisted of twenty chiefs and twenty commoners with the Superintendent himself as President was boycotted by the Mizo Union which was the only representative body of the Lushes at that time and clearly could not be regarded by us as representing more than a section of opinion, largely that of certain officials and chiefs controlled by them. Consequently the criticism that we co-opted members without consulting the Superintendent or his conference carries, in our opinion, no weight.
4. In the Nag a Hills, the Committee had to face a similar situation in the sense that certain officials were influencing the extreme elements of the Nag a National Council. Discussion of a number of points could not be carried on to the full extent on account of lack of agreement within the Naga National Council but we understand that on the occasion of the Governor's visit to Kohima, the more reasonable elements put forward their views. We find that our proposals not only contain the substance of these but go further in some respects. The resignation of Mr. Kezehol was due to the fact that his section of the Nag a National Council was dissident. Our proposals correspond fully to the spirit of the resolution of the Naga National Council passed at Wokha in June 1946, and we feel confident that the majority of people in the Nag a Hills District will find that our proposals go a long way towards meeting even their present point of view.
5. Our report (Volume I) is divided into two parts and the evidence forms a separate volume (Volume II). In the first part of our report we have given a bird's eye view of the areas as a whole, noting in particular their common features and giving the frame work of the scheme of administration recommended by us. In Part II a largely descriptive account of the different areas is given separately and we have mentioned their special features or needs.
6. We regret that our colleague Mr. Aliba Imti has not been able to attend the meeting to sign the report and hope that he will be able to attend the meeting of the Advisory Committee.
I have the honour to be,
Your most obedient servant,
(G N Bardoloi)
North-East Frontier (Assam) Tribal & Excluded Areas Sub-Committee
REPORT OF THE SUB-COMMITTEE ON NORTH-EAST FRONTIER
(ASSAM) TRIBAL AND EXCLUDED AREAS
1. INTRODUCTORY -
The Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas of Assam as scheduled by the Order-in-Council under the Government of India Act, 1935, are as follows: -
The North-East Frontier ( Sadiya, Bali para and Lakhimpur ).
The Nag a Hills Districts.
The Lushai Hills District.
The North Cachar Hills Sub-Division of the Cachar District.
Partially Excluded Areas
The Garo Hills District.
The Mikir Hills (in the Now gong and Sibs agar Districts).
The British portion of the Khasi and Jaintia Hills District, other than Shillong Municipality and Cantt.
There is also an area to the east of the Nag a Hills District known as the Nag a Tribal Area the position of which is covered by the provisions of Section 311 (1) of the Government of India Act: The Tirap Frontier Tract which adjoins the Lakhimpur Frontier Tract has no defined boundary with Burma.
The Assam Tribal and Excluded Areas Sub-Committee is required to report on a scheme of administration for all these areas.
2. GENERAL DESCRIPTION -
(a) The Frontier Tracts. - The Schedule quoted above shows the North-East Frontier Tracts as excluded areas. In considering the list of areas to be excluded or partially excluded and making recommendations to H. M. G. in 1935 the Government of India wrote as follows:-
"Bali para, Sadiya and Lakhimpur are essentially frontier areas inhabited by tribes in an early stage of development. Bali Para has no defined outer boundaries and extends to the confines of Bhutan and Tibet." It will be seen that it was mentioned that Bali Para has no definite outer boundaries but the position of Sadiya and Lakhimpur or the Tirap Frontier Tract was apparently the same. On the Tirap Frontier Tract in fact, the boundary with Burma has yet to be settled and all three regions include considerable areas of as yet virtually unadministered and only partially explored territory. The position of Balipara and Sadiya however differs from that of the Tirap Frontier in that there exists a boundary between Tibet and India. The facts are that in 1914 there was a tripartite convention with Tibet and China regarding the relations of the three Governments and in particular regarding the frontier between India and Tibet. The convention which contained an agreement about the frontier line between India and Tibet was ratified by the Tibetan authorities at Lhasa, and the line known as the Mac Mahon Line was indicated on a map of which a copy was given to the Lhasa Government which acknowledged it. The existence of this line was for a long time not known to the Assam Government, and on the other hand it was found that there was no notification under Section 60 of the Government of India Act, 1919, specifying the northern frontier of Assam, with the result that the MacMahon Line which is the frontier between Tibet and India is the legal boundary of Assam as well. In practice the position is peculiar. Though the Governor of Assam is vested with authority over the Frontier Tracts, it is taken to be exercised, not by virtue of the provisions applicable to Excluded Areas of the Government of India Act, 1935, but as the Agent of the Governor-General under Section 123 of the Act, vide Notification No. I-X, dated the 1st April 1937 of the Government of India in the External Affairs Department (Appendix B. page 130). All the costs of administration of the tracts are also borne by the Central Government and the Central Government are inclined to treat them as tribal areas within the meaning of Section 311 of the Government of India Act. On the other hand, the local officials treat the area as consisting of two parts. One which they call the Excluded Area and stretches up to the "Inner Line" boundary, and the Tribal Area, which by them is understood to mean the area beyond the "Inner Line" boundary. The "Inner Line" boundary is roughly along the foot of the hills and the are abounded by its occupied by a some-what mixed population, while the hill portions beyond it are purely inhabited by the tribes. This treatment again does not appear to be strictly justifiable in law though it may be convenient to think of the administered plains portion of the area separately from the not fully administered hills. Since the frontier tracts are administered in practice by the Central Government as tribal areas, the absence of a notification under Section 60 of the Government of India Act, 1919, was regarded as an oversight. The position of these areas will be discussed further at a later stage, but it is clear from the foregoing that the Nag a Tribal Area on the Eastern Frontier and the Bali para, Sadiya and Lakhimpur or Tirap Frontier Tracts on the North-Eastern Frontier fall under one category. The Bali para Frontier Tract which includes the Subansiri area is the tract over which there is as yet the smallest measure of control and administration. This tract and the Sadiya Frontier Tract are inhabited by tribes such as the Senjithonji, Dafla, Apa Tani, Momba (Bali para) the Abor, Mishmi, Hkampti (Sadiya). The Tirap Frontier contains Singp haws (who were originally Kachins) and a number of tribes classed as Nag a, while the Nag a Tribal Area is largely inhabited by Nag as of the Konyak group. The policy on these Frontiers is to establish administration and control over the whole area right up to the frontier, and a five-year plan has been sanctioned by the Government of India. This plan mostly covers the Sadiya and Bali para Tracts but a few schemes of the Nag a Tribal Area are also included in it. A separate plan for the development of the latter is under consideration.
(b) The Excluded Areas. - The Excluded Areas of the Nag a Hills District, the Lushai Hills District and the North Cachar Hills Sub-division fall within the second category of areas over which the Provincial Ministry has no jurisdiction whatever and the revenues expended in this area are not subject to the vote of the provincial legislature. The Nag a Hills District is the home of a good number of tribes classed as Nag a, such as Angami, Ao, Sema, Lhota. Adjoining it is the Nag a Tribal Area in the eastern portion of which a good deal of head hunting still goes on. Though the tribes are all called Nag a, they speak different languages and have differing customs and practices also. The Lushai on the other hand, though consisting of a number of clans, are practically one people and speak a common language. The Kukiin the North Cachar Hills and elsewhere are people of the same stock as Lushai or Mizo and speak the same language or a dialect. The Lushai Hills District except for an inappreciable number of Lakhers in the extreme south contains a uniform population. The North Cachar Hills, on the other hand, provide sanctuary for the Kachari, Nag a, Kuki, Mikir and Khasi. The largest of the tribes here are the Kachari and the villages of the different tribes, are more or less interspersed.
(c) Partially Excluded Areas. - The third category is the Partially Excluded Areas consisting of the Khasi Hills District (British portion), the Garo Hills District and the Mikir Hills which fall in two districts, viz. Now gong and Sibsagar, are administered by the Provincial Government subject to the powers of the Governor to withhold or apply the laws of the Provincial Legislature with or without modifications, or to make special rules. The Khasia, incidentally, are the only line of the tribes in this area who speak a Monkhmer language; all the other tribes speak Tibe to-Burmese languages. Generally speaking, they inhabit the areas which bear their names but there are villages outside these districts which also contain some of the tribes. Thus, the Garo inhabit a number of villages in the Mymensingh district of Bengal in addition to many villages in the districts of Kamrup and Goal para in Assam. The Khasi population is not only to be found in the British portion of the Khasi and Jaintia Hills, but the States (which comprise a fairly large area) round about Shillong are inhabited by the Khasis. These States, twenty-five in number, have the special feature that their chiefs are actually elected in a few cases by free election, though in the majority of cases the election is confined to a particular clan, the electorate consisting of Myntries of the clan only in some states, by a joint electorate of Myntries and elector selected by the people in general in others. The States have comparatively little revenue or authority and seem to depend for a good deal of support on the Political Officer in their relations with their peoples. There is a strong desire among the people of the States to "federate" with their brothers in the British portion, a feeling which the people on the British side reciprocate. Some of the Siems also appear to favour amalgamation but their idea of the Federation differs from that of the people in that the Chiefs seek a greater power for themselves than the people are prepared to concede to them.
Of the people in the Partially Excluded Areas, the Khasi are the most advanced and the Mikir the least. Unlike the Nag a and the Lushai Hills these areas have had much more contact with people in the plains, situated as they are between the valleys of the Brahmaputra and the Surma. They have representatives in the provincial legislature who, in the case of the Garo and the Mikir Hills, are elected by franchise of the Nokmas and the village headmen respectively.
3. DEVELOPMENT -
As regards the degree of development and education in the excluded and Partially Excluded Areas, the most backward areas, comparatively appear to be the Mikir and the Garo Hills, both of which are Partially Excluded Areas. The Frontier Tracts, parts of which must be inhabited by people with on contact with civilisation or education, are of course on a different footing. The Khasi Hills have probably benefited by the fact that the capital of the province is situated in them. In the Garo Hills, Christian Missions have spread some education along with Christianity but the Mikir Hills have suffered from the fact that they are divided between two districts, Now gong and Sibs agar, and thus nobody's child. Partial exclusion has in a way been responsible for their backwardness also, since both the Governor of the province and the Ministry can disclaim the sole responsibility for the area. The Sub-divisional Officers and Deputy Commissioners of these Hills moreover seem to have taken little interest in them and hardly any touring has been performed by officers in the Mikir areas. On the whole, however, the Hill Districts show considerable progress. The Khasi Hills have provided Ministers in the Provincial Government. The people of the Lushai Hills who have benefited by the activities of the Missionaries among them cannot be said to be behind the people of the plains in culture, education and literacy. In literacy particularly they are in a better position than a good number of the plains areas and the general percentage of literacy among them is about 13 per cent, while the literacy among men only is about 30 per cent. Among the Nag a also may be found a number of persons of college education, though the district as a whole appears to be less advanced than the Lushai Hills. In the Nag a Hills, the demand for education is keener in the Mokokchung Sub-division than in the Kohima Sub-division. In the North Cachar Hills, the development of the people has not been impressive and the Sub-division as a whole should be classed as more backward than other areas and comparable with the Mikir rather than the Lushai Hills. While education has made some progress in all these areas, the conditions of life and pursuit of non-agricultural occupations cannot be said to have reached the level attained in the plains, although the degree of intelligence necessary is undoubtedly available in most of these areas, even in the tribal areas. We were in fact impressed by the intelligence of the Abort and Mishmi, the Sherdukpen, the Hkampti and even the Konyak of the tribal area. The skill of many of the tribes in weaving and tapestry contains the elements of a very attractive cottage industry-at present articles are made largely for personal use-but agriculture is practically the only occupation, and with the exception of considerable areas occupied by the Angami in the Nag a Hill under terraced and irrigated cultivation and the advanced cultivation in the Khasi Hills, the mode of agriculture is still the primitive one of jhuming. Portions of the forest are burnt down and in the ashes of the burnt patch the seeds are sown: the following year a new patch of forest is felled and cultivated and so on, the first patch perhaps being ready again for cultivation after three or four years. The jhuming patches develop a thick growth of bamboo or weeds and trees do not grow on them. Thus the method is destructive of good jungle. In certain parts, of course, conditions may be said to be unfavorable to the terracing of the hillsides and there is no source of water supply other than rainfall. In the Lushai Hills for instance comparatively few areas have the gradual slope which renders terracing easy; in the North Cachar Hills Sub-division, irrigation is difficult to arrange and the small hamlets occupied by the tribes cannot provide enough lab our for terracing work. Attempts have however been made to introduce terracing and improved methods of cultivation as well as the growing of fruits, and there is little doubt that good progress will soon be feasible in these directions. A certain amount of political consciousness has also developed among the tribes, and we were much impressed by the demand of the Abor in the Sadiya Frontier Tract for representation in the provincial legislature. The idea of Government by the people through their chosen representatives is not a totally new conception to most of the hill people whose ways of life Centre around the tribal and village councils, and what is required now is really an understanding of the mechanism and implications as well as the responsibilities of the higher stages of administration and the impracticability as well as the undesirable results of small groups of rural population being entrusted with too much responsibility. Generally speaking, it can be stated that all the excluded areas of the province, not taking into account at this stage the frontier and tribal areas, have reached the stage of development when they can exercise their votes as intelligently as the people of the plains. On the ground of inability to understand or exercise the franchise therefore, there is absolutely no justification for keeping the excluded areas in that condition any longer.
As regards the Frontier Tracts, not only has there been little education except in the fringes or plains portions, but administration has yet to be fully established overlarge tracts and the tribes freed from feuds or raids among themselves and from the encroachment and oppression of Tibetan tax collectors. The removal of the trade blocks setup by these Tibetans on the Indian side of the McMahon Line sometimes creates delicate situations. Thus the country is in many ways unripe for regular administration. Only when the new five-year programmer has made good headway will there be an adequate improvement in the position. Even the village councils in these tracts appear to be ill- organised and there seems to be little material as yet for local self-governing institutions though it may be possible to find a few people who can speak for their tribe. The plains portions are however on a different footing and the question of including them in the provincial administration needs careful examination. For example, we are of the view that prima facie there is little justification to keep the Saikhoaghat, the Sativa plains portion and possibly portions of the Bali Para Frontier Tract under special administration.
4. THE HILL PEOPLE'S VIEWS -
Though the Constituent Assembly Secretariat and we ourselves, issued a leaflet to provide information and create interest in the political future of India, the Constituent Assembly's functions and the objects of our tour, the Hill people, even of the Excluded Areas, were not found lacking in political consciousness. Perhaps not without instigation by certain elements, this consciousness has even instilled ideas of an independent status the external relations under which would be governed by treaty or agreement only. In the Lushai Hills District the idea of the Superintendent who constituted himself the President of the "District Conference" which he himself had convened (see para, 5 Part II) was that the District should manage all affairs with the exception of defence in regard to which it should enter into an agreement with the Government of India A "Constitution" based on this principle was later drafted by the Conference. (The great majority of the Lushai however cannot be regarded as holding these views and it is doubtful if the District Conference represents the views of anybody other than certain officials and chiefs). In the Nag a Hills, although the original resolution as passed by the Nag National Council at Wokha contemplated the administration of the area more or less like other parts of Assam, a demand was subsequently put forward for "an interim Government of the Naga people" under the protection of a benevolent "guardian power" who would provide funds for development and defence for a period often years after which the Nag a people would decide what they would do with themselves. Here again it seems to us clear that the views of a small group of people, following the vogue in the Nag a Hills of decisions being taken by general agreement and not by majority-gained the acceptance of the National Council, for little more purpose than that of presenting a common front. In other areas more moderate views prevail. In the Garo Hills the draft constitution asked for all powers of government including taxation, administration of justice etc. to be vested in the legal council and the only link proposed with the Provincial Government was in respect of a few subjects like higher education, medical aid etc., other than the subjects of defense, external affairs and communications which were not provincial subjects. In the Mikir Hills and in the North Cachar Hills, which are the least vocal and advanced of the areas under consideration, there would probably be satisfaction if control over land and local customs and administration of justice are left to the local people. The Khasi Hills proposals were for a federation of the States and British portions; otherwise the proposals were similar to those made for the Garo Hills. A feeling common to all of the Hill Districts is that people of the same tribe should be brought together under a common administration. This hasled to a demand for rectification of boundaries. The Lushai want the Kuki of Manipur and other areas in their boundaries, the Nag a want the Zemi areas of the North Cachar Hills included in their district and so on.
5. POLITICAL EXPERIENCE -
Except for the Municipality of Shillong, there are no statutory local self-governing bodies in any of the Hill Districts. The partially excluded areas have elected representatives in the provincial legislature but in the Garo Hills the franchise is limited to the Nokmas and in the Mikir Hills to the headmen. Generally, however, the tribes are all highly democratic in the sense that their village councils are created by general assent or election. Chief ship among certain tribes like the Lushai is hereditary (although certain chiefs have been appointed by the Superintendent) but among other tribes appointment of headmen is by common consent or by election or, in some cases, selection from particular families. Disputes are usually settled by the Chief or headman or council of elders. In the Nag a Hills what is aimed at is general agreement in settling disputes. Allotment of land for jhumis generally the function of the Chiefs or headmen (exceptin the Khasi & Jaintia Hills) and there are doubtless many other matters pertaining to the life of the village which are dealt with by the chiefs or elders, but while this may form a suitable background for local self-government the tribes altogether lack experience of modern self-governing institutions. The "District Conference" of the Lushai Hills, the tribal council of the North Cachar Hills and the Nag a National Council are very recent essays in or ganising representative bodies for the district as a whole and have no statutory sanction. While there is no doubt that the Nag a, Lushai, Khasi and Garo will be able to manage a large measure of local autonomy, the North Cachar tribes and the Mikir may yet want a period of supervision and guidance.
6. THE SPECIAL FEATURES -
Whatever the capacity of the different councils or conferences to manage the affairs of the areas may be, the general proposals for the administration of these areas must be based upon the following considerations:-
7. PROVISIONS OF 1935 ACT -
The provisions of the Government of India Act are based on the principle that legislation which is passed by the Provincial Legislature is often likely to be unsuitable for application to the Hill Districts. The mechanism provided for "filtering" the legislation is therefore to empower the Governor of the Province to apply or not to apply such legislation. The full implications of the provisions of the Government of India Act are discussed in the Constituent Assembly pamphlets on "Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas" Parts I and II, and it is perhaps not necessary to discuss them exhaustively here. The main features of the provisions are that certain areas have been scheduled as excluded or partially excluded; it is possible for areas to be transferred from the category of excluded to the category of partially excluded by an Order-in-Council and, similarly, from the category of partially excluded to the category of non-excluded; legislation will not apply automatically to any such scheduled area even if it is a partially excluded area, but will have to be notified by the Governor who, if he applies them at all, can make alterations. The revenues for excluded areas are charged to the revenues of the Province and special regulations, which do not apply to the rest of the Province, may be made by the Governor in his discretion for excluded and partially excluded areas.
8. FUTURE POLICY -
The continuance or otherwise of exclusion cannot be considered solely from the point of view of the general advancement of an area. If that were so, all that would be necessary in the case of areas like the Lushai Hills which are considered sufficiently advanced would be to remove the feature of exclusion or partial exclusion. such action maybe suitable in the case of certain partially excluded areas in other parts of India. But in the Hills of Assam the fact that the hill people have not yet been assimilated with the people of the plains of Assam has to be taken into account though a great proportion of hill people now classed as plains tribals have gone a long way towards such assimilation. Assimilation has probably advanced least in the Nag a Hills and in the Lushai Hills, and the policy of exclusion has of course tended to create a feeling of separateness.
On the other hand, it is the advice of anthropologists (see Dr. Guha's evidence) that assimilation cannot take place by the sudden breaking up of tribal institutions and what is required is evolution or growth on the old foundations. This means that the evolution should come as far as possible from the tribe itself but it is equally clear that contact with outside influences is necessary though not in a compelling way. The distinct features of their way of life have at any rate to be taken into account. Some of the tribal systems such as the system of the tribal council for the decision of disputes afford by far the simplest and the best way of dispensation of justice for the rural areas without the costly system of courts and codified laws. Until there is a change in the way of life brought about by the hill people themselves, it would not be desirable to permit any different system to be imposed from outside. The future of these hills now does not seem to lie in absorption in the hill people will become indistinguishable from non-hill people but in political and social amalgamation.
9. THE HILL PEOPLE'S LAND
The anxiety of the hill people about their land and their fear of exploitation are undoubtedly matters for making special provisions; it has been the experience in other parts of India and in other countries, that unless protection is given, land is taken up by people from the more advanced and crowded areas. The question has already acquired serious proportions in the plains portions of Assam and the pressure of population from outside has brought it up as a serious problem which in the next few years may be expected to become very much more acute. There seems to be no doubt whatever therefore that the hill people should have the largest possible measure of protection for their land and provisions for the control of immigration into their areas for agricultural or non-agricultural purposes. It seems also clear that the hill people will not have sufficient confidence if the control on such matters is kept in the hands of the provincial Government which may only be too amenable to the pressure of its supporters. Even the Head of the State under the new Constitution will probably be an elected head, and even though he may be elected also by the votes of the hill people, they may still have the fear that he will give way to the pressure of the plainspeople on whose votes he may be largely dependent. The atmosphere of fear and suspicion which now prevails, even if it is argued that it is unjustified, is nevertheless one which must be recognised and in order to allay these suspicions and fears, it would appear necessary to provide as far as possible such constitutional provisions and safeguards as would give no room for them. Moreover, in the areas where no right of private property or proprietory right of the chief is recognised the land is regarded as the property of the clan, including the forests. Boundaries between the area of one hill or tribe are recognised and violation may result in fighting. Large areas of land are required for jhum and this explains in part the fear of the tribesman that its availability will be reduced if incursions by outsiders is permitted. In all the hill areas visited by us, there was an emphatic unanimity of opinion among the hill people that there should be control of immigration and allocation of land to outsiders, and that such controls should be vested in the hands of the hill people themselves. Accepting this then as a fundamental feature of the administration of the hills, we recommend that the Hill Districts should have powers of legislation over occupation or use of land other than land comprising reserved forest under the Assam Forest Regulation of 1891 or ther law applicable. The only limitation we would place upon this is to provide that the local councils should not require payment for the occupation of vacant land by the Provisional Government for public purposes or prevent the acquisition of private land, also required for public purposes, on payment of compensation.