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  • Opposition asks Amit Shah: What about Article 371 , Northeast has nothing to fear over Article 371: Jitendra Singh

    Published on August 9, 2019

    By Bhupen Goswami

    Guwahati : Opposition asks Amit Shah: What about Article 371 that affects Northeast states. Article 371 Also Accords Special Provisions to States, Especially in Northeast.As the government abrogated Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Article 371, that has special provisions for other states, mostly from the northeast, has invited some attention. Most of the states that have been accorded special provisions under Article 371 are in the northeast and the special status aims to preserve their tribal culture.Article 371-A states that no act of Parliament shall apply to the state of Nagaland in respect to religious or social practices of the Nagas, its customary laws and procedures, administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Naga customary laws and ownership and transfer of land and its resources. It shall apply to Nagaland only after the state Assembly passes a resolution to do so, it says.

    In June, Neikiesalie Nicky Kire of the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) observed that Article 371-A impedes the state’s development. Article 371-A states that land and its resources in the state belong to the people and not the government. The MLA said due to the provisions in Article 371(A), landowners usually do not allow the government to carry out any development activities on their plot. Article 371-G that deals with special provisions with respect to Mizoram has similar nature. It states that an act of Parliament relating to religious and social practices of Mizo customary law and procedure, administration of civil or criminal justice involving decisions according to Mizo customary laws, ownership and transfer of land and its resources will not apply to Mizoram unless state assembly decides to do so. Article 371-B deals with special provision with respect to the state of Assam. The main objective of inserting Article 371B was to facilitate the creation of the sub-state ‘Meghalaya’. Article 371-C deals with special provisions with respect to Manipur which became a state in 1972. Articles 371F, 371H talk about special provisions with respect to states of Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh, respectively. Article 371 gives the power to the President of India to establish separate development boards for Vidarbha, Marathwada regions of Maharashtra and the rest of the state and Saurashtra, Kutch and rest of Gujarat. Special provisions with respect to Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa are dealt in Articles 371-D and 371-E, 371J, 371I respectively.

    Union Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region, Jitendra Singh has rejected the fears of Article 371 of the Constitution, which has special provisions for other states, mostly from the northeast, being the next in line to be scrapped after the Modi government’s move on Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir. In a tweet on Friday morning, Singh said, “North East has nothing to fear, Art 371 will stay as it is.” The fears about Article 371 were also allayed by Home Minister Amit Shah who moved the resolution to scrap Article 370 for Jammu and Kashmir.Making it clear that there was no comparison between Article 370 and Article 371, Amit Shah said by drawing a comparison between the two, attempt was being made to mislead country and public. He also said there was no intention of the government to remove Article 371, which gives certain special rights to some Northeast states. Article 371(G) of the Constitution states that the Parliament cannot decide on the matters of the religious and social practices of the Mizos, civil and criminal law of the land, land ownership transfer, and customary law procedure without the consent of the Assembly. Article 371A states that no act of Parliament shall apply to the state of Nagaland in respect of the religious or social practices of the Nagas, its customary law and procedure, administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Naga customary law and ownership and transfer of land and its resources.It shall apply to Nagaland only after the state Assembly passes a resolution to do so, it says.

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