The central government has revoked the ‘special status’ granted to Jammu and Kashmir by the Constitution. However, a range of “special provisions” for as many as 11 other states continue to be part of the Constitution.
Part XXI of the Constitution, ‘Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions’, includes, apart from Article 370 (Temporary Provisions with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir) Articles 371, 371A, 371B, 371C, 371D, 371E, 371F, 371G, 371H, and 371J, which define special provisions with regard to other states of the Indian Union.
All these provisions take into account the special circumstances of individual states, and lay down a wide range of specific safeguards that are deemed important for these states.
In these range of Articles from 371 to 371J, Article 371I, which deals with Goa, stands out in the sense that it does not include any provision that can be deemed “special”. Article 371E, which deals with Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, too, is not that “special”.
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The special provisions laid down in Article 370 (before it was modified by the Presidential Order of August 5, 2019) were obviously much more farreaching than the special provisions for other states, described in Articles 371, 371A-H, and 371J.
The reason for this is the unique circumstances in which Jammu and Kashmir acceded to India, and the specific guarantees that the Government of India gave to the state during the negotiations at the time.
However, the existence of the provisions described in Articles 371, 371A-H, and 371J shows that other princely states, too, negotiated the terms and conditions of their entry into the Union, or sought special constitutional protections in view of their unique needs and conditions.
Like Article 370 (dealing with Jammu and Kashmir), each of these other constitutional provisions too, is rooted in historical reasons.
There is, however, one important difference between Articles 370 and 371 on the one hand, and Articles 371A-H and 371J on the other.
Articles 370 and 371 have been part of the Constitution from the time of its commencement on January 26, 1950. Articles 371A-H and 371J, however, were incorporated into the Constitution by Parliament through amendments under Article 368. This Article describes the “power of Parliament to amend the Constitution and procedure therefor”.
The following special provisions are guaranteed by the Constitution to states other than Jammu and Kashmir.
Maharashtra and Gujarat (Article 371)
The Governor has a “special responsibility” to establish “separate development boards” for “Vidarbha, Marathwada, and the rest of Maharashtra”, and Saurashtra and Kutch in Gujarat; ensure “equitable allocation of funds for developmental expenditure over the said areas”, and “equitable arrangement providing adequate facilities for technical education and vocational training, and adequate opportunities for employment” under the state government.
Nagaland (Article 371A, 13th Amendment Act, 1962)
Parliament cannot legislate in matters of Naga religion or social practices, the Naga 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, without the concurrence of the Legislative Assembly of the state. This provision was inserted in the Constitution after a 16-point agreement between the Centre and the Naga People’s Convention in 1960, which led to the creation of Nagaland in 1963. Also, there is a provision for a 35-member Regional Council for Tuensang district, which elects the Tuensang members in the Assembly. A member from the Tuensang district is Minister for Tuensang Affairs. The Governor has the final say on all Tuensang-related matters.
Assam (Article 371B, 22nd Amendment Act, 1969)
The President of India may provide for the constitution and functions of a committee of the state Assembly consisting of members elected from the tribal areas of the state.
Manipur (Article 371C, 27th Amendment Act, 1971)
The President of India may provide for the constitution and functions of a committee of elected members from the Hill areas of the state in the Assembly, and entrust “special responsibility” to the Governor to ensure its proper functioning. The Governor has to file a report every year on this subject to the President.
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana (Article 371D, 32nd Amendment Act, 1973; substituted by the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014)
The President must ensure “equitable opportunities and facilities” in “public employment and education to people from different parts of the state”. He may require the state government to organise “any class or classes of posts in a civil service of, or any class or classes of civil posts under, the State into different local cadres for different parts of the State”, and allot them.
The President has similar powers vis-à-vis admissions in any university or state government-run educational institution. Also, he may provide for setting up of an administrative tribunal outside the jurisdiction of the High Court to deal with issues of appointment, allotment or promotion in state civil services.
Article 371E allows for the establishment of a university in Andhra Pradesh by a law of Parliament. But this is not really a ‘special provision’ in the sense of the other provisions in this part of the Constitution.
Sikkim (Article 371F, 36th Amendment Act, 1975)
The members of the Legislative Assembly of Sikkim shall elect the representative of Sikkim in the House of the People. To protect the rights and interests of various sections of the population of Sikkim, Parliament may provide for the number of seats in the Assembly, which may be filled only by candidates from those sections. The Governor shall have “special responsibility for peace and for an equitable arrangement for ensuring the social and economic advancement of different sections of the population”. All earlier laws in territories that formed Sikkim shall continue, and any adaptation or modification shall not be questioned in any court.
Mizoram (Article 371G, 53rd Amendment Act, 1986)
This provision lays down that Parliament cannot make laws on “religious or social practices of the Mizos, Mizo customary law and procedure, administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Mizo customary law, ownership and transfer of land… unless the Legislative Assembly… by a resolution so decides”.
Arunachal Pradesh (Article 371H, 55th Amendment Act, 1986)
The Governor has a special responsibility with regard to law and order, and “he shall, after consulting the Council of Ministers, exercise his individual judgment as to the action to be taken”. Should a question arise over whether a particular matter is one in which the Governor is “required to act in the exercise of his individual judgment, the decision of the Governor in his discretion shall be final”, and “shall not be called in question…”
Karnataka (Article 371J, 98th Amendment Act, 2012)
There is a provision for the establishment of a separate development board for the Hyderabad-Karnataka region, the working of which will be reported annually to the Assembly. There shall be “equitable allocation of funds for developmental expenditure over the said region”, and “equitable opportunities and facilities” for people of this region in government jobs and education. An order can be made to provide for reservation “of a proportion” of seats and jobs in educational and vocational training institutions and state government organisations respectively in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region for individuals who belong to that region by birth or domicile.