Ladakh Protests

GS Paper II

News Excerpt:

During a meeting with representatives from Ladakh amid ongoing protests in the region, the Union Home Minister proposed to provide Ladakh with protections similar to those under Article 371.

More About News: 

  • The Home Minister assured the Leh Apex Body (ABL) and the Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA) that the government would address their concerns regarding employment, land, and cultural preservation. 
    • However, he clarified that Ladakh would not be included in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
  • Ladakh became a Union Territory on 5 August 2019, following the abrogation of Article 370 and the division of Jammu and Kashmir into two UTs - Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir. 
    • This development has raised questions about the potential application of Article 371 to Ladakh and whether it will receive special provisions under it.

What is the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution?

  • The Sixth Schedule [Articles 244(2) and 275(1)] Provisions as to the Administration of Tribal Areas in the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram of the Constitution of India pertains to the administration of tribal areas in certain states
  • It provides for the establishment of Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) and Autonomous Regional Councils (ARCs) in areas where tribal populations are significant. 
  • The states covered under the Sixth Schedule are Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram.
  • Under the Sixth Schedule, these ADCs and ARCs have powers to administer various aspects of governance within their respective areas. 
    • They can make laws on subjects such as forest management, agriculture, administration of villages and towns, inheritance, marriage, divorce, and social customs. 
    • Additionally, they can establish village councils or courts to resolve disputes among members of Scheduled Tribes and appoint officers to enforce the laws they enact.
    • Moreover, ADCs and ARCs have the authority to collect land revenue, impose taxes, regulate money lending and trading, collect royalties from licenses or leases for mineral extraction, and establish public facilities such as schools, markets, and roads.

Ladakh Inclusion in sixth schedule significance:

  • The demand to include Ladakh under the Sixth Schedule stems from the desire to grant the region similar autonomy in governing its tribal areas, particularly considering the majority of Ladakh's population belongs to Scheduled Tribes. 
  • This inclusion would provide Ladakh with the framework to establish its own ADCs and ARCs, thereby enabling greater self-governance and decision-making powers at the local level.

This would include the power to make laws on subjects such as forest management, agriculture, administration of villages and towns, inheritance, marriage, divorce and social customs. A majority of the population in Ladakh belongs to Scheduled Tribes.

What protections are offered under Article 371?

  • Article 371 of the Indian Constitution provides for special provisions for certain states to address the unique needs and circumstances of their populations. 
  • These provisions aim to safeguard the cultural, social, and economic interests of specific regions and communities. 
  • It has been a part of the Constitution since 26 January 1950, and Articles 371(A-J) were introduced through amendments via Article 368, illustrating Parliament's authority to amend the Constitution.

Protections offered under various clauses of Article 371:

  • Article 371-A: Provides special provisions for Nagaland. Under this article, Parliament cannot enact laws affecting the social, religious, or customary practices of the Nagas, or the ownership and transfer of land without the concurrence of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly. 
    • The Governor of Nagaland shall have special responsibility with respect to law and order in the State of Nagaland.
  • Article 371-B: Allows for the creation of special committees in the Legislative Assembly of Assam
    • These committees comprise members elected from tribal areas and are meant to address the concerns and interests of these regions.
  • Article 371-C: Similar to Article 371-B, this provision allows for the creation of special committees in the Legislative Assembly of Manipur
    • These committees represent the interests of hill areas within the state.
  • Article 371-F: Provides special provisions for Sikkim. It includes reservations in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly to protect the rights and interests of different sections of the population.
  • Article 371-G: Offers special provisions for Mizoram. It includes protections for the religious, social, and customary practices of the Mizos and safeguards their land ownership rights.
  • Article 371-H: Provides special provisions for Arunachal Pradesh. It includes provisions for the governance of tribal areas and ensures the protection of the customary laws and practices of the tribes in the state. 
    • Along with that Governor shall have the special responsibility of Law & Order of state.
  • Article 371-I: Provides special provisions for Goa. It includes protections for the Daman and Diu territories as well. 
    • These provisions mainly relate to reservations in educational institutions and government jobs for certain sections of the population.


The delegation representing Ladakh, comprising the Apex Body, Leh (ABL), and the Kargil Democratic Alliance (KDA), has been advocating for statehood, inclusion in the Sixth Schedule, and other demands. Despite the assurance of consideration of their demands, the organizations have announced a consultation with the people of Ladakh to determine the next steps. However, these special provisions under Article 371 aim to balance the need for local autonomy with the overarching governance structure of the Indian Union. In the context of Ladakh, similar special provisions can help to address the concerns and aspirations of its population while maintaining its democratic representation.

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