STATEMENT OF OBJECTS AND REASONS
This Amendment Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 10th April 1969, as the Constitution (Twenty-second Amendment) Bill. The Bill proposed to amend Article 275 and insert new Articles 244A and 371B in the Indian Constitution and was considered and passed in the original form by the Lok Sabha on 15 April 1969 and the Rajya Sabha on 30 April 1969 with a majority.
In September 1968, the broad details of the scheme for the constitution of an autonomous State within the State of Assam comprising of certain areas specified in Part A of the Table appended to Paragraph 20 of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution were announced by the Government of India.
Under Clause 2, new Article 244A sought to confer the necessary legislative power on Parliament for the enactment of laws to constitute an autonomous State and also to provide that autonomous State with a Legislature and a Council of Ministers with such powers and functions as might be defined by that law.
Clause 3 of the Bill sought to amend Article 275 as for certain special grants payable to the State of Assam for the areas which might form part of the autonomous State.
Clause 4, proposed to constitute a committee of the Assam Legislative Assembly consisting of members of that Assembly from the tribal areas aforesaid and a few other members of that Assembly, as envisaged in the scheme.
WHAT IS THERE?
The following changes and inclusions were made to the Indian Constitution:-
- Insertion of new article 244A after article 244, namely:-
“244A.-Formation of an autonomous State comprising certain tribal areas in Assam and creation of local Legislature or Council of Ministers or both therefor.-
(1) Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, Parliament may, by law, form within the State of Assam an autonomous State comprising (whether wholly or in part) all or any of the tribal areas specified in Part A of the table appended to paragraph 20 of the Sixth Schedule and create therefor-
(a) a body, whether elected or partly nominated and partly elected, to function as a Legislature for the autonomous State, or
(b) a Council of Ministers, or both with such constitution, powers, and functions, in each case, as may be specified in the law.
(2) Any such law as is referred to in clause (1) may, in particular,-
(a) specify the matters enumerated in the State List or the Concurrent List with respect to which the Legislature of the autonomous State shall have power to make laws for the whole or any part thereof, whether to the exclusion of the Legislature of the State of Assam or otherwise;
(b) define the matters with respect to which the executive power of the autonomous State shall extend;
(c) provide that any tax levied by the State of Assam shall be assigned to the autonomous State in so far as the proceeds thereof are attributable to the autonomous State;
(d) provide that any reference to a State in any article of this Constitution shall be construed as including a reference to the autonomous State; and
(e) make such supplemental, incidental, and consequential provisions as may be deemed necessary.
(3) An amendment of any such law as aforesaid in so far as such amendment relates to any of the matters specified in sub-clause (a) or sub-clause (b) of clause (2) shall have no effect unless the amendment is passed in each House of Parliament by not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting.
(4) Any such law as is referred to in this article shall not be deemed to be an amendment of this Constitution for article 368 notwithstanding that it contains any provision which amends or has the effect of amending this Constitution.".
- In Article 275 of the Constitution, the following clause shall be inserted after clause (1) namely:-
"(1A) On and from the formation of the autonomous State under article 244A-
(i) any sums payable under clause (a) of the second proviso to clause (1) shall, if the autonomous State comprises all the tribal areas referred to therein, be paid to the autonomous State, and, if the autonomous State comprises only some of those tribal areas, be apportioned between the State of Assam and the autonomous State as the President may, by order, specify;
(ii) there shall be paid out of the Consolidated Fund of India as grants-in-aid of the revenues of the autonomous State sums, capital and recurring, equivalent to the costs of such schemes of development as may be undertaken by the autonomous State with the approval of the Government of India for the purpose of raising the level of administration of that State to that of the administration of the rest of the State of Assam.".
- Insertion of new article 371B After article 371A of the Constitution, namely:-
"371B. Special provision with respect to the State of Assam.- Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, the President may, by order made with respect to the State of Assam, provide for the constitution and functions of a committee of the Legislative Assembly of the State consisting of members of that Assembly elected from the tribal areas specified in Part A of the table appended to paragraph 20 of the Sixth Schedule and such number of other members of that Assembly as may be specified in the order and for the modifications to be made in the rules of procedure of that Assembly for the constitution and proper functioning of such committee.".
The Act of Twenty-Second Amendment conferred legislative power on Parliament to form an autonomous Hill state within the State of Assam. The new provision namely Article 371B also created a committee of Assam Legislature. Following this Amendment, the Assam Re-organisation (Meghalaya) was passed to set up the State of Meghalaya within the State of Assam. This indeed was a new experiment to meet regional aspirations.