The Scheduled Areas (Assimilation of Laws) Act, 1951

An Act no. 37 of the year 1951 i.e. ‘The Scheduled Areas (Assimilation of Laws) Act, 1951’ was assented on 23rd June, 1951 and the same was to provide for assimilation of certain laws in force in the Scheduled areas to the laws in force in the Assam based districts of Darrang and Lakhimpur. The Scheduled areas referred to above are including the areas mentioned in the Schedule annexed to the Act and not the area which are scheduled under Indian Constitution.

The most important section 3 of the Act deals with the purpose of this Act. The provision provides that, every laws which were extended to the areas scheduled under the Schedule annexed with this Act, and were applicable to that area should be ceased to be in force in that areas. However, the whatever actions taken or done in pursuance to that laws should not be affected. And simultaneously it is provided that every laws which were applicable or in force in the District of Darrang in the State of Assam should be brought into force in the areas provided under first paragraph of Schedule annexed with the Act. Similarly, every laws which were applicable or in force in the District of Lakhimpur in the State of Assam should be brought into force and extended to the areas which are provided under second and third paragraph of the said Schedule. In short it is provided that all laws in force in the Scheduled areas were to cease to be in force and the laws in force in Darrang were to come into force in the areas mentioned in 1st paragraph of the Schedule and the laws in force in Lakhimpur would come into force in the areas specified in 2nd and 3rd paragraphs thereof.

The Central Government is empowered under section 4 of the Act to direct by its order that during the period of not exceeding 12 months from the appointed day under this Act, any law which was under force in the Schedule areas should be continued to have effect.

It is more specifically provided under section 5 of the Act that, in every suits or other legal proceedings amongst the parties who were belonging to the Schedule Tribes as specified under the Schedule to the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 under its Part-I and Item-2, should be tried and continued to be tried under the Assam Frontier (Administration of Justice) Regulation, 1945 (Regulation no.1 of 1945). Such suits and proceedings are protected against the provisions of this Act, as if this Act has not been passed. Similarly, the provision of section 6 is important so far as it is dealing with the case of difficulties which can arise in relation to the provision of section 3 and effect thereof. It is provided here under this provision that, in case of such transition under section 3 of the Act, i.e. transition from one or more categories of law to another laws, the Central Government is empowered to provide for such provisions as it is deemed necessary for removing such difficulties.

Section 7 of the Act provides for the Schedule which under this Act is specifically contained under provision of Section 3. The Schedule contained several areas which are divided into three separate paragraphs as enumerated under this Schedule.  The effect of laws in the Area as described under all three paragraphs of the Schedule to be taken off under the provisions of this Act and the laws of State of Assam based districts i.e. Darrang and Lakhimpur to be extended to the areas specified under First paragraph; and paragraph second and third respectively, as per thrust of the provisions of this enactment.

As the purpose of the Act now has been fulfilled, the Act was identified for repeal by the Central Government. The recommendation for the repealing of this Act was made by Law commission of India, in its 249th Report (Second Interim Report) in respect of its study on “Obsolete laws: Warranting Immediate Repeal” submitted on October, 2014. Not only this, but the Act was also recommended earlier for repeal by the P.C. Jain’s Commission Report.

 by Faim Khalilkhan Pathan.