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Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council

Published: 7th Sep, 2023

Context

The Supreme Court invalidated Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) election process from a notification recently, ordering a fresh notification within seven days.

About Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council:

  • LAHDC, Leh is an autonomous district council that administers the Leh district of Ladakh.
  • The council was created under the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Act of 1995.
  • LAHDC-Leh has a total of 30 seats and four councillors are nominated by the government.
  • The executive arm of the council consists of an executive committee composed of a Chief Executive Councillor and four other executive councillors.
  • The autonomous hill council work with village panchayats to take decisions on economic development, healthcare, education, land use, taxation, and local governance which are further reviewed at the block headquarters in the presence of the chief executive councillor and executive councilors.

Constitutional Provisions

  • Sixth Schedule: The Sixth Schedule under Article 244 provides for the formation of autonomous administrative divisions — Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) — that have some legislative, judicial, and administrative autonomy within a state.
    • The Sixth Schedule contains special provisions for the administration of tribal areas in the four north-eastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
    • Autonomous Districts: The tribal areas in these four states have been constituted as autonomous districts.
    • The governor is empowered to organise and re-organise the autonomous districts.
    • The acts of Parliament or the state legislature do not apply to autonomous districts or apply with specified modifications and exceptions.
    • The power of direction, in this regard, lies either with the President or Governor.
  • District Council: Each autonomous district has a district council consisting of 30 members, of whom four are nominated by the Governor and the remaining 26 are elected on the basis of adult franchise.
    • The elected members hold office for a term of five years (unless the council is dissolved earlier) and nominated members hold office during the pleasure of the governor.
    • Each autonomous region also has a separate regional council.

Powers of the Council

  • The district and regional councils administer the areas under their jurisdiction.
  • They can make laws on certain specified matters like land, forests, canal water, shifting cultivation, village administration, and the inheritance of property, marriage and divorce, social customs and so on. But all such laws require the assent of the Governor.
  • They can constitute village councils or courts for trial of suits and cases between the tribes. They hear appeals from them. The jurisdiction of the high court over these suits and cases is specified by the governor.
  • The district council can establish, construct or manage primary schools, dispensaries, markets, ferries, fisheries, roads and so on in the district.
  • They are empowered to assess and collect land revenue and to impose certain specified taxes.
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