Decided on March 18,1985


Cited Judgements :-



SAIKIA, J. - (1.)The writ petitioner as the General Secretary, Deshi Tripura (Laskar) Upajati Kalyan Samity, Agartala impugns the cabinet decision of the Government of Tripura, dt. 11-8-1975 to the effect that the Deshi Tripura (Laskar community), a community described as Laskar Kshatria and Deshi Tripura was not covered by the terms mentioned in the Presidential Scheduled Tribes Orders of 1951, 1956 and 1976 for Tripura; and the instructions issued by the Government of Tripura dt. 27-9-1978 not to issue Scheduled Tribe Certificates to the members of that community. The only question to be decided is whether the Deshi Tripura (Laskar) community is included within the Tripura, Tripuri, Tippera tribal community of Tripura.
(2.)The petitioner belongs to the Deshi Tripura (Laskar) community, commonly known and hereinafter referred to, as 'Laskar' community. Mr. N.M. Lahiri, the learned Advocate General, Meghalaya for the petitioner submits that the 'Laskar' community is part and parcel of the Tripura, Tripuri, Tippera tribal community of Tripura; and that the Deshi Tripura (Laskar) Upajati Kalyan Samity, Agartala, which was formed in 1956, looks after the interests of the members of that community; and the petitioner as its General Secretary, has been authorised by the members thereof to vindicate their grievances in all forums. Counsel submits, inter alia, that the Tripura, Tripuri, Tippera Tribal community has been recognised and listed as Scheduled Tribe in the State of Tripura in the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) (Union Territories) Order 1951, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes List (Modification) Order, 1956 and in the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Order (Amendment) Act, 1976 and that the Laskar community has all along been recognised by the Tripura, Tripuri Tippera community as a part and parcel of their community. The erstwhile rulers of Tripura also recognised it as such and extended all kinds of benefits, facilities and privileges to its members. After Tripura was merged with the Indian Union, the same position continued as would be apparent from the Tripura Government Revenue and General Department Circular No. 9 (annexure-I to the petition) published in the Tripura State Gazette on 30th Agrahayan 2nd fortnight of 1340 T.E. (Tripura Era) to the effect that Shri Shri Jukta Maharaj Manikya Bahadur has expressed his desire to collect clear informations about Census of race, religion and class of the Tribals and that 'Tripura samapradaya', as stated in that circular, meant the following 5 (five) communities, namely, (1) Puratan Tripura, (2) Deshi Tripura (Related to Laskar Class), (3) Noatia, (4) Jamatia, and (5) Reang. It was directed therein that all belonging to Tripura class should be recorded as Kshatriyas and the Tripura Kshatriyas included both Tripura Kshatriyas (old Tripura) and Tripura Kshatriyas (Deshi Tripura). Similarly in circular No. 10, dt. 15th Magh. 1350 T. E. (Annexure II to the petition) instructions were issued to persons engaged in collecting correct informations about the religion and the class of the Tribal residents of Tripura; and in para (2) thereof it was stated that in Tripura Tripura-Kshatriyas denoted the following classes : (1) Puratan Tripura, (2) Deshi Tripura (related to Laskar class), (3) Noatia, (4) Jamatia, and (5) Reang. In the Rajmala (chronicles of the Rulers) Laskar has been described as warriors and in Form No. 1 of the Education Department of the Tripura Government Laskar was included in the column meant for Tripura Scheduled Tribes. The petitioner's case is that this state of affairs continued when Tripura merged with the Indian Union.
(3.)When the draft Constitution of India was published, Tripura was not a part of the Indian Union. Sub-Art.(1) of Art.303 of the draft Constitution defined 'Scheduled tribes' to mean the tribes or communities specified in Parts I to IX of the Eight Schedule in relation to the States for the time being specified in Part I of the First Schedule to which those Parts respectively related. Tripura was not included in the First Schedule. After merger of Tripura by virtue of Tripura Merger Agreement dated 9-9-49 with effect from 15-10-49 Tripura had become one of Part C States within the Indian Union. Cl. (25) of Art.366 of the Constitution of India defined 'Scheduled Tribes' to mean such tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within such tribes or tribal communities as were deemed under Art.342 to be Scheduled Tribes for the purpose of the Constitution. Art.342(1) empowered the President with respect to any State, and where it was a State specified in Part A or Part B of the First Schedule, after consultation with the Governor or Rajpramukh thereof, by public notification, to specify the tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within tribes or tribal communities which should for the purposes of the Constitution be deemed to be Scheduled Tribes in relation to that State. Under sub-Art.(2) of Art.342 the Parliament could by law include in or exclude from the list of Scheduled Tribes specified in a notification issued under Cl. (1) any tribe or tribal community or part of or group within any tribe or tribal community, but save as aforesaid a notification issued under the said clause shall not be varied by any subsequent notification. The above provision was not applicable to Part 'C' State where there was neither a Governor nor a Rajpramukh. Tripura had only a Chief Commissioner. The Constitution (First Amendment) Act, 1951 amended Art.342 of the Constitution substituting the words "may with respect to any State, and where it is a State specified in Part A or Part B of the First Schedule, after consultation with the Governor or Rajpramukh thereof for the words "may, after consultation with the Governor or Rajpramukh of a State" but still it did not provide for Part C States. The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950 did not include the Scheduled Tribes of Tripura. The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) (Para C States) Order, 1951 included the scheduled tribes of Tripura in Part VII thereof. Entry 15 simply mentioned Tripura, 16 Jamatia and 17 Noatia. This list was substituted by Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Lists (Modification), Order. 1956 where No. 15 included Tripura or Tripuri, Tippera. The Constitution (Seventh Amendment) Act, 1956 amended Art.1 of the Constitution and the First Schedule. Tripura, which immediately before the commencement of the Constitution was being administered as if it were a Chief Commissioner's Province under the name of Tripura became a Union Territory. S.26 of the North-Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Act, 1971 amended the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 and the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950. In the Fourth Schedule Part III was Tripura and a list was appended to it. In Sl. 15 was 'Tripura or Tripuri, Tippera' in the same line. The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Orders (Amendment) Act, 1976 amended the entry by removing the word 'or' and putting a comma instead, the entry now reading, Tripura, Tripuri, Tippera.

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