top of page
  • Writer's pictureLAWGIC STRATUM

The Tribal Communities and their Constitutional Rights

Author: Suryansh Govind


India has the second biggest tribal concentration in the world spread across different parts of the country essentially in timberlands and uneven areas. The attributes of these communities are their specific geological location, distinct culture, economic backwardness and aloofness from the general public.

The word 'Tribe' means a group of individuals living in primitive and ruthless conditions. These are people living in a fixed area having no such specialization of functions and individuals living in these social groups are known as tribes or tribal people. Tribes additionally have a few sub groups and they are known as 'Tribal Society'. Tribes are the occupants of backwoods since pre-history and surprisingly in this advanced world this pattern is trailed by numerous individuals.


Child marriage, infanticide, homicide, animal sacrifice, exchange of wives, black magic and other detrimental practices are yet pervasive among them. They believe in supernatural powers and want to keep up and spread these practices. They would prefer not to change their significant tribal character and henceforth it's said that "tribes are the tribesmen first, the tribesmen last, and the tribesmen constantly”.

Rights of tribal communities over forests are an unavoidable and unquestionable chronicled certainty. Yet, the issue of alienation of land from the ancestral to non-ancestral is present from the hour of British imperialism in India when the Britishers began meddling in the ancestral locale to exploit the rich ancestral assets. Ancestral individuals are mostly needy upon the forest items for their livelihood and numerous tribes including women are engaged with horticulture, chasing and food gathering. Yet, when pariahs or non-tribes begin meddling and exploiting the natural resources, the life cycle of tribal life is extraordinarily upset. Another major problem is that the tribal people don't think about education as essential, since they are poor and live in a far-off place where they are not mindful of schooling. They don't think of it as an essential obligation to offer schooling to their kids and rather need them to work either in field or at home.

The tribes are economically perhaps the most backward communities in the country. These individuals are frequently exploited by the hands of pariahs, landowners and moneylenders due of their honesty and lack of education. The British policies misused the tribes to the core by profiting the zamindars, money lenders, forest contractors and revenue officials.


Tribal populace comprises 8.6% percent of the complete population of India. It is the obligation of Government to deal with their inclinations and guarantee them equivalent rights in the general public.

After Independence in 1947, Government of India passed various resolutions and a ministry was formed to safeguard the rights of tribal people. In the Indian Constitution, unique rights are ensured to individuals belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

In India not just the Central Government, State Government or authorities are assisting the tribes by guaranteeing their privileges through deliberate associations like 'The Bhil Seva Mandal', 'The Indian Red Cross Society', 'The Vishwa Hindu Parishad', 'The Bharatiya Adim Jati Sevak Sangh', 'The Rashtreeya Swayam Sevak Sangh', 'The Vanavasi Kalyanasharma', 'The Ramakrishna Mission' and other various independent organizations are likewise working in such manner and have embraced different advances.


The Constitution of India has given special provisions to the tribal people to safeguard their interests: -

Article 15 of the Indian Constitution expresses that the state shall not discriminate any citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them. This clarifies that each resident of India is given equivalent rights and opportunities with no discrimination.

Legislature of India has reserved spot for the tribes in work under Article 16(4) of the Constitution of India.

The Government of India has reserved seats in The House of People (Lok Sabha) and The State Legislative Assemblies under Article 330 and 332 of the Constitution of India.

Article 19(5) of the Constitution of India guarantees the tribal people the right to own property and enjoy it in any part of the country.

Article 338 of the Constitution of India allows the option to choose a Commissioner to look after welfare activities of tribes.

Article 46[15] of the Constitution of India expresses that, the State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people and in particular, the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.

Under Article 275(i) of the Constitution of India the Center Government is needed to give grants-in-aid to the State Government for approved Tribal Welfare Schemes.

Schedule 5 of the Constitution of India and other state laws denies any exchange of property having a place with tribes or the land which is being developed by these individuals for quite a while.


The Legislature of India has been executing the revised Twenty Point Program – 2006 since 1st April 2007. The point 11(b) of 20-point program insists to provide economic assistance to the scheduled tribe families to empower them to transcend poverty line.

PESA Act is a legislation instituted by the Government of India to empower the Gram Sabhas of the ancestral areas to self administers and secure their natural resources. It may be observed that the powers that can be exercised by the Gram Sabha under this Act relate to the tribes’ customs, traditions and religion, land and mineral resources. The act made the Gram Sabhas independent and competent to preserve and safeguard the customs and the traditions of the people and community resources.


The problems of the Tribes can't be neglected and isolated from the main development agenda of the Government. According to the Sixth five year plan document three decades of the development plans did not had the desired impact on the socially, economically, educationally handicapped section. Despite the countless endeavors made by the Government, the Tribal people are still deprived of a life which they are entitled to enjoy like a general public. Government and all the political parties including common people should work together towards the welfare of the Tribes so that the goal of empowering and safeguarding the tribal community can be achieved.

99 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page