Under the Government of India Act 1935, certain areas in Assam and the North East Frontier tracts had been designated as Excluded or Partially Excluded Areas. These classifications were based on the preponderance of tribal populations in these areas, which therefore merited special administrative arrangements to account for their distinct culture and isolation.
Therefore, the Cabinet Mission Plan which set up the Constituent Assembly, mentioned the tribal and excluded areas as requiring special attention from the Assembly. The sub-committee was set up to fulfil this requirement.
The Sub-Committee was appointed on 27 February 1947 by the Advisory Committee on Fundamental Rights, Minorities and Tribal and Excluded Areas, at its very first meeting. Chaired by Gopinath Bordoloi, it also included two members from the North East who were not Constituent Assembly members: Rup Nath Brahma and Mayang Nokcha.
The Sub-Committee began its work with a tour of the North-East region, including visits to the Lushai Hills District, the North-Cachar Hills Sub-Division, the Mikir Hills and the Naga Hills District. At every place, they met representatives of different tribes to ascertain their views on the future administration of the region.
On the basis of their travels, the Sub-Committee prepared an extensive Report that provides an overview of the predominant tribes in the region in an anthropological tone. It recommended various administrative, economic and jurisdictional measures to protect their distinctive culture. These included setting up of District Councils and Regional Councils, autonomy to tribes to continue with their customary laws and justice systems, and protection for forests and minerals.
The Report was submitted to the Advisory Committee for its consideration on 20 July 1947, which recommended the Drafting Committee to incorporate its suggestions in the Draft Constitution.
- Report of the North-East Frontier (Assam) Tribal and Excluded Areas Sub-Committee
- Joint Report of the Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas (other than Assam) and the North-East Frontier (Assam) Tribal and Excluded Areas Sub-Committees