James Joy Mohon Nichols Roy was born into a tribal family on 12 June 1884 in Shella Confederacy in present-day Meghalaya. He shifted to Kolkata for his higher studies and completed his B.A. degree in 1904. Roy was a prominent member of the Church of God, a denomination of Christianity that began in the United States.
In 1921, Roy became the first tribal representative on the Assam Governor’s Council in 1921. In 1937, he was elected to the Assam Legislative Assembly.
Roy was well-known for his advocacy for tribal rights. At Roy’s behest, Nehru created a regional party in the Khasi-Jaintia hills in Meghalaya, known as the Khasi Jaintia National Federation State Conference (KJFSC). The goal of the party was to secure autonomy in governance for tribals across North-East India
Contribution to Constitution Making:
Roy was elected to the Constituent Assembly from Assam on a Congress party ticket. In the Assembly, he primarily made interventions on tribal rights and governance. He was considered the pioneer behind the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, which established autonomous district councils in tribal areas in the north-east.
- Member, The North-East Frontier (Assam) Tribal and Excluded Areas Sub-Committee; and
- Member, Advisory Committee.
Known as the architect of the Sixth Schedule, Roy defended the right of tribals to self-governance which was created by this Schedule.