Modern India

Part 1 – Union and Its Territory – Indian Constitution – Exam Studies – Free Studymaterial

The Union and Its territories is a compilation of laws pertaining to the constitution of India as a country and the union of states that it is made includes articles from 1 – 4

This constitution contains the law in the establishment, renaming, merging or altering the borders of the states or union territories. It also physically defines the words union / central government / government of India, states, territory of India, territory of a state, union territories and acquired territories which are used frequently in the constitution. This part contains four articles. These articles were invoked when West Bengal was renamed, and for formation of relatively new states such as Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Sikkim, etc.

Article 1 & 2

Article 1 of the constitution says that India, that is Bharat, shall be a union of states and the territory.

The acquired territories can be converted in to a state/states as per Article 2. Per Article 2, Sikkim was admitted as a state in Indian union on 26 April 1975. Jammu and Kashmir get converted to Union territory in 2019. Leh was also so converted.

Article 3

Article 3 talks about Formation of new States and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing States.
Article 3 says: Parliament may by law: (a) form a new State by separation of territory from any State or by uniting two or more States or parts of States or by uniting any territory to a part of any State
(b) increase the area of any State;
(c) diminish the area of any State;
(d) alter the boundaries of any State; (e) alter the name of any State;

Article 4

Article 4 is invoked when a law is enacted under Article 2 or 3 for the marginal, incidental and the consequential provisions needed for changing boundary of a state or union territory. As per Article 4 (2), no such law framed under Article 4 (1), shall be deemed to be an amendment of the constitution for the purposes of article 368.

Under Article 1 of the Constitution, the territory of India comprises three categories of territories:

(a) territories of the states;
(b) union territories
(c) territories that may be acquired by the Government of India at any time. At present, there are Twenty-Eight states, Nine union territories and no acquired territories.

In 1956, they were constituted as the ‘union territories’ by the 7th Constitutional Amendment Act (1956) and the States Reorganisation Act (1956). Gradually, some of these union territories have been elevated to statehood. Thus, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Goa, which are states today were formerly union territories. On the other hand, the territories that were acquired from the Portuguese (Goa, Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli) and the French (Puducherry)were constituted as the union territories. At present, there are seven Union Territories. They are (along with the year of creation):

(1) Andaman and Nicobar Islands—1956,
(2) Delhi—1956,
(3) Lakshadweep—1956,
(4) Dadra and Nagar Haveli—1961,
(5) Daman and Diu—1962,
(6) Puducherry—1962, and
(7) Chandigarh—1966.
(8) Jammu & Kashmir-2019
(9) Ladakh-2019

Till 1973, Lakshadweep was known by the name of Laccadive, Minicoy and Amindivi Islands. In 1992, Delhi was redesignated as the National Capital Territory of India. Till 2006, Puducherry was known as Pondicherry. The union territories have been created for a variety of reasons.

These are mentioned below:

1. Political and administrative consideration—Delhi and Chandigarh.

2. Cultural distinctiveness—Puducherry, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu.

3. Strategic importance—Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep.

4. Special treatment and care of the backward and tribal people—Mizoram, Manipur, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh which later became states.

Articles 239 to 241 in Part VIII of the Constitution deal with the union territories. Even though all the union territories belong to one category, there is no uniformity in their administrative system. Every union territory is administered by the President acting through an administrator appointed by him. An administrator of a union territory is an agent of the President and not head of state like a governor. The President can specify the designation of an administrator; it may be Lieutenant Governor or Chief Commissioner or Administrator. At present, it is Lieutenant Governor in the case of Delhi, Puducherry and Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Administrator in the case of Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Damavand Diu and Lakshadweep. The President can also appoint the governor of a state as the administrator of an adjoining union territory. In that capacity, the governor is to act independently of his council of ministers.

The Union Territories of Puducherry (in 1963) and Delhi (in 1992) are provided with a legislative assembly and a council of ministers headed by a Chief Minister. The remaining five union territories do not have such popular political institutions.
But, the establishment of such institutions in the union territories does not diminish the supreme control of the president and Parliament over them. The Parliament can make laws on any subject of the three lists (including the State List) for the union territories. This power of Parliament also extends to Puducherry and Delhi, which have their own local legislatures. This means that, the legislative power of Parliament for the union territories on subjects of the State List remain unaffected even after establishing a local legislature for them. But, the legislative assembly of Puducherry can also make laws on any subject of the State List and the Concurrent List. Similarly, the legislative assembly of Delhi can make laws on any subject of the State List (except public order, police and land) and the Concurrent List. The President can make regulations for the peace, progress and good government of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu. In the case of Puducherry also, the President can legislate by making regulations but only when the assembly is suspended or dissolved. A regulation made by the President has the same force and effect as an act of Parliament and can also repeal or amend any act of Parliament in relation to these union territories. The Parliament can establish a high court for a union territory or put it under the jurisdiction of the high court of adjacent state. Delhi is the only union territory that has a high court of its own (since 1966).

The Bombay High Court has got jurisdiction over two union territories—Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu. Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Lakshadweep and Puducherry are placed under the Calcutta, Punjab and Haryana, Kerala, and Madras High Courts respectively.

The constitution does not contain any separate provisions for the administration of acquired territories. But, the constitutional provisions for the administration of union territories also apply to the acquired territories.

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