THE UNION AND ITS TERRITORIES | Polity
Introduction | THE UNION AND ITS TERRITORIES
Articles 1 to 4 under Part — I of the Constitution deal with the Union and its territory.
- Article 1- Name and territory of the Union
- Article 2- Admission or establishment of new States
- Article 3 – Formation of new States and alteration of areas,
- boundaries or names of existing States
- Article 4- Laws made under Articles 2 and 3 to provide for the amendment of the first and the Fourth schedules and supplemental, incidental and consequential matters
India— A Union Of States
Article 1. Name And Territory Of The Union
- India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.
- The States and the territories thereof shall be as specified in the First Schedule.
- The territory of India shall comprise—
- (a) the territories of the States;
- (b) the Union territories specified in the First Schedule; and
- (c) such other territories as may be acquired.
- Article 1 of the Constitution describes India, that is, Bharat as a ‘Union of States’. The reasons behind this were made clear by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in the Constituent Assembly. Ambedkar said that the Indian federation was a “Union” because it was Indissoluble, and no State had a right to secede from the Indian Union. He said: “The Drafting Committee wanted to make it clear that though India was to be a federation, the federation was not the result of an agreement by the States to join in a federation, and that the federation not being the result of an agreement, no State has the right to secede from it. The federation is a Union because it is indestructible. Though the country and the people may be divided into different states for convenience of administration, the country is one integral whole, its people a single people living under a single imperium derived from a single source. The Americans had to wage a civil war to establish that the States have no right of secession and that their federation was indestructible. The Drafting Committee thought that it was better to make it clear at the outset rather than to eave it to speculation or to dispute.”
- The phrases ‘Union of India’ and ‘Territory of India’ need to be distinguished. The Union of India includes only the States which enjoy the status of being members of the federal system and share a distribution of powers with the Union. The Union Territories are not included in the “Union of States” whereas the expression “Territory of India” includes not only the States, but also the Union Territories and such other territories as may be acquired by India. The States and the Territories, thereof, are specified in the First Schedule of the Constitution.
Article 2. Admission Or Establishment Of New States
- Parliament may by law admit into the Union, or establish, new States on such terms and conditions as it thinks fit. Under Article 2, the Constitution vests power with Parliament for the admission or establishment of new States. By using this power Parliament has admitted, for example, the French settlements of Pondicherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam, the Portuguese settlements of Goa, and Daman and Sikkim, etc., into India. Article 2 relates to admission or establishment of new states that were/are not part of the India. On the other hand, Article 3 deals with establishment or creation of new states after reorganization of existing states which are already parts of India.
- Procedure for the formation of new States and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing States
Article 3. Formation Of New States And Alteration Of Areas, Boundaries Or Names Of Existing States.
- Parliament may by law—
- 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;
- Increase the area of any state;
- Diminish the area of any state;
- Alter the boundaries of any state;
- Alter the name of any State:
- Under Article 3, the Constitution empowers Parliament to 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. The Constitution further states that Parliament has the power to increase or diminish the area of any State or to alter the boundaries or names of any State. However, Parliament has to follow certain procedures in this regard. A Bill giving effect to any or all the changes stated above can be introduced in either House of the Parliament, only on the recommendation of the President. If such a Bill affects the boundary or name of a State, then the President, before introducing it in the Parliament, shall refer the Bill to the State Legislature concerned for its opinion, fixing a time limit within which an opinion may be expressed by the State Legislature. The President may extend the time limit so specified. If the State Legislature fails to express an opinion within the stipulated time limit then it is deemed that it has expressed its views. If it submits its views within the period so specified or extended, Parliament is not bound to accept or act upon the views of the State Legislature. Further, it is not necessary to make fresh reference to the State Legislature every time an amendment to the Bill is proposed and accepted. The Bill is passed with simple majority.
- However, in the case of Union Territories, it is not necessary to obtain the views of Legislatures of Union Territories before a Bill affecting their boundaries or names is introduced. For example, such Bills in respect of Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Goa, Diu and Daman were introduced in Parliament without obtaining such views. Article 3, thus demonstrates the vulnerability and dependence of the States’ territorial integrity on the Union whereas in federations like the USA or Australia, the boundaries or names of States cannot be altered by the federation without the consent of the States.
- Changes in the Constitution consequential to any reorganization of states
Article 4. Laws Made Under Articles 2 And 3 To Provide For The Amendment Of The First And The Fourth Schedules And Supplemental, Incidental And Consequential Matters.
- Any law referred to. in Article 2 or Article 3 shall contain such provisions for the amendment of the First Schedule and the Fourth Schedule as may be necessary to give effect to the provisions of the law and may also contain such supplemental, incidental and consequential provisions (including provisions as to representation in Parliament and in the Legislature or Legislatures of the State or States affected by such law) as Parliament may deem necessary.
- No such law as aforesaid shall be deemed to be an amendment of this Constitution for the purposes of Article 368.
- Article 4 allows for consequential changes in the First Schedule (names of the States in the Union of India) and Fourth Schedule (number of seats each State is allotted in the Rajya Sabha). It also says that sys that no law altering existing States or creating a new State will be considered a constitutional amendment. It is in line with the earlier provisions of requirement of only simple majority in the Parliament and suggests the complete control of Union over territories of individual States of the Union.
Evolution of States and Union Territories in India
- Before 15th August 1947, most of the Princely States were integrated with the rest of India and some later such as Junagadh, Kashmir and Hyderabad. While India formally got independence, the demand for re-organisation of States was holding ground in different parts of India. While the demand for new States was mainly on the basis of language, Constitution makers held varied views. But since, Constituent Assembly did not have sufficient time to look into such an issue of huge magnitude and administrative complexity, they appointed a Commission to look into the matter.
- Dhar Commission: Accordingly in June 1948, the Constituent Assembly announced the setting up of the Linguistic Provinces Commission, under the chairmanship of S.K. Dhar, to examine the feasibility of this. The Commission in its report (December 1948) recommended that the reorganization of States should be on the basis of administrative convenience rather than linguistic basis.
- JVP Committee: The Dhar Commission report created general disappointment and led to the appointment of another Linguistic Provinces Committee by the Congress in December 1948, consisting of three members, namely, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel and Pattabhi Sitaramayya and hence, was popularly known as JVP Committee. In its report (1949), the committee reaffirmed the position of the Dhar Commission.
- The Committee also recommended “to postpone the formation of new provinces for a few years, so that we might concentrate during this period on other matters of vital importance and not allow ourselves to be distracted by this question”. The report also said that “if public opinion is insistent and overwhelming, we as democrats; have to submit to it subject to certain limitations in regard to the good of India as a whole.”
Arrangement of States as on 26th January 1950:
- Meanwhile, the new Republic of India came into existence on 26th January 1950. The constituent units of Indian Union found themselves classified into Part A, Part B, Part C and Part D. This was obviously a temporary arrangement as satisfactory solution could not be found yet.
- Part A States included the erstwhile Governors’ Provinces. The nine Part A States were Assam, Bihar, Bombay, Madhya Pradesh (formerly Central Provinces and Berar), Madras, Orissa, Punjab (formerly East Punjab), Uttar Pradesh (formerly the United Provinces), and West Bengal.
- Part B States included the erstwhile Princely States. The Part B States were Hyderabad, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Bharat, Mysore, Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU), Rajasthan, Saurashtra, Travancore-Cochin and Vindhya Pradesh.
- Part C States included both the former Chief Commissioners’ provinces and some Princely States. The Part C States were Ajmer, Bhopal, Bilaspur, Cooch Behar, Coorg, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Kutch, Manipur, and Tripura.
- The sole Part D State was the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Continuation of demands for linguistic States:
- The demands for creation of States on linguistic basis were further intensifying. In October 1953, the Government of India was forced to create the first linguistic State, Andhra Pradesh, by separating the Telugu speaking areas from the Madras State, following the long drawn agitation and death of Potti Sriramulu, after a 56 day hunger strike for the cause.
- Fazal Ali Commission:The creation of Andhra State intensified the demand from other regions for creation of States on linguistic basis. In December 1953, the Government announced the formation of a three member States Reorganization Commission under the chairmanship of Fazal Ali to examine the whole question. The other two members of the Commission were H.N. Kunzru and K.M. Pannikar. The Commission in its report sought a balanced approach between regional sentiment and national interest. The Commission suggested the abolition of the four-fold classification of states under the original Constitution and recommended creation of 16 states and 3 centrally administered territories.
- The Commission also laid down the following four major principles as the basis of reorganization‑
- Preserving and strengthening of the security and unity of the country;
- Financial, economic and administrative viability;
- Linguistic and cultural homogeneity; and
- Scope for successful working of plans of development.
The States Reorganization Act, 1956
- The act came into force in November 1956. By this Act and 7th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1956, the distinction between the Part A and B States was done away with and part C States were abolished. Instead, those States were classified into two categories: States and Union Territories. The Act provided for the creation of 14 States and 6 UTs as under:
- States:Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Bombay, J&K, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Madras, Mysore, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
- UTs:Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Laccadive, Minicoy & Amindivi Islands, Manipur and Tripura.
New States and Union Territories created after 1956
- The Bombay Re-organisation Act, 1960, divided the State of Bombay to establish the two States of Gujarat and Maharashtra.
- The State of Nagaland Act, 1962 created Nagaland as a separate State.
- The Punjab Re-organization Act, 1966 divided Punjab into Punjab and Haryana.
- New State of Himachal Pradesh comprising of the existing Union Territory of Himachal Pradesh was established by the State of Himachal Pradesh Act, 1970.
- New States of Manipur, Tripura, Meghalaya and Union Territories of Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh were established by North pastern Areas (Reorganization) Act. 1971. Later Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh achieved statehood by State of Mizoram Act, 1986 and State of Arunachal Pradesh Act, 1986.
- New State of Sikkim was established by Constitution (36th Amendment) Act, 1975.
- The State of Goa Act, 1987 incorporated Goa as a separate State of the Union.
- Chhattisgarh was formed as a result of Madhya Pradesh Re-organisation Act, 2000 which came into being on November 1, 2000.
- Uttaranchal came into existence by Uttar Pradesh Re-organisation Act, 2000 on 8th November, 2000, comprising the northern districts of Kumaon and Garhwal hills of Uttar Pradesh.
- The State of Jharkhand was established by Bihar Re-organisation Act, 2000 on 15th November, 2000, by comprising eighteen southern districts of Chhota Nagpur and Santhal Pargana areas of Bihar.
- The State of Telangana was created by Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014 and came into being on 2nd June 2014.