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UNION TERRITORIES | POLITY

Introduction | UNION TERRITORIES | POLITY

  • Under Article 1 of the Constitution, the territory of India comprises three categories of territories:
    • territories of the states;
    • union territories; and
    • territories that may be acquired by the Government of India at any time.
  • At present, there are twenty-nine states, seven union territories and no acquired territories.
  • The states are the members of the federal system in India and share a distribution of power with the Centre.
  • The union territories, on the other hand, are those areas which are under the direct control and administration of the Central government.
  • Hence, they are also known as ‘centrally administered territories’.

Background

  • During the British Rule, certain areas were constituted as ‘scheduled districts’ in 1874.
  • Later, they came to be known as ‘chief commissioners provinces’. After independence, they were placed in the category of Part ‘C’ States and Part ‘D’ 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.

Union Territories of India | UNION TERRITORIES | POLITY

  1. Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  2. Chandigarh
  3. Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu
  4. National Capital Territory of Delhi
  5. Jammu and Kashmir
  6. Lakshadweep
  7. Ladakh

Reasons of creation of UTs

  • Cultural distinctiveness—Puducherry, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu.
  • Political and administrative consideration—Delhi and Chandigarh.
  • Special treatment and care of the backward and tribal people—Mizoram, Manipur, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh which later became states.
  • Strategic importance—Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep.4

Administration of UTs

  • Articles 239 to 241 in Part VIII of the Constitution deal with the union territories and there is no uniformity in their administrative system.
  • Every union territory is administered by the President through an administrator appointed by him.
  • Administrator of a union territory is an agent of the Central government and is not the head of state like a governor.
  • The President can also appoint the governor of a state as the administrator of an adjoining union territory.
  • Not all the UT’s have an administrator, some are directly governed by president.

69th Amendment 1991 | UNION TERRITORIES | POLITY

  • UT of Delhi shall be called National capital territory & shall have a legislative assembly with members, chosen directly by people from territorial constituencies
  • Assembly shall make laws on matter enumerated in state list (Except matters of Public order, Police & land)
  • If any provision of law, made by legislative assembly wrt any matter which is repugnant to any provision of law made by parliament wrt that matter, then law made by parliament shall prevail & law made by LA shall to the extent of repugnancy, be void
  • If law made by LA is preserved for consideration of President & has received his assent, then such law shall prevail in NCT, however, parliament can make laws adding to, varying or repealing laws made by LA
  • There shall be COMs, not more than 1/10th of total members of LA, with CM at its apex to aid & advice Lt. governor in exercise of his functions
  • In case of difference b/w opinions of COMs & Lt. governor, Lt. governor shall refer it to the President for his decision & shall act according to directions given by President

Supremacy of of Lt. governor vs state legislature

  • SC was of the opinion that, Democratically elected government has more powers than the nominated Lt. governor and Governor is bound by the recommendation of the Council of Ministers.
  • In the case of difference of opinion between the lt. governor and his ministers, the lt. governor is to refer the matter to the president for decision and act accordingly.
  • Supreme Court held that governance of Delhi cannot rest upon the whims of one functionary namely the Lieutenant-Governor as he cannot refer every matter of the Delhi Government to the President. This will create work paralysis.

 

 

Indian Polity

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