In this article, You will read The Union and its Territory – Indian Polity UPSC Notes.
Part I of the Indian Constitution is titled The Union and its Territory. It includes articles from 1- 4. Part I is a compilation of laws pertaining to the constitution of India as a country and the union of states that it is made of. This part of the constitution contains the law in the establishment, renaming, merging, or altering the borders of the states.
Articles under Part I were invoked when West Bengal was renamed, and for the formation of relatively new states such as Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, or Telangana.
The Union and its Territory
(Articles 1 to 4) under (Part I) of the Constitution deal with the Union and its territory.
Article 1 deal with the Name and territory of the Union —
(1) India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.
(2) The States and the territories thereof shall be as specified in the First Schedule.
(3) The territory of India shall comprise—
- the territories of the States;
- the Union territories specified in the First Schedule; and
- such other territories as may be acquired
Article 1 stipulates that “India, i.e., Bharat, shall be a Union of States“.
Very important – Please note: the country is described as ‘Union’ although its Constitution
is federal in structure.
When asked why the country is described as ‘Union’, not federation?
Dr. B R Ambedkar replied – “the phrase ‘Union of States’ has been preferred to ‘Federation of States’ for two reasons:
- one, the Indian Federation is not the result of an agreement among the states like the American Federation; and
- two, the states have no right to secede from the federation. The federation is a union because it is indestructible.
The country is an integral whole and divided into different states only for the convenience of administration.
- As of today there are 28 states and 8 Union territories in the country. (J&K and Ladakh – new UTs)
- The provisions of the Constitution pertaining to the states are applicable to all the states in the same manner.
- 1st Schedule contains the names of the States and UTs.
- 5th and 6th Schedule of the Constitution contains separate provisions with respect to the administration of scheduled areas and tribal areas within the states.
- States share distribution of powers with the Centre.
- The union territories and the acquired territories are directly administered by the Central government. (except Delhi and Puducherry)
Do you know? ‘Territory of India’ is a wider expression than the ‘Union of India’
- Because the latter includes only states while the former includes not only the states but also union territories and territories that may be acquired by the Government of India at any future time.
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.
Article 2 grants two powers to the Parliament:
- the power to admit into the Union of India new states; and
- the power to establish new states.
- The first refers to the admission of states which are already in existence while the second refers to the establishment of states which were not in existence before.
- Notably, Article 2 relates to the admission or establishment of new states that are not part of the Union of India.
Article 3: Formation of new States and alteration of areas, boundaries, or names of existing States.
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 3 notably relates to the formation of or changes in the existing states of the Union of India.
However, Article 3 lays down two conditions in this regard:
- One, a bill contemplating the above changes can be introduced in the Parliament only with the prior recommendation of the President; and
- Two, before recommending the bill, the President has to refer the same to the state legislature concerned for expressing its views within a specified period.
The President (or Parliament) is not bound by the views of the state legislature and may either accept or reject them, even if the views are received in time.
Further, it is not necessary to make a fresh reference to the state legislature every time an amendment to the bill is moved and accepted in Parliament.
In the case of a union territory, no reference need be made to the concerned legislature to ascertain its views and the Parliament can itself take any action as it deems fit.
Crux: Constitution authorizes the Parliament to form new states or alter the areas, boundaries, or names of the existing states ‘without their consent’. Hence, the territorial integrity or continued existence of any state is not guaranteed by the Constitution. Therefore, India is rightly described as ‘an indestructible union of destructible states’.
Article 4: declares that laws made under Article 2 and 3 are not to be considered as amendments of the Constitution under Article 368.
- Article 4 declares that laws made for admission or establishment of new states (under Article 2) and formation of new states and alteration of areas, boundaries, or names of existing states (under Articles 3) are not to be considered as amendments of the Constitution under Article 368.
- This means that such laws can be passed by a simple majority and by the ordinary legislative process.
- Indian Territory can be ceded to a foreign state only by amending the Constitution under Article 368.
- However, the Supreme Court in 1969 ruled that settlement of a boundary dispute between India and another country does not require a constitutional amendment. It can be done by executive action as it does not involve cession of Indian Territory to a foreign country.
- So only when there is the involvement of cession of Indian Territory to a foreign country, the amendment is needed.
EVOLUTION OF STATES AND UNION TERRITORIES
Integration of Princely States
We have read earlier that the Indian Independence Act (1947) gave three options to the princely states –
- joining India,
- joining Pakistan or
- remaining independent
Of the 552 princely states situated within the geographical boundaries of India, 549 joined India and the remaining 3 (Hyderabad, Junagarh, and Kashmir) refused to join India.
However, in course of time –
- Hyderabad state was integrated through Police action.
- Junagarh was integrated through the referendum.
- Kashmir was integrated through an Instrument of Accession.
Some important points:
- After independence, there were demands from different regions, particularly South India, for the reorganization of states on a linguistic basis.
- The government of India appointed S K Dhar Committee to examine the feasibility of the reorganization of states on a linguistic basis.
- Dhar Committee recommended the reorganization of states on the basis of administrative convenience rather than linguistic factors.
- This created much resentment and led to the appointment of another committee – JVP Committee – consisted of Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallahbhai Patel, and Pattabhi Sitaramayya
- JVP committee’s report formally rejected language as the basis for the reorganization of states.
- However, the death of Potti Sriramulu, a Congressperson of standing, after a 56-day hunger strike for the cause of the creation of separate Andhra state on a linguistic basis — forced the Government of India to create the first linguistic state, known as Andhra state
- The creation of Andhra state intensified the demand from other regions for the creation of states on a linguistic basis. This forced the Government of India to appoint Fazl Ali Commission to re-examine the whole question.
- Faiz Ali’s report broadly accepted language as the basis of the reorganization of states. But, it rejected the theory of ‘one language–one state’. Its view was that the unity of India should be regarded as the primary consideration in any redrawing of the country’s political units.
Four major factors should be taken into account in any scheme of reorganization of states:
- Preservation and strengthening of the unity and security of the country.
- Linguistic and cultural homogeneity.
- Financial, economic, and administrative considerations.
- Planning and promotion of the welfare of the people in each state as well as of the nation as a whole.