Part-1 THE UNION AND ITS TERRITORY

THE UNION AND ITS TERRITORY

Part I of the Indian Constitution comprises four Articles concerned with the territory of India. Article 1 stipulates that India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States. The States and territories of India are to be specified in the First Schedule. It is to be noted that the expression, ‘Union of India’ includes only the states which are members of the federal system and share a distribution of powers with the Union while the ‘territory of India’ includes the entire area over which the sovereignty of India extends.

 

The Indian federation was not the result of an agreement between independent States. By the Indian Independence Act 1947, the principal states were given the option of joining India or Pakistan or remaining independent. The integration of the princely states was managed well by Sardar Patel. It may be recalled that in the original Constitution there were four categories of States and Territories – part A which included the nine erstwhile provinces of British India, Part B comprising the five Princely States with legislatures, Part C which includes five centrally administered states, and Part D mentioning the territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. But since the Seventh Amendment Act, 1956, all the States (except for Jammu & Kashmir) belong to one class and all the constitutional provisions relating the states apply to all of them in the same manner. However, it may be pointed out in this connection that certain special provisions applicable to Maharashtra, Gujarat,, Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Goa override the general provisions pertaining to the States as a class. As for the administration of certain Scheduled Areas and Tribal Areas within the States, the provisions are specially listed in the Fifth and Sixth Schedules. into the Union or establish new States on such terms as it thinks fit. It will be noted that there are two powers given to Parliament by Article 2 namely : (i) the power to admit into the Union new States and

(ii) the power to establish new States.

The first refers to the admission of duly organised political communities and second to the admission or formation of a State where none existed before. It will be recalled that the territory acquired by the Union becomes Indian Territory by virtue of clause (3) (c) of Article 1. No Parliamentary sanction is required for acquisition of territory. But a territory acquired by the Government of India, though factually becomes territory of India from the date of its acquisition, the formal or legal assimilation is brought about only by Parliamentary legislation made either under this article when the acquired territory is established as a new State of the Union, or when the acquired territory is merged into an existing State Under Article 3 of the Constitution. The admission or establishment of a new State will be on such terms and conditions as Parliament may think fit. There is nothing in the Constitution which would entitle a new State, after its formation or admission into the Union, to claim complete equality of status with a state existing at the commencement of the Constitution, or formed thereafter under Article 3 of the Constitution. The analogy of the Australian Constitution where complete equality of status with other States and to all “State rights ” are guaranteed is inapplicable to the Indian Constitution, because Section 6 of the Constitution of Australia expressly provides that the expression “State” shall include such colonies or territories as may be “admitted into or established” by the Commonwealth as States. In India, on the other hand, Article 2 gives complete discretion to Parliament to admit or establish new States on such terms and conditions as “it thinks fit”.

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;

 

‘INDIAN TERRITORY’ IS OF HOW MANY TYPES?

The territory of India falls under three categories :(i) State territories, (ii) the Union territories and (iii) territories which may be acquired by the Government of India. No Parliamentary legislation is required to acquire a foreign territory. It is the inherent attribute of a sovereign State to acquire new territories. Article 1(3) (c), in including the acquired territory as part of the Indian territory, merely states a factual situation and does not confer a power on Parliament to acquire foreign territory. The Union Territories are centrally administered according to provisions contained in Part VII of the Constitution. They are governed by the President through an Administrator appointed by him. At present there are 28 states in India. Since 1987, there are seven Union Territories : Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Pondicherry and Chandigarh

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Article 1 of the Constitution says that India is a Union of States, and the States and the territories thereof are specified in the First Schedule. None of the constituent units of the Indian Union was sovereign and independent in the sense the American colonies or the Swiss Cantons were before they formed their federal unions. The Constituent Assembly of India, deriving its power from the sovereign people, was unfettered by any previous commitment in evolving a constitutional pattern suitable to the genius and requirements of the Indian people as a whole. The Constitution contemplated changes of the territorial limits of the constituent States and there was no guarantee about their territorial integrity.

Admission or establishment of new States:

Article 2 enables Parliament by law to admitinto the Union or establish new States on such terms as it thinks fit. It will be noted that there are two powers given to Parliament by Article 2 namely :

(i) the power to admit into the Union new States and

(ii) the power to establish new States.

The first refers to the admission of duly organised political communities and second to the admission or formation of a State where none existed before. It will be recalled that the territory acquired by the Union becomes Indian Territory by virtue of clause (3) (c) of Article 1. No Parliamentary sanction is required for acquisition of territory. But a territory acquired by the Government of India, though factually becomes territory of India from the date of its acquisition, the formal or legal assimilation is brought about only by Parliamentary legislation made either under this article when the acquired territory is established as a new State of the Union, or when the acquired territory is merged into an existing State Under Article 3 of the Constitution.

 

The admission or establishment of a new State will be on such terms and conditions as Parliament may think fit. There is nothing in the Constitution which would entitle a new State, after its formation or admission into the Union, to claim complete equality of status with a state existing at the commencement of the Constitution, or formed thereafter under Article 3 of the Constitution. The analogy of the Australian Constitution where complete equality of status with other States and to all “State rights ” are guaranteed is inapplicable to the Indian Constitution, because Section 6 of the Constitution of Australia expressly provides that the expression “State” shall include such colonies or territories as may be “admitted into or established” by the Commonwealth as States. In India, on the other hand, Article 2 gives complete discretion to Parliament to admit or establish new States on such terms and conditions as “it thinks fit”.

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;

(b) increase the area of any State;

(c) diminish the area of any State;

(d) alter the name of any State;

The Constitution contemplated changes of the territorial limits of the constituent States and there was no guarantee about their territorial integrity. The new States may be established in different ways laid down in the article, namely : (i) by separation of territories from any State (ii) by uniting two or more States, (iii) by uniting parts of States and (iv) by uniting any territory to a part of any State.

 

The law referred to in Articles 2 and 3 may alter or amend the First Schedule of the Constitution which sets out the names of the States and description of territories thereof, and the Fourth Schedule allotting seats in the Council of State in the Union Parliament. The law so made may also make supplemental, incidental and consequential provisions which would include provisions relating to the setting up of the legislative, executive and judicial organs of the State essential to effective State administration under the Constitution, expenditure and distribution of revenue, apportionment of assets and liabilities, provision as to services, application and adaptation of laws, transfer of proceedings and other related matters. No State can, therefore, be formed, admitted or set up by law under Article 4 by Parliament which has not effective legislative, executive or judicial organs.

 

What is the role of States in alteration of their areas, boundaries or names?

In regard to a Bill under Article 3 of Indian Constitution, there are two conditions. Firstly, no Bill shall be introduced in either House of Parliament except on the recommendation of the President. Secondly, where the proposal contained in the Bill affects the area, boundaries or name of any of the States, the Bill has to be referred by the President to the Legislature of the State for expressing its views thereon. The period within which the State Legislature must express its views has to be specified by the President, but he may extend the time so specified. If the period specified or extended expires and no views of the State Legislature are received, the second condition laid down in the provision is fulfilled. Also, it is not necessary to make fresh reference to the State Legislature every time an amendment of the proposal contained in the Bill is proposed and accepted in accordance with the rules of procedure of Parliament so long as the amendment is germane to the subject-matter of the original proposal or is not a direct negation thereof.