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UNION TERRITORIES
Under Article 1 of the Constitution, the territory of India comprises three categories of territories: (a) territories of the states; (b) union territories;and (c) 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 adistribution 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.

CREATION OF UNION 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 nine Union Territories. They are (along with the yearof 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. Till 1973.

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.

ADMINISTRATION OF UNION TERRITORIES

  • Articles 239 to 241 in Part VIII of the Constitution deal with the union territories.
  • Every union territory is administered by the President acting through anadministrator appointed by him. An administrator of a union territory is an agent of the President and not head of state like a governor.
  • The Union Territories of Puducherry (in 1963) and Delhi (in 1992) areprovided with a legislative assembly4 and a council of ministers headed by a chief minister. The remaining five union territories do not have such popular political institutions.
  • The Parliament can make laws on any subject of the three lists (includingthe State List) for the union territories.
  • 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 Nocobar Islands, Chandigarh, Lakshadweep and Puducherry are placed under the Calcutta, Punjab and Haryana, Kerala, and Madras High Courts respectively.

SPECIAL PROVISIONS FOR DELHI

  • The 69th Constitutional Amendment Act of 19915 provided a special status to the Union Territory of Delhi, and redesignated it the National Capital Territory of Delhi and designated the administrator of Delhi as the lieutenant (It.) governor. It created a legislative assembly and a council of ministers for Delhi. Previously, Delhi had a metropolitan council and an executive council.
  • The strength of the assembly is fixed at 70 members, directly elected bythe people. The elections are conducted by the election commission of India. The assembly can make laws on all the matters of the State List and the Concurrent List except the three matters of the State List, that is, public order, police and land.

ADVISORY COMMITTEES OF UNION TERRITORIES

  • Under the Government of India (Allocation of Business ) Rules 1961, Ministry of Home Affairs is the nodal ministry for all matters of Union Territories relating to legislation, finance and budget, services and appointment of Lt. Governors and Administrators.
  • All the five UTs without legislature (Andaman and Nicobar Islands,Chandigarh, Daman and diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Lakshadweep) have the forum of Home Minister's Advisory Committee {HMAC / Administrator’s Advisory Committee (AAC).
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