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Laxmikanth Summary: Union Territories - Indian Polity for UPSC CSE

Union and Its Territory in the Indian Constitution

The Indian Constitution holds the highest legal authority in the country, serving as a comprehensive rulebook that delineates the allocation of authority, the rights and responsibilities of citizens, and the governance framework. Notably, it stands as the world's largest constitution, initially consisting of 395 articles organized into 22 sections and 8 schedules. Over time, it has expanded to include 448 articles across 25 sections and 12 schedules. In this discussion, we will focus on the first part of the constitution titled "The Union and its Territory," spanning from Article 1 to Article 4.

Understanding the "Union of States"

The Indian Constitution, despite its federal structure, commonly refers to India as the "Union of States." Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, one of the architects of the Indian Constitution, introduced this distinction for two significant reasons:

  1. Divergence from American Federation: In contrast to the American Federation, where states entered into an agreement to form the union, the Indian Federation did not evolve through such a compact.

  2. Absence of Secession Right: In the Indian context, states lack the right to secede or withdraw from the union, setting it apart from a conventional federation.

This unique feature of the Indian Constitution distinguishes it historically and constitutionally from other federal systems.

Union and Its Territory - Articles

Part 1 of the Indian Constitution, comprising Articles 1 to 4, explicitly deals with the "Union and its Territories." It is a fundamental aspect of the constitution, as it precisely defines the geographical boundaries and the political structure of the Indian Republic. Let's delve into the key points related to the "Union and its Territory" within the framework of the Indian Constitution:

Laxmikanth Summary: Union Territories | Indian Polity for UPSC CSE

Article 1: The Name and Political Structure of India

Article 1 of the Indian Constitution holds significance in defining two crucial elements: the name of the country and its political framework. It explicitly states that India, also recognized as Bharat, is a union of states, emphasizing the collaborative nature of India's diverse regions and territories.

In further detail, Article 1(2) stipulates that all states and territories must be enumerated in the First Schedule of the constitution. Article 1(3) delineates the components of India's territory, encompassing the territories of the States, the Union territories listed in the First Schedule, and any prospective territories acquired by the Indian government.

Despite India's federal constitutional structure, it is labeled as a 'Union' due to the essential distinction that no state within India possesses the right to secede from the Indian union. This division into states and union territories serves the purpose of ensuring efficient governance and accommodating the nation's rich diversity. It's essential to recognize that the term 'territory of India' is more comprehensive than 'Union of India,' encompassing not only the states but also the union territories and potential future acquisitions. The mechanisms governing the governance of these units will be elaborated on in subsequent sections. Importantly, Article 1 does not pertain to the acquisition of foreign territory; this falls under international laws.

Article 2: Parliament's Authority for New States

Article 2 of the Indian Constitution confers authority to the Parliament to include new states within India or establish entirely new states within the nation. The terms and conditions for such actions are determined by the Parliament, providing two significant powers:

  1. Incorporating New States: Parliament can allow states already part of India to join the Indian Union.
  2. Creating New States: It can establish entirely new states that did not previously exist.

An illustration of Article 2 in action is the case of Sikkim. Before 1975, Sikkim was an independent monarchy. Following a plebiscite, the people of Sikkim chose to become a part of India.

Article 2A: A Brief Historical Note

Article 2A was introduced into the Constitution via the Thirty-Fifth Amendment Act of 1974 but has since been repealed by the Thirty-Sixth Amendment Act of 1975. It played a role in facilitating changes related to the inclusion of new states within the Indian Union.

Article 3: Parliament's Powers for State Alterations

Article 3 of the Indian Constitution grants the Parliament substantial powers concerning the reorganization of states. These powers include:

  1. Formation of New States: Parliament can create new states from existing ones, as seen in the cases of Telangana, Uttarakhand, and Punjab.

  2. Alteration of State Areas: Parliament can increase or decrease the land area of any state.

  3. Modification of State Boundaries: The authority to modify state borders rests with Parliament.

  4. State Renaming: Parliament can also change the names of states.

  5. Unification of State or Union Territory Segments: The power to establish a new state or union territory extends to merging parts of one state or union territory with another for this purpose.

However, two critical conditions must be met before Parliament can proceed:

  • The President's Recommendation: The President must recommend such actions for Parliament's consideration.
  • State Legislature Input: The concerned state's legislature must be consulted by the President to gather its opinions. It's noteworthy that these opinions are non-binding, allowing Parliament to choose whether to take them into account. Furthermore, modifications to the bill do not require reevaluation by the state.

The key distinction between Article 2 and Article 3 of the Indian Constitution lies in their respective provisions for the creation of states:

  1. Article 2 primarily addresses the establishment of new states using land that was entirely or partially outside the boundaries of any existing state. In essence, it deals with the formation of states from previously unclaimed or unincorporated land.

  2. Article 3, on the other hand, is concerned with the creation of new states using territory that was not initially recognized as a state. This can involve two scenarios:

    • Acquiring entirely new territory for India.
    • Elevating a region that was formerly designated as a Union Territory to the status of a full-fledged state.

In simple terms, Article 2 pertains to the creation of states from unclaimed or external land, while Article 3 encompasses the process of transforming territories, whether newly acquired or once designated as Union Territories, into fully recognized states within the Indian Union

In the case of Union Territories with legislatures, such as Delhi and Pondicherry, there is no requirement to seek the input of their respective legislatures when implementing such modifications. This underscores the utmost importance placed on preserving the unity and integrity of India, even as changes may occur within states. For instance, the creation of Ladakh as a Union Territory out of Jammu and Kashmir was driven by the goal of enhancing governance and addressing the specific needs of the people of Ladakh, underscoring the significance of India's unity and integrity above alterations to state boundaries. 

Laxmikanth Summary: Union Territories | Indian Polity for UPSC CSE

Article 4

Article 2 and Article 3 of the constitution permit alterations to the 1st and 4th Schedules, along with associated matters. It's crucial to keep in mind two key points:

  • Any law utilizing Article 2 or Article 3 must include provisions to adjust the 1st and 4th Schedules as required.
  • Laws created under these articles will not be considered amendments under Article 368.

This simplified version is presented in plain language to enhance understanding while preserving the same information.

The document Laxmikanth Summary: Union Territories | Indian Polity for UPSC CSE is a part of the UPSC Course Indian Polity for UPSC CSE.
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FAQs on Laxmikanth Summary: Union Territories - Indian Polity for UPSC CSE

1. What are the Union Territories in India?
Ans. The Union Territories in India are Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep, Delhi, Puducherry, and Jammu and Kashmir.
2. How are Union Territories different from states in India?
Ans. Union Territories in India have a different administrative setup compared to states. While states have their own elected governments, Union Territories are directly administered by the President of India through an administrator appointed by the central government.
3. How are Union Territories governed?
Ans. Union Territories are governed by the President of India through an administrator appointed by the central government. The administrator exercises executive powers on behalf of the President and is assisted by the Lieutenant Governor (in case of Delhi) or the Chief Secretary (in case of other Union Territories).
4. Can Union Territories have their own legislature?
Ans. Yes, some Union Territories do have their own legislature. Delhi and Puducherry have a legislative assembly which can make laws on certain subjects. However, most Union Territories are directly administered by the central government and do not have their own legislature.
5. Are Union Territories represented in the Parliament of India?
Ans. Yes, Union Territories are represented in the Parliament of India. While Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep, and Puducherry have one seat each in the Lok Sabha (Lower House), Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir have multiple seats. Additionally, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, and Puducherry have representation in the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) as well.
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