For a viable integration of Union Territories in the Indian Union, a uniform administrative and legislative pattern is a must. With this consideration, the Constitution fixed the responsibility of governing their administration to the President of India. Part VIII of the Constitution deals with the pattern of administration of Union Territories.
By the Seventh Amendment (1956), the states in Part C and territories in Part D of the First Schedule were clubbed as 'Union Territories'.
After subsequent amendment acts, the list of Union territories (6 in number)consists of Andaman and Nicobar Islands; Chandigarh; Dadra and Nagar Haveli' Daman and Diu; Lakshdweep; and Pondicherry.
The power of appointing an administrator to a Union Territory lies with the President Art. 239 (1).
The way of administration depends upon his satisfaction. He may also appoint the Governor of a neighbouring state as an administrator in which case he exercises this jurisdiction independently of his Council of Ministers. His function in this case would be as an agent appointed by the President rather than by virtue of his being the Governor of a state.
All the Union Territories are thus administered by an Administrator as the agent of the President and not by a Governor acting as the head of a State.
Though Union Territories are centrally administered by the central administration, they cannot be merged with the Central Government. The Constitution postulates autonomy of Union territories subject only to the President's power, exercised through his agent.
Originally, the Union territories were kept beyond the purview of Parliament. But by the 37th Amendment (1962), under clause A of Art. 239, Parliament was entitled to create a legislature or Council of Ministers or both for some Union Territories. Pondicherry, Mizoram, Arunacahal Pradesh, Goa and Delhi have attained statehood.
On 1-2-1992, Arts. 239AA and 239AB (inserted by Constitution 69th Amendment) came into force. To supplement these provisions the Government of National Capital territory of Delhi Act., 1991 was enacted. Delhi has from 1993 a Legislative powers in the State List excepting entries 1 (Public Order), 2 (Police) and 18 (Land).
(c) Legislative Power
By Virtue of Art. 246(4), Parliament enjoys exclusive rights to legislate over Union Territories, including the matters enumerated in the State List. But this power would not be functional in cases of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Pondicherry wherein the President enjoys legislative power, namely to make regulations for peace, progress and good government.
This power of the President overrides the legislative power of Parliament inasmuch as a regulation made by the President as regards these Territories may repeal or amend any Act of Parliament which is for the time being applicable to the Union Territory [Art.240(2)].
But the President's power to make regulations shall remain suspended while the Legislature is functioning in any of these States, –to be revived as soon as such Legislature is dissolved or suspended.
(d) Judicial System
Under Art. 241, Parliament is empowered to create a High Court in a Union territory or declare any court in such territory to be a High Court for any or all Union Territories. Until such legislation is made, the existing High Court would continue to exercise its jurisdiction.
Thus, the Punjab and Haryana High Court acts as the High Court of Chandigarh; Lakshadweep is under the jurisdiction of the Kerala High Court; the Calcutta High Court has jurisdiction over Andaman and Nicobar Island; the Madras high Court has jurisdiction over Pondicherry' the Bombay High Court enjoys jurisdiction over Dadra and Nagar Haveli. Delhi has its separate High Court since 1966.
The term means territories acquired by the country by virtue of its sovereign rights. They are place which the country has lost and gained later on. Even though the Constitution does not provide separately for the administration of acquired territories, the provisions relating to Union Territories would extend to such territories also.
This is possible by virtue of flexible and comprehensive definition of Union Territories. Thus the territory of Pondicherry, Karaikal, Yanam and Mahe was administered by the President of India through a Chief Commissioner until it was made a Union Territory in 1962. Thus, the plenary power rests with Parliament with regard to legislation as in the case of Union Territories.
Part X, Art. 244 of the Constitution makes special provisions for the administration of certain areas called 'Scheduled Areas' in States other than Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mezoram even though such areas are situated within a State or Union Territory, presumably because of the backwardness of the people of these Areas.
Subject to legislation by Parliament, the power to declare any area as 'Scheduled Area' is given to the President. These are Areas inhabited by Tribes specified as 'Scheduled Tribes', in States other than Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mezoram. Special provisions for the administration of such Areas are given in the 5th Schedule.
According to it the executive power of the Union shall extend to giving directions to the respective States regarding the administration of the Scheduled Areas. The Governors of the States in which there are 'Scheduled Areas' have to submit reports to the President regarding the administration of such Areas, annually or whenever so required by the President.
Tribes Advisory Councils are to be constituted to give advice on such matters as welfare and advancement of the Scheduled Tribes in the States as may be referred to them by the Governor.
The Governor is authorised to direct that any particular Act of Parliament or of the Legislature of the State shall not apply to a Scheduled Area; the Governor can also make regulations to prohibit or restrict the transfer of land by or among members of, the Scheduled Tribes, regulate the allotment of land, and regulate the business of money-lending.
All such regulations made by the Governor must have the assent of the President.
The foregoing provisions of the Constitution relating to the administration of the Scheduled Areas and Tribes may be altered by Parliament by ordinary legislation, without being required to go through the formalities relating to the amendment of the Constitution.
The Tribal Areas in the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mezoram are separately dealt with [Art. 244(2)], and provisions for their administration are to be found in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. These Tribal Areas are to be administrated as autonomous districts.
These autonomous districts are not outside the executive authority of the State concerned but provision is made for the creation of District Councils and Regional Councils for the exercise of certain legislative and judicial functions.
These Councils are primarily representative bodies and they have got the power of lawmaking in certain specified fields such as management of a forest other than a reserved forest, inheritance of property, marriage and social customs, and the Governor may also confer upon these Councils the power to try certain suits or offences.
These Councils have also the power to assess and collect land revenue and to impose certain specified taxes. The laws made by the Councils shall have, however, no effect unless assented to by the Governor.