EVOLUTION OF STATES AND UNION TERRITORIES IN INDIA
Before 15th August 1947, most of the Princely States were integrated with the rest of India and some later such as Junagadh, Kashmir and Hyderabad. While India formally got independence, the demand for re-organisation of States was holding ground in different parts of India. While the demand for new States was mainly on the basis of language, Constitution makers held varied views. But since, Constituent Assembly did not have sufficient time to look into such an issue of huge magnitude and administrative complexity, they appointed a Commission to look into the matter.
Dhar Commission: Accordingly, in June 1948, the Constituent Assembly announced the setting up of the Linguistic Provinces Commission, under the chairmanship of S.K. Dhar, to examine the feasibility of this. The Commission in its report (December 1948) recommended that the reorganization of States should be on the basis of administrative convenience rather than linguistic basis.
JVP Committee: The Dhar Commission report created general disappointment and led to the appointment of another Linguistic Provinces Committee by the Congress in December 1948, consisting of three members, namely, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel and Pattabhi Sitaramayya and hence, was popularly known as JVP Committee. In its report (1949), the committee reaffirmed the position of the Dhar Commission.
The Committee also recommended “to postpone the formation of new provinces for a few years, so that we might concentrate during this period on other matters of vital importance and not allow ourselves to be distracted by this question”. The report also said that “if public opinion is insistent and overwhelming, we as democrats; have to submit to it subject to certain limitations in regard to the good of India as a whole.”
ARRANGEMENT OF STATES AS ON 26 JANUARY 1950
Meanwhile, the new Republic of India came into existence on 26th January 1950. The constituent units of Indian Union found themselves classified into Part A, Part B, Part C and Part D. This was obviously a temporary arrangement as satisfactory solution could not be found yet.
CONTINUATION OF DEMANDS FOR LINGUISTIC STATES
The demands for creation of States on linguistic basis were further intensifying. In October 1953, the Government of India was forced to create the first linguistic State, Andhra Pradesh, by separating the Telugu speaking areas from the Madras State, following the long drawn agitation and death of Potti Sriramulu, after a 56 day hunger strike for the cause.
FAZAL ALI COMMISSION
The creation of Andhra State intensified the demand from other regions for creation of States on linguistic basis. In December 1953, the Government announced the formation of a three member States Reorganization Commission under the chairmanship of Fazal Ali to examine the whole question. The other two members of the Commission were H.N. Kunzru and K.M. Pannikar. The Commission in its report sought a balanced approach between regional sentiment and national interest. The Commission suggested the abolition of the four-fold classification of states under the original Constitution and recommended creation of 16 states and 3 centrally administered territories.
The Commission also laid down the following four major principles as the basis of reorganization‑
THE STATES REORGANIZATION ACT, 1956
came into force in November 1956. By this Act and 7th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1956, the distinction between the Part A and B States was done away with and part C States were abolished. Instead, those States were classified into two categories: States and Union Territories. The Act provided for the creation of 14 States and 6 UTs as under:
States: Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Bombay, J&K, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Madras, Mysore, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
UTs: Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Laccadive, Minicoy & Amindivi Islands, Manipur and Tripura.
NEW STATES AND UNION TERRITORIES CREATED AFTER 1956
|1. What is the meaning of "Union" in the context of the article?|
|2. How is the territory of a country defined?|
|3. What is the significance of "Union and its Territory" in the Indian Constitution?|
|4. Can the territory of a country be changed?|
|5. How does the concept of "Union and its Territory" impact governance in India?|