Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Union and Its Territory (Article 1 to 4) Part One of Indian Constitution

The Indian constitution is the longest written constitution in the entire world. It was crafted by a constituent assembly with Dr. B.R. Ambedkar as chief. The constitution is our country’s highest form of law. Even the parliament cannot override it. They can however make amendments. Before the constitution was adopted, we were known as ‘Union of India’. After 26th November 1949, the country became ‘Republic of India’. The constitution replaced Government of India Act, 1935 as the country’s fundamental governing document. We celebrate its acceptance every year on 26th January.

Let me give you a basic understanding of the structure of the constitution. Our constitution, at the time of its adoption, consisted of 395 articles in 22 parts and 8 schedules.  Currently, there are 395 articles. However, if new articles are to be added in a particular part, then the no isn’t changed. It is added under a subheading like Article 23a. In addition to these, the constitution also has 100 amendments and two appendices. The Indian constitution is quasi-rigid which means that it can be modified by addition, variation or repeal (annul). This is because even if an Article of Indian Constitution is deleted, like 131(A), then the next article would still be called Article 132 so that the rest of the articles do not need to be re-indexed. Union and its Territory is covered under Part One of the Indian Constitution under Article 1 to 4 of the Indian Constitution.

Today we will talk about Articles 1 to 4 which come under Part -1 of Indian Constitution.

First, an excerpt from the constitution:

Article 1: Name and territory of the Union

(1) India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.
(2) The States and the territories thereof shall be as specified in the First Schedule.
(3) The territory of India shall comprise –
(a) the territories of the States;
(b) the Union territories specified in the First Schedule; and
(c) such other territories as may be acquired.

Article 2: Admission or establishment of new States
Parliament may by law admit into the Union, or establish, new States on such terms and conditions as it thinks fit.

Article 2a: Sikkim to be associated with the Union.

Article 3: 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;
(b) increase the area of any State;
(c) diminish the area of any State;
(d) alter the boundaries of any State;
(e) alter the name of any State:
Provided that no Bill for the purpose shall be introduced in either House of Parliament except on the recommendation of the President and unless, where the proposal contained in the Bill affects the area, boundaries or name of any of the States, the Bill has been referred by the President to the Legislature of that State for expressing its views thereon within such period as may be specified in the reference or within such further period as the President may allow and the period so specified or allowed has expired.

Article 4: Laws made under Article 2 and 3 to provide for the amendment of the First and the Fourth Schedules and supplemental, incidental and consequential matters.

Explanation of the above text......
Union and Its Territory (Article 1 to 4) Part One of Indian Constitution
Union and Its Territory (Article 1 to 4) Part One of Indian Constitution

Article 1 of Indian Constitution

Here, the first thing that is basic and of importance is that the name of the country is stated as ‘Union of States’ instead of the expression ‘federation’. In the constituent assembly, it was decided in favor of describing the country as a union, even though the constitution is federal in structure. The reason given for this was that even though the country and people are divided into different states for administrative convenience, the country as a whole is one . The next basic thing is the difference between the terms, ‘Union of India’ and ‘Territory of India’.

In simple words, the former covers a smaller region as compared to the latter. ‘Union’ covers the states of India which come under the federal system whereas ‘Territory’ includes the States, Union Territories and such others. It included all the regions over which Indian sovereignty is exercised. The government can acquire new territories through different methods.

Now, Article 1 states the name of the country as India that is Bharat and refers to it as a ‘Union of States’ and not as 'Federation of States'. After that, it refers to the list of the states and the Union Territories or any other acquired territories which is included in the First Schedule.

Currently there are 29 states and 7 Union Territories whose names are stated in the First Schedule. 

The Schedule also states that there are four categories of State and Territories in the Pre Independence Era -

Part- A: 9 provinces which were under the British rule.
Part- B: Princely states
Part- C: Centrally administered five states
Part- D: Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Below are the states and union territories of the Indian territory -

The States:

1. Andhra Pradesh 2. Arunachal Pradesh 3. Assam 4. Bihar 5. Chattisgarh 6. Goa 7. Gujarat 8. Haryana 9. Himachal Pradesh 10. Jharkhand 11. Jammu and Kashmir 12. Karnataka 13. Kerala 14. Maharashtra 15. Madhya Pradesh 16. Manipur 17. Meghalaya 18. Mizoram 19. Nagaland 20. Orissa 21. Punjab 22. Rajasthan 23. Sikkim 24. Tamil Nadu 25. Telangana 26. Tripura 27. Uttar Pradesh 28. Uttrakhand 29. West Bengal

Union Territories:

1. Andaman and Nicobar Islands 2. Chandigarh 3. Dadra and Nagar Haveli 4. Daman and Diu 5. Delhi 6. Lakshadweep Islands 7. Pondicherry/ Puducherry

Article 2 of Indian Constitution -

The second article is pretty straight forward. According to this, the parliament can admit new states into our country by law under appropriate conditions. For example, the state Sikkim was added by the 35th and 36th amendment acts.

Article 3 of Indian Constitution - 

This article concerns the change of names, boundaries etc. of a state. The area of a state can be increased or decreased but no part can be acquired by a foreign state/country. The bill to achieve this cannot be introduced in the parliament in either of the two house except on the recommendation of the President. Also, the proposal that contains the change in name, area or boundary of a state has to be sent to the respective state legislature for expressing their views. The legislature will then give its recommendations within a specific period of time. This answer will only be an opinion and might not change the mind of the President or the Parliament. That means that the opinion of the State Legislature is not binding on the President or the Parliament and just seeks to know the will of the people of that State as the State Legislature is comprised of that state people's representatives.

What can be done under Article 3 of Indian Constitution - 

1. A new state can be formed either by uniting two or more states, uniting a union territory with a state, separation of territory from any state.
2. Increase or Decrease the area of any existing state.
3. Can change the extent of boundary of any state.
4. Can change the name of any state.

Article 4 of Indian Constitution - 

This article states that if a new state is added or alteration is made to any aspect of an existing state, then the bill can be passed with simple majority without resorting to any special measure or procedure. This means that if new states are established in accordance with Article 2 of Indian Constitution or any changes are made under the provisions of Article 3 of Indian Constitution then those changes will not be considered as amendments of Indian Constitution under Article 368. This means that in order to effect these changes only a simple majority of the Parliament is required.

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