• Union Territories of India are specified in Schedule I Part II of the Constitution of India.

  • 239 to 241 (Part VIII) deals with Union Territories of India.
  • Under 1, the territory of India comprises:
    • territories of the states;
    • union territories; and
    • territories that may be acquired by the India at any time.
  • Union of India – consist of only states.
  • There are 28 states, 9 UTs and no acquired territories.

Union Territories of India

  • Presently (2020), UTs of Puducherry, Delhi, J&K have legislative assemblies.
  • Unlike UTs, states are the members of the federal system in India and share a distribution of power with the Centre.
  • Existence of these territories constitutes a conspicuous departure from federalism in India; the Government of India is plainly unitary in so far as the relationship between New Delhi and these Central enclaves is concerned.
  • Ministry of Home Affairs is the nodal Ministry for all matters of Union territories.
  • Former UTs – Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Goa.
  • In Delhi, by Article 239AA and 69th Constitutional Amendment the Assembly cannot legislate on matters in entry 18 of the State List, which is land, public order and police.
  • In 1956, ‘chief commissioners provinces’ of British era were constituted as the ‘union territories’ by the 7th CAA (1956) and SRA(1956).
  • Initially, Constitution recognised four different categories of territories in Schedule 1: Former British India provinces (Part A), princely states (Part B), chief commissioner provinces (Part C) and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (part D).
  • SRC (1956) observed economically unbalanced, financially weak, and administratively and politically unstable territories can’t survive as separate administrative units.
  • Andaman and Nicobar Island was the first UT of India (1956)
  • SRC’s recommendations paved the way for the Central government to create India’s first six UTs (against just three recommended by SRC) in 1956.
  • Political and administrative consideration–Delhi and Chandigarh.
  • Cultural distinctiveness–Puducherry, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu.
  • Strategic importance–Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep.
  • Special treatment and care of the backward and tribal people–Mizoram, Manipur, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh which later became states.

Administration of Union Territories

  • There is no uniformity in administrative system of UTs.
  • Every UT is administered by the President acting through an administrator (agent of the President and not head of state) appointed by him. (Art 239)
  • Union Territories of India
    Credit: Maps of India
  • President can also appoint the governor of a state as the administrator of an adjoining union territory.
  • L-G.-Delhi, Puducherry, A&N Islands, J&K and Ladakh.
  • Administrator -Chandigarh, Dadra-Nagar Haveli and Daman-Diu and Lakshadweep.

Special Provision for Delhi

  • 69th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1991
  • Redesignated UT of Delhi as National capital territory & created legislative assembly with members.
  • Designated the administrator of Delhi as the lieutenant (lt.) governor.
  • Assembly shall make laws on matter enumerated in state list (Except matters of Public order, Police & land)
  • Strength of the assembly is fixed at 70 members, directly elected by the people.
  • Election commission of India conducts elections.
  • Laws of Parliament prevail over those made by the Assembly (Except law of LA preserved for consideration of President).
  • Strength of the COM is fixed at ten per cent of the total strength of the assembly (seven–one chief minister and six other ministers)
  • CM is appointed by the President (not by the Lt. governor).
  • In the case of difference of opinion between the lt. governor and his ministers, the lt. governor is to refer the matter to the president for decision and act accordingly.

Advisory Committee

  • All the 5 UTs without legislature (A&N Islands, Chandigarh, Daman Diu and Dadra – Nagar Haveli, Lakshadweep and Ladakh) have the forum of Home Minister’s Advisory Committee (HMAC)/Administrator’s Advisory Committee (AAC).
  • HMAC is chaired by the Union Home Minister,
  • AAC is chaired by the Administrator of the concerned UTs.
  • Members – MPs and elected members from the local bodies among others.

Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Act, 2019

  • Recently, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Act, 2019 was passed.
  • Act amends the First Schedule to merge the two union territories into the UT of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.
  • Amendment to First Schedule of constitution is not recognized as a constitutional amendment under Article 368 of the constitution.
  • First Schedule to the Constitution specifies the territories that come under various states and UTs.
  • Article 240(1) – allows the President to make regulations for certain UTs, including the UTs of Dadra-Nagar Haveli and Daman-Diu.
  • The First Schedule to the RPA, 1950 provides two seat in Lok Sabha to merged UT.
  • Jurisdiction of the Bombay HC will continue to extend to the merged UT.


  • State of J&K bifurcated to two UTs – J&K(legislative assembly) and Ladakh (without a legislature) with Kargil and Leh districts.
  • 1st L-Gof Ladakh and J&K- R.K Mathur Girish and Chandra Murmu, that of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K).
  • Reorganisation act scrapped Art. 370 and Art. 35A.
  • New UTs, Ladakh and J&K, officially came into existence on the 144th birthday anniversary of Sardar Vallabhai Patel (31st October 2019). This is the first time that a state has been divided into UTs.
  • Flag and constitution of J&K, as well as the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), cease to exist, with the IPC now extending to both UTs.
  • The Parliament can make laws on any subject of the three lists for the union territories.
  • LG would be empowered to “act in his discretion” in matters related to All India Services and Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB)
  • Henceforth, the term of the UT of J&K would be for five years (from six years earlier)
  • By area, Ladakh became largest UT in India.
  • The Legislative Council of J&K would be abolished. The number of seats to be filled through direct elections would be 107, which will be further enhanced to 114 after a delimitation exercise is carried out.

Key Facts

  • Now, only six states have legislative assembly- Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar and Karnataka.
  • The legislative assembly of Puducherry can also make laws on any subject of the State List and the Concurrent List.
  • The legislative assembly of Jammu and Kashmir can make laws on any subject of the State List (except public order and police) and the Concurrent List.
  • President can make regulations for the peace, progress and good government of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Ladakh.
  • Constitution does not contain any separate provisions for the administration of acquired territories.
  • Delhi is the only UT with its own High Court.

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