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)
- 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.
- 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.
J&K REORGANISATION ACT 2019
- 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.
- 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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