India’s territory is divided into three categories, according to Article 1 of the Constitution: (1) state territories, (2) union territories, and (3) lands that the Indian government may acquire at any time. In India, there are 28 states, eight union territories.
States in India are part of a federal system in which they share power with the national government. The union territories, on the other hand, are areas where the federal government has direct jurisdiction and administration. They’re sometimes referred to as “centrally managed territories” as a result of this. The existence of these territories defies Indian federalism in this sense; the Indian government is clearly unitary in terms of the connection between New Delhi and these Central enclaves.
Why Union Territories are Formed.
Certain regions were designated as’scheduled districts’ in 1874, at some point during British rule. They were afterwards dubbed ‘chief commissioners provinces.’ They were placed in the class of part ‘C’ States and part ‘D’ Territories after independence. By virtue of the seventh Constitutional Modification Act (1956) and the States Reorganisation Act, they were designated as “union territories” in 1956. (1956). Some of those union regions have progressively been elevated to statehood. As a result, today’s states of Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, and Goa were once union territories. The union territories, on the other hand, were formed from areas received from the Portuguese (Goa, Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli) and the French (Puducherry).
There are now nine Union Territories. (1) Andaman and Nicobar Islands–1956, (2) Delhi–1956, (3) Lakshadweep–1956, (4) Dadra and Nagar Haveli–1961, (5) Daman and Diu–1962, (6) Puducherry–1962, (7) Chandigarh–1966, (8) Jammu and Kashmir–2019, and (9) Ladakh–2019. The call of the Laccadive, Minicoy, and Amindivi Islands was used to recognize Lakshadweep until 1973. Delhi was renamed the National Capital Territory of Delhi in 1992. Puducherry was known to as Pondicherry till 2006.
Union territories are categorized as follows:
1. Delhi and Chandigarh political and administrative recollections.
2. Puducherry, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu are culturally strongholds.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands, as well as Lakshadweep, are strategically important.
Mizoram, Manipur, Tripura, and Arunachal Pradesh, which later became states, have a special remedy and care for backward and indigenous people.
The former nation of Jammu and Kashmir was divided into two union territories in 2019, namely the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the Union Territory of Ladakh. The significant government offered the following reasons for the formation of these new union territories while proposing the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019, in Parliament:
1. The Ladakh department of the state of Jammu & Kashmir covers a large area but is sparsely populated with extremely difficult terrain. The people of Ladakh had long demanded that it be granted the status of a Union territory so that their ambitions might be recognized. Ladakh, a Union territory, will be devoid of a legislature.
2. In addition, a separate Union territory for Jammu and Kashmir is being created in light of the existing internal security situation, which is exacerbated by cross-border terrorism within the current state of Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir, a Union territory, can have its own legislature.
Administration of Union Territories
The union areas are dealt with in articles 239 to 241 of element VIII of the charter. Despite the fact that all union territories belong to the same class, their administrative apparatus is not consistent.
Every union territory is administered by the President, who does so through an administrator he appoints. An administrator of a union territory is no longer the head of a state like a governor, but rather an agent of the President. The President can name a specific administrator, such as a Lieutenant Governor, a Leader Commissioner, or an Administrator. In the case of Delhi, Puducherry, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, it is currently Lieutenant Governor, and in the case of Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, and Lakshadweep, it is Administrator. The President can also appoint a state’s governor as the administrator of a nearby union territory. In that capacity, the governor is expected to act independently of his ministerial council.
A legislative assembly and a council of ministers are provided in the Union Territories of Puducherry (established in 1963), Delhi (established in 1992), and Jammu & Kashmir (established in 2019). The remaining six union territories lack such well-known political structures. However, the status quo of such establishments in union territories does not reduce the president’s and Parliament’s best control over them.
The Parliament has the authority to issue legal guidelines on any issue relating to the three lists (including the nation listing) for the union territories. Puducherry, Delhi, Jammu, and Kashmir, all of which have their own local legislatures, benefit from Parliament’s power. This means that even after establishing a local assembly for the union territories, Parliament’s legislative power over subjects on the nation list remains unaltered. The legislative assembly of Puducherry, on the other hand, has the power to issue legal recommendations on any subject on the state and concurrent lists. Furthermore, the Delhi legislative assembly has the power to pass legislation on any matter relating to the state listing (excluding public order, police, and land) as well as the concurrent listing. Similarly, the legislative assembly of Jammu and Kashmir has the authority to enact legislation in any scenario on the state list (excluding public order and police) as well as the concurrent listing.
The President could issue regulations for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, and Ladakh’s peace, development, and right to self-government. In the case of Puducherry, the President can also legislate through rules, but only when the assembly is suspended or dissolved. A legislation enacted by the President has the same force and effect as a law enacted by Parliament, and it has the power to repeal or alter any act of Parliament that applies to these union territories.
The Parliament might create an additional court for a union territory or place it under the jurisdiction of the neighboring country’s high court. The capital of India, Delhi, is the only union territory with its own high court (since 1966). Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu are two union territories that are under the jurisdiction of the Bombay high court. The High Courts of Calcutta, Punjab, and Haryana, Kerala, and Madras, respectively, have jurisdiction over the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Lakshadweep, and Puducherry. The Jammu and Kashmir High Court is the common high court for the two union regions of Jammu and Kashmir, as well as Ladakh.
There are no distinct provisions in the constitution for the management of conquered areas. The constitutional regulations for the administration of union territories, on the other hand, apply to the newly acquired regions as well.
Unique Provisions for Delhi
The 69th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1991 bestowed special status on the Union Territory of Delhi, renaming it the National Capital Territory of Delhi and designating the administrator of Delhi as the lieutenant governor. For Delhi, it established a legislative assembly and a council of ministers. Delhi used to have a metropolitan council and a government council.
The meeting’s strength remains constant at 70 members, all of whom were elected by human beings at the same time. India’s election fee is in charge of the elections. Except for the three themes on the national list, namely public order, police, and land, the meeting might pass laws on all of the topics on the country list and the concurrent list. However, the legal standards established by Parliament will triumph over those established by the assembly.
The energy of the council of ministers remains constant at ten percent of the assembly’s complete authority, or seven people: one chief minister and six distinct ministers. The President appoints the leader minister (now not through the lt. governor). The president appoints the alternate ministers based on the leader minister’s recommendation. During the president’s pride, the ministers keep their jobs. The assembly holds the council of ministers collectively accountable.
The council of ministers, led by the chief minister, advise and support the Lieutenant Governor in the exercise of his powers, save where he is compelled to act in his discretion. In the event of a disagreement between the lieutenant governor and his ministers, the lieutenant governor is to bring the matter to the president for decision and action.
If a situation arises in which the administration of the territory cannot be carried out in accordance with the foregoing rules, the president has the authority to suspend their operation and impose necessary incidental or consequential provisions for governing the territory. In other words, if the constitutional mechanism fails, the president can impose his rule over the country. This could be completed on the lt. governor’s file or in any other circumstance. This provision is similar to Article 356 of the Constitution, which provides for the installation of President’s Rule within the states.
During the assembly’s recess, the lieutenant governor has the authority to issue ordinances. Each such ordinance must be approved by the meeting within six weeks of its reassembly to have the same force as an act of the assembly. He also has the power to revoke an ordinance at any moment. He cannot, however, enact an ordinance while the legislature is dissolved or suspended. Furthermore, no such ordinance can be enacted or repealed without the President’s prior approval.
Union Territorial Advisory Committees
The Ministry of Domestic Affairs is the nodal ministry for all matters concerning Union Territories, including regulation, finance, and finances, services, and the appointment of Lt. Governors and administrators, as defined by the Government of India (Allocation of Enterprise) Rules 1961.
All six states without legislature (Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Lakshadweep, and Ladakh) have the Home Minister’s Advisory Committee (HMAC)/Administrator’s Advisory Committee as their discussion board (AAC). While the HMAC is convened by the Union domestic Minister, the AAC is chaired by the Administrator of the concerned UTs. Members of Parliament and elected members from local bodies, such as District Panchayats and Municipal Councils, are among those who serve on those committees. The Committee analyzes the UTs’ overall challenges in terms of social and economic development.
List of Nine Union Territories in India