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Delhi, Jammu Kashmir and Puduchery: Union territory with a difference

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Founder Director Lokbandhu Rajnarayan Law College Varanasi 221302 web: Since 2004


For beginners I would like to infer, the Article 1 of Constitution of India says India, that is, Bharat shall be a Union of States and the territory of India shall comprise of State territories and Union Territories specified in First schedule. Territories also include as per Article 1(1)(3c) goes on to say ‘such other territories as may be acquired ‘.

The administrative powers and responsibilities of one of the largest countries are segregated among Central Government and various units in the form of States and Union Territories. When it comes to administrative divisions of the country, after the inclusion of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh as Union territory there are total of 28 states and 9 Union Territories. From August 5 2019, Jammu and Kashmir became a Union Territory with legislature and Ladakh has become a Union Territory without a legislature, which means J&K and Ladakh will now have separate Lieutenant Governors. As a result India, today, has 28 states and 9 Union Territories in the country. Except for the National Capital Territory of Delhi and Puducherry, UTs did not have their own legislature until now. Now, since 5th August 2019, the state of Jammu and Kashmir has also been added along with Delhi and Puducherry to be a UT with a legislature.

Difference between Statehood and Union Territory

When talking about the difference between a state and a union territory, a state is a division under Indian constituency, which has a separate government. States are explained as the administrative unit that has its elected government, which has the right to frame its laws. It has its own Legislative Assembly and the Chief Minister, for administration. The Governor acts as the representative of the President, in states. There is a distribution of legislative and executive powers between the Centre and State, regarding the territory of that state illustrated in Union list, State list and Concurrent list. The legislative assembly of union territory can also make laws on any subject of the State List and the Concurrent List.

In British era there were two kinds of states in India, i.e. Provinces and Princely states, wherein provinces are under the control of British Government while the Princely states are ruled by the hereditary rulers with limited powers.

What is Union Territory?

Union Territories are ruled directly by the Central Government has a Lieutenant Governor as an administrator, who is the representative of the President of India and appointed by the Central government. The basic difference is that  Union Territories have no representation in the Rajya Sabha except Delhi and Puducherry and to add Jammu & Kashmir. To sum up, a state has a separate governing body whereas, an union territory is directly governed by the central government or union government. Union Territory is a small administrative unit that is ruled by the Union. The Union Territories are controlled and administered directly by the Central Government.

Chronicle of Union Territories

The States Reorganisation Commission, during the discussion on Reorganisation of States in 1956, recommended creation of a different category for some territories considering the factors different terrain and demography, since they neither fit the model of a state nor do they follow a uniform pattern when it comes to governance. It was observed that these economically unbalanced, financially weak, administratively and politically unstable territories and susceptible to infiltration and terrorist activities which can’t survive as separate administrative units without depending heavily on the Union government. Considering all these reasons Union Territory was formed. Andaman and Nicobar island was the first Union Territory of India,

Delhi, Puducherry and Jammu & Kashmir are different from other Union Territories.

Puducherry and Delhi, possess elected legislature and government with special amendment in art 239A and 239AA respectively  Delhi, and Puducherry, have their elected members and the Chief Minister, as these are granted with partial statehood with constitutional amendments and now Jammu and Kashmir will follow the trend in same way. Now these three will possess their own legislative assembly and executive council and operate like states. The remaining Union Territories are controlled and regulated by the Union of the country, that’s why named as union territory.

Powers of Lieutenant Governor

In the Union Territory with partial statehood the administrator thereof is appointed under Article 239 which is designated as Lieutenant Governor. The constituent legislative assembly shall consist of Council of Minister with Chief Minister at the head to aid and advice the Lieutenant Governor provided in case of difference of opinion between LG and Council of Ministers, the LG should refer it to President for decision and act according to the decision given thereon by the President. The LG is given competent powers enough to take immediate action or to give directions which are deemed necessary. The Lieutenant-Governor (LG) can reserve his consent. All the bills passed by the Assembly will be sent to LG for his consent. LG can give his assent, withhold it or send the bill for consideration of the President. The Parliament have primacy, if there is any inconsistency. Law by Parliament will prevail over any law passed by the new Assembly.

The LG of any Union Territory with partial statehood or totally governed by central authority are appointed by the central government who can confide with the governing authorities. The real rationale of conferring enormous power to LG is that aims and objectives of the Central government reaches to the maximum number of  people. The Centre can be in direct control of law and order and police in state of Jammu and Kashmir. The situation, specially in Kashmir, is complex. The LG of Kashmir has the arduous task of giving opportunity to new set of politicians who connect with sentiments of the Kashmiris and bring all section of society together.

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Founder Director Lokbandhu Rajnarayan Law College Varanasi 221302 web: Since 2004

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