As we all know Rome was not built in a day, similarly, the constitution of India has also evolved in years. It’s not just 2 years 11 months and 18 days. It’s the aftereffect and culmination of all the acts the British government launched in India, especially the Government of India act 1935 and constituent assembly. Assembly had 299 members in it but at the time of signing the members were 284. It was the result of various debates on each issue by all these members for the Union and its territory and also for all the articles of the Constitution of India.
Issues like national language, demarcation of territories in each state, etc. Despite this, our constitution is criticized to be bags of borrowings; however, you will not find an article that is not suited for our country. Dr B.R. Amendment replies to this criticism by saying, “As to the accusation that the draft constitution has reproduced a good part of the provisions of the Government of India act, 1935, I make no apologies. There is nothing to be ashamed of in borrowing. It involves no plagiarism. Nobody holds any patent rights in the fundamental ideas of a constitution…”
As the literacy rate of our country has always been a bit low, our constitution makers ensured that our constitution is the most comprehensive of all the written constitutions in the world, making it the lengthiest too. The constitution is divided into 22 parts, 12 schedules and 495 articles so far. Each part discusses a different aspect and is somewhat in a chronological manner. The first task our country had after independence was to decide the territory, even in it, first was to make sure it is a union. Part one, of the constitution of India, discusses the same and comprises article one to four. So, let’s discuss the Union and its Territory under Indian Constitution.
Part I of the Constitution of India (Union and its Territory)
Part I of the Constitution of India deals with the Union and its territory as establishment, rename, altering or merging of the borders of the state or the union territories. This part also defines the words like Union, Central Government, Government of India, States, and Territory of India etc.
Part I of the Constitution of India contains four articles that were invoked when the western part of the Bengal went to India which is named West Bengal.
Article 1 of the constitution of India
Article 1 of the constitution of India states India, that is Bharat, shall be a union of states. The territory of India shall comprise of states and union territory and other such territories as may be required. The first statement gives us two pieces of information that are: the name of our country is India and Bharat, and that our country is a union of states. The second statement clarifies the jurisdiction of India and paves way for acquiring territory in future as well. By acquiring, it does not purport to confer power to India to acquire territories; it merely allows assimilation into the territory of India of which territories may be acquired under its inherent right as a sovereign state to acquire foreign territory.
India currently is the union of 28 states and 8 union territories. The last state to be formed has been Telangana.
Article 2 of the constitution of India
Article 2 of the constitution of India states that parliament may by law admit into the union or establish new states on such terms and conditions as it thinks fit. This article provides for the alternation in the international boundaries of the country. Moreover, this article does not lay grounds for the nature of the state is acquired. However, it provides that the form of government should be the same as that of the rest of the country.
Assimilation of Sikkim in the year 1975 as a state of the union was done under this article.
Article 3 of the constitution of India
Article 3 of the constitution of India provides for the formation of new states and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing states. This article allows the parliament to form new states or union territories by law, by separation of territory from any state, by uniting two or more states, by uniting parts of states or by uniting any territory to a part of any state. Moreover, it provides for alteration of names of any state.
Recently, the name of Allahabad was changed to Prayagraj. Another recent change has been in the territory of Jammu and Kashmir in the year 2019 by Jammu and Kashmir reorganization act 2019. Through this act state of Jammu and Kashmir was demolished into union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the union territory of Ladakh. It was the first time in the history of India that a state was demolished into a union territory.
Article 4 of the constitution of India
Article 4 of the constitution of India states 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. In laymen’s language, it basically provides the rules for amendment of article one to three. As per the procedure, the president is not bound by the legislature’s view. Bill must be introduced on the recommendation of the president. Moreover, the president of India may send such a bill to the concerned state legislature to express the view in this regard with a specified time.
After the formation of part 1 of the constitution of India (Union and its Territory) by constituent assembly members, various committees were set up to form states. A committee was set up under the leadership of S. K. Dhar, which recommended the linguistic basis of division of states. However, this recommendation was not taken into consideration. Later on, a committee was formed under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel and Pattabhi Seetarmaya. It was called J.V.P. Committee to look after the issue of reorganization. One more committee was formed under the leadership of Justice Fazal Ali.
The first state to be formed on the linguistic basis was Andhra Pradesh, by the efforts of Potti Sriramulu, the local leader of Andhra Pradesh, after separation from Madras. The next states to be formed were Maharashtra and Gujarat respectively. Further, the sixty-ninth amendment to the constitution of India, in 1991, declared the union territory of Delhi to be known as the National Capital Territory of Delhi.
Gradually, India resulted in a union of 28 States and 8 Union Territories with effect from 26th January 2020. It is an indestructible union of destructible states. India has stood the test of time and survived as a nation. Moreover, the constitution of India is a success as it is a judicial blend of rigidity and flexibility. It provides room for the amendments but at the same time has no room to alter the basic structure of the constitution.