Union and Its Territory (Articles 1 – 4)

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Part 1 of the Constitution is titled as The Union and its Territory. Article 1 to Article 4 covers Union and its Territory. It will be worthwhile to understand these articles as it has significant importance from an exam perspective.

Article 1:

Article 1(1) states that India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.


Article 1(2) states that the States and the territories will be specified in the First Schedule.

Article 1(3) states that the territory of India will comprise the following −

  1.  The territories of the States;

  2.  The Union territories mentioned in the First Schedule; and

  3.   Such other territories as may be acquired.

 

What it means -
 

Article-1 describes India as a ‘Union of States’.

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar said that the Indian was a “Union of States”  instead of a “Federation of States” because it was indissoluble, and no State had a right to separate from the Indian Union. The country is one integral unit beside the fact that it consists of different states for the convenience of administration.

 

Article 1 mandates a federal structure in which all the Indian citizens will have at least a-two tier governance with first tier as a centrally elected government and the second tier as locally elected state government.

There was no unanimity in the Constituent Assembly with regard to the name of the country. Some members suggested the traditional name (Bharat) while other advocated the modern name (India). Hence, the Constituent Assembly had to adopt a mix of both (‘India, that is, Bharat’).

The phrases ‘Union of India’ and ‘Territory of India’ has to be differentiated.

'Union of India' consists of only States

'Territory of India' includes not only the States but also Union Territories and territories that may be acquired by the Government of India in the future.

The Union Territories are governed by the President as per Article 239 and 240

All these areas (viz. states, UT etc) are written in the First Schedule. The schedules are the last part of the constitution and The First Schedule deals with the names of the States / UTs etc


Is India a true federation? Federation also means states coming together to form a union. Federation is an indestructible union of indestructible states meaning that it is rigid. Neither the union coming together can be destroyed nor the states coming together to form the union can be destroyed. For example United States of America is a true federation – Neither can you destroy a state (say Texas) nor can you destroy the entire union of states (which is USA itself).

India is not a true federation but it is a union of states (not a federation of states)

 

Article – 2:

Parliament may by law admit into the Union, or establish, new States on such terms and conditions as it thinks fit.

What it means –

 

When we refer to Article 2, we essentially mean any new area which is included in India – meaning it refers to engagement beyond the Indian borders. It deals with occupation, conquest, subjugation which is beyond the Indian borders. When you acquire a new area which is not a part of “original India” (or beyond the Indian borders), then Article 2 comes into play

It deals with admission or establishment of new States. Parliament may by law admit into the Union, or establish, new States based on terms and conditions.
 

Article- 3:

Deals with formation of new States and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing States:

Parliament may by law

  1. form a new State by separation of territory from any State or by uniting two or more States or parts of States or by uniting any territory to a part of any State

  2. increase the area of any State

  3. diminish the area of any State

  4. alter the boundaries of any State

  5. alter the name of any State 
     

What it means -

Article 3 deals with the change of states like amalgamation of 2 states in 1 or dissolution of 1 state into 2 (like Andhra Pradesh / Telengana).

Or more specifically Article 3 deals in the following within India

  1. Formation of a new state

  2. Increase the area of a state

  3. Decrease the area of a state

  4. Alter the boundary of a state

  5. Alter the name of any state


The power to execute these alterations is vested with the Parliament.
Thus Parliament can increase or diminish the area of any State or can alter the boundaries or names of any State.

 


However with relation to Article 3, there are certain constitutional safeguards.

  • Before a bill is passed involving Article 3, the Presidential recommendation is needed.

  • The Presidential recommendation is also in a way depended upon to a reference made to the relevant State Legislature (if the bill involves altering a certain state’s boundary, area etc).

  • There is a time limit that is required to be given to the State Legislature to express its views or opinion on such a bill. This is a very critical safeguard. In the absence of such a safeguard the Union might become too dominant and the entire concept of “Union of States” as mentioned in Article 1 might fail.

  • Parliament is not bound to accept or act upon the views of the State Legislature even if State has submitted their views within the time period.

  • In the case of Union Territories, it is not necessary to seek the views of Legislatures of Union Territories before such Bill.

If you notice Article 2 also gives powers to Parliament to alter areas beyond the Indian borders. So the Constitution gives great powers to the Parliament to determine the structure of India.

Does Article 3 give the powers to give away a state /territory to a foreign country?

Refer to Beru Bari Union Case 1960.  (detailed reading suggested)

An agreement between Nehru and Feroz Shah Noon (Nehru- Noon agreement) was reached where the territory of Beru Bari Union (originally in India) was divided and distributed equally between India and Pakistan. But this agreement faced criticism and the Union Govt decided to refer matter to the Supreme Court.

In its judgment, The Supreme Court ruled that Article 3 does give powers to give away a state to a foreign power.

It should be noted that for the enforcement of the Nehru – Noon agreement, the 9th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1960 was enacted.

The 100th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2015, which allows to exchange enclaves between India and Bangladesh, was also enacted for the similar reason.


Difference between Article 2 and Article 3 – Article 2 is for a new area outside India.

 

Article-4:

It says that any law referred to in Article-2 or Article-3 will contain such provisions for the amendment of the Ist Schedule and the IVth Schedule necessary to provide effects to the provisions of law and may also contain such supplemental, incidental, and consequential provisions, as the Parliament may deem necessary.

What it means- 

This Article allows for consequential changes in the

Ist Schedule i.e. names of the States in the Union of India

IVth Schedule i.e. a number of seats allotted in the Rajya Sabha for each state.

In other words, it regulates the laws made under Article 2 and 3 stating that these laws should also provide the amendment of the Ist and IVth Schedule.


 

 

 

 

Questions Relation to Union and its Territory
 

 

Question: Refer to these statements on the Union of India – 


1.    Indian Union is not the result of an agreement by the states.
2.    No state has the right to secede from the Indian Union.


Which of the above is/are correct?


A.    1 only
B.    Only
C.    Both 1 and 2
D.    None

Answer: C


Explanation: 
Article 1 describes India as a ‘Union of States’ and not as a true federation (like the USA). This means  two things: 

one - Indian Federation is not the result of an agreement by the states; 
two - no state has the right to secede from the federation.

Hence, the Indian Constitution has been variously described as ‘federal in form but unitary in spirit’,  ‘quasi-federal’, ‘bargaining federalism’, ‘co-operative federalism’ etc. The term ‘Federation’ has nowhere been used in the Constitution.
In Bommai case (1994), however, the Supreme Court laid down that the Constitution is federal and characterised federalism as its ‘basic feature’.


Question: The Constitution allows the Parliament to redraw the political map of India according to its will. Which of these arguments or statements would support the view?

1.    Parliament is not bound by the views of the state legislature and may either accept or reject them.
2.    The constitution must be amended under Article 368 to accommodate new states, in which states do not play any decisive role.

A.    1 only
B.    2 only
C.    Both 1 and 2
D.    None

 

Answer: A

Explanation:  
Statement 1: Article 3 authorises the Parliament to form a new state or change area of an existing state within India.
However, Article 3 lays down two conditions in this regard: 

One - a bill contemplating the above changes can be introduced in the Parliament only with the prior recommendation of the President
Two - before recommending the bill, the President has to refer the same to the concerned state legislature for expressing its views within a specified time limit.

But, the President (or Parliament) is not bound by the views of the state legislature and may either accept or reject them, even if the views are received in time.

Statement 2: Creation of new states does not require constitutional amendment as the power is vested in the Parliament.  As such these changes are not to be deemed as “amendments” under A368. So, 2 is wrong.


Question: Consider the following about the procedure of renaming of the state.

1.    It can be initiated by either the Parliament or the State Legislatures concerned.
2.    A bill for renaming a state must be introduced in the Parliament on the recommendation of the President.
3.    The views of the state assembly on a bill, sent to the state, for renaming are not binding either on the President or on the Parliament.
4.    The bill in order to take the force of a law must be passed by a special majority in the Parliament.

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

A.    1 and 2 only
B.    2 and 3 only
C.    1, 2 and 3 only
D.    1 and 4 only

 

Answer: C

Explanation: 
The procedure of renaming of the state can be initiated by either the Parliament or the State Legislator (by passing a resolution in the assembly) and the procedure is as follows


- The renaming of a state would require Parliamentary approval under Article 3 and 4 of the Constitution.


- A bill for renaming a state may be introduced in the Parliament on the recommendation of the President.


- Before the introduction of the bill, the President shall send the bill to the respective state assembly for expressing their views within a stipulated time. The views of the state assembly are not binding, neither on the President nor on the Parliament.


- On the expiry of the period, the bill will be sent to the Parliament for deliberation. The bill in order to take the force of a law must be passed by a simple majority.


- The bill is sent for approval to the President. After the approval of the said bill, the bill becomes a law and the name of the state stands modified.


- If any fresh proposal comes from states to the Home Ministry, it will prepare a note for the Union Cabinet for an amendment to the Schedule 1 of the Constitution. Thereafter, a Constitution Amendment Bill will be introduced in Parliament, which has to approve it with a simple majority, before the President gives his assent to it.

Question: Which of the following can initiate the procedure of renaming of the state ?


A.    The Parliament
B.    The State Legislature
C.    Both (a) and (b)
D.    None of the above

Answer: C


Explanation: 
It can be initiated by any of the above. The renaming of a state requires Parliamentary approval under Article 3 and 4 of the Constitution.


Procedure for initiation by Parliament:


- A bill for renaming a state may be introduced in the Parliament on the recommendation of the President.

- Before the introduction of the bill, the President shall send the bill to the respective state assembly for expressing their views within a stipulated time. The views of the state assembly are not binding, neither on the President nor on the Parliament.


- On the expiry of the period, the bill will be sent to the Parliament for deliberation. The bill in order to take the force of a law must be passed by a simple majority.


- The bill is sent for approval to the President. After the approval of the said bill, the bill becomes a law and the name of the state stands modified.


Procedure for initiation by a State:


If any fresh proposal comes from states to the Home Ministry, it will prepare a note for the Union Cabinet for an amendment to the Schedule 1 of the Constitution. Thereafter, a Constitution Amendment Bill will be introduced in Parliament, which has to approve it with a simple majority, before the President gives his assent to it.

Question:  Article 3 of the Constitution authorizes the Parliament to form a new state or change area of an existing state. Which of the following statements show that the Parliament has a higher hand than that of the states in this entire process?


1.    Parliament is not bound by the views of the state legislature and may either accept or reject them.
2.    The constitution must be amended under Article 368 to accommodate new states, and this amendment does not need the ratification of the states.


Which of the above is/are correct?


A.    1 only 
B.    2 only
C.    Both 1 and 2
D.    None

Answer: A


Explanation: 
Statement 1: Article 3 authorises the Parliament to form a new state or change area of an existing state.


However, Article 3 lays down two conditions in this regard: 


One- a bill contemplating the above changes can be introduced in the Parliament only with the prior recommendation of the President; 


Two- before recommending the bill, the President has to refer the same to the state legislature concerned for expressing its views within a specified period.


But, the President (or Parliament) is not bound by the views of the state legislature and may either accept or reject them, even if the views are received in time.


Statement 2: Creation of new states is not deemed as constitutional amendment under A368. So, Statement 2 is wrong.

 

Question:  India is described as a ‘Union of States’ rather than a ‘Federation of States’. Why?


1.    The Indian federation is the result of an agreement among the states.
2.    States have no right to secede from the federation.


Select the correct answer using the code given below.


A.    1 only
B.    2 only
C.    Both 1 and 2
D.    Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: B


Explanation: 
According to Dr B R Ambedkar, the phrase ‘Union of States’ has been preferred to ‘Federation of States’ for two reasons:


- The Indian Federation is not the result of an agreement among the states like the American Federation. Hence, statement 1 is not correct.


- The states have no right to secede from the federation. Hence, statement 2 is correct.


The federation is a Union because it is indissoluble. The country is an integral whole and divided into different states only for the convenience of administration

 


Question:  If India decides to give up territory to any of its neighbours, which of the following Article(s) would be used by the Parliament?


1.    Article 2
2.    Article 3
3.    Article 368

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

A.    1 and 2 only
B.    2 and 3 only
C.    3 only
D.    1, 2 and 3

Answer:


Explanation: 


Item 1 - Article 2 relates to the admission or establishment of new states that are not part of the Union of India.
Item 2 - Article 3 relates to the formation of or changes in the existing states of the Union of India.
Item 3 - Article 368 of the Constitution of India grants constituent power to make formal amendments.


Now since The Supreme Court held that the power of Parliament to diminish the area of a state (under Article 3) does not cover the cession of Indian territory to a foreign country, the only way for India to give up territory to a foreign land is by amending the constitution under Article 368


Hence Option C is correct
 

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