The Union and its territories is a compilation of laws pertaining to the Constitution of India as a country and the union of states that it is made of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar clarified in the constituent assembly debate that Indian states are sovereign States. This part of the constitution contains the law in the establishment, renaming, merging or altering the borders of the states or union territories. This part contains four articles. These articles were invoked when West Bengal was renamed, and for formation of relatively new states such as Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh.
Part I of the constitution says that India shall be a union of states composed of states and union territories (as listed in Schedule 1) and any acquired territories as admitted in article 2. Sikkim was admitted as a state in Indian union on 26 April 1975. There is no other area forming part of India excluding its states and union territories. The representation of seats in council of states (Rajya Sabha) shall be given in Schedule 4 of the constitution.
The territorial waters and the exclusive economic zones shall also become part of the states or union territories in the absence of any listing of them separately in Schedule 1 and 4 of the constitution. There is no separate representation in parliament though people inhabit on these offshore areas for exploiting resources such as fisheries, oil and gas, etc. The Constitution (40th amendment) act, 1976, was passed during the emergency period and received Presidential assent on 27 May 1976. It substituted a new Article 297 so as to vest in Union of India all lands, minerals, and other things of value underlying the ocean within the territorial waters or continental shelf or exclusive economic zone of India.
Article 1 represents
(1) India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.
(2) The States and the territories thereof shall be as specified in the First Schedule.
(3) The territory of India shall comprise.
(i) Dhar Commission and JVP Committee
The integration of princely states with the rest of India has purely an ad hoc arrangement. There has been a demand from different regions, particularly South India, for reorganisation of states on linguistic basis.
Accordingly, in June 1948, the Government of India appointed the Linguistic Provinces Commission under the chairmanship of S.K. Dhar to examine the feasibility of this. The commission submitted its report in December 1948 and recommended the reorganisation of states on the basis of administrative convenience rather than linguistic factor.
This created much resentment and led to the appointment of another Linguistic Provinces Committee by the Congress in December 1948 itself to examine the whole question afresh.
It consisted of Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallahbhai Patel and Pattabhi Sitaramayya and hence, was popularly known as JVP Committee. It submitted its report in April 1949 and formally rejected language as the basis for reorganisation of states.
However, in October 1953, the Government of India was forced to create the first linguistic state, known as Andhra state, by separating the Telugu speaking areas from the Madras state. This followed a prolonged popular agitation and the death of Potti Sriramulu, a Congress person of standing, after a 56-day hunger strike for the cause.
(ii) Fazal AR Commission
The creation of Andhra state intensified the demand from other regions for creation of states on linguistic basis. This forced the Government of India to appoint (in December 1953) a three-member States Reorganisation Commission under the chairmanship of Fazi Ali to reexamine the whole question. Its other two members were K.M. Panikkar and H.N. Kunzru. It submitted its report in September 1955 and broadly accepted language as the basis of reorganisation of states. But, it rejected the theory of 'one language–one state'. Its view was that the unity of India should be regarded as the primary consideration in any redrawing of the country's political units.
It identified four major factors that can be taken into account in any scheme of reorganisation of states:
(a) Preservation and strengthening of the unity and security of the country.
(b) Linguistic and cultural homogeneity.
(c) Financial, economic and administrative considerations.
(d) Planning and promotion of the welfare of the people in each state as well as of the nation as a whole. The commission suggested the abolition of the four-fold classification of states under the original Constitution and creation of 16 states and 3 centrally administered territories.
The Government of India accepted these recommendations with certain minor modifications. By the States Reorganisation Act (1956) and the 7th Constitutional Amendment Act (1956), the distinction between Part-A and Part-B states was done away with and Part-C states were abolished. Some of them were merged with adjacent states and some other were designated as union territories. As a result, 14 states and 6 union territories were created on November 1, 1956.