Notes and Articles for Law students

User Tools

Site Tools


Article. 1: India - a union of states, its territory

Article. 1(1) declares that “india, that is bharat, shall be a union of states”. the expression “union” indicates that the Indian federation is not the result of an agreement between the units it constituted of and that the component units have no freedom to secede from the union so created.

Article. 1(3) mentions that the “territory of india” comprises of the (a) state territories, (b) union territories, and (c) such other territories as may be acquired by the government of India at any time. there are at present 28 states and 7 union territories in the union of India. article. 1(3)(c) does not expressly confer power on the government of India to acquire new territories, but it is the inherent right of a sovereign state to acquire a foreign territory and no parliamentary legislation is required for this purpose. article. l(3)(c) merely states a factual situation and does not confer a power on parliament to acquire foreign territory. it is to be noted that only 'states' are the members of the union of India [by virtue of art.1]

In N. Masthan Sahib verses Chief Commissioner., Pondicherry , the apex court held that the expression 'acquired' [article. 1 (3)(c)] should be taken to be a reference to 'acquisition' as understood in public international law. if there was any public notification, assertion or declaration by which the government of India had declared or treated a territory as part and parcel of India, the courts would be bound to recognize an 'acquisition' as having taken place, with the consequence that the territory would be part of the territory of the union within art. 1 (3) (c). a statement by the government of India that it did not consider a particular area to have been acquired by it is binding on the court. the territory can be said to have acquired when the Indian union acquires sovereignty. a foreign territory would not come within art. l(3)(c) until there is legal transfer of territory to India so as to constitute its “acquisition” in international law.