LawPage

Notes and Articles for Law students

User Tools

Site Tools


constitutional_law:part-2:union-territories

Union Territories

A few centrally administered units which do not form any part of the state but have been kept as a separate & distinct entity because of several because of several historical, cultural, or political reasons. These administrative units are designated as union territories. In India we have 8 Union Territories1); Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar islands, Lakshadweep, Dadar & Nagar Haveli, Pondicherry, Chandigarh, Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Daman & Due.

Before 1956 the present day union territories were characterized as part C states. The states Registration Act & the seventh constitutional amendment act abolished the part C states created the present day Union Territories. Union territory is administered directly by the Central Executive. a union territory is to be administered by the president acting , to such an extent as he thinks fit . Under Article 239(1) the parliament by law appoint the Governor of the state as an administrator of the trade union adjourning to that state. The Governor is to act independently of his council of ministers u/art 239(2).

In Devij Vallabhai V/S Administrator, Goa Daman Diu2) in this the Apex court of India has given its opinion as, that the administrator of Union Territory is not purely a constitutional functionary, his position is different from that of the state Governor. The administrator may act under the order of the president, which means the central Govt . The administrator is not purely constitutional functionary.

In Vindya Pradesh V/S Shri MoulaDas3) in this case the SC declares that the Union Territories though centrally administered under the provision of Art 239, they are not part of the central Govt but distinct constitutional entities.

The president who is the head of the union territories does not function as the head of the central govt but as the head of the union territories under the powers especially vested to him u/art 239. Thereby occupying a position analogous to the governor of a state. Status of the union territory is not the same as that of the state. In this connection the SC, in Govt of NCT Delhi V/S AICCA4) , has stated that the Union Territories are certainly administered under the provision of Art 239 they do not get merged with the central govt.

Pondicherry

The constitution makes special provisions for administering the union territory of Pondicherry, the parliament is empowered to create by law for Pondicherry, a legislature u/Art 368, and such law is not regarded as an amendment of the constitution even though the law in question contains provision amending the constitution. The ordinance making power of the administrator is similar to that of the state govt except that, An administrator cannot promulgate an ordinance without seeking the instruction from the president. He cannot promulgate ordinance if when the legislature is suspended or dissolved.

The ordinance is to be laid before the legislature of the union territory & it ceases to have effect after six months of reassemble of the legislature or earlier if the legislature disapproves the same. The ordinance has the same effect as that of the Act of the legislature.

Delhi

Delhi is the national capital of India it is maintained as the union territory it has not been given the status of full fledge state, because it was felt that it must remain under the effective control of the Union Govt , it was also felt that the people of Delhi must enjoy some semblance of democracy .

By the virtue of the constitution sixty Ninth Amendment Act 1991 Delhi has been given special status. Under Article 239 AA introduced by the 1991 amendment, Delhi is now called as National Capital Territory of India. The administrator appointed under Article 239 is designated as the Lt Governor. Delhi has a legislative Assembly elected by the people under the supervision of the Election Commission. The assembly can make laws with respect to matters enumerated in the state list or in the concurrent list barring certain entries u/Art 239AA (3)(a).

The chief minister is appointed by the president & the other ministers are appointed by the president on the chief minister’s advice. They hold the office at the pleasure of the president & are collectively responsible to the assembly. The L Governor of Delhi has got the power to promulgate ordinance similar to the ordinance of Pondicherry. Under Art 239 AB the president has the power to take over the administration in case there is a breakdown of the constitutional machinery or for proper administration of National Capital Territory. The parliament has been given the power to make laws & give effect to those provisions or supplement the provisions; such a law is not deemed to be the amendment of the constitution u/Art 368. The parliament has enacted the NCT Act 1991 to effectuate & supplement the constitutional provisions in Delhi.

Other Union territories

It is only on respect of Delhi & Pondicherry that some democratic setup is envisaged by the constitution. The other Union territories are governed more directly by the center under the provisions of the Art 239 of the constitution. The union territories of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Dadar & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have no legislation.

1)
as of 2021
2)
AIR 1982 SC 1029
3)
AIR 1962 SC 145
4)
AIR 2001 SC 3090