Administration of Union Territories and Acquired Territories
Genesis of Union Territories.
AS stated earlier, in the original Constitution of 1949, States were divided into three categories and included in Parts A, B and C of the First Schedule of the Constitution.
Part C States were 10 in number, namely—Ajmer, Bhopal, Bilaspur, Coorg, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Kutch, Manipur, Tripura and Vindhya Pradesh. Of these, Himachal Pradesh, Bhopal, Bilaspur, Kutch, Manipur, Tripura and Vindhya Pradesh had been formed by the integration of some of the smaller Indian States. The remaining States of Ajmer, Coorg and Delhi were Chief Commissioner’s Provinces under the Government of India Acts, 1919 and 1935, and were thus administered by the Centre even before the Constitution.
The special feature of these Part C States was that they were administered by the President through a Chief Commissioner or a Lieutenant-Governor, acting as his agent. Parliament had legislative power relating to any subject as regards the Part C States, but the Constitution empowered Parliament to create a Legislature as well as a Council of Advisers or Ministers for a Part C State. In exercise of this power, Parliament enacted the Government of Part C States Act, 1951, by which a Council of Advisers or Ministers was set up in each Part C State, to advise the Chief Commissioner, under the overall control of the President, and also a Legislative Assembly to function as the Legislature of the State, without derogation to the plenary powers of Parliament.
In place of these Part C States, the Constitution (7th Amendment) Act, 1956 substituted the category of ‘Union Territories’ which are also similarly administered by the Union. As a result of the reorganisation of the States by the States Reorganisation Act, 1956, the Part C States of Ajmer, Bhopal, Coorg, Kutch, and Vindhya Pradesh were merged into other adjoining States.
The list of Union Territories, accordingly, included the remaining Part C States of Delhi; Himachal Pradesh1 (which included Bilaspur); Manipur;
and Tripura.To these were added the Andaman and Nicobar Islands; and the Laccadive and Amindivi i Islands. Under the original Constitution, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands were included in Part D of the First Schedule. The Laccadive, Minicoy and Amindivi Islands (renamed ‘Lakshadweep’ in 1973), on the other hand, were included in the territory of the State of Madras. The States Reorganisation Act and the Constitution (7th Amendment) Act, 1956 abolished Part D of the 1st Schedule and constituted it a separate Union Territory.
By the Constitution (Tenth, Twelfth, Fourteenth and Twenty-seventh) Amendment Acts, some others were added to the list of Union Territories.
Since some of the erstwhile Union Territories (Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh1 and Goa) have been lifted up into the category of ‘States’, the number of Union Territories is, at the end of 2014, seven1 [see Table III, post].
Though all these Union Territories belong to one category, there are some differences in the actual system of administration as between the several Union Territories owing to the provisions of the Constitution as well as of Acts of Parliament which have been made in pursuance of the Constitutional provisions.
Article 239(1) provides that save as otherwise provided by Parliament by law, every Union Territory shall be administered by the President acting, to such extent as he thinks fit, through an Administrator to be appointed by him with such designation as he may specify.Instead of appointing an Administrator from outside, the President may appoint the Governor of a State as the Administrator of an adjoining Union Territory; and where a Governor is so appointed, he shall exercise his functions as such Administrator independently of his Council of Ministers [Art. 239(2)].
All the Union Territories are thus administered by an Administrator as the agent of the President and not by a Governor acting as the head of a State.
In 1962, however, Art. 239A (amended by the 37th Amendment, 1974) was introduced in the Constitution, to empower Parliament to create a Legislature or Council of Ministers or both for some of the Union Territories. By Ministers. virtue of this power, Parliament enacted the Government of Union Territories Act, 1963, providing for a Legislative Assembly as well as a Council of Ministers to advise the Administrator, in these Union Territories. Pondicherry alone is now left in this category, all other Union Territories have become States.
On 1-2-1992, Arts. 239AA and 239AB (inserted by Constitution 69th Amendment) came into force. To supplement these provisions the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991 was enacted. Delhi has from 1993 a Legislative Assembly and a Council of Ministers. The Government of Delhi has all the legislative powers in the State List excepting entries 1 (Public Order), 2 (Police) and 18 (Land).
Parliament has exclusive legislative power over a Union Territory, including matters which are enumerated in the State List 246(4)]. But so far as the two groups of Island Territories; Dadra and Nagar Haveli; Daman and Diu; Pondicherry; are concerned, the President has got a legislative power, namely, to make regulations for the peace, progress and good government of these Territories. This power of the President overrides the legislative power of Parliament inasmuch as a regulation made by the President as regards these Territories may repeal or amend any Act of President’s Power Parliament which is for the time being applicable to dongas regards the Union Territory [Art. 240(2)]. But the President’s the Andaman & power to make regulations shall remain suspended Nicobar Islands; while the Legislature is functioning in any of these Lakshadweep and States,—to be revived as soon as such Legislature is
dissolved or suspended.
High Courts for Union territories
Parliament may by law constitute a High Court for a Union Territory or declare any court in any such Territory to be a High Court for all or any of the purposes of this Constitution [Art. 241]. Until such legislation is made the for existing High Courts relating to such territories shall continue to exercise their jurisdiction. In the result, the Punjab and Haryana High Court acts as the High Court of Chandigarh; the Lakshadweep is under the jurisdiction of the Kerala High Court; the Calcutta High Court has got jurisdiction over the Andaman and Nicobar Islands [vide Table XVT], the Madras High Court has jurisdiction over Pondicherry; the Bombay High court over Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu; and the Gauhati High Court (Assam) still having jurisdiction over Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh, however, with the enactment of the State of Mizoram Act, 1986 (Act 34 of 1986) and the State of Arunachal Pradesh Act, 1986 (Act 69 of 1986), the States of Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh attained statehood on 20.2.1987, and as such, the states of Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh are full fledged states and have lost the status of Union Territories; but, the Gauhati High Court is still the common High Court for the states of Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.1 The Territory of Goa, Daman and Diu had a Judicial Commissioner but recendy the jurisdiction of the Bombay High Court has been extended to this Territory and further with the passing of the Goa, Daman & Diu Re-organization Act, 1987 by the Parliament conferring Statehood to Goa, the High Court of Bombay became the common High Court for the states of Maharashtra, Goa, and for the Union Territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu with effect from 30.05.1987. Delhi has a separate High Court of its own since 1966.
There are no separate provisions in the Constitution relating to the administration of Acquired Territories but the provisions relating to Union Territories will extend by virtue of ther definition of ‘Union Territory’ [Art. 366(30)], as including “any other territory comprised within the territory of India but not specified in that Schedule”. Thus, the Territory of Pondicherry, Karaikal, Yanam and Mahe, was being administered by the President of India through a Chief Commissioner until it was made a Union Territory, in 1962. Parliament has plenary power of legislation regarding such territory as in the case of the Union Territories [Art. 246(4)].