As has been already stated, the political structure prescribed by the Constitution is a federal Union. The name of the
Union is India or Bharat [Art. 1(1)]
The expression 'Union of India' should be distinguished from the expression 'territory of India.' While the 'Union'
'includes only the States which enjoy the status of
being members of the federal system and share a distribution of powers with
the Union, the "territory of India" includes the entire territory over which the
sovereignty of India, for the time being, extends.
Thus, besides the States, there are two other classes of territories, which
are included in the 'territory of India', (I) 'Union Temtortes', and (ii)
Such other territories as may be acquired by India.
The Union Territories are, since 1987, seven in number - Delhi, the
Andaman & Nicobar Island; Lakshadweep; Dadra & Nagar Haveli;
Daman & Diu; Pondicherry; and Chandigarh. For the Union territory of Pondicherry, the Parliament has by enacting
a law, viz. Pondicherry (Administration) Act, 1962 under Art 239A made
provision for a legislature etc. By an amendment to the Constitution two new
articles, viz. 239AA and 239AB were inserted in 1992 providing for a
legislature and a ministry for Delhi which has been named as National
Capital Territory of Delhi by Art. 239AA
Rest of the Union territories are Centrally administered areas, to be
governed by the President, acting through an 'Administrator' appointed by
him, and Issuing Regulations for their good government.
Any territory which may, at any time, be acquired by India by
purchase, treaty, cession or conquest, will obviously form part of the territory
of India. These will be administered by the Government of India subject to
legislation by Parliament.
Thus, the French Settlement of Pondicherry (together with Karaikal,
Mahe and Yanam), which was ceded to India by the French Government in
1954, was being administered as an 'acquired territory' until 1962 inasmuch
as the Treaty of Cession had not yet been ratified by the French Parliament.
After such ratification, the territory of these French Settlements was
constituted a 'Union Territory', in December 1962.
During British days, Sikkim was an Indian State under a hereditary
Sikkim, a new monarch called Chogyal, subject to British paramountcy. Its external frontier in the Himalayas was
demarcated by agreement with China, in 1890. The
Chogyal was a member of the Chamber of Princes.
When India became independent, there was a section of public
opinion in Sikkim for merger with India, But the Princely Rule of that State
and its strategic position stood in tHe way.
Hence, after the lapse of
paramountcy, a treaty was entered into between Sikkim and the
Government of India, by which the latter undertook the responsibility with
regard to the defence. external affairs and communications of Sikkim.
Government of India was represented in Sikkim by a Political Officer, who
was also assigned to Bhutan. Sikkim thus became a Protectorate of the
Union of India.
In May, 1974, the Sikkimese Congress decided to put an end to
monarchical rule, and the Sikkim Assembly passed the Government of
Sikkim Act, 1974, for the Progressive realisation of a fully responsible
government in Sikkim and for furthering its relationship with India This Act
empowered the Government of Sikktm to seek participation and
representation of the people of Sikkim in the political institutions of India,
for the speedy development of Sikkim in Social, economic and political
The Chogyal was made to give his assent to the Government of Sikkim
Bill. under which effective power went into the hands of a representative
Sikkim Assembly and the Chogyal was turned into a normal constitutional
head. The Stkkim Assembly, by virtue of its powers under the Government
of Sikkim Act; passed a resolution, expressing its desire to be associated with
the political and economic institutions of India and for seeking
representation for the people of Sikkim in India's Parliamentary system.
The Constitution (35th Amendment) Act, 1974. was promptly passed to give effect to this resolution. The main provisions of
this Amendment Act were--
Sikkim will nor be a part of the territory of lndia, but an 'associate
State', which was brought within the framework of the Indian Constitution
by inserting Art. 2A and 10th Schedule in the Constitution which were
subsequently omitted by the Constitution (36th Amendment) Act, 1975.
Sikkim would be entitled to send two representatives to the two
Houses, whose rights and priVileges would be the same as those of other
members of Parliament, except that the representatives of Sikkim would not be entitled to vote at the election of the President or Vice-President of India.
They would also be subject to the disqualifications for members of
Parliament under the Indian Constitution.
The defence, communications, external affairs and social welfare of
Sikkim would be a responsibility of the Government of India and the people
of Sikkim would have the right of admission to institutions for higher
education, to the All-India Services and the political institutions in India.
The Government of Sikkim shall retain residual power on all
matters not provided for in lOth Schedule to the Constitution of Indla,
There is little doubt that the 35th Amendment Act, 1974, introduced
innovations into the original scheme of the Constitution of India. There was
no room for any 'associate State' under the Constitution of 1949.
India was a
federal union of 'States'. Union 'Territories and 'acquired territories'
(Art. 1(3)]. Of course, Article 2 empowered the Parliament of India to admit
new 'States' into the 'Union'. But the Constitution (35th Amendment) Act
did not seek to admit Sikkim as a new State of the Indian Union. It was to
be a territory associated wah India, and would have representatives in the
Indian Parliament without being a part of the tenitory of India.
The criticism of the introduction of the status of an 'associate State' into
the Indian federal system has, however, lost all practical Significance.
because Sikkim has shortly thereafter been admitted into the Indian Union
as the 22nd State in the First Schedule of the Constitution of India.
While the Indian
Parliament was enacting the Constitution (35th Amendment) Act, the
Chogyal resented and sought to invoke international intervention. This
provoked the progressive sections of the people of Sikkim and led to a
resolution being passed by the Sikkim Assembly on April 10, 1975,
declaring that the activities of the Chogyal were prejudicial to the
democratic aspirations of the people of Sikkim and ran counter to the
Agreement of May, 1974, executed by the Chogyal.
This resolution of the Assembly was submitted to the people of Sikkim
for their approval. At the referendum so held, there was an overwhelming
majority, and the Chief Minister of Sikkim, on behalf of his Council of
Ministers, urged the Government of India to implement the result of the referendum.
This led to the passing by the Indian
Parliament of the Constitution (36th Amendment) Act,
1975, which was later ratified by the requisite number of States under Art.
368(2), Proviso. By the 36th Amendment Act, Sikkim has been admitted into
the Union of India as a State, by amending the First and the Fourth
Schedules, Art. 80-81, and omitting Art. 2A and the 10th Schedule, with
retrospective effect from 26-4-1975.
Art. 371F has. further, been inserted to
make some special provisions relating to the administration of Sikkim.
It has already been pointed out that the Indian federation differs from
the traditional federal system insofar as it empowers Parliament to alter the territory or integrity of its units, namely, the States, without their consent or concurrence.
Where the federal system Is the result of a compact or agreement between the states, It is obvious that the
agreement cannot be altered without the consent of
the parties to it.
This Is why the American federation has been described as
"an indestructible Union of indestructible States". It Is not possible for the
national Government to redraw the map of the United States by forming
new States or by altering boundaries of the States as they existed at the time
of the compact without the consent of the Legislatures of the States
But since federation in India was not the result of any compact
between independent States, there was no particular urge to maintain the
initial organisation of the States as outlined in the Constitution even though
interests of the nation as a whole demanded a change in this respect.
makers of our Constitution, therefore, empowered Parliament to reorganise
the States by a Simple procedure, the essence of which Is that the affected
State or States may express their views but cannot resist the will of
The reason why such liberal power was given to the national
government to reorganise the States is that the grouping of the Provinces
under the Government of India Acts was based on historical and political
reasons rather than the social, cultural or linguistic divisions of the people
The question of reorganising the units according to natural
alignments was indeed raised at the time of the making of the Constitution
but then there was not enough time to undertake this huge task, considering
the magnitude of the problem.
Article 4 provides that any law made under Article 3 may make supplemental,
incidental and consequential provisions for making itself effective and may
amend the First and Fourth Schedules of the Constitution, without going
through the special formality of a law for the amendment of the Constitution.
These Articles, thus, demonstrate the flexibility
of our constitution. By a simple majority and by the ordinary legislative
process Parliament may form new States or alter the boundaries, etc., of
existing States and thereby change the political map of India. The only
conditions laid down for the making of such a law are-
No Bill for the purpose can be introduced except on the recommendation
of the President.
The President shall, before giving his recommendation, refer the Bill to the Legislature of the State which is going to be
affected by the changes proposed in the Bill, for expressing its views on the changes within the period
specified by the President. The President is not,
however, bound by the views of the State Legislature, so ascertained.
Here is, thus, a special feature of the indian federation, viz., that the
territories of the units of the federation may be altered or redistributed if the
Union Executive and Legislature so desire.
A similar transfer of certain territories from West Bengal and Assam to
Pakistan under the aforesaid aweement, was provided for by enacting the
Constitution (9th Amendment) Act, 1960, because the Supreme Court
opined that no territory can be ceded from India to a foreign country without
amendlng the Constitution.