UNION TERRITORY (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Polity)

News-CRUX-10     25th June 2024        

Context: Kuki-Zo tribal bodies in Manipur staged rallies across hill districts urging the Centre to establish a Union Territory with a legislature under Article 239A of the Constitution, aiming to resolve the state's ethnic conflict.

Union Territory

  • About: Union Territories are specifically listed and described in Schedule I and Part VIII of the Constitution of India.
  • Governance of UTs: Articles 239 to 241 of the Constitution detail the governance and administration of Union Territories in India.
  • Article 1(2): It delineates the states and territories of India, specifying their boundaries and composition in the First Schedule.
  • Current Composition: India comprises 28 states and 8 Union Territories as per the current delineation, without any acquired territories.
  • Article 1(3): It defines the territory of India as including the territories of the states, Union territories, and territories that may be acquired by India in the future.
  • Lieutenant Governors: Delhi, Puducherry, A&N Islands, J&K and Ladakh.
  • Administrator: Chandigarh, Dadra-Nagar Haveli and Daman-Diu and Lakshadweep.
  • Administration: Each Union Territory is administered by the President through an administrator, who acts as the agent of the President and not as the head of state (Article 239).

oThe President may appoint the governor of a state as the administrator of an adjoining Union Territory, extending their administrative responsibilities.

Article 239A

  • About: Article 239A of the Indian Constitution allows for the establishment of local legislatures and Councils of Ministers in certain Union territories.
  • Specific Provisions for Puducherry: In accordance with Article 239A(1), the Union Territory of Puducherry may establish:

oAn elected legislature or one that is partially nominated and partially elected.

oA Council of Ministers.

oBoth of these entities can have their constitution, authority, and duties specified by law.

  • Constitutional Amendments Clarification: As per Article 239A(2), any law passed under Article 239A(1) pertaining to Puducherry does not constitute an amendment to the Constitution under Article 368.

oEven if such a law includes provisions that alter or amend the Constitution, it shall not be interpreted as a constitutional amendment.