The integration of India resulted in the reduction of 571 princely states into 28 states. It took almost one year and 6 months to reorganize the states after Independence. India is considered as a State of Diversity and it was always a big task to reorganize the states with prevailing linguistic, cultural, religious and regional differences. In the Initial days, the reorganization was done on linguistic basis but later it was mainly focused on the ground of administrative efficiency and better economic development. In this article we will discuss the history of how new states were reorganized, the procedure and provisions for the Reorganization of states in the constitution.
Keywords: Reorganization, new states, procedure, provisions.
After India got Independence in 1947, It was a major task to reorganize the States. Before the enactment of the Constitution in the year 1950, India was ruled by the britishers and was known as british India. The most Important task was to divide British India into two provinces India and Pakistan and therefore the Mountbatten plan was enacted. After the enactment of the constitution and division of India and Pakistan through the Mountbatten Plan in 1950, in the year 1956, the States Reorganization Act was enacted, where Indian states were divided on the basis of language. Later, due to many reasons various new states were added and currently the map of India consists of 28 states and 8 union territories.
First of all, in the year 1893, British India and Afghanistan were separated through the Durand Line. We got our independence on 15th August, 1947; After which the Mountbatten plan of 1947 was introduced with the help of Indian Independence Act, to decide which part of British India will become India and Pakistan. Mountbatten Plan had two major objectives, the first was to divide British India into two dominions, India and Pakistan; The second objective of this plan was to decide the territories of princely states under India or Pakistan.
It was decided through this plan that the states having majority of Muslim population will be a part of Pakistan; but this plan faced a major problem in dividing the territories of Punjab and Bengal provinces, because in this two provinces the population of Hindu and Muslim was equal.
So, two boundary commissions were appointed, headed by Sir Cyril Radcliffe, after which 17th August, 1947, both the countries India and Pakistan were demarcated by separate boundaries, known as the “Radcliffe Line”. Hence, by creating the Radcliffe line, the first objective of the Mountbatten plan was accomplished.
According to the Indian Independence Act, Princely states had the option to join either India or Pakistan, or they could remain Independent. Through negotiation and a lot of hard work, finally Princely States were Integrated in India by signing the “Instrument of Association”.
Thereafter in 1951 there were 27 States which were Classified into Part A,B,C and D. After the introduction of States Reorganisation Act of 1956, this number of 27 states got reduced to 14 states and 6 Union territories. However, there was a need for more new states and later in the year 2000, India’s political map was redrawn with 28 States and 7 Union Territories.
CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS FOR REORGANIZATION OF STATES:
Article 1 of the Indian constitution, states that India is a “Union of States”. The first schedule of the constitution provides a list of all the states and Union territories in India along with any changes in the boundaries of States and territories. Whereas Article 3 of the constitution states that the Parliament by law can Form new states and alter the areas, boundaries or names of existing states. But the only condition being that the president must give approval before introduction of Bill in Lok sabha or Rajya sabha. There was not enough time to frame proper provisions for reorganization at the time of enacting the constitution, therefore a simple legislative process is enough for Parliament to form new States or alter existing State boundaries.
States Reorganisation Act:
- After Independence, in the year 1956, the State Reorganization Act was introduced through the Constitution 7th amendment Act.
- There was a need for reorganization of Indian states and the people demanded for re-organising the States on linguistic, cultural and other grounds. The government considered it necessary to rearrange the states, because of the growing importance of regional languages, economic and financial conditions.
- Earlier the States were divided into 4 parts namely A,B,C and D; but after the introduction of States reorganization Act, this distinction was abolished.
- Through this act two categories of units a) States b) Union territories were established.
- The Act provided for creation of 14 states and 6 union territories.
- However new states and territories were formed in India after 1956, presently there are 28 states and 8 Union territories.
PROCEDURE OF REORGANIZATION OF STATES IN INDIA:
- As per Article 2 of The Constitution of India, Parliament has the powers to admit into the union or establish new States under the law; The power to acquire or cede the territory is a sovereign power. The fact of acquisition of the territory was given Legal assimilation and formal recognition into the union as a new state by Article 2 and being merged to the existing state by article 3 of the Constitution of India.
- Article 3 empowers the parliament to reorganise States, form new states; Separate territory from any State; Uniting two or more States; Uniting parts of States; Uniting any territory to a part of any State; increase/diminish the area of any State and to alter the boundaries or name of any State. Article 3 of the Indian constitution lays down the procedure of formation of a new state: it says that the state will have no power over the formation of a new state and it is only in the hands of the parliament, Parliament can enact legislation for the formation of a new state under article 3 of the Indian constitution.
- The Bills suggesting either the formation of a new state or alteration of boundary or name, shall be introduced in either house of the parliament, only on the recommendation of the president.
- The president, before introducing the bill to the parliament, shall take the opinion of the concerned state legislature within a specified time limit. However, the time limit can be extended if the state legislature fails to give its opinion within the prescribed time limit.
- The parliament is not bound to follow the views and opinions of the state legislature. Whether the state legislature agrees to the bill or not, is not a concern for the parliament.
There has always been a demand for reorganization of states in India. The struggle of our freedom fighters for independence and thereafter transformation of British India into two provinces, India and Pakistan was a great challenge for National leaders. However, India has been successful in reorganizing the boundaries of States and formation of Union territories, though there were various challenges faced and are even prevailing. Reorganization of States has helped in forming the democratic system by emphasising on decentralization and minority representation. India always valued “Unity in diversity” and Indian democracy has always focused on adapting, accepting the changes and evolving with the time.
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