Union Territories

Under Article 1 of the Constitution the territory of India shall comprise—

[a] the territories of the States;

[b] the Union territories specified in the First Schedule; and

[c] such other territories as may be acquired.

At present, there are 29 states, 7 union territories and no acquired territories.

During the British Rule, certain areas were constituted as ‘scheduled districts’ in 1874.

Later, they came to be known as ‘chief commissioner’s provinces’.

In 1956, they were constituted as the ‘union territories’ by the 7th Constitutional Amendment Act (1956) and the States Reorganisation Act (1956).


Union Territories and Capitals—

[1] Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Port Blair)–1956

[2] Chandigarh (Chandigarh)–1966

[3] The Government of NCT of Delhi (Delhi)–1956

[4] Dadra and Nagar Haveli (Silvassa)–1961

[5] Daman and Diu (Daman)–1962

[6] Lakshadweep (Kavaratti)–1956

[7] Puducherry (Puducherry)–1962


Administration of Union territories—

Articles 239 to 241 in Part VIII of the Constitution deal with the union territories.

Union territory shall be administered by the President acting, to such extent as he/she thinks fit, through an administrator to be appointed by him with such designation as he may specify.

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.

Parliament may by law create—

[a] a body, whether elected or partly nominated and partly elected, to function as a Legislature for the Union territory, or

[b] a Council of Ministers,

or both with such constitution, powers and functions, in each case, as may be specified in the law.

Any such law shall not be deemed to be an amendment of the Constitution.

The President may make regulations for the peace, progress and good government of the Union territory of—

[1] the Andaman and Nicobar Islands;

[2] Lakshadweep;

[3] Dadra and Nagar Haveli;

[4] Daman and Diu;

[5] Puducherry.

In the case of Puducherry the President can make regulations only when the assembly is suspended or dissolved.


High Courts for Union territories—

The Parliament can establish a high court for a union territory or put it under the jurisdiction of the high court of adjacent state.

Delhi is the only union territory that has a high court of its own.

Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu are placed under the Bombay High Court.

Andaman and Nocobar Islands are placed under the Calcutta High Court.

Chandigarh is placed under the Punjab High Court.

Lakshadweep is placed under the Kerala High Court.

Puducherry is placed under the Madras High Court.


Special provisions with respect to Delhi—

The 69th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1991 provided a special status to the Union Territory of Delhi.

According to the Act, Union territory of Delhi shall be called the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the administrator thereof appointed under article 239 shall be designated as the Lieutenant Governor.

There shall be a Legislative Assembly for the National Capital Territory and the seats in such Assembly shall be filled by members chosen by direct election from territorial constituencies in the National Capital Territory.

The strength of the assembly is fixed at 70 members.

The assembly can make laws on all the matters of the State List and the Concurrent List except the three matters of the State List, that is, public order, police and land.

There shall be a Council of Ministers consisting of not more than ten per cent of the total number of members in the Legislative Assembly, with the Chief Minister at the head to aid and advise the Lieutenant Governor in the exercise of his functions.

The Chief Minister shall be appointed by the President and other Ministers shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Chief Minister and the Ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the President.

In case of failure of constitutional machinery, the president can impose his rule in the territory.

This can be done on the report of the Lt. governor or otherwise.

The Lt. Governor is empowered to promulgate ordinances during recess of the assembly.

An ordinance has the same force as an act of the assembly.

Every such ordinance must be approved by the assembly within six weeks from its reassembly.

He/she can also withdraw an ordinance at any time.

He/she cannot promulgate an ordinance when the assembly is dissolved or suspended.

No such ordinance can be promulgated or withdrawn without the prior permission of the President.