Part 1 - The Union and its Territory


Part 1 - The Union and its Territory, Draft Article 1 (Article 1) was debated on 15th and 17th November 1948, and 17th and 18th September 1949. It defines the name and territory of India.

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Article 1

Name and territory of the Union

(1) India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.

(2) The States and the territories thereof shall be as specified in the First Schedule.

(3) 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.

Debate Summary

Article 1, Draft Constitution, 1948

(1) India shall be a Union of States.

(2) The States shall mean the States for the time being specified in Parts I, II and III of the First Schedule.

(3) The territory of India shall comprise:-

(a) The territories of the States;

(b) The territories for the time being specified in Part IV of the First Schedule; and

(c) Such other territories as may be acquired.

Draft Article 1 (Article 1) was debated on 15th and 17th November 1948, and 17th and 18th September 1949. It defines the name and territory of India.

A member of the Drafting Committee clarified the object of using the term ‘Union of States’: it was to make it explicit that India was a federation of states. The federation was an indestructible unit and not a result of an agreement between states.

Another member proposed to add ‘Secular, Federal, Socialist’ to ‘Union of States’. He argued that, as the Preamble of the Constitution was not yet adopted, Draft Article 1 should embody ‘aspirations’ that the Constitution seeks to achieve.  The Chairman of the Drafting Committee opposed this amendment. He noted that the social and economic policy decisions were to be taken by elected parliamentarians. To encode the form of society would destroy ‘democracy altogether’. He further pointed out several Directive Principles of the State Policy including the right to livelihood, redistribution of material resources and equal pay for equal work were socialistic. There was no need to include ‘socialist’ in Draft Article 1.

Some members suggested alternative names to India. One wanted ‘Bharat’ or ‘Hind’ to gain more prominence and to be placed before ‘India’. Another suggested ‘Union of Indian Socialistic republics U. I. S. R.’ on the lines of the U. S. S. R.

When all the proposals were put to vote, they were negatived. The Assembly adopted Draft Article 1 on 18th September 1949.

 

Article 2

Admission or establishment of new States

Parliament may by law admit into the Union, or establish, new States on such terms and conditions as it thinks fit.

Debate Summary

Article 2, Draft Constitution, 1948

Parliament may, from time to time, by law admit into the Union, or establish, new States on such terms and conditions as it thinks fit.

Draft Article 2 (Article 2) was debated on 5th November 1948 and 17th November 1948. It empowered the Parliament to make laws to admit or establish states to the Union.

One member believed that ‘State’ should be clearly defined in order to ensure uniform interpretation in the Constitution. He argued that the Draft Constitution in its current form uses ‘state’ indiscriminately in myriad forms. However, ‘State’ must be defined to always connote ‘a kind of sovereignty’. He proposed to retain old expressions such as ‘Provinces, Indian States and Chief Commissioners' Provinces’.

A member argued that Draft Articles 2 and 3 overlap and moved a proposal to substitute them with a single Article. He opined that the purpose of Draft Article 2 was achieved by Draft Article 3 (Article 3), and having two separate Articles was redundant. However, his amendment was not accepted.

The Assembly adopted Draft Article 2 without amendments on 17th November 1948.

 

Article 3

Formation of new States and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing States.

Parliament may by law:—

(a) form a new State by separation of territory from any State or by uniting two or more States or parts of States or by uniting any territory to a part of any State;

(b) increase the area of any State;

(c) diminish the area of any State;

(d) alter the boundaries of any State;

(e) alter the name of any State:

Provided that no Bill for the purpose shall be introduced in either House of Parliament except on the recommendation of the President and unless, where the proposal contained in the Bill affects the area, boundaries or name of any of the States, the Bill has been referred by the President to the Legislature of that State for expressing its views thereon within such period as may be specified in the reference or within such further period as the President may allow and the period so specified or allowed has expired.

Explanation I.—In this article, in clauses (a) to (e), "State'' includes a Union territory, but in the proviso, "State'' does not include a Union territory.

Explanation II.—The power conferred on Parliament by clause (a) includes the power to form a new State or Union territory by uniting a part of any State or Union territory to any other State or Union territory.

Debate Summary

Article 3, Draft Constitution, 1948

Parliament may by law:-

(a) Form a new State by separation of territory from a State or by uniting two or more States or parts of States;

(b) Increase the area of any State;

(c) Diminish the area of any State;

(d) Alter the boundaries of any State;

(e) Alter the name of any State:

Provided that no Bill for the purpose shall be introduced in either House of Parliament except by the Government of India and unless

(a) Either-

(i) A representation in that behalf has been made to the President by a majority of the representatives of the territory in the Legislature of the State from which the territory is to be separated or excluded; or

(ii) A resolution in that behalf has been passed by the Legislature of any State whose boundaries or name will be affected by the proposal to be contained in the Bill; and

(b) Where the proposal contained in the Bill affects the boundaries or name of any State, other than a State for the time being specified in Part III of the First Schedule, the views of the Legislature of the State both with respect to the proposal to introduce the Bill and with respect to the provisions thereof have been ascertained by the President; and where such proposal affects the boundaries or name of any State for the time being specified in Part III of the First Schedule, the previous consent of the State to the proposal has been obtained.

Article 3 (Draft Article 3)  was debated on 17th November 1948, 18th November 1948 and 13th October 1949. It empowered the Parliament to make law relating to the formation of new states and alteration of existing states.

One member strongly believed that the proposal to alter an existing State must originate from the concerned State Legislature and not the parliament. The State Legislature and the people residing in a State must be consulted and involved in this decision. He further argued that a ‘democratic regime’ must ‘consult’ stakeholders of a decision and not merely impose top-down orders. The Draft Article in its current form compromised federalism and placed ‘unnecessary’ and ‘excessive’ power at the Centre.

Not all were convinced by this proposal. Another member noted that this proposal would stifle minority demands for separate states as it would be impossible to get a State to support its own separation. The Chairman of the Drafting Committee found this proposal unnecessary in light of an amendment moved by him. Through the amendment, he sought to include a clause requiring the President to consult with the concerned states prior to passing any law under this Article.

The Assembly adopted Draft Article 3 with amendments as moved by the Drafting Committee.

Article 4

Laws made under articles 2 and 3 to provide for the amendment of the First and the Fourth Schedules and supplemental, incidental and consequential matters

(1) Any law referred to in article 2 or article 3 shall contain such provisions for the amendment of the First Schedule and the Fourth Schedule as may be necessary to give effect to the provisions of the law and may also contain such supplemental, incidental and consequential provisions (including provisions as to representation in Parliament and in the Legislature or Legislatures of the State or States affected by such law) as Parliament may deem necessary.

(2) No such law as aforesaid shall be deemed to be an amendment of this Constitution for the purposes of article 368.

Debate Summary

Article 4, Draft Constitution, 1948

(1) Any law referred to in article 2 or article 3 of this Constitution shall contain such provisions for the amendment of the First Schedule as may be necessary to give effect to the provisions of the law and may also contain such incidental and -consequential provisions as Parliament may deem necessary.

(2) No such law as aforesaid shall be deemed to be an amendment of this Constitution for the purposes of article 304.

Article 4 (Draft Article 4) was discussed on 18th November 1948. It regulated laws made under Articles 2 and 3.

There was no substantive debate on this Draft Article. One member, in the interest of brevity, sought to substitute ‘article 2 and article 3’ with ‘article 2 and 3’. The Chairman of the Drafting Committee opposed this. He noted that the Drafting Committee followed a common foreign precedent. Further, even the Government of India Act 1935 used this format. This amendment was rejected by the Assembly

The Constituent Assembly adopted the Article without amendments on 18th November 1948.