Union and its territory | Indian Polity Notes

Indian Polity Important Topics

Union and its territory

Articles 1 to 4 under part – 1 of the constitution deals with the union and its territory. Article 1 in the Constitution of India describes India, that is, Bharat as a ‘union of states’ rather than a federation of states. The states in India have no right to secede from the federation. The federation is union because it is indestructible. The country is an integral whole and divided into different states only for the convenience of administration.

According to article 1, the territory of india can be classified into three categories.

  • Territories of the States
  • Union Territories
  • Territories that may be acquired by the government of India at any time. (Being a sovereign state, India can acquire foreign territories according to the modes recognised by international law.

The name of states and union Territories and their territorial extent are mentioned in the first schedule of the constitution.

At present, there are 28 states and 9 union territories. 

The special provisions (under part 16) applicable to the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, and Karnataka.

The fifth and sixth schedules contain separate provisions with respect to the Administration of scheduled areas and tribal areas within the states.

India acquired foreign territories

India acquired several foreign territories such as Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Goa, Daman and Diu, Puducherry and Sikkim.

Articles related to union and its territory

Article 1 name and territory of the union

Article 2 admission or establishment of new States

Article 3 formation of new States and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing states

Article 4 laws made under article 2 and 3 provide for the amendment of the first and the fourth schedules and supplemental, incidental and consequential matters.

Amendment of articles 2 and 3 are not to be considered as amendments of the constitution under article 368. This means that such laws can be passed by a simple majority and by the ordinary legislative process. 

Hence, Indian territory can be ceded to a foreign state only by amending the constitution under 368. Consequently, the 9th Constitutional amendment act 1960 was enacted to transfer the said territory to Pakistan.

In 1969, the supreme court ruled that settlement of a boundary dispute between India and another country does not require a Constitutional amendment. It can be done by executive action as it does not involve cessions of indian territory to a foreign country.

The 100th Constitutional amendment act 2015 was enacted to give effect to the acquiring certain territories by India and transfer of certain other territories to Bangladesh.

Evolution of States And Union Territories

Integration Of Princely States

At the time of independence, India comprised two categories of political units, namely, the British provinces and princely states (under the rule of native princes but paramountcy of the British crown). The independence act of 1947 created two separate dominions of india and pakistan states. Out of 552 princely states within India, 549 joined in India and the remaining 3 (Hyderabad, Junagarh and Kashmir) refused to join india. However, in course of time, they were also integrated with India- Hyderabad by means of police action, Junagarh by means of referendum and Kashmir by Instrument of Accession.

In 1950, the Constitution contained four fold classification of the States of the Indian Union – Part A, Part B, Part C, and Part D.

The government of India appointed the Linguistic Provinces Commission under the chairmanship of SK Dhar and later it appointed another committee consisting of Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel and Pattabhi Sitaramayya, was Popularly known as JVP committee.

In October 1953, the government of India created the first linguistic state, known as andhra state. 

Fazl Ail commission was appointed by the government of India to re-examine the creation of States on linguistic basis. The commission suggested the abolition of the four-fold classification of states under the original Constitution and creation of 16 states and 3 centrally administered territories.

14 states and 6 union territories were created on November 1, 1956 by the 7th Constitutional amendment act 1956.


  • Andhra Pradesh
  • Assam
  • Bombay
  • Bihar
  • Jammu and Kashmir
  • Kerala
  • Madhya Pradesh
  • Madras
  • Mysore
  • Orissa
  • Punjab
  • Rajasthan
  • Uttar Pradesh
  • West Bengal

Union Territories

  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  • Delhi
  • Himachal Pradesh
  • Laccadive, Minicoy and Amindivi Islands
  • Manipur
  • Tripura

New States and Union Territories Created After 1956

StateYearAmendment Act
Gujarat – 15th state1960
Dadra and Nagar Haveli – Union Territory196110th Constitutional amendment act, 1961
Goa, Daman and Diu – Union Territories196112th Constitutional amendment act, 1961.
Puducherry (Puducherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam) – Union Territory196214th Constitutional amendment act
Nagaland – 16th state1963
Haryana – 17th State1966
Chandigarh – Union Territory1966
Himachal Pradesh – Union Territory1966
Manipur 19th state1972
Tripura 20th state1972
Meghalaya 21st state1972
Sikkim 22nd state197535th Constitutional amendment act,1975.
Mizoram 23rd state1987
Arunachal Pradesh 24th state1987
Goa 25th state1987
Chattisgarh 26th state2000
Uttarakhand 27th state2000
Jharkhand 28th state2000
Telangana 29th state2014

Change of names

The names of some union Territories and States have also been changed

United provinces – Uttar Pradesh in 1950

Madras – Tamilnadu in 1969

Mysore – Karnataka in 1973

Laccadive Minicoy and Amindivi Islands – Lakshadweep in 1973

The union territory of Delhi – National Capital Territory of Delhi by the 69th Constitutional amendment act, 1991.

Uttaranchal – Uttarakhand in 2006

Pondicherry – Puducherry in 2006

Orissa – Odisha in 2011

Territory of India in 2019 (and upto 2020)

StatesUnion Territories
Andhra PradeshAndaman and Nicobar Islands
Arunachal PradeshChandigarh
AssamDadra and Nagar Haveli
BiharDaman and Diu
HaryanaJammu and Kashmir
Himachal PradeshLadakh
Madhya Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
West Bengal
union and its territory

Indian Polity Notes

Fundamental RightsFundamental DutiesPreamble of the Indian constitution
Making of Indian ConstitutionSchedules of Indian constitutionDirective Principles of State Policy
Indian HistoryGeographyBiology

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