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Alteration of name, area and boundary of existing states – Procedure under the Indian Constitution

Amartya Sharan


Under the constitution of India, the power of alteration of name, area and boundaries of an existing state is given to the parliament of the country under Article 3 of the Constitution. Still, there is also a provision under which the state has the power to initiate the procedure. It falls under the Part 1 of the Indian Constitution that is known as “union and its territory”. Articles 1 to 4 fall under Part 1 of the Indian Constitution.

Article 1

Article 1 of the constitution defines India that is Bharat, as a union of states. It is already clarified by the B.R Ambedkar in the constituent assembly debates that Indian federation was a union and no state has the power to separate from itself. The drafting committee also makes it clear that no state has the power to separate itself from the union. The country is divided into several states to administer the states properly and also to cater to the needs of their population efficiently. The word union is used in the constitution by the makers of the constitution in place of the word federation so that India is a union of states and there is not any contract between states and centre that can be broken at any time by the state. Because of all this India is called as “indestructible union of destructible states” by B.R Ambedkar.

Article 2

Article 2 of the Indian constitution states admission or establishment of new states to the country. Under this article, the parliament with the help of law can accept into union or establish any new states as it deems fit under some terms and conditions. This article only gives power with respect to establishing or admission of a new state, not any union territory. If we have to accept a union territory, then an amendment under Article 368 has to be passed.

Article 3

Under this article, the power to alter the name, area and boundaries of an existing state is given. All the powers related to this are given to the parliament of the country. Any house of the parliament with the recommendation of the president can present the bill related to this. Before the presentation, the president sends that bill to the state itself if it is affecting the boundaries of the state to present their view on that within a specified period. If the state fails in doing so then the bill will be presented in the parliament. Even if the state gives its view, it is the discretion of the union government to follow that view or not. Because the power related to this is only given to the union government because the makers of the constitution were in a view that if the power to make new states were given to the country then it will be very harmful for the minority of that state. Because they have to be in power only after that they can demand the formation of a state and also everyone will be demanding state on the basis of their religion or linguistic grounds.

Article 4

Article 4 of the Indian constitution states that if there is any need to amend the 1st or 4th schedule of the constitution because of any change in the article 2 or 3 then it can be done by the parliament. Mainly the number of seats of the Rajya Sabha of a particular state has to be changed accordingly and the name of the state has to be also changed in the first schedule of the constitution.

Procedure of changing a name of a state, if initiated by a state government

If the state wants to change the name of the state then it will form a resolution of the same and send it to the central government. After that, the central government will form a bill of the same with the consent of the president and the bill was sent back to the state to present its views within the stipulated time period if the state fails in doing so then the bill will be presented before the parliament. Even if the state gives its views, it is in the hand of the union government to accept the view or not. In the case of Odisha, the government of that state wanted to change the name of Orissa to Odisha. So the legislative assembly of Orissa have passed a resolution and forwarded it to the union government then after that in the year 2010 the parliament passed the Orissa alteration of name Act.

Berubari union case, 1960

In this case, there is a land dispute that is there between India and Pakistan. When the partition of both the countries happened, Sir Radcliffe divided both the countries but by mistake he did not mention a Thana named as berubari in the award text. Later Pakistan claimed that it is there in the map of Pakistan. After that there was an agreement between Jawahar lal nehru and Firoz shah noon but it was criticized by the people of west Bengal so the government decided to go to the supreme court. After that the court said that with the help of article 3 the union has power to diminish or form a state but not to cede. If the union wants to cede or acquire any other country then the union has to pass a resolution under article 368 of the Indian constitution.


We can say that part 1 of the constitution is the foundation because it only lays down the rules on which a new state is built, or there is any alteration in the area, boundaries or name of the state is possible. Power is also divided by the makers of the constitution in a very effective way that does not hamper the rights of any one. The member of the union government, which is responsible in these actions takes every necessary precaution.


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