• Lex Specialis

Power to create/extinguish a State under the Indian Constitution

Amartya Sharan

The power to create/extinguish a state is given in Article 3 of the Indian constitution. Under the article, it is given that the parliament can form any state by separation of territory of any state or by uniting two or more states or by uniting any parts of two or more states. Under Article 3 the parliament has also the power to increase or decrease the areas of any states or to alter the state boundaries. Under Article 3 of the constitution, all the powers related to the creation of state are given to the parliament only. The bill has to be recommended by the president and the president also sends that bill to the concerned state for its view and gives a time period under which the state has to submit their views. The state has different views regarding this from the centre so the centre is not obligated to follow the view of the state in this if the centre is of the opinion that it is in the best interest of the people to create or extinguish a state then the centre will do so. And if the state did not give its view in the time that is given by the president of the country then the bill will be introduced in the parliament without any delay. We can say that the makers of the constitution gave all the powers to parliament for creating any state and the state assembly has not given any powers then it can be understood by the constituent assembly debates easily.

When the debate was going on the nature and scope of the Article 3 then Prof. KT Shah put forward a proposal 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”. But all the members present there did not agree with the proposal, one member named as Shri K Santhanam said that if the proposal put forward by KT shah is accepted then the minority of that state will never get any chance to ask for the separation of the state. The basic criterion that is there for separation of a state is the linguistic, religious, administrative and ethnic diversity of people of that state. The demand for the creation of a new state due to the linguistic barrier was stated with the independence of the country. The Indian national congress was also in favour of linguistic creation of the state before the independence of the country. But after getting independence some leaders were not in favour of dividing the state on a linguistic basis. The Dhar Commission was also known as the linguistic provinces commission, suggested that it is not good to divide or form the state on the linguistic basis only. There were various things that we have to look at before the formation of a state such as geographical continuity, the ability to further develop financial self-sufficiency of that area etc.

The first state that is created because of linguistic variation is Andhra state which was created in the year 1953 it is divided from the madras state, the Telugu speaking districts were removed from madras state and Andhra state was created. In the year 1960 Bombay is divided into two states named as Maharashtra and Gujarat, in 1963 Nagaland is created by dividing it from Assam, in 1966 Haryana and Himachal Pradesh is created by dividing them from the state of Punjab, in 1972 Meghalaya, Manipur and Tripura was created, in 2000 Uttrakhand is created by dividing Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand is created by dividing it from Bihar and in the year 2014 Telangana is created by dividing it from Andhra Pradesh.

In 1960 when the bill for the creation of Maharashtra and Gujarat was passed by the parliament after the president sent it for receiving the views from the state. But after that, a petition was filed by Babulal Parante in the high court of Bombay that the creation of a new state was against the procedures that are there in the Article 3 of the Indian constitution. In the Babulal Parante vs. State of Bombay the court clearly explains the provisions of Article 3 of the Indian constitution. The court said that there is a specified time period under which the state has to give its view back to the president but if the state fails in doing so then this will not affect the passing of the bill in any way.

The main idea behind the Article 3 of Indian constitution is to provide an opportunity to the centre to divide the state if there is any need but nowadays it becomes a tool for the people to divide the state on the basis of linguistic and regional sentiments. It became an instrument for political parties to gain votes in elections. It is a thought of people that the creation of new states is the solution to all the problems but it is not true. We have to focus more on the development of existing states that are there, if there is a government that caters the needs of the people and administer all the functions efficiently then there is no need to divide that state. Our country follows federalism under which the power is divided between the centre and the state but with the help of Article 3 the union government can change boundaries or even extinguish the state that power gives a picture of unitary government prevailing in the country in the name of federalism. Territorial integrity is one of the major features of federalism that is overlooked.


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