Article 370 of the Constitution that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir was on Monday was scrapped, along with Article 35 (A), as Rajya Sabha passed a momentous bill that bifurcates the state into two Union Territories in far-reaching decisions taken by the BJP-led central government executing a long-held saffron agenda.
A resolution removing the special status of the state under Article 370 was approved by the Rajya Sabha on Monday with Home Minister Amit Shah saying the constitutional provision was the "root cause of terrorism" in the state, and the Modi government was committed to making the state the most progressive in the country.
The Jammu & Kashmir (Reorganisation) Bill, 2019, which strips Jammu and Kashmir's status of a state and converts it into a Union Territory with legislature and carving out Ladakh region as a UT without legislature, was passed in a division pressed by the opposition with 125 votes in favour and 61 against, and an NCP member abstained.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah moved a resolution in Rajya Sabha to abolish Article 370 of the Constitution, which accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir, after the president issued a notification, and introduced a Bill to divide the state into two Union Territories -- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Here is what you should know about the difference between a UT (Union Territory) and a State:
What is a State?
State is an independent unit which consists of its own Legislative Assembly with elected representatives. Or we can say that a state is a defined territory which has its own Chief Minister. The state has its own separate government. The basic functions of the state are handled by the State Government like security, healthcare, governance, revenue generation etc.
What is a Union Territory (UT)?
A Union Territory or UT as an administrative division which is controlled by the Central Government. As the term suggests, it is a territory under the Union Government and does not have a separate Legislative Assembly or a government of its own. The President of India appoints an administrator or lieutenant-governor for UTs.
We can say that Union Territories are ruled directly by the Central Government having a Lieutenant Governor as administrator, who is the representative of the President of India and appointed by the Central government. Let us tell you that Union Territories have no Representation in the Rajya Sabha except Delhi and Puducherry.
Difference between UT with and without legislature
On Monday, Jammu and Kashmir reorganisation bill was passed by Rajya Sabha, which aims to redraw the map of the state by bifurcating it into two Union territories. The bill proposes to create a Union Territory for Jammu and Kashmir region and a separate one for the Ladakh region. The proposal signed by Amit Shah says, "There has been a long pending demand of the people of Ladakh to give it the status of a Union Territory to enable them to realise their aspirations."
"Further, keeping in view the prevailing internal security situation, fuelled by cross border terrorism in the existing state of Jammu and Kashmir, a separate Union Territory for Jammu and Kashmir is being created. The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will be with the legislature," it said.
What is the difference?
A union territory with a legislature will have the power to elect its own representatives. Since Jammu and Kashmir is now a union territory with its own legislature, it will enjoy this power. Ladakh, on the other hand, cannot elect representatives on its own. Since Ladakh is a union territory without a legislature, it will be run as a federal territory led by a lieutenant governor. Besides, as per Article 240, the President of India has the power to make regulations for those UTs that do not have a legislature of their own.
In the case of Jammu and Kashmir, a UT with the legislature, the President shall not interfere in the regulations of the UT from the day the meeting of the legislature commences. However, the President will step in to make the regulations in the governance of the UT if the legislature gets dissolved. With the scrapping of Article 370, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh will have separate Lieutenant Governors.
In India, all the states and three union territories, i.e. Puducherry, Delhi, and Jammu and Kashmir possess elected legislature and government. There are total nine union territories in India, out of which 3, i.e. Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, and Puducherry, have their elected members and the Chief Minister, as these are granted with partial statehood, by amendment to the Constitution. These two possess their own legislative assembly and executive council and operate like states. The remaining union territories are controlled and regulated by the Union of the country, that’s why they are named as union territory.
After the latest bifurcation, how many states and Union Territories does India has?
There are 29 states and seven Union Territories in India currently. However, after this bifurcation, there will be 28 states and nine Union Territories in the country.
Union territories of India after bifurcation:
Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Dadra and Nagar Haveli
Daman and Diu
Jammu and Kashmir
(With inputs from Agencies)