Article 2 in the Constituent Assembly of India Debates (Proceedings); Volume VII – November 17, 1948

FOCUS

The Constituent Assembly drafted the Constitution of India from 1946-1950. It sat for the first time on December 9, 1946, and in two years and 11 months, it met for 11 sessions spread over 165 days. On November 26, 1949, the Assembly adopted the Constitution, which came into effect on January 26, 1950.

Dr. Rajendra Prasad was the chairman of the Assembly and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar was the chairman of the Drafting Committee. A majority of the Assembly’s deliberations were debates on the Draft Constitution, which was presented for discussion on November 4, 1948. Over the next year, Assembly members debated each clause in detail and proposed amendments that were either adopted or rejected by a majority vote.

The Assembly debated Article 2 on November 17, 1948. The Article states that Parliament can establish a new state (but not a new union territory) by passing a law. However, the Supreme Court of India in the ‘R.C. Poudyal and Another v. Union of India’ case of 1993 maintained that the words “on such terms and conditions as it thinks fit” in Article 2 did not give Parliament unfettered powers to establish new states. The “terms and conditions,” the court said, must be consistent with the foundational principles of the Constitution.

    FACTOIDS

  1. What does Article 2 of the Constitution of India say?

    Article 2 says: “Parliament may by law admit into the Union, or establish, new States on such terms and conditions as it thinks fit.” However, Parliament cannot establish a new union territory by passing a law; that can only be done through a constitutional amendment. States like Sikkim (previously not within India) became a part of the country under Article 2.

  2. What was the Constituent Assembly’s debate on Article 2?

    Article 2 was not deliberated on much because the Constituent Assembly agreed that given India’s size and diversity, a central authority was needed to hold together the country’s administrative structure and prevent it from disintegrating. So the centre was given the power to ‘admit and establish’ new states.

  3. Which changes to Article 2 were proposed during the debate?

    During the debate, Assembly member Naziruddin Ahmad argued that Articles 2 and 3 overlapped to a large extent and must be amalgamated. He proposed that Articles 2 and 3 be substituted with Article 2. Assembly member H.V. Kamath proposed that instead of the word ‘Parliament’, Article 2 must use the ‘Parliament of the Union’ to make it absolutely clear which parliament was being referred to. 

  4. Did the Constituent Assembly accept any of these amendments?

    None of these amendments were accepted and the Draft Article 2 was made part of the Constitution without any changes.


    Focus and Factoids by Pratik Dixit.

AUTHOR

Constituent Assembly of India

COPYRIGHT

Government of India, New Delhi

PUBLICATION DATE

17 Nov, 1948

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