The Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Bill, 2019 was introduced in Lower House (Lok Sabha) on November 26, 2019, by the Minister of Home Affairs and further passed by Upper House (Rajya Sabha) on December 3, 2019, through voice vote during the winter session of the Parliament. The bill will welcome the merger of the Union Territories (UTs) of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu into a single UT. These two UTs will become single UT on 26 January announced by the Home Ministry. The name of the new UT will be Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu. Before the merger India had nine Union Territories after the creation of the UTs of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. However, the number of UTs will come down to eight with the merger of Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

Importance of the Bill

This merger of both the UTs will help in better administration services. Thus, this will lead to better development of the area and the administrator can provide efficient services.

Till now both the union territories have their separate budgets and secretariats even though they are just 35 km (approx.) apart. Dadra and Nagar Haveli have only one district while Daman and Diu have two districts. They required more funds for such a small geographical area, therefore, after this merger, it will help in cutting down the administrative cost and the remaining cost can be used for the development of new union territory. It will also help to check the duplication of various works.

History of these Union Territories

Dadra and Nagar Haveli

It is a region in western India. Composed of two separate geological entities Nagar Haveli between Maharashtra and Gujrat and Dadra, 1 km to the northwest, surrounded by Gujarat. The headquarters of Dadra and Nagar Haveli is Silvassa. In the mid-18th century Nagar Haveli passed from its Rajput rulers to the Marathas. Later on, in 1783 It was transferred to the Portuguese as compensation for a ship that the Marathas navy had destroyed. After 2 years, the Portuguese also acquired Dadra in 1785.

Daman and Diu

Daman and Diu were both parts of the Sultanate of Gujarat (an independent kingdom during the 15th and 16th centuries), Before the arrival of Portuguese. In the early 16th century, the sultan of Gujrat, Bahadur Shah was under immense pressure because his kingdom was invaded by the second Mughal Emperor Humayun. After that he decided to remain on conciliatory terms with the Portuguese. Thus, the Shah signed the Treaty of Bassein with Portuguese in 1534.

In 1559, the Portuguese obtained Daman from the Sultan. Both Daman and Diu remained part of the Portuguese dominions in India and were ruled from Goa for over four centuries. Diu became an important port for the Portuguese. After few years Gujarati ships using the port of Diu were required to pay duties to the Portuguese.

After Independence

On August 15, 1947, When India gained independence from Britain, the Portuguese refused to hand over its territories in India. Portuguese claimed that land to be an integral part of Portugal. In 1954, India was able to seize Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and an economic blockade was imposed over the rest of the Portuguese-held territories. The loss of Dadra and Nagar Haveli sent alarm bells ringing for the Portuguese. So, they tightened their security in remaining Indian possessions. As attempts at conciliation failed, India launched Operation Vijay against Portuguese India in December 1961. The Indian Air Force inflicted heavy damage, ultimately forcing the Portuguese to surrender.

Immediately in December 1961, Daman and Diu were constituted into the Union Territory of Daman and Diu. A referendum called the ‘Goa Opinion Poll’ was held in 1967, Voters were asked to decide whether the UT should be merged with Maharashtra or should remain separate. The mandate was against a merger, and the Union Territory continued as before. In 1987, Daman and Diu became a separate UT.  In 1961 Dadra and Nagar Haveli became separate UT, until then from 1954 to 1961, it was administered by a citizen’s council called the Varishta Panchayat of Free Dadra and Nagar Haveli. A treaty was signed between India and Portugal on recognition of India’s sovereignty over Goa, Daman, Diu, Dadra, and Nagar Haveli on December 31, 1974.

Amendment of the Constitution

The First Schedule of the constitution specifies the territories that come under various states and UTs. The Bill amends the First Schedule to merge the territories of the two UTs i.e. Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu. The merged territory will become the UT of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.

This will come into effect on 26 January 2020 as notified by the Home Ministry of India. The Constitution of India, under Article 240(1) allows the Head of the State i.e. President to make regulations for certain Union Territories, including the UTs of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu. The Bill amends the Article, which will replace these two UTs with the merged UT.  There was one seat in Lok Sabha to each of the two UTs provided by the First Schedule of the Representation of the People Act, 1950. After the introduction of the Bill, it seeks to amend the Schedule to allocate two Lok Sabha seats to the merged UT.

Jurisdiction of High Court

According to Part IV of The Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Act, 2019 “On and from the appointed day, the jurisdiction of the High Court of Bombay shall continue to extend to the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu”.

Services under the Union Territory

Every person employed in reference to the affairs of the prevailing UTs will provisionally serve the merged UT.  The central government will determine whether every such person will finally be allotted for service within the merged UT. The merged UT will take steps to bring employees into services under its control. The central government may give orders and directions to the merged UT during this regard.

The Government should establish Advisory Committees to assist in ensuring fair treatment of all persons stricken by these provisions and consideration of any representations made by them. Representations against any service orders must be made within three months from the date of publication, or notice of the order, whichever is earlier.

These provisions won’t apply to members of All India Services (such as Indian Administrative Services, Indian Police Services, and Indian Forest Services), and persons on delegation from any state.

Jagran Lakecity University, 1st Year

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