From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Various articles mentioned in the newsward
Mains level : Part I of the Indian Constitution
The Supreme Court has ordered that a plea to change India’s name exclusively to ‘Bharat’ be converted into a representation and forwarded to the Union government for an appropriate decision.
Whenever such articles are in news, make sure to revise entire Part. Like in this case Part I – Articles 1, 2, 3 and 4. See the B2b section.
What is the issue?
- The petition seeks an amendment to Article 1 of the Constitution, which says “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States…”
- It wants ‘India’ to be struck off from the Article.
Article 1 of the Constitution
- Article 1 in the Constitution states that India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.
- The territory of India shall consist of: The territories of the states, The Union territories and Any territory that may be acquired in future.
The names of the States and the Unions have been described in the First Schedule. This schedule also holds that there are four Categories of State and territories – Part A, Part B, Part C and Part D.
- Part A – includes the nine provinces which were under British India
- Part B – princely states consisted of this category
- Part C – centrally administered five states
- Part D – Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Abolishing of these schedules
- In the seventh amendment of the Constitution in 1956, the distinction between Part A and Part B states was abolished.
- Subsequently, states were reorganized on a linguistic basis.
- As a result, several new states were formed, eg. Haryana, Goa, Nagaland, Mizoram etc. At present, there are 28 States and 8 UTs (corrected).
Debate over name change
- Bharat and India are both names given in the Constitution. India is already called ‘Bharat’ in the Constitution”.
- The petition says that India is a name of foreign origin. The name can be traced back to the Greek term ‘Indica’.
- The word ‘Bharat’ is closely associated with our Freedom Struggle as the cry was ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’.
- Chauvinists argue that the name change will ensure citizens to get over the colonial past and instil a sense of pride in our nationality.
What 2016 ruling has to say?
- The apex court had dismissed a similar petition in 2016.
- Then CJI T.S. Thakur orally remarked that every Indian had the right to choose between calling his country ‘Bharat’ or ‘India’.
- CJI said that the Supreme Court had no business to either dictate or decide for a citizen what he should call his country.
- Article 2 states that the parliament may, by law, admit new states into the Union of India or establish new states on terms and conditions it deems fit.
- For e.g. the addition of the State of Sikkim by the 35th (1974) and 36th (1975) constitutional amendments.
- Article 3 empowers the parliament to form a new state by separation of a part of the territory of an established state or to unite two or more states or parts of states or by uniting any territory to a part of any state.
- This article provides that area of any state can reduced or increased and alter the boundaries or change the name of a state.
- Even though the state boundaries are subject to change, their area cannot be acquired by a foreign state.
- There is also a saving clause in the article to protect the rights of the state.
- The first condition is that no bill for the purpose can be introduced in either house except on the recommendation of the President of India.
- Second, whether the proposal contains the alternation of the area, boundaries or name of the state mentioned, it has to refer by President to the Legislatures of concerned states, for expressing opinions.
- Such opinion has to be expressed within a period specified by the President. In any case, the views expressed do not bind the decisions of either the President or the Parliament
- This article specifies that the laws provided in article 2 and 3, admission/establishment of new states and alteration of names, areas and boundaries etc. of established states, are not to be considered amendments of the Constitution under article 368.
- It means these can be passed without resorting to any special procedure and by a simple majority.