Bengaluru: As the President of India assents the order to abrogate articles 370, 35A and the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories with legislatures and no legislatures respectively, we thought it would be good to revisit the concept of Union territories and brush up our knowledge about them.

When it comes to the administration of a country, it is generally divided into states. India has a number of states, which have elected governments looking after their administrations.

But India is not just limited to states. It has what we call Union territories as well. A Union territory is a region (federal territory) which generally doesn’t have a government of its own and is administered directly by the national or Central government.

That is precisely why it is called “Union territory”.

If you go back in history, there was only one Union territory when the Indian Constitution was adopted. Now, with the addition of two more Union territories (Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh), the number shoots up to nine.

It would be interesting to note that Dadra and Haveli, Diu and Daman and even Puducherry were once a part of Portuguese India and French India. They were later acquired to give them the status of Union territories.

But moving to a pertinent question, what does it mean when one says “Union territories with legislature and Union territories without legislatures”?

The answer to this question lies in the Indian Parliament. It has been vested with the rights to amend the Constitution and have a legislature with elected members and a chief minister (like in Delhi and Puducherry) and the other Union territories (like Chandigarh) have no chief ministers.

However, for any Union territory, the President appoints a lieutenant Governor.

Interestingly, the concept of Union territory was added during the seventh amendment to the Indian Constitution in the year 1956.