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Administration of Union Territories

Article 239 (1) provides that every Union Territory shall be administered by the President acting, to such extent as he thinks fit, through an Administrator to be appointed by him with such designation as he may specify.

Instead of appointing an Administrator from outside, the President may appoint the Governor of a State as the Administrator of an adjoining Union Territory and where a Governor is so appointed, he shall exercise his functions as such Administrator independently of his council of Ministers.

All the Union Territories are thus administered by an Administrator as the agent of the President and not by Governor acting as the head of a State. The President as the executive head of a Union Territory does not function as the head of the Central Government, but as the head of the Union Territory under powers specially vested in him under Art. 239.

Under Article 239, the President occupies, in regard to Union Territories, a position analogous to that of a Governor in a State.

Though the Union Territories are centrally administrated under the provisions of Article 239, they do not become merged with the Central Government.

Administrators have been assigned to:

  1. Chandigarh
  2. Dadra & Nagar Haveli
  3. Daman and Diu
  4. Lakshadweep Islands


Lieutenant Governors have been assigned to:

  1. Delhi
  2. Pondicherry
  3. Andaman & Nicobar Islands

Special Provisions for Delhi

The National Capital Territory of Delhi is a metropolitan region, spread over 1,484 square kilometres of area.

It is a Union Territory as well as a State, as it has a High Court, Legislative Assembly, and a Council of Ministers, headed by the Chief Minister.

There are 70 assembly constituencies and seven parliamentary constituencies in Delhi. Lieutenant Governor is the ceremonial head of the state who is appointed by the President of India.

Delhi is neither a State, nor a Union Territory. It used to be a full-fledged Union Territory till 1991, when the 69th Amendment of the Constitution gave it a special status. The amendment declared the Union Territory of Delhi to be formally known as National Capital Territory of Delhi.

A system of diarchy was introduced under which the elected Government was given wide powers, excluding law and order which remained with the Central Government. The actual enforcement of the legislation came in 1993.

The major points of the 69th amendment were as follows:

  1. There shall be a Legislative Assembly for the National Capital Territory and the seats in such Assembly shall be filled by members chosen by direct election from territorial constituencies in the National Capital Territory.
  2. The Legislative Assembly shall have power to make laws for the whole or any part of the National Capital Territory with respect to any of the matters enumerated in the State List or in the Concurrent List in so far as any such matter is applicable to Union Territories.
  3. There shall be a Council of Ministers consisting of not more than
    ten percent of the total number of members in the Legislative Assembly, with the Chief Minister at the head to aid and advise the Lieutenant Governor in the exercise of his functions in relation to matters with respect to which the Legislative Assembly has power to make laws, except in so far as he is, by or under any law, required to
    act in his discretion.
  4. In the case of difference of opinion between the Lieutenant Governor and his Ministers on any matter, the Lieutenant Governor shall refer it to the President for decision
  5. The Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly

Advisory Committee for Centrally Administered Union Territories

The advisory committees comprise of elected members, government officials and eminent people of the territory. The committees cover a wide ground and ensure popular participation in administration. The administration of union territories is a special responsibility. There are three such committees to advice about:

  1. Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  2. Lakshadweep and Minicoy Islands
  3. Chandigarh
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