The States Reorganization Act of 1956


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What is the States Reorganization Act?

British India included present-day India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The British divided it into two types of territories. One was the Provinces of British India, which the British officials responsible to the Governor-General of India directly governed. The other was the Indian States which were under the rule of local hereditary rulers. These rulers recognized the British domain in return for their own kingdom, in most cases as established by treaty. As a result of the reforms of the early 20th century, most of the British provinces had directly elected legislatures as well as governors. However, a chief commissioner appointed by the Governor-General governed some of the smaller provinces. Major reforms put forward by the British in the 1930s also recognized the principle of federalism. This was, in turn, carried forward into the governance of independent India.

What happened to the act on 15th August 1947?

On 15 August 1947, the rulers granted British India independence as the separate supremacy of India and Pakistan. The British dissolved their treaty relations with more than five hundred princely states. They encouraged these princely states to follow and join either India or Pakistan. But they were under no compulsion to do so. There was no act for this. Most of the states acceded to India and a few to Pakistan. Kashmir, Bhutan, and Hyderabad opted for independence. But after a few days, India invaded Hyderabad and brought it into the Indian Union.

The new Constitution of India came into force on 26 January 1950. It made India a sovereign democratic republic. It declared the new republic to be a “Union of States”. 

What were the 4 parts of the constitution?

The constitution of 1950 distinguished between three main types of states and a class of territories:

Part A states were the former governors’ provinces of British India. A governor appointed by the president and an elected state legislature ruled them. They were Assam, Bihar, Bombay, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, UP, Punjab, Madras, and West Bengal.

Part B states were former princely states or unions of princely states, governed by a rajpramukh. They were usually the ruler of a constituent state and an elected legislature. The President of India appointed the rajpramukh. The states were Hyderabad, Jammu & Kashmir, Mysore, Rajasthan, Patiala, and East Punjab States Union, Madhya Bharat, Cochin, and Saurashtra.

Part C states included the former chief commissioner’s provinces and some princely states as well. Each of them was ruled by a chief commissioner appointed by the Indian President

The sole Part D territory was a state administered by a lieutenant governor (appointed by the central government. It consisted of only the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

What was the role of Jawaharlal Nehru and Patel sahib?

Jawaharlal Nehru and Vallabh Bhai Patel were against the division of states according to language. They were against the act based on linguistic parameters. After Indian independence, the country witnessed a rise in the political movement for the creation of new states developed on linguistic lines. States Reorganisation Act was enacted on November 1 on 1956 itself. It led to the formation of 14 states and 6 union territories that included Bombay.

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