The Lok Sabha on November 27, 2019, passed the Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu (Merger of Union Territories) Bill, 2019, that seeks to merge Union Territories (UTs) of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu into a single UT.
The Bill passed by voice vote was introduced in the lower house on November 26, 2019, by Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Amit Shah.
Speaking in the Lok Sabha, minister of state for home affairs G. Kishen Reddy said that the merger of the two UTs, located along the western coast near Gujarat, will be done for better administration and check duplications of various work.
“For the government to have Minimum Government, Maximum Governance, and considering small population and limited geographical area of both the Union Territories and to use the services of officers efficiently, it has been decided to merge the UTs of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman Diu into a single UT," the minister said.
Dadra and Nagar Haveli has just one district while Daman and Diu has two. The merged UT will be named as the "Union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu".
Key features of the Bill are:
- Amendment of the Constitution: The First Schedule to 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: (a) Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and (b) Daman and Diu. The merged territory will form the UT of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu. This will come into effect from the day notified by the central government.
- Article 240(1) of the Constitution allows the President to make regulations for certain UTs, including the UTs of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu. The Bill amends the Article to replace these two UTs with the merged UT.
- Representation in Lok Sabha: The First Schedule to the Representation of the People Act, 1950 provides one seat in Lok Sabha to each of the two UTs. The Bill seeks to amend the Schedule to allocate two Lok Sabha seats to the merged UT.
- Services under the UTs: Every person employed in connection with the affairs of the existing UTs will provisionally serve the merged UT. The central government will determine whether every such person will finally be allotted for service in the merged UT.
- The merged UT will take steps to integrate employees into services under its control. The central government may give orders and instructions to the merged UT in this regard.
- The central government may establish Advisory Committees to assist in ensuring fair treatment of all persons affected 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 will not 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.
- Jurisdiction of High Court: The Bill provides that the jurisdiction of the High Court of Bombay will continue to extend to the merged UT.
(With inputs from PRS)