The 7th Constitutional Amendment Act of India (1956)
The Seventh Constitutional Amendment Act of India, enacted in 1956, was a crucial amendment that played a significant role in the reorganization of states in India. It is highly relevant for UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) examinations, especially in the context of Indian polity, federalism, and historical developments.
The Background of the Seventh Amendment
- Linguistic Diversity in India: This linguistic diversity was not adequately addressed by the colonial administrative divisions or the initial post-independence state boundaries.
- Linguistic Movements: People from various linguistic communities began demanding states based on their languages. Prominent linguistic movements included:
- Andhra Movement (Telugu-speaking people): The demand for a separate Andhra state.
- Demand for a Kannada-speaking state: The demand for a state for Kannada-speaking people.
- Gujarat Movement (Gujarati-speaking people): The demand for a separate Gujarat state.
- Demand for a Marathi-speaking state: The demand for a separate state for Marathi-speaking people.
- SRC Recommendations: The SRC’s report, submitted in 1955, formed the basis for the Seventh Amendment. The commission recommended the reorganization of states based on linguistic factors, cultural affinities, and administrative efficiency. The SRC’s recommendations led to the creation of several new states and union territories.
Key Points to Remember
- Main Purpose: The primary purpose of the Seventh Amendment was to reorganize the boundaries of states in India.
- Articles Amended: 1, 3, 49, 80, 81, 82, 131, 153, 158, 168, 170, 171, 216, 217, 220, 222, 224, 230, 231 and 232.
- New Articles included: Inserted Articles through 7th ammendment are 258A, 290A, 298, 350A, 350B, 371, 372A and 378A.
- The States Reorganization Commission (SRC) was set up to recommend the reorganization of states.
- Amended Part Sechudles: Part 8 and schedules 1, 2, 4, and 7 were amended through this.
- Reorganization of States: Based on the recommendations of the SRC, several new states and union territories were created, and the boundaries of existing states were altered.
- Article 231 amended: It made it possible for retired judges from the High Court to continue practicing in other High Courts or the Supreme Court. A High Court was also given the ability to exercise jurisdiction over multiple states or Union Territories.
- 14 states and six union territories were created, and Class A, Class B, Class C, and Class D states were abolished.
- It was suggested to create Union Territories.
Impact of the Seventh Amendment
Linguistic Reorganization of States:
- The most significant impact of the Seventh Amendment was the linguistic reorganization of states. It led to the creation of states where the majority of the population spoke the same language.
- This linguistic reorganization aimed to promote better governance by allowing people who shared a common language and culture to govern themselves more effectively.
- For example, Andhra Pradesh was created for Telugu-speaking people, Karnataka for Kannada-speaking people, and Kerala for Malayalam-speaking people.
Promotion of Regional Identity:
- The amendment played a crucial role in promoting regional identity and cultural affinity. It allowed linguistic and cultural groups to preserve and nurture their distinct identities.
- This recognition of linguistic diversity helped in strengthening regional cultures and languages.
- By reorganizing states along linguistic lines, the Seventh Amendment aimed to improve administrative efficiency. States with linguistic and cultural homogeneity were expected to function more smoothly and effectively.
Redrawing of Boundaries:
- The boundaries of several states were redrawn as a result of this amendment. This process was not always without challenges and controversies, but it ultimately led to the creation of states with a more cohesive identity.
Allocation of Seats: in COUNCIL OF STATES:
- The amendment had implications for the allocation of seats in the Rajya Sabha (Council of States). As state boundaries were redrawn, the Fourth Schedule, which specifies the allocation of Rajya Sabha seats to states and union territories, was amended accordingly.
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Historical and Political Significance:
- The Seventh Amendment is historically significant because it addressed a long-standing demand for linguistic reorganization and played a crucial role in shaping the political landscape of India.
In summary, the Seventh Amendment of 1956 was a landmark in Indian constitutional history, as it recognized and addressed the linguistic and cultural diversity of the country. It led to the creation of states that reflected these linguistic and cultural affinities, contributing to better governance and the preservation of regional identities.
FAQs from from 7th Amendment
UPSC Sample Questions from 7th Amendment
What were the key provisions and objectives of the Seventh Amendment to the Indian Constitution (1956)? Discuss its significance in the context of state reorganization in India. (15 marks)
Explain the role of the States Reorganization Commission (SRC) in the reorganization of states in India. How did its recommendations lead to the enactment of the Seventh Amendment? (10 marks)
RAW details on the 7th Amendment can be found here.