THE STATES REORGANIZATION ACT, 1956

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The State Reorganization Act, 1956 was enacted on August 31, 1956 for the reorganization of boundaries of the States in India and its territories and came into force on November 1, 1956. The Act was the result of The Constitution (Seventh Amendment) Act, 1956 which aimed to alter and restructure the constitutional outline for the prevailing states in India.

The Act provides for the transfer of territory to Andhra from Hyderabad and modification of name and certain territories were adjoined to the State of Andhra Pradesh from the adoption of the legislation including the districts of Hyderabad, Nizamabad, Medak, Alampur etc. From the inception of the enactment the said territories shall cease to be part of the State of Hyderabad. Further, certain parts of the Trivandrum District shall become part of State of Madras. After such alteration, these territories shall cease to turn into the State of Travancore. Some of the territories were merged together to form a separate district to be known as Kanyakumari in the State of Madras. The territories that are included in the Shencottah Taluk shall form the part of State of Madras under the Tirunelveli district.

A new state was formed to be known as the Kerala State containing the territories of State of Travancore-Cochin, territories under the Malabar District, Kasaragod Taluk under the South Kanara District and after that these states shall cease to be part of the States of Travancore-Cochin. The Act also led to the formation of the State of Mysore and declared Coorg as a separate district. The State of Bombay was also structured and the State of Saurashtra and the State of Kutch was also merged to form the State of Bombay with other territories. The State of Madhya Pradesh, State of Rajasthan and the State of Punjab were also formed under the legislation. The Schedule I of the Constitution was also amended which provides the list of States forming part of the Indian Territory and Schedule IV of the Constitution dealing with allocation of seats to Rajya Sabha.

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The Act constituted Zonal Councils for different zones and the Councils shall consist of Union Minister recommended by the President, Chief Ministers from all the States and other two Ministers from the State of Jammu and Kashmir and two members from the Union Territory on the recommendation of the President. The Union Minister shall act as the Chairman of the Council and the Vice-Chairman shall be the Chief Ministers of the States. The advisers to the Zonal Council shall consist of members from the Planning Commission, Chief Secretary of the States and Development Commissioner. The Council shall be the advisory body and shall make suggestions regarding economic and social planning, border disputes, linguistic minorities or inter-state transport.

Besides, the Act provides for the constitution of Delimitation Commission consisting of two members who are or has been Judge of Supreme Court or High Court who shall be appointed by the Central Government and the Chief Election Commissioner who shall be the ex officio member. The Central Government shall suggest a person to be the Chairman of the Commission. The Act also established and abolished High Courts and conferred additional powers on certain High Courts for the newly constituted States. The expenditure of the newly formed states shall be managed by the Governor from the Consolidated Fund of the new State. The liabilities and assets of the Union shall also be apportioned between the States according to the manner prescribed under the Act. The State Financial Corporations of the old states retain the same status in the newly formed states. The Act provides for the constitution of state cadre of Indian Administrative Service and Indian Police Service.

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The Act repealed the Government of Part C States Act, 1951 from the inception of the States Reorganization Act, 1956. The present legislation restructured the entire Indian Territory and created new states with Chief Ministers as its head. The Act granted federal structure to India, amending the Constitution as well.