THE STATE OF HIMACHAL PRADESH ACT, 1970

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In 1948, Himachal Pradesh was constituted in the Union of India as the Province of Chief Commissioner, including the hill districts near to Shimla and the southern hill regions of the previous Punjab. After the coming into force of the Constitution of India, Himachal Pradesh became part of Part C State and on November 1, 1956, it became the Union Territory of India. On December 25, 1970 the Parliament enacted The State of Himachal Pradesh Act, 1970 which came into force on January 1, 1971.

The Act provides for the establishment of the State of Himachal Pradesh consisting of territories which were previously under the Union Territory of Himachal Pradesh. The Act amended Schedule I of the Constitution which inserted entry 18 under the heading ‘The States’ to include Himachal Pradesh. The present members of Rajya Sabha on behalf of the Union Territory of Himachal Pradesh shall be considered to have been elected according to the provisions of Article 80(4) of the Constitution to fill the seats that are allocated to the State of Himachal Pradesh. The Speaker and Deputy Speaker under the Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory of Himachal Pradesh shall be same in case of the State of Himachal Pradesh. The Legislative Assembly constituted under the State of Himachal Pradesh shall have total number sixty eight members to be filled by person selected under direct election. Out of sixty eight, sixteen seats shall be given to Scheduled Castes and three seats shall be kept for the Scheduled Tribes.

The Election Commission is empowered to allocate seats in the Lok Sabha apportioned for the State of Himachal Pradesh and the seats allotted to the Legislative Assembly of the State of Himachal Pradesh to the single member territorial constituencies and shall be delimited according to the recent census figures as provided under the Constitution. While delimiting, the Commission shall consider geographically compact areas, physical features, boundaries of the administrative wing, facilities for correspondence and the convenience of the public. All the assembly constituencies shall be demarcated to fall under single parliament constituency. The reserved seats shall be allocated in the proportion of the population evaluated with total population.

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The Election Commission shall appoint associate members to assist the Commission in the discharging its obligations. For this purpose the Commission shall involve such number of persons as specifically provided under the Act. But the proviso to the Act provides that the Associate members will not have the right to vote or to sign in any of the assessment of the Election Commission. In addition, the Act amended the following orders:

  • Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950
  • Constitution (Scheduled Castes) (Union Territories) Order, 1951
  • Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950
  • Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) (Union Territories) Order, 1951

The Act provides for the establishment of separate High Court to be known as the High Court of Himachal Pradesh for the State of Himachal Pradesh where the High Court shall sit at Simla. The payments and advantages granted to the Governor of Himachal Pradesh shall be settled by the President until separate law is made by the Parliament. The President is also empowered to decide the grants-in-aid of the revenue of the Himachal Pradesh State and the allocation of that State in the excise duties of the Union, estate duty and income tax. For the purpose of giving effect to the provisions of the enactment, the Central Government is empowered under the Act to formulate rules.

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Additionally, in 1954 The Himachal Pradesh and Bilaspur (New State) Act, 1954 was enacted on May 28, 1954 which came into force on July 1, 1954. The main object behind the legislation was to establish new State of Himachal Pradesh by joining the prevailing States of Himachal Pradesh and Bilaspur. Hence, Himachal Pradesh came into being as eighteenth State in the Indian Territory.