Fazl Ali Commission

The creation of Andhra state intensified the demand from other regions for creation of states on linguistic basis. This forced the Government of India to appoint (in December, 1953) a three member States Reorganisation Commission under the chairmanship of Fazl Ali to re-examine the whole question. Its other two members were K.M. Panikkar and H.N. Kunzru. It submitted its report in September 1955 and broadly accepted language as the basis of reorganisation of states. But, it rejected the theory of ‘one language-one state’. Its view was that the unity of India should be regarded as the primary consideration in any redrawing of the country’s political units. It identified four major factors that can be taken into account in any scheme of reorganisation of states:

  1. Preservation and strengthening of the unity and security of the country.
  2. Linguistic and cultural homogeneity.
  3. Financial, economic and administrative considerations.
  4. Planning and promotion of the welfare of the people in each state as well as of the nation as a whole.

The commission suggested the abolition of the four-fold classification of states and territories under the original Constitution and creation of 16 states and 3 centrally administered territories. The Government of India accepted these recommendations with certain minor modifications. By the States Reorganisation Act (1956) and the 7th Constitutional Amendment Act (1956), the distinction between Part A and Part B states was done away with and Part C states were abolished. Some of them were merged with adjacent states and some other were designated as union territories. As a result, 14 states and 6 union territories were created on November 1, 1956.

The States Reorganisation Act (1956) established the new state of Kerala by merging the Travancore – Cochin State with the Malabar District of Madras state and Kasargode of South Canara (Dakshina Kannada). It merged the Telugu-speaking areas of Hyderabad state with the Andhra state to create the Andhra Pradesh state. Further, it merged the Madya Bharat state, Vindya Pradesh state and Bhopal state into the Madya Pradesh state. Similarly, it merged the Saurashtra state and Kutch state into that of the Bombay state, the Coorg state into that of Mysore state; the Patiala and East Punjab States Union (Pepsu) into that of Punjab state; and the Ajmer state into that of Rajastan state. Moreover, it created the new union territory of Laccadive, Minicoy and Amindivi Islands from the territory detached from the Madras state.

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By : Ramakant Verma

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