(1) All lands, minerals and other things of value underlying the ocean within the territorial waters, or the continental shelf, or the exclusive economic zone, of India shall vest in the Union and be held for the purposes of the Union.

 

(2) All other resources of the exclusive economic zone of India shall also vest in the Union and be held for the purposes of the Union.

 

(3) The limits of the territorial waters, the continental shelf, the exclusive economic zone, and other maritime zones, of India shall be such as may be specified, from time to time, by or under any law made by Parliament.

Debate Summary

Draft Article 271A (Article 297, Constitution of India 1950) was not a part of the Draft Constitution 1948. It was introduced by the Drafting Committee Chairman on 15 June 1949. Draft Article 271A stated that all minerals and other resources in the ocean within the territorial waters of India would be under the authority of the Union. The Drafting Committee Chairman introduced this Draft Article to clarify that such resources belonged exclusively to the Union - not the States. 

 

A Member was concerned that the phrase ‘other things of value’ in the Draft Article was vague and wanted a clear definition. He also pointed out that the Constitution did not define ‘Indian territorial waters’. The Assembly President responded by saying that the meaning of the term ‘territorial waters’ would be supplied by international law principles.    

 

Another Member questioned if fisheries would also be under the control of the Union. The Drafting Committee Chairman answered by saying that fisheries would continue to be a State subject. 


After the debate, the Assembly adopted Draft Article 271A on the same day. 

 

Article 297 was amended in 1976 to state that resources in the continental shelf and exclusive economic zones would also be under the authority of the Union. Further, it also declared that limits of the territorial waters, the continental shelf, the exclusive economic zone and other maritime zones of India would be defined by laws made by Parliament.