Friday, the 29th August 1947
The Constituent Assembly of India met in the Constitution Hall, New Delhi, at Ten of the Clock, Mr. President (The Honourable Dr. Rajendra Prasad) in the Chair.
MEMBER TAKING PLEDGE
The following member took the pledge:
Lt.-Col. Brijraj Narain (Gwalior State)
ELECTION OF MEMBERS TO THE HOUSE COMMITTEE
Shri Satyanarayan Sinha (Bihar: General) : Sir, I beg to move the following, motion:-
'Resolved that the Constituent Assembly do proceed to elect in the manner required under Rule 44 (2 of the Constituent Assembly Rules two Members to be Members of the House Committee-"
As you know, Sir, two of our Members who were Members of this Committee, Mr. Abdul Ghaffar Khan and Mr. A. K. Das have ceased to be Members of the House. According to the Rules, they have ceased to be Members of the House Committee too. Therefore, there are, two vacancies to be filled in the manner prescribed by the Honourable the President.
The motion was adopted. Mr. President: Nominations to the two vacancies in the House Committee will be received up to 5 pm. today, and elections, if necessary, will be held between 3 pm. and 4 pm. tomorrow in the Under Secretary's room (Room No. 25), Ground Floor, Council House, in accordance with the principle of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.
COMMITTEE TO SCRUTINISE DRAFT CONSTITUTION
Shri Satyanarayan Sinha: Sir, I beg to move-
"This Assembly resolves that a Committee consisting of-
(1) Shri Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar.-
(2) Shri N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar,
(3) The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar,
(4) Shri K. M. Munshi,
(5) Saiyid Mohd. Saadulla,
6) Sir B. L. Mitter,
(7) Shri D. P. Khaitan,
be appointed to scrutinise and to suggest necessary amendment to the draft Constitution of India prepared in the Office of the Assembly on the basis of the decisions taken in, the Assembly."
Sir, you will remember, last time when we were discussing the Union Constitution and also the Provincial Constitutions, on your suggestion, the House approved that a Drafting Committee should be appointed to give proper shape to the decisions which we have taken in this House. With that end in view, this Committee is going to be appointed_ This is purely an expert committee. I hope the House will approve the names suggested.
Mr. H. V. Kamath (C. P. & Berar: General) : On a point of order, Mr. President, Saiyid Mohd. Saadulla, as you. are well aware was unseated as a result of the Sylhet Refendum. and has been only recently re-elected. He has not yet signed the Roll of Members and taken his seat in this House. As such I think he is not eligible for election to any Committee. Will you, Sir, be so good as to tell the House whether, as far as Mr. Saadulla is concerned, the motion is in order?
Mr, President: He will begin to function after.signing the.Roll.
Begum Aizaz Rasul (United Provinces: Muslim) : Mr. President, though I have not given notice of this motion, I would like to move with your permission that this House gives the Honourable the President the power to nominate any other Member to this Committee, if any Member who has been nominated on it is not able to serve for any reason. I hope the House will kindly accept this amendment of mine and give this power to the Honourable the President.
Mr. President:,Have you given notice of this amendment.?
Begum Aizaz Rasul: I said just now that I have not given formal notice of this motion, bat that I hope the House will kindly accept my motion.
Mr. President: I shall-consider this matter a little later. In the meantime the other amendments may be moved.
The Honourable Shri B. G. Kher (Bombay: General) : W. President, Sir, the amendment of which I have given notice is suggested with a view to express more clearly and give effect to the intention of the Mover, Mr. Satyanarayan Sinha. It reads this way:
That for the words "to scrutinise and to suggest necessary amendments to the draft Constitution of
India prepared in the Office of the Assembly on the basis of the decisions taken in the Assembly" the following be substituted:-
"to scrutinise the draft of the text of the Constitution of India prepared by the Constitutional Adviser giving effect to the decisions taken already in the Assembly and including all matters which are ancillary thereto or which have to be provided in such a Constitution, and to submit to the Assembly, f or consideration the text of the draft Constitution as revised by the Committee."
It makes provision for two things. One- is that for the purpose of giving effect to the decisions taken already in the Assembly-the Constitutional Advisor will prepare the draft. That draft has to be scrutinised by this- Committee. Then, Sir, we have not here considered 611 the points which are ancillary to the decisions which we have taken or which are usually necessary and have to be provided in the Constitution. For example, we have laid 'down a principle that all the action to be taken in the Provincial Constitution will be taken in the name of the Governor. There are a number of things which have to be put in in order to give effect to this decision which the Assembly has taken and which have been given a place in the Government of ' Act. Then there are provisions which are ancillary in the other constitutions, and some, other provisions which must usually find a place in the Constitution. All these will have to be included in our draft even though they may not have been discussed or decided here up to now. I do not think it proper to make any lengthy remarks on this amendment. It was not possible for us to discuss and provide for every necessary matter but without them the constitution will not be complete. We have taken decisions on almost all important points. Those will be given effect to but the draft will also contain things. which are ancillary to these and also all such things as are otherwise necessary. The draft containing all these matters is bound to come up before the House for discussion and decision. I hope, Sir, this House will accept this amendment.
Mr. President: Those amendments which go to the merit of the resolution will first be considered.
Shri Satyanarayan Sinha: I accept the amendment, Sir.
Mr. A. P. Pattani (Western India States) : Mr. President, I wish to submit that the Motion that is being placed should be shortened and it might be just said that this Committee be appointed to assist the Constitutional Advisor in drafting the Constitution. I wonder whether it is necessary to entrust the task of drafting the constitution to a large Committee. It would be much better if the Constitutional Adviser who is the one experienced adviser is given the work, because all the details are only known to him. The draft cannot be made in sections but as a whole. Consequently those members of the Committee that are appointed will be of help to him in framing the Constitution, to draft it on the lines of the amendments that have been accepted in the House here. So instead of scrutinising, etc., it will better serve the purpose, if the House simply says that this Committee will assist the Constitutional Adviser in drafting the Constitution.
Shri M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar (Madras: General) : Sir, I am not in favour of the suggestion just made by the previous speaker. It is not right that the work should be entrusted entirely to the office, however eminent the, officers might be. We have now taken decisions on various matters the have been placed before us by way of the draft Constitution. It is up to us to appoint a Committee of the leading men to frame the Constitution. There are a number of things in which we have moved amendments to the draft that was placed before us, approved of other things which normally find a place in any Constitution and which are taken for granted and even in respect of lists we have to consider them. It is wrong to leave these Lists--whether they are good or bad-to the decision of the officer who has to frame it. We have been looking for guidance from
time to time to many Honourable Members of this House. For instance, the Honourable the President many a time has asked Mr. Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar what is his opinion and likewise various others have also contributed. They have got all the amendments that have been tabled. No doubt, the amendments have not been formally moved, but they will be taken into consideration. Therefore, I suggest that this Committee may introduce a draft bill which will be considered clause by clause later on by the Assembly.
I also agree in a way to the suggestion made by the Honourable, Lady Member that in case anyone of the Members may not find it convenient to come and the work cannot wait, the power to fill in or co-opt such of the members who may find it convenient or who are prepared to shoulder this responsibility must be given to the President, Sir, if the House accepts, I would like to clothe the President with that power also. It is not for two or three members to meet and share the entire responsibility. For instance, Mr. Santhanam. has been here taking a great interest in these matters. He continues to be in Delhi. These gentlemen may be requested to attend in case others do not find it convenient to appear. Therefore, with the modification of vesting the general power in the President, the amendment of Mr. Kher may be accepted.
Shri K. Santhanam. (Madras: General) : I support the amendment of Mr. Kher, but I should also like to have some information upon a few important points. We have left certain material particulars undecided in this House so far. For instance, we have yet to decide upon the definition of citizenship, upon the procedure for change of constitution, upon the emergency powers and upon the financial clauses of the Constitution. Now, I would like to know whether this Committee is to begin work now or whether it is to wait till we have decided these matters in the next session. This should be made clear unless this Committee is to sit quiet and practically not function at all. I would myself suggest that the Committee should proceed to draft an the clauses. But they should keep the matters which have been already decided distinct. The other portions may be put in big types or italics so that when we meet here we may adopt a different procedure for the two parts. So far as the parts containing our decisions are concerned, only the verbal part of it will be scrutinised and no material amendments of principle will be adopted. As far as those parts which contain matters which are not decided are concerned, we shall proceed to table amendments on principle. also. Therefore, I do not think this Committee need wait till we have decided the points which have not yet been decided.
Let them prepare a tentative draft and let the whole draft be brought before the next session. Let us then consider verbal amendments to those parts which have already been decided and in case of the other sections of the constitution which have to be considered de novo, we can table amendments of principle. Thus we can save the time of' the House. Otherwise, another session to determine all these unsolved particulars will be a great strain on the Members. Therefore, I hope that when we meet in November, we will have a complete draft of the whole Bill including all matters which we have decided and other matters which we have yet to decide, so that we can adopt this procedure. I hope this will be acceptable. Mr Kher's amendment should be interpreted in the more liberal fashion that I have suggested.
Seth Govind Das (C. P. & Berar: General) : [Mr. President, one very important matter has not yet been decided and in this connection I want to say what should be our language. You had said that the.
* [Translation of Hindustani speech.
constitution, which we will draft, will originally be in our national language, and if it is deemed necessary it will be translated into English. I want to know in what language the committee that is being set up will transact its business. I
want to know whether this matter will be considered by the Committee or not.
The other thing that I want to know is, as to whether the bill that we are drafting will be originally in our language as you had said, or whether it will be in English. I want to suggest that these matters as well should be decided now, and also that the Bill that we are drafting should initially be in our national language. It can later be translated into English. What our national language should be, must also be decided just now.]
Mr. M. S. Aney (Deccan States) : Mr. President, Sir, I have come to make some observations because my friend Mr. Santhanam has made a suggestion which appears to me to be unconstitutional. Mr. Santhanam has asked that the Drafting Committee work should be to prepare a draft showing those clauses which are based upon our decisions in some form to be distinguishable from the rest of the clauses. He further stated that those clauses which are based upon the decisions already taken here should admit only of verbal amendments here and there; and any substantial amendment to modify those clauses should not be permissible. I submit, Sir, that the right of the House cannot be restricted in that way. (Hear, hear). It is one thing when you take the decision now. When the whole draft of the Bill is before you, in the light of that, it may become necessary for you even to go back upon certain decisions that you have taken before. No hard and fast restriction is, in my opinion, desirable. I have come here mainly to emphasize this particular thing.
Secondly, a suggestion has been made that it should be open, to the President to 'nominate anybody he likes in addition to the names on the list. Ordinarily, nobody will take any objection to this. The main reason why we have thought of giving certain names is to relieve the President of his invidious responsibility in a matter of this kind. It will be putting, him in an awkward position if ten persons go and tell him, "I think I am very competent to deal with the matter and so my name should be there", It is better that the names that are given in the list are adopted. It is 'not necessary for anybody to be on the committee itself to assist the members by making suggestions.
Therefore I oppose the particular suggestion which has been made by the lady who spoke and who was supported by my Honourable friend Mr. Ananthasyanam. Ayyangar.
Mr. R. K. Sidhwa (C. P. & Berar: General) : Mr. President, as I have understood, the object of this Committee is to proceed immediately with the business that has been adopted by this House. That is to say, all the proposals that this House has considered as far as the Union and Provincial constitutions are concerned, will be duly framed, excepting those subjects, namely language, citizenship and the principles of the first part which are to be held over. The Committee cannot discuss these matter until these and other subjects. which are not yet
* [Translation of Hindustani speech.
decided by this House have been discussed threadbare again in the next session. But that would not prevent the Committee from proceeding with its business. Mr. Santhanam's apprehension therefore is not tenable. The object of this Committee is to proceed immediately with its business and therefore, I feel, Sir, there is no necessity for Mi. Santhanam to be apprehensive.
Secondly, as Mr. Pattani has suggested, I do feel that the constitution could be prepared by one expert gentleman. Personally, I Would have felt a Committee of three persons to scrutinise it would be enough. As it is stated that some members may be absent, seven names are suggested. I am not in favour of asking the President to fill in names for those persons who are absent. Three even would be sufficient; five would be more than that and seven- much more. Therefore, I feel that as proposed by Mr. Kher and Mr. Santhanam, the names which are there should be allowed to stand without giving power to the President to take any more in
the event of a vacancy for persons who are absent, and that the proposal as made by Mr. Kher with the names that hate been proposed should be accepted.
Dr. D. Pattabhi Sitarpmayya (Madras: General) Mr. President, Sir, we cannot read into the resolution more than the wording permits and therefore I am not perturbed by what Mr. Santhanam has suggested. As a practical politician, he expects that the Bill to be ready must be complete and cannot be full in certain parts and absolutely blank in other parts, and so he thinks that the Bill should be a complete one. When it is made a complete one, his suggestion comes into operation. Whether there is to be a complete Bill and his suggest-on should be permitted to come into operation is the issue that we have to consider. If that is to be accepted, then it will be taking away the powers of the whole House and constituting the Sub-Committee into a kind of Committee Delegate of the Constituent Assembly, a step that is not desirable by any means. As Mr. Santhanam has himself categorically described the first three Chapters of the Union Constitution Committee and the last two bits of the same, as well as the Provincial and concurrent and a good half of the Federal lists of the Union Powers Committee constitute a big chunk which has been left out and has yet to be considered by the whole House. For instance, the Union Constitution Committee and the Model Provincial Constitution Committee had a joint sitting and appointed a Sub Committee in regard to linguistic provinces and its recommendation has been considered by the Joint Committee of the two Committees. What is to happen to that hereafter? Should it be dangling in the air like Trisanku, neither in heaven nor on earth? Should it be given the go-by? Should it be passed over? I mention it only as an example, not that I am a faddist about the question. The matter has to be taken as an illustration. I ask; "When on November 6th, this Assembly reassembles, for what purpose is it going to reassemble? Is it going to be presented with a Bill, complete in every detail, and then consider it as a matter of course?" In that case, it will have embodied in it portions which have not been considered at all by this House even primarily. If that is not so, then, the November 6th Session will have to address itself to a consideration of the left-over points in which (case no Bill can be ready by that time. This is the difficulty that presents itself to me logically. Therefore, I would like the President to make the position clear and also if possible to convene a Session of this House in, the month of September or October in order to complete all the points which have been left unconsidered. Then the material that will be presented to the drafts men or the drafting Committee or the scrutinising Committee will be ample and complete and then only they can deal With the matter. I make this suggestion in order to have in our mind a clear idea- as to wheat is going to happen and if possible- to persuade the President to- convene a session in the month of September or October. for completing the business by attending to those_ other matters which have been left over.
Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra (West Bengal: General) : Nr. President, the amendment moved by my Honourable friend Mr. Kher' deserves very careful consideration' and in that connection the observations that have been made by Mr. Santhananm should also be closely scrutinized. I am sure that most of. the members of this: House have not yet got any clear picture as to what is going to be done in th. next session. Mr. Santhanam say's that a portion of the Union Powers Committee's Report has not yet been dealt with by the House. Nobody knows whether the House is in a position to accept it in toto or to modify it. Ho seemed to suggest that there will be drafting of the decisions that have already been taken by the House and that it Would be open to the Members to make certain small verbal alterations only if necessary. I want to tell this House that this is not an ordinary piece of legislation or
an ad hoc piece of legislation which a, legislature is called upon to enact You are going to enact a Constitution Act for Free India and, therefore, it is incumbent, nay, it is imperative on everyone of you to scrutinise closely every single provision in the Constitution Act and to satisfy yourself that it meets with the requirements of the nation. If you simply restrain the powers of the members of this House and restrict them to mere verbal alterations. I think you will be doing the greatest possible injustice to this house and also to the country. It may be that when a full picture is presented to the House they may be constrained to make certain drastic modifications-of certain portions of clauses of the Constitution Bill in the light of the decisions- that we may be able to take mean-time. How can you say beforehand that, the draft that will come up before you would be only amenable to certain formal or verbal alterations? Does Mr. Santhanam 'seriously suggest that; because we have accepted certain principles in this House in connection with the reports, of the Union Powers Committee and the other Committees, therefore, that will operate as a res judicata, that they cannot be-reopened, that it is, not open to any member to go back on them or to modify them to suit the necessity of the law itself or the constitutions itself so that it might fit in with the rest of the provisions? If that is the view held by him, 1. Will join a straight issue with hire. I, cannot too strongly emphasise the point their it is the Constitution Act of this country which you are going to frame
Then, Sir, I thoroughly agree with my Honourable friend Mr. it her when he said that the drafting should be entrusted to certain responsible persons and that too many cooks would spoil the whole broth, ;and that these responsible person-, should be entrusted with the specific duty of seeing that The decisions that have been taken so far are really embodied in the Bill with such alterations as may have been suggested. I want to ask you, Mr. President, to indicate to its whether or not, when the draft bill is prepared and formally introduced ir. the House for consideration, you are going to allow a Select Committee of this House, elected by members of this House represent it all sections (and by all sections I mean also the States) to go into and examine the whole Bill that is presented for the consideration of the House. Unless in my opinion, a Select Committee is appointed to go into the whole question to examine the bill with meticulous _care in respect of every single provision of +The Constitution Act; I am sure we are not going to get satisfactory results. Let us not forget that once a Constitution Act is passed, it is not changed within three, or six months or even within a year and a half. Therefore, we must take. every possible care and precaution so as to make it as faultless as is humanly possible. No human institution is perfect, I know. But we must take all possible care to see that the Constitution Act framed by us is nearly faultless as possible. We will defer our judgment for some time until we are satisfied with all provisions of the Constitution Act. Therefore before we put the final imprimaturs or seal of approval on the Constitution of India, I ask you carefully to consider whether you will not insist that on the presentation of the Bill there should be a 'Select Committee to examine the whole Bill and all its provisions with the utmost care and caution and then when the report of the Select Committee is presented before the House, you should have the final opportunity of carefully discussing every single section of the Bill. Personally speaking, I do not feel that we need proceed with the drafting of the constitution at the terrific speed now when we are going to introduce rules and regulations by which this Constituent Assembly will also be functioning as a Legislature. While functioning as a legislature this House can carefully examine the provisions of the Constitution Act as well. With regard to the portions that have been
left out, I would suggest that if it is insisted that a complete draft should be presented to this House by the November Session, then the draftsmen may proceed on the assumption that the portions of the report of the Union Powers Committee that have not been so far discussed by this House or left over, have the approval of the House. If, however, we find that these recommendations, in the report of the Union Powers Committee will not ultimately meet with the approval of the House, then we will modify them, and if the principles are not later accepted, the draft also will be modified accordingly. Therefore I do not agree with my Honourable friend Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayya that an intermediate session would be necessary to complete the programme that was placed before us. I do not think it will be possible in the whole of September to convoke another session of the Assembly to go into this matter. I must say that the November Session should first of an discuss the portions that have been left out and which can be pieced together towards the end. The draft can follow. We shall expect the draft of the Bill in three month's time. After all the constitution of a country is not a small matter and cannot be lightly treated. I would therefore request that you, Sir, should give a clear indication to the House as to how we want to proceed. So far as I am concerned, I do not know if I am voicing the feelings of my Honourable friends here, but I am inclined to think that the final draft of the constitution should be in the hands of Honourable Members of the Constituent Assembly for at least three weeks before it is taken up. Unless you give them sufficient time carefully to read and scrutinise the provisions that you make in the draft, You will be simply taking a terrible lot of time here. You cannot stop the flood gates of amendments that would. be pouring in from all directions, if you give them insufficient time. I do not think that for the scrutiny of the draft constitution of the country three weeks' time is too much. I mean that the draft will be prepared and circulated to the members at least three weeks in advance of the session. If you can do that, then the Honourable Members would come prepared thoroughly, and the amendments that may be tabled in connection with the different clauses, 'Probably will not be so numerous as they would otherwise be, if the Bill is drafted in haste and if the draft is circulated to the members only a few days before the session commences. This is a very important matter. Sir, I do not mean to cast any reflection on your office, Mr. President, but from our experience of the Central Legislative Assembly Department, I may say that your secretariat is not half as efficient as that of the Central Legislative Assembly. That is what we find from the way in which papers,--daily order papers, are circulated to us. On the question of the supply of the draft constitution, if we are confronted with excuses such as "shortness of time" or "we sent to your address" or "we could not send it" and so on and so forth, that will be disastrous. Therefore I would say that it is very necessary to see that these drafts are sent to us in time.
Then, Sir, I would submit that it will be for you to take counsel with the other important members of this House and consider whether you envisage the appointment of a Select Committee to go into the whole Bill before it is taken up clause by clause by this House. Unless that is done we may not be able to safeguard ourselves against pitfalls.
Mr. Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar (Madras: General) : Sir, on a matter like this it is as well we are sure as to what exactly the import of the resolution is. One thing must be made quite clear, namely, that in regard to the decisions already reached, they will be treated as binding, though if errors are discovered or unforeseen difficulties arise, it will always be open to the House to review the decisions. The analogy of a Select Committee in the case of an ordinary bill that is introduced by Government is misleading. We have taken nearly
a year for the consideration of various subjects by certain committees of the House. There has been a Fundamental Rights Committee, the Union Powers Committee, and the Union Constitution Committee and they have considered and placed their decisions before this House. In regard to matters which have already been considered by this Assembly and in regard to which decisions have been reached, the scope of review at a later stage must naturally be limited. The analogy of an ordinary Bill introduced by Government without reference to the Assembly is misleading. There the Government Department prepares a Bill without reference to the legislature and places the Bill before the legislature. Then the House appoints a Select Committee which goes into the question. If you treat the whole question as a draft without reference to the decisions already reached on various important matters and if clause after 'Clause were taken and discussed, I think it will be like beginning again. There will always be a beginning to the procedure, never an end of the procedure started in this House. I think it is as well that it Is made clear that in regard to matters in respect of which no decisions have been reached they stand on a different footing.
But difficulty arises on account of my friend Mr. Santhanam's Suggestion that this committee must take into account the other set of provisions in regard to which no decision has been reached. I do 'not say that it is not open to the House to review the entire decision but there must be some degree of finality in regard to the work already done for about eight or nine months, so that we do not begin again as if it is the case of an ordinary Bill placed before a Select Committee ignoring the reports that have been submitted by the committees, the discussions of this Assembly on clause after clause and the votes that have been taken on the floor of the House. I do not know whether it is the wish of the House that this Committee should consider all matters. Sections which have not become the subject of decisions by this House is another matter. At any rate, some distinction must be drawn between cases in which decisions have been raised in this this House yesterday. the day before and during the whole of the various sessions of this- House. We have discussed clause after clause and there have been very long and elaborate arguments an the floor of the Abuse. We owe a duty to the public, to make them feet that all this time is not to be treated as waste of time. That is the only point I want to make clear.
Dr. P. S. Deshmukh (C. P. & Berar: General) : Mr. President, Sir, I am sorry I cannot find my way to agree with the suggestion and the speech made by Mr. Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar, or Ayyangar--I am afraid I am not able to pronounce his long name correctly, but whether it is Ayyar or Ayyangar, probably it makes no difference. in any case, he can be fittingly described as the previous speaker. His suggestion. Sir, is that the time that we have spent in this House should not be wasted. But this is, Sir,'the important legislation which could never be altered lightly, and whatever procedure we may lay down in the House, it is bound to be very hard to amend it. We will have also to take into account the fact that many of our friends have already made up their minds that we are going to have a very large number of representatives coming from the States. We all know that 'the States are a conservative element in India and they are sure to put in their weight against any alterations. It is absolutely certain that if we try to amend the constitution, they would be on the side of maintaining it rather than permit it to be altered.
Apart from that Sir, what is the exact situation in which we find ourselves to-day? Sir, Alladi or Mr. Alladi said that we have spent a year on this work. I am afraid, Sir, that is not strictly correct. For the first time we met in the month of December. What was the business that was transacted then? Very little. The sum-total of the work we turned out in that session does not
come to much especially from the point of view of being of much practical use. Then we met again in January, but that also was a very short session. We merely passed a resolution giving out the objectives of this Assembly. As a matter of fact, if we carefully look into the proceedings and records of our work, we will find that the work that we have done so far, is in my humble view, of a very perfunctory nature. We have bad several committees, but in most cases we have 'had only interim reports, provisional suggestions, tentative proposals and things of that sort. That is the sort of thing we have been dealing with. We have not yet had a complete picture of the Constitution. As a matter of fact, the most important chapters in the. Un,on Powers Committee are yet to be decided on. Then, how can we possibly say that we have before us a skeleton of the constitution? I say there is not even a skeleton constitution before us. Therefore, it is but proper that we should have a very comprehensive committee a committee got up of members from all sides of this House containing the best intellect and competence that we have in this House to look to the shipping of the Constitution. Not to give such an opportunity and to rush legislation like the framing of a Constitution would be highly improper. I hope, Sir, that the suggestion made by Mr. Santhanam and supported by Mr. Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar will not be accepted by this House and that the counter--suggestion made by other friends of mine and supported by Mr. Aney on this side will be accepted by the House.
As I said before, we have been dealing with the Constitution in a very piece-meal manner and unless we have the whole picture before us, the House should not be regarded as having committed itself one way or the other. Of course, in some matters, as in the case of the Minority Committee report, etc., there was so much of unanimity that the decisions arrived at are not likely to be disturbed. But there are so many ancillary things, and things that arise as sort of corollaries to the main propositions. It is fit and proper that they should be decided afresh. It should not be supposed that the decisions that we have already taken in respect of these are unalterable. They should be alterable with as much ease as possible till we have the whole picture and till we have had a proper opportunity of discussing every word, 'every section and every principle involved in the Constitution. Till such time none of our decisions should be regarded as in any way unalterable.
Mr. Tajamul Hussain (Bihar: Muslim) : Sir, I rise to oppose the motion of Mr. Satyanarayan Sinha. In my opinion it will be wrong to appoint a committee at this stage. I do not believe in doing work piecemeal., I think it is far better in our own interests that we sit here till we have finished the consideration of all the Reports. I think it will not take more than about a fortnight to finish the consideration of the Reports. If we continue the work now, I think, that by the 12th of September we will be able to finish it. If Government, for certain reasons, are not prepared to do so, being busy elsewhere-let us adjourn for a few days and meet again. But let us not end this session, now. Let us adjourn for a few days, meet again and finish the work which we have taken on hand. When all the Reports are finished let us then appoint a Committee, and then adjourn for about three months. I think it will take the Committee about two months to scrutinise the whole thing and submit its report in the form of a Bill. And then we will take at least one month to consider the Bill and then we can come to the Assembly to deal with that Bill. Therefore, I say, let us go on till the end or at least till the middle of September and finish consideration of these Reports. Suppose we to the end of September, we can adjourn for October, November and December, and meet again in January and then go on till we finish this work. I think if we sit for two months during, January and February, then by the end of February we shall finish the
work. For the three months we can stay here as the Members of the Union Parliament. During these three months, part of the time can be spent in this way. Then we can sit from the beginning of March to end of March or middle of April for the Budget Session of the Central Legislature. I think, Sir, for the smooth working it would be better that we continue now, and appoint a committee after the entire work of considering the Reports is finished. I have come here to oppose the original motion of Mr. Satyanarayan Sinha.
Mahboob Ali Baig Sahib Bahadur (Madras: Muslim) Mr. President, Sir the process of constitution-making has been going on for the last eight or nine months. This Assembly appointed certain committees to go into several topics, and to recommend a constitution for the Province and for the Centre, and some committee were appointed to make reports on special subjects such as the Powers of the Union, the Minorities Rights, the Fundamental Rights and so on. After these committees had gone into the several matters referred to them, and after great care and scrutiny, they made their reports to this Assembly. Most part of the reports has been discussed and debated upon in this Assembly, and this Assembly came to certain conclusions, and decided certain matters this way or that. So we have reached a certain stage now. After the committees had studied the questions and prepared their reports, these reports were discussed and debated in this Assembly and most of these questions have been decided upon and only a few topics have been left over. Now, two questions arise. The first is, whether a select committee to draft the Constitution should be selected now, or whether it should be selected after the remaining topics also have been decided upon by this august House. That is the first question to be decided. The second question is whether the decisions that have been taken by this. House can be re-opened again at the stage when the draft Bill comes before it. These are the two questions to be decided on this motion. I am clearly of the opinion that there is no room, nor justification for reopening the decisions on those topics that have already been decided upon. As my friend Mr. Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar put it they have been debated upon, they were scrutinised on reports drawn up by committees competent to consider them. They were again thrashed threadbare and debated upon by this body. Therefore, Sir I think no useful purpose would be served by reopening then again at this stage,. nor is it right and proper.
Shri C Subramanyam (Madras:. General) : Sir, on a point of order Rule 32 of the Rules of Procedure is as follows:-
No question which has once been decided by the Assembly shall be re-opened except with the-consent of at least one-fourth of the members present and voting."
Therefore, it is clear that we have provided for the reopening of questions already decided upon. That being the case. I want to know why there should be any debate on this point at all. We have already provided for the reopening of decisions. So I submit there need not be any debate regarding the reopening of decisions once arrived at.
Mr. President You should have raised this point of order when the first speaker raised the question. Now that the debate has proceeded so far It 'Cannot be stopped in the middle. But all the same, I think this question has been discussed at great length and I would request Honourable Member to cut short their remarks as much as possible.
Mahboob Ali Baig Sahib Bahadur: The second question is about the select committee for drafting the Bill. I entirely agree with my friend Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayya. that the topics left over should also be debated upon, discussed and scrutinised by this House and when we have done that, then that will be the time to appoint this drafting committee. I do not see any reason why certain topic which have been left over should not be discussed by this Body. Is it considered that the topics left over are not of as much importance as the others? It is clearly not so. One
Member has said that after the Bill is presented to the House it should go to a select committee. I do not think that is necessary at all after this larger body, the whole Assembly, had once gone into the whole question and decided on the issues one way or the other. Therefore there is no necessity for a select committee to be appointed before, which the Draft Bill should go and I submit that just as we have decided on many topics the remaining topics also should be decided by this body so that what is left to the Drafting Committee will be only placing the topics that have been decided on, on which decisions have been arrived at, in a legal form and providing any consequential provisions that may be necessary from those decisions That is all. When the draft Bill. comes before the House it should be very much easier for us to get through the business and pass it in a shorter time than would be necessary if we were to go through it in extenso. Therefore; I submit that it is not open to us, at any rate, normally, to reopen the question at the time the draft is placed before us. At the same time I am of opinion that this House should decide, as it had decided other topics beforehand, regarding matters that had not been decided and it is not necessary for us at this stage to appoint a Committee.
Shri Raj Krushna Bose (Orissa: General) : Mr, President, I do riot have to say much in this connection. In my opinion it would have been proper if we had maintained continuity-and consistency in the proceedings hitherto. From the discussion today it appears that we are deviating from the course which we were following. As first, we had thought of determining the principles for drafting of the constitution. You set up two committees and they have settled the principles. When principles have once been decided, it would have been proper for us to express our opinion on them. This could not be done, because the present session finishes before the 31st of August. Therefore, I desire that hence forward, whenever we are summoned we should have clear indications as to how many days we would be required to stay. We do not get any indications in this connection and we come on the understanding that after finishing the work of the Assembly in a few days we will be able to go back to our respective constituencies. But in future, we should have clear indications as to how long approximately the session will continue so that the members may not say that. they are not prepared to stay so long. I want to submit most respectfully that we should have liked to express our opinion on the principles which the two Committees have agreed upon after so much labour and. hard work. To do otherwise is a mistake and I think that we are not doing our duty. When you have decided that we shall not sit after 31st, then I submit that for expressing our opinion on the Union Constitutional principles on which we have not yet given our opinion, another session should be summoned either towards the end of September or the beginning of October. After that, the draft should be prepared which we will pass of course. If there is some mistake of language we will correct it. When the draft comes before us we can amend it if necessary, but we have no right to go against the basic principles. Then we will not be able 'to say that the Governor should be elected on the basis of indirect election instead of adult franchise. If we go on changing the principles like this, then the task of the Constituent Assembly becomes very difficult, and the work will never come to an end. Therefore, I submit very respectfully that consistency should be maintained with what has so far been accomplished, and in order to ascertain opinion regarding the remaining principles of the Union and Provincial Constitutions, another session should be summoned either at the end of September or the beginning of October. After that, we will give time to the Constitutional Adviser to prepare the draft, and when the completed draft comes before us, we will give our final opinion. Therefore, it is essential that
continuity be maintained.
As I have already said, from now onwards when the Constituent Assembly is summoned an indication should be given that we will have to stay here for approximately so many days. The members will therefore not form their own idea that the work will be finished in so much time and make. their arrangements accordingly. On the contrary, they Will make their programme on the basis of your directions and then these difficulties will not arise.
Mr. Jaipal Singh (Bihar: General) : Mr. president, Sir, I oppose the Resolution that has been moved because I feel that it is not right for us, at this' stage, to appoint any Committee, whether of experts or otherwise, which can pry into things which we have not yet decided. I can fully understand that decisions that have been made may be put into the melting pot by. them and turned out in constitutional language, but it has been insinuated by some, speakers that this Committee would also look into matters where the House has not taken its decision. A great may important subjects aye yet left over. They have not been decided by this Assembly and I don't see how we can delegate our_constitution making power to Any Committee at all. I do not think there can be any difference of opinion on that. I do admit that, as far as the question of clauses and other things that have already been decided by-us, is concerned, a Committee may reproduce them in suitable constitutional language. Here, a point has been raised that some sort of finality should be reached. True We are making a constitution and that very word itself means that we are not to change it every five minutes, but at the same Vine, before finality is reached, I think we should have ample opportunity of reviewing the situation. It may be that we shall have to unmake our decisions. The,House is a sovereign body and It has the right to make decisions and unmake them. It seems to me that, by appointing a Committee at this stage, we are putting the cart before the horse. More and more have we realised that it does not pay us to rush things. We have appointed Committees of experts; they have produced their reports; and what has happened is that those reports when they have appeared before this Assembly have been thrashed out and there have been very many important changes in the recommendations of the experts. This may be the ease with the Drafting Committee also when it submits its report. I think, in that case, we shall just be wasting time. I think the better thing would be that we should complete whatever remains to be done and, then, the Drafting Committee will be in a position, having been in full possession of all decisions taken by this Assembly to produce a Bill which can come before us to make up our mind whether we want to change the language or the subject matter contained in that Bill. Sir, I particularly feel. that should not be left to this Committee even to draft in constitutional language clauses in regard to tribal matters, for instance. Now, the Tribal Committee, one of the Sub-Committees appointed by the Advisory Committee which again has been appointed by this Assembly, has vet to complete its work. We have, I know, submitted an interim report. Does it mean that this Committee of experts, expert draftsmen, are going to submit in the Bill matters which have not ' vet come before the Assembly? I think, that would be a preposterous thing for us to do. The House must have the right to make its decisions and I suggest that we can never delegate our constitutional power to any Committee, however great the experts might be. We have seen their we are grateful for the work they have produced, but our experience has been that even experts have to be shifted when the matter they produce comes before the floor of the House before the floor of the House.
Mr. Hussain Imam (Bihar: Muslim) : Mr. President. I do not wish to take up the time of the House. I simply wish to point out the conditions under which we are working. At the moment there is so much distress and disturbance in the country that it seems
unnatural for us to sit here, and not be at our posts. A suggestion was made that this Session should be continued. I think it would be disastrous for this Session to be continued for a day longer than is absolutely necessary. We must terminate the Session as soon as possible and go back and give the message of peace to the countryside. It is our duty as citizens of India to see that peace is restored. The motion by Mr. Satyanarayan Sinha is very simple and I do not understand why there has been so much distrust shown by Honourable Members. Let us examine this in a cool way. An Assembly of this nature cannot possibly go into and examine the, things in detail. Everywhere the detailed scrutiny is left to Select Committees. Here, to, we had the advantage of double scrutiny. Firstly, you had the Union Powers Committee and then the Union Constitution Committee. These two have gone into the matter, sifted the whole thing and framed their recommendations. They have then been examined by the House. But let me tell the House. that no doubt there have been a large number of amendments moved, but the amendments that have been carried have been mostly inspired amendments and the Committee that has been proposed consists of experts whose opinions have prevailed in this House. You have the guarantee that after the double scrutiny there will be a third scrutiny by the experts. Now. there is no question of usurpation of the rights of the House. The House being a sovereign body, has the right to change everything which it has not approved in the first instance. Only those are sacred which have been approved by the House, and after the approval of the House, you, as a sovereign body, respect yourself and impose a self-denying restraint and do not go back on your own decision. Therefore if any item is brought in which has not been approved of by the House, it will be open to the House to examine and reconsider and change. No one can deny the right of the House to amend those proposals which have not been approved in principle but this is what I want the House to realize. We are talkin- in riddles. We are really different parties and decisions are taken therein. No matter whatever people might say but it is only if the majority of the party feel that an amendment should be approved, then only it will be put as a party question and even those who were against it will vote for it. This is the reality of the situation. Therefore it is idle to say that suggestions have a better chance of being carried here if the Committee is not formed. Whether the Committee is formed or not, the party machine will move and as such only the inspired amendments which can have the approval of the machine of the party can get through. I therefore suggest that it is idle to make objections to the procedure. The procedure is quite all right. You have appointed the best people available to examine the draft put up by the office and it will not be difficult to go back on those recommendations of this Committee which have not been specifically approved by the House. I therefore feel, Sir, that this motion should be approved unanimously by the House.
Shri Shanker Dattatraya Deo (Bombay : General) : Sir, I move closure.
Mr. President: Closure is moved. I put it to the House.
The motion was adopted.
Mr. President: Mr. Satyanarayan Sinha may reply.
Shri Ramnath Goenka (Madras: General) : Certain amendments have not been moved.
Mr. President: I shall take up the amendments later. I am taking at the present moment the amendment relating to the text of the Resolution.
Mr. Satyanarayan Sinha: Sir, I confess I have not been able to appreciate the misgivings and doubts expressed by many of my friends here. I think the Drafting Committee's Report will be before this House and this House has got an inherent right to alter, modify and change anything it likes. I think the Assembly has the right to change even the decisions it has taken but it will not be fair if it goes on changing the decision which it has once taken and therefore I think the House will not:
agree to change the decisions on important principles which were discussed and decisions arrived at. But with regard to those principles which might be incorporated in drafting the whole bill on which we have not expressed our opinion or taken any decision, to that extent I think this House has every right to modify, change and alter. I don't see any reason for any fuss. The Committee's report will be before this House and it will have every opportunity to change or modify anything it likes.
Mr. President: I think it is necessary for me to make the position clear before I put the Resolution to vote. I do not think there is any intention of taking away any of the powers of the Members of this House and even if there were any such intention, that intention can have no effect. The idea is to place before the House at its next Session a draft in a more or less complete form so that the Members may be in a position to give their attention to the draft, as a whole and then come to their conclusions and pass the draft section by section. We have already discussed and adopted the principles underlying some of the most important items and there are some about which we have not yet had any discussion. The idea is that the Committee which is now being suggested should have the draft ready, not only of the principles which have already been accepted, but also of those which we have not considered. Of course both will be before the House but they will be an a somewhat different footing. Those relating to the portions which have already been accepted will be considered by the House from one angle of vision. The House will ordinarily try to conform to its previous decisions and not to alter them unless it finds that there is something which calls for a revision. But with regard to the items which we have not yet discussed, the House will naturally scrutinise the draft with a greater degree of latitude or freedom and I think that will be the best course to save time, so that the House may consider the whole thing and may have an opportunity of forming a comprehensive view of the constitution as, it emerges. I have this to say, that I am anxious that the Constitution should be completed; but at the same time I am equally anxious that we should do nothing in a hurry and that every clause, every sentence of a clause and every word of the clause will be weighed and carefully weighed by all the members before it is finally adopted. (Hear, hear.) Therefore when the draft comes up before 'in its final form for consideration, we shall take as much time as is considered necessary for giving it the fullest possible consideration and the, members will have an opportunity of considering every word that is used there and of giving their own decision on the draft. I think with that the members will be pleased to accept this resolution in the amended form which gives the Committee a somewhat larger latitude in preparing the draft in regard to matters which do not come exactly under the principles which we have decided but which are implied in them. I now put the amendment of Mr. Kher to the House.
An Honourable Member: What about your announcement that the Bill will be in Hindi or in the National language?
Mr. President: We will have it in Hindi. When the time comes. I shall place it before you.
Another Honourable Member: How many weeks will you give us to study the Bill?
Mr. President: Reasonable time would be two to three weeks. I will now put the amendment of Mr. B. G. Kher to vote.
The question is:
"That for the words "to scrutinise and to suggest necessary amendments to the draft Constitution of India prepared in the Office of the Assembly on the basis of the decision taken into the Assembly" the following be substituted:- "to scrutinise the draft of the text of the Constitution of India prepared by the Constitutional Adviser giving effect to the decisions taken already in the Assembly and including all matters which are ancillary thereto or which have to be provided in such a Constitution, and to submit to the Assembly for
consideration the text of the draft Constitution as revised by the Committee".
The motion was adopted
Mr. President: I now put the resolution, as amended to vote.
The motion was adopted
Mr. President: Now, with regard to the names of the Members who are to constitute the Committee I find that there are several amendments.
Honourable Members: We are not moving the amendments.
Dr. P. S. Deshmukh: I request all friends, who have given notice of amendments, adding my name to the list of names already suggested, kindly not to move their amendments. I am most thankful to them for their kindness in proposing me as a member of the Drafting Committee.
Mr. President: So then we have dispersed of the amendments to include new names to the list.
There is one suggestion made by Begum Aizaz Rasul and that is that in case any of the Members are unable to attend the Committee or if any vacancy occurs I should be given power to fill it. I take it that that suggestion was made in view of the fact that Mr. Saadulla is unfortunately not keeping fit and may not be able to serve on the Committee. I take it that the House will give me leave to fill up the vacancy if it actually occurs. (Members: "Yes")
The question is:
'That original list of names suggested in the Resolution moved by Mr. Satyanarayan Sinha be adopted."
The motion was adopted.