Monday, the 27th December, 1948
Prof. K. T. Shah: Sir, I beg to move--
"That the following new clause be added to article 48:--
'(5) Every President on completion of his term of office, and retirement, shall be given such pension or allowance during the rest of his life as ParlI ament may determine, provided that during the life time of any such President in retirement, the pension or allowance granted to him shall not be varied to his prejudice'."
This, Sir, is another novel idea which is not found in the American Constitution, and as such it is also trying tobreak new ground. I trust that, however, will not beregarded as an argument in itself against my motion, thatsince even the wise Americans have not provided for thiscontingency, we in India need not do so.
If that argument should be urged, may I mention that inone of the later amendments to the ParlI ament Act orMinisters' Salaries Act, the hoary old Mother of ParlI amenthas provided for the Prime Minister's pension on retirement,and, if I am not mistaken, even for the Leader of theOpposition. Lest I should be misunderstood by this word, Iwish no one will think me guilty of any personal implicationin that latter statement. I am only quoting a provision of the law made by the British ParlI ament providing for theretiring Prime Minister a reasonable competence, so that onewho has held the dignity of the Prime Minister of the UnitedKingdom should not be reduced to circumstances wherein, asin the case of Mr. Asquith, his friends would have to cometo his assistance, and provide a sort of trust to enable himto pass his remaining years in peace.
Sir, it is a matter of no small concern to all of usthat one who has held the office of the President of Indiashould not, by force of circumstanes, by economic necessity,be compelled to have recourse to any service, trade,business or activity of any sort, or even to politicalmanoeuvring, which might bring him a competence. It must bethe greatest of our public ideals, the greatest of ourpublic concerns that whoever has been elected Head of theState shall, on retirement, be adequately provided with whatis considered at the time adequate sustenance for him whohas been President of India.
This has both a precedent, as I have just pointed out,and a principle in its favour. Take for instance, theprovision made for Judges of the High Court who also hold apart or the Sovereign power of the State, and who onretirement are without question provided with a pensioneverywhere in the world. You have plenty of precedents forit, I mean for some retiring pension for the President. Ifyou can provide and if you should provide some retirementallowance to high judicial officials on their retirement,why should you not provide for the Head of the Stateembodying the Sovereignty of the people though even for atime, some sort of an allowance or pension--call it what youlike--which would save him from being reduced by necessityto resort to means that may not be considered honourable, orthat may not be considered befitting the dignity of one whohas been Head of the State?
Sir, the Constitutions, from which precedents areusually cited, were drafted at a time and were made for apeople where those coming up for such offices were presumedto be so well off, so well provided and in possession ofsuch worldy wealth, that the provision was superfluous orunnecessary.
In fact it has been said as regards the President ofAmerica, or of the Prime Minister of England, that veryoften they have retired poorer by thousands than when theyentered upon their office. And yet no compensation was foundnecessary to spend their retirement on a decent livelihood.What does that signify? In this case, Sir, if ideals such ashave been preached in this country are at all to be realizedin actual fact, if the poorest is to be able to claim oneday to have at least the right to be elected President, ifone who has no right, title or interest in any industry,aided, supported or protected by the State, and not
merelycarried on by the State, then in such matters I hope themere consideration of economic necessity after the post hasbeen filled with honour and dignity will not debar such aperson otherwise highly qualified from being chosen as acandidate or being chosen successfully as the occupant of the post.
I think, Sir, that the consideration in favour ofmaking some such provision by ParlI amentary enactment is sooverwhelming that if not in the words that I have had thehonour to put forward, in some other way and in some otherform, the principle embodied in this amendment will commenditself to the Draftsmen and those who support him; and assuch will become part of the Act.
The Honourable Dr. B.R. Ambedkar: Mr. Vice-President,Sir, I regret I cannot accept the amendments which have beenmoved. Professor Shah's amendment No. 1138 seems to besomewhat superfluous. It provides that the President shall be given Secretariat assistance. There is nodoubt about it that it will be done whether there is anyprovision in the constitution or not.
With regard to his second amendment No. 1140prescribing that a pension be given to the President on hisretirement, I find that while I am agreeable to thesentiment that he has expressed that persons who serve thepublic by becoming members of ParlI ament undergo a greatdeal of personal sacrifice and that it is desirable that they should not be left unprovided for towards the end of their lives, it seems rather difficult to accept thisparticular amendment also. According to him, every personwho becomes president and serves his term of office, whichis 5 years, shall, at the end of 5 years be entitled to apension. The second difficulty is that according to hisamendment his pension shall not be altered during his life-time. Now supposing for instance one person who has been aPresident and has filled his full term of years and hasobtained a pension under the amendment of Professor Shah,suppose that he is again elected to be the President, whatis the position? The position is that he continues to gethis salary as the President in addition to that he will alsobe entitled to his pension. We would not be in a positioneven to reduce the pension in order to bring it down to hissalary. Therefore, in the form in which the amendment ismoved, I do not think that it is a practical proposition foranyone to accept. But there is no doubt about the generalview that he has expressed, that after a certain period ofservice in ParlI ament, Members, including the President,ought to be entitled to some sort of pension, and I think it is a laudable idea which has been given effect to in theBritish ParlI ament, and I have no doubt it that our futureParlI ament will bear this fact in mind.
Then, with regard to the question raised by ProfessorKamath about residential....
Shri H. V. Kamath: Sir, I am not Professor Kamath.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: Put he is quiteentitled to be called Professor because he speaks so often.(Laughter.)
Shri H. V. Kamath: God forbid I should ever become aprofessor. (Laughter.)
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: Well, my friend Mr.Kamath asked me to explain why we have included thisprovision here, with regard to the official residence of thePresident, and he also twitted me on the fact that I wasburdening the Constitution by mentioning it and other smallminutiae. It might be thought that this is a small matterand might not have been included in the Constitution. Butthe question I would like to ask Mr. Kamath is this. Does heor does he not intend that the President should have anofficial residence and that ParlI ament should make provisionfor it? And is there very much of wrong if the propositionwas stated in the Constitution itself? If the intention is that........
Shri H. V. Kamath: Sir, may I know whether the PrimeMinister will or will not have an official residence?
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: Yes, this is merelya matter of logic, I want to know if he does or does notsupport the proposition that the President should have anofficial residence. If he accepts that
proposition, then itseems to me a matter of small import whether a provision ismade in the Constitution itself or whether the matter isleft for the future ParlI ament to decide. The reason why we have introduced this matter in the Constitution is that in the Government of India Act, in the several Orders inCouncil which have been issued by the Secretary of Stateunder the authority conferred upon him by the SecondSchedule of the Government of India Act, officialresidences, both for the Governor-General and the Governorshave been laid down; and we have merely followed theexisting practice in incorporating this particular provisionin the Constitution; and I do not think we have done any very great violence either to good taste or done something whichwe do not intend to do.
Shri H. V. Kamath: On a point of clarification, Sir,may I know whether this particular clause of article 48 willstand in the way of the President being provided with morethan one official residence? It speaks of the Presidenthaving "an official residence."
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: Not at all. Theremay be tow official residences.
Then, with regard to the amendment of Mr. Sarwate, No.28, I would like to say that this matter may have to beconsidered when we deal with the Constitution of the Stateswhich will accede to the Indian Union. Today the situationis so fluid that it is very difficult to make any provisionof the sort which has been suggested by Mr. Sarwate.
Mr. Vice-President: The amendments will now be put tovote, one by one.
Amendment No. 1130, standing in the name of Dr.Ambedkar.
"That in clause (1) of article 48:
(a) for the words `either of ParlI ament or' the words 'of either House of ParlI ament or of House' be substituted,
(b) for the words `member of ParlI ament or' the words 'member of either House of ParlI ament or of a House' be substituted,
(c) for the words `in ParlI ament or such Legislature, as the case may be,' the words `in that House' be substituted."
The amendment was adopted.
Mr. Vice-President: Amendment No. 28, standing in thename of Mr. Sarwate.
"That in amendment No. 1130 of the List of Amendmentsin article 48, before the words `House of ParlI ament' thewords `of the ruling family of Indian States and is receiptof political pension or of an allowance on account of privypurse' be inserted."
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President: Amendment No. 1128, standing in thename of Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad.
"That for clause (1) of article 48, the followingclause be substituted, namely:-
`(1) If the President is a member of any Legislature of the Union or of any State, he shall be deemed, on his making and subscribing the oath under article 49, to have resigned such membership'."
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President: Amendment No. 1135, standing in thename of Dr. Ambedkar.
"That in clause (2) of article 48, for the words `orposition of emolument' the words of profit' be substituted."
The amendment was adopted.
Mr. Vice-President: Amendment No. 1135, standing in thename of Mr. Kamath.
"That in clause (3) of article 48, the words `thePresident shall have an official residence and' be deleted."
The Amendment was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President: Amendment No. 1138, standing in thename of Prof. K. T. Shah.
"That in clause (3) of article 48, after the words'shall have an official residence' the following be added:-
'and such secretarial, clerical, or expert consultative assistance at public expense as he may consider necessary for the due discharge of his duties and responsibilities under the Constitution, or the laws made thereunder for the time being in force'."
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President: Amendment No. 1140, standing in thename of Prof. K. T. Shah.
"That the following new clause be added to article 48:-
'(5) Every President on completion of his term of office, and retirement, shall be given such pension or allowance during the rest of his life as ParlI ament may determine, provided that during the life time of any
such President in retirement, the pension or allowance granted to him shall not be varied to his prejudice'."
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President: The question before the House isthat article 48, as amended, form part of the Constitution.
The motion was adopted.
Article 48, as amended, was added to the Constitution.
New Article 48-A
Mr. Vice-President: Now we come to the new article 48-Aand amendment No. 1141 standing in the name of Prof. K. T.Shah. It will be seen that this amendment is similar toamendments No. 1125 and No. 1126 which have been negatived.Therefore it is disallowed.
Mr. Vice-President: We now come to article 49.
The motion before the House is:
"That article 49 form part of the Constitution."
We will go through the amendments, one by one.
First is amendment No. 1142, standing in the name of the Honourable Shri G. S. Gupta; it is a verbal amendmentand is disallowed.
Amendments Nos. 1143, 1144 and 1145 are of similarimport. No. 1144 may be moved, standing in the name of ShriT. T. Krishnamachari.
Shri T. T. Krishnamachari: Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I move:
"That in article 49, after the words `Chief Justice ofIndia' the words `or, in his absence the senior-most Judgeof the Supreme Court available' be inserted."
Sir, this is only making a provision in case the ChiefJustice of India is not present, some other Judge should dohis function, and it is but proper that the senior-mostjudge of the Supreme Court should do this function. Sir, Itrust the House will accept the amendment because it needsno further explanation.
Mr. Vice-President: Dr. Ambedkar, do you accept thatamendment?
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: Yes, I do.
Mr. Vice-President: Then I need not put No. 1143 tovote.
Then comes amendment No. 1145, standing in the name ofShri Jaspat Roy Kapoor.
(Amendment No. 1145 was not moved.)
Mr. Vice-President: Then comes amendment No. 1146,standing in the name of Mr. Kamath.
Shri H. V. Kamath: Mr. Vice-President, Sir, by yourleave, I move this amendment No. 1146 in a slightly amendedform, as follows:-
"That in the affirmation or oath in article 49, for thewords 'I, A. B. do solemnly affirm (or swear)', thefollowing be substituted:-
'In the name of God, I, A. B, do swear'
'I, A. B. do solemnly affirm'."
Sir, as I read the Constitution carefully I was leftwith a sadly uncomfortable feeling that there was a void in the Constitution, that there was a vacuum in the Constitution.
Mr. Vice-President: Mr. Kamath, Are you not moving your amendment inserting the words, "in the name of God"?
Shri H. V. Kamath: I have amended my own amendment.
Mr. Vice-President: I see, you are amending your ownamendment.
Shri H. V. Kamath: Yes, Sir. When I perused the Constitution, I was left with the feeling that there was avoid in it. We had forgotten, I do not know why, to invokethe grace and blessing of God. To me it is odd, it ispassing strange that before an Indian Assembly, speaking onthe Indian Constitution I have to come and stand before youtoday to plead for this amendment: to plead that God mayfind a place in our Constitution. I should have thought,Sir, that the Preamble itself should have opened with aninvocation to God. Well, that is coming later on and we willsee what will happen to that. Perhaps, it was the will ofGod that the Constitution should be barren of His name andthat later on the name of God should be invoked in thecourse of a discussion on the Constitution. May I ask, Sir,do my friends think--those of them who do not attach anyimportance or value to this invocation--that by banishingGod, by banishing the word `God' from their minds andthoughts, or from the Constitution they arrogate to themselves the idea that thereby they should entertain anysuch thought. Do they think that it is possible to legislateGod out of existence? The more, Sir, we avoid God, the morewe try to flee from Him, the more He pursues us. There is abeautiful poem, "The Hound of Heaven" by Francis Thompson,which
describes the state of mind of one who tried to flee from God.
"I fled Him down the nights And down the days, I fled Him down the arches of the years, etc."
and so he goes on: then he says:
"But with unhurrying chase, unperturbed pace The feet of God pursued him, "And a voice beat more instant than the feet, All things betray theeWho betrayest me."
In India, Sir, with our ancient culture, with ourspiritual genius, with the heritage to which all of us areheirs--one and all of us--it is needless for me to say howevery activity of ours in every field of endeavour has beenpermeated through and through with the idea of an offeringto God, the deepest spiritual idea. According to Hinducustoms and traditions, our ceremonies open and begin with the invocation "Hari Om Tat Sat". Our Muslim friends havethe Koran Sharif whose every verse starts with theinvocation "Bismilla Al Rahaman Al Rahim". Our Sikh friends'Guru Granth Sahib opens with "Ekonkara Satnama Karta etc."Our Christian friends have been commanded by their Saviourto "Give up all thou hast and follow Me". The same idea hasfound a place in our own philosophy, namely, in the Gita:
Sarva Dharman Parityajya, Mamekam Sharanam VrajaGive up everything, even all Dharmas and seek refuge in mealone that is "God". Therefore it is needless to dilate verymuch upon this amendment of mine. As I have already saidevery act of ours from eating and drinking to the highestworship, is an offering, a dedication and a sacrifice toGod, namely:
yat karoshi yadashnasi yajjuboshi dadasi yat yattapasyasi kaunteya tatkurushva madarpanam
And here Sir, it is something very solemn that we are doing,and even if eating and drinking is to be an offering to God,then this Constitution which is a sacred task, must be anoffering to God also. Our own teachers--all the old sagesand seers and Rishis--up to the days of Mahatmaji and NetajI have been dominated by a supreme idea, namely that all ouractions must be acts of sacrifice to God. I do not want totell the House how the minds and souls of Mahatmaji andNetaji Subhas Chandra Bose were permeated with this love and"bhakti" of God and how they bathed their being ever andanon in the life-giving waters of the Eternal. Coming, Sir,to our own leaders of today, such as Sardar Patel, RajenBabu our President, and our Governor-General shriRajagopalachari, you will permit me to quote from some of their recent speeches where they have enjoined upon us notto forget God in our daily activities.
The Governor-General, Sir, on Thanks-giving Day afterthe Hyderabad operations, in his speech, stated:
"Ministers, Generals, Soldiers, Police and Citizens,all are entitled to our gratitude. But nothing moves in thisworld be God moves it. We imagine we have done greatthings."
In our own conceit we imagine we have done greatthings. Proceeding, the Governor-General said:
"The truth is that God did those things. Let us behumble and deserve the grace which he so abundantly pouredon us. Let us not be proud. Let us daily fill our heartswith mutual love and trust."
Our President, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, last year when hebroadcast a message on Independence Day, said:
"With the help of God and under the leadership ofGandhiji we have won the battle of freedom and gained ourobjective."
Sardar Patel recently in Bombay declared:
"We are grateful to God that we have succeeded inestablishing stabilized conditions in our country to acertain extent."
I therefore feel that in a Constitution, apart frominvoking the grace and blessing of God in the Preambleitself, when a solemn thing like an oath or affirmation isconcerned, it will be an empty performance, if when we takea solemn oath we do not do it in the name of God. NetajiSubhas Chandra Bose in Singapore, when he became theCommander-in-Chief and Provincial President of the ArzeeHukumat-e-Azad Hind, took the oath which ran thus:
"Ishwar ke nam par main pratigy karta hun."
Therefore, Sir, in the end, I would appeal to the Housethat we are heirs to an immortal and a spiritual heritage, aheritage which is
not physical, nor material nor temporal: aheritage which is of the spirit--a spirit that is, ever was,and ever shall be, a heritage that is eternal. Let us notsquander this invaluable heritage. Let us not dissipate thisheritage: let us remain true to our ancient heritage, ourspiritual genius. Let us not lightly cast away the torchthat has been handed down to us from time immemorial. Let usin the words of Swami Vivekananda aspire to conquer theworld spiritually. Let us blaze forth a trail that will bethe light of the world as long as the sun and moon and starsendure. I shall only end with the words which were ever onMahatma Gandhi's lips:
"Ishwar Allah tere namSabko sanmati de Bhagvan."
This amendment of mine, as amended, today I have movedbefore the House so that on this matter which I considervital and fundamental we may have a unanimous House.Therefore I have amended with your leave, Sir.
the original amendment No. 1146 and in the amended form I move it before the House and commend it to the House for itsacceptance.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi: Sir, I beg to move: that foramendment No. 1146 the following be substituted:
"That in article 49 for the words `do solemnly affirm(or swear)' the following be substituted:--
swear in the name of God'do-----------------------------'." solemnly affirm.
This will mean that those who believe in God will swearin the name of God and there will be liberty for thoseagnostics, who do not believe in God, only to solemnlyaffirm, so that there will be freedom for one's faith. Myamendment is practically the same as Mr. Kamath's: exceptthat the change of words is made for those who do notbelieve in God, so that they can `solemnly affirm' andothers `swear in the name of God'.
While moving this amendment I want to take theopportunity of expressing my views with regard to the nameof God. In fact I am glad and proud of the amendment whichmy Friend Mr. Kamath has moved. This is the first time that the Constituent Assembly is considering the question whetherit would bring in the name of God in the Constitution ornot. In fact we should have brought it in the very beginningbut since the Preamble did not come under consideration, weshall make another effort to invoke the name of God when westart to consider the Constitution from the beginning.
The Constituent Assembly having passed a resolutionsaying that the State will be a secular State, a lot ofmisunderstandings have been created on account of thatresolution. It is for us to clear them. The name of God doesnot, in my opinion, interfere with the secularity of theState, because when a person elected as President goes totake the oath, even though a President, he is not virtuallya President before he takes the oath: he is simply a person.He has no official capacity when he approaches the altar totake the oath. He is just an individual in his personalcapacity and in that capacity he takes the oath. And even ifthe name of God were to interfere in any way with thesecular character of the State, it would be so only when anofficial takes the name. Till such time as the Presidenttakes the oath he remains only a person. And when a persontakes an oath he does it according to his personal faith.
Shri L. Krishnaswami Bharathi: What is the distinction?
Shri Mahavir Tyagi: Those who can see the distinctioncan find it out. An oath is a personal matter and it must beobserved with all solemnity and the occasion when an oath istaken is a very solemn one, especially when the head of theState takes the oath. Personal religion does not allow ofany temple, altar or rites. It is confined purely to one'sinternal cult of the Supreme God and the eternal obligationsof morality. This is the personal religion of eachindividual. It is this personal point of view. My friendwanted to know as to what was the distinction. Thedistinction is that personal religion is that a personalreligion is pure faith in God; it does not permit of anypractice, profession, or rite. God is neither a physicalprecept nor a mental concept. It is the spiritualrealisation pure and
simple. There is no rite attached toit. No temples are needed nor any altars. I well understand the philosophy or the logic of the state being secular. For,in every land, where there are so many religions and so manycommunities, one cannot give any particular colour to theState. The State must in such cases be secular, so that theconsolidation of the nation may be achieved. We have manyreligions and communities in India. But the name of God is acommon factor among them all. Every section believes in God,every group believes in God and every community believes inGod. Therefore if we bring in the name of God in the constitution of our State, it will helpus to unify the state, and will implement the secularcharacter of the State rather than disturb its secularity.This is only by way of argument. The fact is that since weannounced in this Assembly that ours was going to be asecular State, the announcement has given rise to all sortsof interpretations and misgivings. People began to thinkthat as far as Government was concerned it had banished Godaltogether. I hope the Constituent Assembly by bringing in the name of God here will to some extent clarify themisunderstandings. Some vain kind of politicians in theirattempt to imitate some fashionable slogans of the West haveallowed themselves to believe that in a secular State God istaboo. A secular State means the state of Truth and God andeternity without prejudice to any particular religion. InIndia all our culture, and all our policy and civilizationhas been spun and woven round the one nucleus, God, and ifGod is banished I do not know what Swaraj will mean toIndia. Personally I along with so many others, seniors andjuniors, and millions of people fought for thirty years forSwaraj. The Swaraj of my conception was Ram Raj. It was notthe political freedom alone that mattered. If I may bepermitted to say so, I care a tuppence for politicalfreedom. India did not only mourn the loss of her politicalfreedom but her real grief has been the loss of her freedomof spirit. Our spiritual freedom was first hit when Somnathwas attacked. Since that time, all these hundreds of years,India has not been feeling free. Real Swaraj means "Ram Raj"How this idea of secularity has been misinterpreted, I willnot be going our of the subject if I take the house intoconfidence and inform them that very recently at aconference of A. I. R. officials they came to the unanimousdecision that the recitation of the Gita and the Ramayana,the Koran and the Bible should now be stopped. If secularState means that our children will not know about theRamayana or listen to the Gita or the Koran or the Granthwhat is political freedom worth? This is stretching themeaning too far. If God is banished from this "Ram Rajya",India will become Ayodhya without Ram. I submit, Sir, by`Ram' I mean Hindu God and also Christian God. (Laughter) Isubmit that God is a common factor and therefore we mustinvoke Him here and also in the Preamble when the occasionarises. Even in the British ParlI ament, when they assemble,they do so only after prayers. They hold prayers. In theproceedings you will find that the ParlI ament met at suchand such an hour and after `prayer' began their proceedings.Theirs is not a communal State too. In Ireland, as also inmany other places, God is not forgotten. I am indebted to myFriend Mr. Kamath who introduced this word God' here. Weworship God and our faith must be recorded. India believesin God and therefore the Indian State must remain a State ofGod. It must be a godly State and not a godless State andnot a godless State. This is our meaning of secularity. With these words I move my amendment.
Shri R. K. Sidhwa: I do not move amendment No. 1147.
Kazi Syed Karimuddin (C. P. & Berar: Muslim): Mr. Vice-President I move:
That in the Form of Oath in article 49, the words "andthat I will devote myself to the service and well-being of the people of India" be deleted. My reason for the deletionof these words is that the very purpose of taking an oath ormaking an affirmation is that certain obligations
arecreated in law. If there is a breach of this oath, thenthere is the impeachment of the President or the Vice-President. As a citizen of India, of course, a person willbe devoted to the service of the people. Therefore it is not necessary that in the oath you must have this piousdeclaration. You will see that in the form of oathprescribed in the American Constitution, the latter part ofthis oath is not mentioned. Therefore my submission is that the latter portion should be deleted as it is only a piousdeclaration.
In regard to the amendment moved by Mr. Kamath I wishto pay a few words. I was very glad that he held a brief onbehalf of God and pleaded that God should not be banishedfrom our Constitution. My submission is that if hisamendment is accepted we will be excluding those people whohave no faith in God at all. There are so many people inthis country and elsewhere who have no faith in God. I maycite the example of the Jains. They do not believe in Godand there are many who are atheists. If Mr. Kamath'samendment is accepted you will be excluding those peoplefrom becoming the President. If his amendment is acceptedyou will be creating an obligation on people that theyshould have faith in God.
Shri H. V. Kamath: Mr. Karimuddin has not seen myamendment. If he has seen it, he has not understood it.
Kazi Syed Karimuddin: The monopoly of understanding iswith you only. (Laughter).
Shri H. V. Kamath: Sometimes.
Mr. Vice-President: Do you want to explain it? Yours isan amendment to the amendment of Mr. Karimuddin.
Kazi Syed Karimuddin: My submission is that in asecular State, when you are framing a Constitution, whyshould there be a classification of people at the time oftaking the oath? Whether they believe in God or not, shouldnot be indicated. It is contrary to the spirit of democracythat any insertion of God should be made in the Oath in the Constitution. My submission is that non-mentioning of God isnot banishing Him.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: I may point out, Sir, by way ofclarification, that Mr. Kamath's amendment does not insistthat the President should have real faith in God. Accordingto it, he has merely to begin with the name of God.
Prof. K. T. Shah: Sir, I beg to move:
"That in article 49, after the words `well-being of thepeople of India' the following be added:
"and will throughout the term of my office as suchpresident so conduct myself as to leave no ground for anycharge of seeking to promote my own interest or my family'saggrandisement, and that in any act I may have to do orappointment I may have to make, I shall consider only theinterest of the public service and of the country collectively."
I am afraid this is rather a delicate matter. But thereis an old adage that fools rush in where angels fear totread. As I have been qualifying myself very highly andfrequently for the former title, I am afraid I must keep to the role even in this delicate matter.
The oath of the President, apart from other things,must include in my opinion, an assurance and an affirmationthat he will only look to the interest of the country, to the service of the people; and not think of his own interestor of the aggrandisement of his family in any act that hemay have to do and in any appointment that he may have tomake.
It is indeed a pity, Sir, that in this House there are,so far as I can judge, such few voices being raised insupport of that purity of the governmental machinery whichhas been taught to us as the inevitable consequence of whatwas just described as Ram Rajya in this country. Sir, Imust, at the cost of becoming wearisome by repetition,insist that those ideals which have been professed duringour struggle against the Imperialist outsiders must notmerely be copy-book maxims; they must be living realities,and be implemented and must become an actual fact of dailylife, agreed to by everybody in the country from the highestto the lowest.
The symbol of that, I further submit, can nowhere bemore vividly insisted upon than in this part of the oath of the President, that, during his term of
office, he shall soconduct himself as to leave no ground for any suspicion ofseeking to promote his own private interests, or secure the aggrandisement of his own family, in any act he may do or in any appointmenthe will make; but that he will always and entirely considerthe interests of the country collectively as a whole and notof any individual.
It is a pity, also Sir, that it has become necessary toemphasise what on the face of it seems to be such an obviousproposition. It would not have been necessary to include it,if only we had not bitter experience of people forgettingtheir own professions, of people forgetting the greatprinciples that they themselves had uttered. For, once theyhad acquired power, they suffered from intoxication of powerand position and allowed it so freely to mount to theirheads that they forget what they had stood for throughouttheir lives, and violate in deed and in fact everyday whatthey had professed themselves.
Sir, power is a dangerous drug. It is new in thiscountry and I am told--I have no experience of my own--thatnew wine is much more heady than old. I do think thatwhatever may have happened in the past, in the newConstitution we must see to it that the head of the Stateand the principal officers working under him for the benefitof the country, are free from any suspicion, any charge, anyground even to believe that they, in their several acts, in their several offices or appointments, have thought ofanything but the good of the country according to their light.
Sir, I know that in human affairs some ground canalways be found for such fears, and where good ground is notfound, rumour may be busy imagining or fabricating thingswhich are not at all there, or exaggerating things which maybe only seedlings. I am also aware, Sir, that man is liableto err, with the best of intentions. The provision that I amseeking to make by this amendment is not intended to punishsuch errors made in good faith, in ignorance, or in theabsence of proper light. What I am seeking to guard againstby this amendment is a deliberate mis-use or abuse of officeand power, so that, instead of the interests of the countrycollectively, being attended to by those in power orauthority, only the family interests or the individual's owninterests may be promoted.
This has happened in other countries; andnotwithstanding our heritage, notwithstanding our insistenceupon popularising God even in such matters, we are liable, Itake it, to repeat other people's follies as well. The merepresence of the name of God, I am afraid, will not be aninsurance against the frailty of man. That being so, I wantit to be clearly reaffirmed, I want it to be reinforced thatthose who hold the trust, the highest office under thepeople, and have in their power, in two, three or fouryears, to mould the destinies of the country, shall, atleast to their own judgment and according to their lights,be free from any accusations of the kinds I havecontemplated in this amendment.
It is invidious, Sir, to mention specific instances. it is unnecessary, Sir, to quote examples of this kind whichmost of us may know. As the saying goes, in my part of thecountry at any rate, while everybody knows the name of hiswife, none will utter it. That being so, I certainly am notprepared to violate that maxim, and mention names which mayor may not be accurate. But I think there ought to be nodifference of opinion that the head of the State should befree from any such charges. Hence, even if we may not havean absolutely destitute person as President, or a personwithout any family entanglements, a person without anyconnections or dependents, even then we should insist uponsuch safeguards as will see to it that human frailty is notreinforced by individual temptation, or constitutionallaxity, and permit things which should never be done. Thehuman brain is ingenious and lawyers there are who willreinforce that ingenuity. Cases are not wanting in the pastwhen persons deliberately misinterpreted or violated thespirit of their own oath, if not the letter. I remember thecase
of a former Lord Chancellor of England who had in his power vast patronage of appointmentsto which he appointed only his own relatives. When thisscandal grew to such an extent that only his sons, nephewsand grandsons had any chance of appointment at all, the House of Lords appointed a Committee of Inquiry to find outwhether or not such charges were well-founded. Appearingbefore the committee the Lord Chancellor--I think it wasLord Elden--had the temerity to say, before this Committee,quite solemnly "I have taken an oath that I will appointonly those whom I know to be so and so. And whom do I knowbetter than my sons or nephews? He forgot to add that it wasonly those whom he knew to be qualified that he was toappoint, and not only those whom he only knew. That was adifference and a distinction which his learned Lordship didnot care to remember at the moment.
The case is also very well known of Queen Victoria,who, at the time of the disestablishment of the AnglicanChurch in Ireland in 1869, brought out her Coronation Oathto show that she had taken an oath to uphold and maintain the Church of England. She had forgotten that she had takenan oath only to maintain the Church of England in England,but not necessarily all over the world, or even whole of theUnited Kingdom. In this way, the opposition of the Queen wasgot over.
My point is that even though it may be possible toabuse or deliberately misinterpret or misapply the terms of the oath, the oath in itself is a guarantee of some sort. Iknow it is not an absolute knave-proof guarantee; but it isa guarantee of some sort that those who hold such officeswill always be reminded of their obligations, of theirpromises that they will so conduct themselves as to be freefrom any suspicion of the kind that is implied in many actsor utterances of those who have high offices in their poweras a gift. As I said before, this matter is so self-evidentand so important that there ought to be no opposition to aproposition like this. I hope the House, true to thetraditions which it has been upholding, will accept myamendment.
Shri R. K. Sidhwa: Mr. Vice-President, Sir, this is asimple clause relating to the oath to be taken by thePresident. Sir, I am a firm believer in the existence of Godand also in religion but I must say, Sir, that it will notbe proper to insert the word `God' in our Constitutionsimply because we invoke the blessings of God. God iseverywhere if you really believe in Him. God is here in thisHouse. He is omnipresent. If you really believe in theexistence of God, it is no use merely putting it in the Constitution and taking consolation from it. There is no usethe President taking his oath in the name of God and then dosomething quite contrary to the teaching of God. There isanother factor to which I object; I do not share the view ofmy Friend, Mr. Karimuddin that in a secular State the word`God' cannot come in. A secular State does not mean that anindividual cannot believe in God. That theory is certainlynot tenable to any reasonable man, but I do believe, Sir,that day in and day out, we do say that religion shall havenothing to do with our Constitution, and that religious inmy own business. It is nobody's business to tell me in whatrespect and in what method you believe in God and youapproach your religion. In India, we feel that God is asymbol of religion; and in the name of religion, we know,Sir, how disastrous things are happening in this country;each community believes in God in his own way. The belief of the Hindus is quite different, that of the Muslims is quitedifferent and so also that of the Parsis and the Christians.I, therefore, do not want that our Constitution should inany way be marred by the word "religion", but if my friendshave a consolation in bringing in God, and that is to theirsatisfaction, let them have it. I only want to say, Sir,that it would have been better if the word `God' and thereligious point of view were avoided. What I would really have preferred is that the public should have been remembered bythe President, when he takes the oath. He
should have statedthat in the presence of the people......
Mr. Vice-President: Is that the amendment you aresuggesting?
Mr. R. K. Sidhwa: I am only stating that from the IrishConstitution. There the President takes the oath in the nameof the people of the whole country. He says: "I swear beforethe People of the whole country" and at the end of the oathstates "if I break my oath, I will submit myself to theseverest punishment from the State." I have heard thismorning sermons being preached that the President should bea man or integrity, sincerity and honesty, and theresolution of the Jaipur Congress was quoted. But thePresident does not say "I shall be subject to the severestpunishment if I do not carry out the injunctions that havebeen imposed upon me and I make that solemn affirmationbefore the people of this country".
Mr. Vice-President: I really find that you are movingamendment No. 1147 quoting the very words.
Mr. R. K. Sidhwa: These are the words of the IrishConstitution, Sir.
Mr. Vice-President: I do not deny that, but you arequoting from the amendment which you did not want to move.
Mr. R. K. Sidhwa: This is not my amendment and if it isso, I wish to state that I have borrowed it from anotherConstitution just as so many things have been borrowed by somany eminent persons in this House.
Mr. Vice-President: Not at all; I am merely suggestingthat you are quoting the amendment which you did not move,i.e., Amendment No. 1147.
Mr. R. K. Sidhwa: I bow to your ruling. I cannotchallenge what you say. I merely stated that it is merely areproduction of the Irish Constitution.
Mr. Vice-President: It is certainly an amendment whichstands in your name.
Mr. R. K. Sidhwa: I only wanted to say that the oathshould be one appealing more to the people of this country,for whose interest and well being, we are preparing thisConstitution.
Shri M. Thirumala Rao (Madras: General): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I do not know why the light goes off as soonas I approach the mike. All of us are in need of greaterlight, especially after my honourable Friend, Mr. Sidhwa'sspeech, who has protested too much by God and who wants toeliminate God from the Constitution. Sir, it is strange howthe honest and god-fearing people who have drafted thisConstitution have got so much fear of God that they havealtogether banished Him from the Constitution Sir, I wantto bring to the notice of this House that during the last 30years, the Congress struggle has gone on definite lines ofideology, led by one of the greatest men of the world. Truthand non-violence have been our weapons and they have beenuniquely used by large masses of people and during all theseyears, the people who fought for that freedom of thiscountry have got a concept of what that freedom should belike. Mahatma Gandhi is worshipped in this country notbecause he is merely a political leader, but because he is agentleman, a person who has personified in himself thespirit of the nation that has survived the onslaught of manyinvasions from far-off countries. Civilizations of the worldhave gone before us; the civilizations of Egypt and Babylonhave perished, but the civilization of India has survivedall these centuries, because there is something in the verymake-up of this nation, which has got its roots deeply inspiritual emotion. If you eliminate that spiritual emotion.then India has no right to exist and would have ceased toexist long ago. All of us have fought under the ableguidance of Mahatma Gandhi and Mahatma Gandhi has enthusedand inspired us with definite ideals of the governance of our country. Unfortunately as irony would haveit, the drafting of this Constitution has fallen into thehands of those people whose lives have not touched MahatmaGandhi's ideology at any point except with the singleexception of my honourable Friend, Mr. Munshi there.
Shri K. M. Munshi (Bombay: General): Thank you, Sir.
Shri M. Thirumala Rao: Therefore it is a disappointmentthat we have not really understood the genius of our people.We have always said, wherever we have gone, that
the verybasis of our life is embedded in religion. Go to the westerncountries. There the King stands for the country and God.The King stands for the religion of the community and youhave seen the western universities. Oxford and Edinburgh--and all the older universities that provide the tradition in the oldest abbeys that are built along with theuniversities--these ancient cities of learning have giventhe first place to religion or the spiritual conduct of thenation. Therefore, what I suggest is this: that thisconstitution is going to safeguard the real genius, the realcivilization of this country. How are they going tosafeguard it? A provision has `been made for atheists. TheChairman of the Drafting Committee who has got such a softcorner for atheists, who are a handful in this country,should have shown greater enthusiasm for safeguarding thespiritual heritage of the vast masses of this country Suchof those who have gone to Jaipur would have witnessed thereal life of the nation is still alive with them. Thousandsand thousands of people with genuine emotion in their heartsand tears welling in their eyes were looking at eitherSardar Patel or Pandit Nehru, as the real symbols of thenation. I had occasion to watch a handful of Sikhs; theywere telling us--about fifteen or twenty of them:
"Hamko Darshan Pura Hogia."
Where does the word `Darshan' come from? It is a wordof religion. If they were looking at our leaders, it was notbecause they have got a regimented press and regimentedarmies behind them. Mahatma Gandhi was great not because of the regimented press, state and the armies to support himlike the dictators, Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini of theWest. The moment you want to banish God from your dailylife, as reflected in the Constitution, that moment you haveno right to exist. They in the West have banished God fromthe regimented state of Russia; they have forgotten God in the regimented State of Germany and Italy and you have seenthe fate that has overtaken them. Therefore, what I say isif you want to reflect the real genius of our people, let usstand by God; God as such is such a wide term; God is an allembracing term. It is a common noun to which a proper nameis given by each religion.
I have seen the amendments of my honourable Friends,Prof. K. T. Shah and R. K. Sidhwa. You want that a manshould take the oath, affirming that he will behaveproperly, that he will be honest and that he will beeverything. All these things are contained in `God'; muchmore is contained in that one word `God' by which you areasked to swear and you say that you will not define the nameof God in discharging you public duty. Therefore, Sir, theamendment which has been so ably moved by my honourableFriend Mr. Kamath really reflects the genuine genius of ourcountry. I am sure this country and this Constitution willhave to undergo a thorough transformation before it finallysettles down to evolve this nation as one of the greatestnations of the East, to uphold the real culture of thiscountry as a leader of the world. Therefore, Sir, thisamendment has not come a bit too late and I am glad theparty has accepted it.
An Honourable Member: Which party has accepted?
Shri M. Thirumala Rao: I think it is understood what Imean by `party'. I hope the House will unanimously acceptthis amendment.
Shri K. M. Munshi: Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I think thehonourable Member who spoke against my honourable Friend Mr.Kamath's amendment got that there was an amendment by my honourable Friend Mr. MahavirTyagi which leaves it free to those who do not believe inGod to affirm solemnly the words of the oath. The only pointbefore the House is, when a person believes in God, is he toswear by God or swear by somebody else? (The amendment of myhonourable Friend Mr. Kamath as amended by my honourableFriend Mr. Mahavir Tyagi's amendment fulfils the truecriterion that when a man actually believes in God, he mustswear by Him and not merely swear without His name or in thename of somebody else.) We know in the olden days peopleused to swear by the cow's tail or by
the peepul tree. (Theidea is that swearing must be in the name of God, in themost solemn belief that a man possesses.
My friend who spoke last was pleased to refer to me asone who was closely connected with Mahatma Gandhi out of themembers of the Constituent Assembly. I do not know whetherit is true. But, (I myself have felt--I am free to confess--that we are emphasising the absence of God in thisconstitution too much. My opinion was that we should haveHis name in the Preamble; but the general opinion wasdifferent. But when it comes to swearing, I see no reasonwhy any person should fight shy of the name of God.) I failto understand how this offends against the conception of asecular State. (A secular State is used in contrast with atheocratic Government or a religious State. It implies thatcitizenship is irrespective of religious belief, that everycitizen, to whatever religion he may belong, is equal beforethe law, that he has equal civil rights, and equalopportunities to derive benefit from the State and to leadhis own life; and nothing more. A secular State is not aGodless State. It is not a State which is pledged toeradicate or ignore religion. It is not a State whichrefuses to take notice of religious belief in this country.As a matter of fact, every State recognises this. We havedone it in passing the fundamental rights with regard toreligion. Religion is the richest possession of man and evenunder this secular State, a person having a religious beliefwill be fully entitled to it in the way that he likes. AnyState that seeks to outlaw God, will very soon come to anend.
We must take cognisance of the fact that India is areligious--minded country. Even while we are talking of asecular State, our mode of thought and life is largelycoloured by a religious attitude to life.) When MahatmaGandhi died, the State procession which carried him to thefuneral ground ended in religious ceremonies. His ashes wereimmersed in a hundred rivers of India. I may mention to youmy own experience. When the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi weretaken to be immersed in the Sangam in Hyderabad, theHyderabad State, as it then was, officially joined in it.Over 200,000 Muslims joined in it. Religious ceremony wasperformed at the Sangam according to the Hindu style in acongregation which consisted of Hindus, Muslims, Christiansand members of other communities. That shows that thesubconscious mind of India is highly religious. We shouldnot be ashamed of it. And it will be a day of disaster forIndia if, by some legislative trick, our State is convertedinto an irreligious, Godless State. We need not fear that asecular State is inconsistent with a religious mind amongthe people.
As an honourable Member has said before, if India hasanything to give to the world, it is the outlook on lifedeeply imbued by spirituality, by awareness of God in ourmidst. If Indian culture has any meaning at all, it is that there is God and that a man can rise to the dignity ofdivinity in this very life if he becomes an instrument ofGod. The lever with which Mahatma Gandhi created the presentnationalism and won for us a free State was the religious-mindedness of India. This mind will continue to bereligious, and the State in India cannot be secular in thesense of being antireligious. It does not mean that a manwho believes in God should not swear by Him when pledginghimself to the service of his country. This is my submissionon this point.
Mr. Tajamul Husain: Mr. Vice-President, Sir, everyreligion says that nothing can be done without the wish ororder of God. Therefore, the logical conclusion is that myhonourable Friend Mr. Kamath came to propose the name of Godby the wish of God. And I have come here also by the wishand order of God to say that he does not want His name hereat all. I have come here to oppose the amendment of Mr.Kamath; I will give my reasons later on.
First of all, I want that article 49 should be deletedfrom this Constitution. What is the use of having an articlewhich says that the highest officer, the President, when hebecomes President should take
an oath or affirmation? Whatis the necessity? My honourable Friend Dr. Ambedkar, who isan eminent lawyer, knows that 99 per cent of the witnesseswho go into the witness box and take an oath or affirmationmentioning Almighty God, go to tell the untruth.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: Witnesses never take oath in thename of God unless they specially agree to. (Interruption).
Mr. Vice-President: It would be better if honourableMembers do not interrupt.
Mr. Tajamul Husain: I thought the Honourable Mr.Naziruddin Ahmad who is a lawyer from Burdwan--I am told heis a very good criminal lawyer--knew that when a witnessgoes to the witness box he says:
"Allah ya Bhagwan ko nazir ho kar boltae ham."
He says, "in the name of God, I express........"
I was saying that article 49 should be deleted. I canmove it without sending it in writing, because I oppose thewhole thing. I say, Sir, that this Constitution is made byus--human beings. We cannot say this is a perfectConstitution. Nobody can say that. The word of Almighty isperfect and so why have the name of God in an imperfectConstitution? Why make Him cheap and why bring Him here?Sir, this constitution is going to be translated and thetranslation will come before the House and will be passed.What translation are you going to have? Whose name are yougoing to have? We all know that God is one but we havecreated thousands of Gods and your God is different from myGod and Mr. Sidhwa's is different from some one else's.Whose God are you going to have? Why should Mr. Sidhwa takethe oath in the name of some God which is not the name ofhis God? Supposing it is translated and the word `Bhagwan'is there, can you compel the Parsee or Christian or a non-Hindu to say that when he becomes a President? Either you donot want him to become the President or if he does, hecannot swear that. Why have His name? We will worship Him inany way we like in our homes. I do not want to repeat theargument of Mr. Sidhwa. He has spoken very ably on this matter. There are Indians who do not believe in God at all.How are they going to take this oath? With these words I move:
"That article 49 be deleted."
Rev. Jerome D'Souza (Madras: General): Mr. Vice-President, it is not without some emotion that I rise tospeak a few words on this amendment of Mr. Kamath. I am suremy honourable Colleagues in this House will have no doubt asto the purport of what I am going to say here. I have madereferences to this solemn subject more than once before thisHouse, and so it is not without satisfaction that I noticeand wholeheartedly approve of the suggestion or theamendment of Mr. Kamath. Nevertheless Sir, accepting andwelcoming this amendment, I cannot help feeling that far toogreat a significance to the "official", to the"Constitutional" aspect of it, has been given to this verymoderate suggestion, by some of the speakers that havepreceded me. If I may be permitted to say so, our honourableFriend Mr. Munshi struck the right note and put matters in the right proportion. What does this amendment propose todo? Does this amendment commit the Constitution or the Constitution-making body here to a solemn andunequivocal profession of belief in God and in Godapprehended by a concept clearly defined and unanimouslyheld? If it were so, objection might have been raised to it,but no such thing is implied here. What is asked here is this: when the most honoured position in our country isbeing given by the choice of this country to a man ofoutstanding personality, ability and character, we want himto come to the threshold of that office and to make apromise of service to the country in the manner that is mostbinding and most solemn that we can think of; we want him todraw his strength from the deepest fountains and springs ofaction within him for the service of his country. Andknowing that the vast majority of our countrymen, Hindus orMuslims or Christians or Parsees or Sikhs draw their moralstrength from trust in the Supreme Being, it gives to thischosen, this exceptional man the option of promising serviceto
the country in that Sacred Name if he so desires. We wantto give him the opportunity of making what is in his eyesthe most solemn and the most binding promise. We do notimpose it upon him. If there is someone who for some reasonor other does not want to take that particular form, analternative form is suggested to him. All that the Constitution-makers and we here imply by this amendment isthat we accept the fact that in our country the vastmajority of men are believers in God and that almostcertainly, anyone who would come to this exalted officewould be moved to fulfil the functions of that office mostfaithfully if he promised to do so in the name of AlmightyGod. Taking this for a fact, we merely register that factbut make no corporate profession. I do not see therefore whythis should be construed as opposed to the spirit of ourSecular Constitution. Secondly, even a Secular Constitution,as Mr. Munshi pointed out, is not a Godless Constitution. it is not in opposition to the very notion of God. Only itmakes no choice as between this or that particularprofession, or religious section, but it does look withsympathy upon the convictions, the feelings, the desires,the hopes and aspirations of the entire people. It would notbe true to the spirit of those people if it ignored thisprofound reality, the belief of all our people in God. To myhonourable Friends who asked us, `Have we got a uniform andclear notion of what God is before we permit theintroduction of this word in our Constitution?" may I say,`Is there anyone who is not aware in a broad and general wayof what we mean by this word?' Is it necessary to enter into the discussions of Philosophers and Metaphysicians and tounderstand their subtle distinctions between this or thatconcept before accepting this term in so far as it standsfor the Supreme Spiritual Reality that is behind thismaterial and transitory world? We are making here an appealto the eternal and everlasting foundation of all realitybehind this passing, this temporal world. And in appealingto that, we are all one, Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Parsisand Sikhs, all of us knowing that above and behind what wesee in time and in space, there is Something that isunchangeable, Something that is eternal,--one that works forjustice and peace and goodness and harmony. Our deepestinstincts of brotherliness, of order, of justice, of law, ofprogress, are founded upon and inspired and sustained bythat conviction and that Reality. My honoured colleagueswill, therefore, accept this broad and general assumption assufficient for the admission of this amendment, and permitus to include it as one of the forms by which the Presidentwill take office. In doing so, we are not cheapening theconcept of God. We are not imposing it upon all and sundry,and at all times and in all places. But here, on thethreshold of a most sacred and most solemn duty, the chosenleader of our country, presumed to be almost always abeliever in God, is asked, if he is a believer, to promisein His sacred Name, and with all the strength of his souland the force of his convictions to fulfil the duties thatare imposed upon him. Can we doubt for a moment, that if weword that affirmation in that way, all that is deepest inhim will respond to it, and that he is bound to fulfil that duty in a manner which hewill not be inspired to do if a less compelling forms wereused?
I therefore, request the House to waive all objectionsthat may be based upon other considerations or scruples, andaccept this amendment which will leave the fundamentalsecular character of the State rightly understood untouched,and to give this amendment the grace of general acceptance.By this, people of the country will certainly not bepersuaded or obliged to believe that we are all here makinga solemn profession of this or that particular religion, butthey will at least understand that the law-makers and the Constitution-makers realise that this country and its peoplehave a strong religious faith, and that, realising it wehere make an appeal to a principle of action and a motive ofnobility which
are bound to be responded to, and bound to dogood to the country. Therefore, Sir, with all my heart, Isupport this amendment of my friend Mr. Vishnu Kamath andrequest this House to accept it unanimously. (Cheers.)
Mr. Vice-President: Dr. Ambedkar.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: Mr. Vice-President,Sir, I am prepared to accept the amendment moved by Mr. T.T. Krishnamachari, that is No. 1144, and also amendment No.1146 by Mr. Kamath, as amended by Mr. Tyagi's amendment.
With regard to the first amendment, that moved by Mr.T. T. Krishnamachari, not much argument is necessary. Hisamendment is certainly better than the amendment that stoodin my name.
With regard to the second amendment, No. 1146, in viewof the fact that I am prepared to accept it in the formamended by Mr. Tyagi, I do not think I am called upon toenter into the merits of the question. But perhaps, it mightbe as well that I should say a few words as to why theDrafting Committee itself did not introduce in its originaldraft, the words "in the name of God." Sir, I do not thinkthat this matter was considered fully by the DraftingCommittee and therefore I cannot advance any adequate reasonwhy they did not originally put in those words.
So far as I am concerned, I feel that this was a matterwhich required some consideration. If the House will permitme, I would express my own views on the matter. The way Ifelt about it is this. The word "God" so far as my readinggoes, has a different significance in different religions.Christians and Muslims believe in God not merely as aconcept, but as a force which governs the world and whichgoverns, therefore, the moral and spiritual actions of thosewho believe in God. So far as Hindu theology was concerned,according to my reading--and I may be wholly wrong, I do notpretend to be a student of the subject--I felt that the word"Eswara" or to use a bigger word, "Parameswara" is merely asummation of an idea, of a concept. As I said, to use thelanguage of integral calculus, you put sums together andfind out something which is common, and you call that "S"which is merely a summation. There is nothing concretebehind it. If in Hindu theology, there is anything concrete,it is "Brahma" "Vishnu", "Mahesh", "Siva", "Sakti." Theseare things which are accepted by Hindus as forces whichgovern the world. It seems to me, that it would have beenvery difficult for the Drafting Committee to have proceededupon this basis and to have introduced phraseology whichwould have required several underlinings--God, below thatSiva, below that Vishnu, below that Brahma, below that Saktiand so on and so on. It is because of this embarrassmentthat we left the situation blank, as you will find in theDrafting Committee.
Shri A. V. Thakkar [United State of Kathiawar(Saurashtra)]: But there is One above all
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: I am, however, quitehappy that this amendment has been introduced. Now, someMembers have raised objections to the amendment. They areafraid that the introduction of the word God in the Constitution is going to alter the nature of what has beenproclaimed to be a secular State. In my judgment, theintroduction of the word God does not raise that question atall. The reason why the word God is introduced is a verysimple one. The Constitution lays down certain obligationsupon the President. Those obligations are obviouslydivisible into two categories, obligations for which thereis legal sanction and legal punishment provided, and thereare obligations for which there are no legal rules provided,nor any punishment is provided. Consequently, in everyconstitution this question always arises. What is to be thesanction of such duties, such obligations, as have beenimposed upon a particular functionary for which it is notpossible by law to provide a criminal sanction, a penalty?It is obvious that unless and until we decide or we believethat these moral duties for which there is no criminal orlegal sanction are not mere pious platitudes, we mustprovide some kind of sanction. To some people God is asanction. They think if
they take a vow in the name of God,God being the governing force of the Universe, as well as of their individual lives, that oath in the name of Godprovides the sanction which is necessary for the fulfillmentof obligations which are purely moral and for which there isno sanction provided.
There are people who believe that their conscience isenough of a sanction. They do not need God, an externalforce, as a sentinel or a watchman to act by their side.They think a solemn affirmation coming out of theirconscience is quite enough of a sanction. If honourableMembers have read the history of this matter which isembodied in the struggle between Mr. Bradlaugh and the Houseof Commons, they will realize that as early as 1880 or so,Mr. Bradlaugh insisted that he was a perfectly moral being,that his conscience was quite active, and that if he tookthe oath his conscience was enough of a sanction for him tokeep him within the traces, so to say. After a long longstruggle in the House of Commons, in which on one occasionMr. Bradlaugh was almost beaten to death by the Sergeant-at-Arms for trying to sit in the House of Commons and takingpart in its proceedings without taking the oath to which heraised objection, Mr. Gladstone ultimately had to yield andto provide an additional or alternative form which is calledsolemn affirmation. Therefore (the issue that is involved inthis amendment has nothing to do with the character of theState. Whether it is a secular or a religious State is amatter quite outside the bounds of the issue raised. Theonly question raised is whether we ought not to provide somekind of a sanction for the moral obligation we impose on thePresident. If the President thinks that God is a mentor andthat unless he takes an oath in the name of God he will notbe true to the duties he assumes. I think we ought to givehim the liberty to swear in the name of God. If there isanother person with whom God is not his mentor, we ought togive him the liberty to affirm and carry on the duties onthe basis of that affirmation.)
I therefore submit that the amendment is a good one andI am prepared to accept it.
Mr. Vice-President: You have nothing to say on theamendments moved by Mr. Karimuddin and Prof. Shah?
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: No, Sir.
Mr. Vice-President: The question is:
"That in article 49, after the words `Chief Justice ofIndia' the words `or, in his absence the senior-most Judgeof the Supreme Court available' be inserted."
The amendment was adopted.
Mr. Vice-President: The next amendment to be put to thevote is No. 1146 But this is identical with Mr. MahavirTyagi's amendment and if Mr. Kamath agrees I shall put thisone to the vote.
Shri H. V. Kamath: I have no objection to Mr. Tyagi'samendment, as there is a mere verbal difference between hisand mine.
Mr. Vice-President: Then I shall put Mr. Tyagi'samendment, which is an amendment to amendment No. 1146, tovote.
Shri H. V. Kamath: No, Sir. My amendment as amended byMr. Tyagi should be put to the vote.
Mr. Vice-President: Yes, yes: that is understood. I didnot know that you were such a stickler for forms; You breakso many forms systematically The question is:
"That in article 49 for the words `do solemnly affirm(or swear)', the following be substituted:--
swear in the name of God `do--------------------------'."solemnly affirm
The amendment was adopted.
Mr. Vice-President: The question is:
"That in the form of Oath in article 49 the words, `andthat I will devote myself to the service and well-being of the people of India' be deleted."
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President: The question is:
"That in article 49, after the words `well-being of thepeople of India' the following be added:--
`and will throughout the term of my office as such president so conduct myself as to leave no ground for any charge of seeking to promote my own interest or my family's aggrandisement, and that in any act, I may have to do or appointment I may have to make, I shall consider only the interest of the public service and
of the country collectively'."
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President: The question is:
"That article 49 as amended, be adopted."
The motion was adopted.
Article 49, as amended, was added to the Constitution.
The Assembly then adjourned till Ten of the Clock onTuesday, the 28th December 1948.