`(2-a) No person shall be entitled to be acandidate or offer himself for election toeither House of a State Legislature, ifBicameral, or to the Legislative Assembly of the State, who is duly certified to be ofunsound mind, or suffering from any otherphysical or mental incapacity, dulycertified, or is less than 25 years of age atthe time of offering himself for election, orhas been proved guilty of any offence againstthe safety, security or integrity of theUnion, or of bribery and corruption, or ofany malpractice at election, or is illiterate
No one who is unable to read or write or speak theprincipal language spoken in the State for aseat in whose Legislature he offers himselffor election, or after a period of ten yearsfrom the date of the coming into operation ofthis Constitution, is unable to read or writeor speak the National Language of India,shall be entitled to be a candidate for oroffer himself to be elected to a seat in theState Legislature, or either House thereof.
(2-b) The election shall be on the basis ofproportional representation with a SingleTransferable Preference Vote. For the purposeof election, every State shall be deemed tobe a single constituency, and every membershall be deemed to have been elected in theorder of Preference as recorded by theelectors; and this arrangement shall holdgood in the case of a General Election, aswell as at a by-election, if and when onebecome necessary:
Provided that where there is a second chamber inany State, the voters may be grouped, forelecting members to the Legislative Council,on the basis of Trade, Profession, occupationor interest recognised for the purpose by anAct of the State Legislature, each trade,profession, occupation or interest voting asa single constituency for the entire State'."
"That clause (3) of article 149 be deleted and thefollowing be substituted:--
`The representation in the State Legislature shallbe on the basis of one representative forevery alk of population:
Provided that the total number of members in the legislative Assembly of a State shall in nocase be less than sixty'."
There are several points in amendment No. 2247 whichhave, on an earlier occasion, been brought before the House.They refer to the disqualifications and qualifications whichwere stated while discussing the composition of the CentralLegislature. The House apparently did not agree with me and,on that occasion, at any rate, rejected my proposal. I amagain bringing it forward from the point of view now of thelocal legislatures, I hope with better fate.
The point, however, of great importance is that even ifyou cannot make all the voters literate within the time that the legislatures are constituted, you should certainlyinsist, in my opinion, upon candidates for the high officeof the legislature to be qualified in certain ways, or notto suffer from disqualification in other ways.
The qualifications I have suggested are quite modest,not very exacting and in no way offend against the basicprinciples of democracy, that is to say, every individualshould have the right to choose his representative. Thatbeing conceded, it may yet be desirable that those who offerto represent should at least have the minimum qualificationsnot of property, not of economic strength, not of anymeasure that indicates inequality as between citizens, butof capacity to render service, ability to understand theissues coming before them and honesty enough impartially torecord their votes in the legislature so that you may have afair legislation for the benefit of the country. I thinkthat though it may be possible to have even between equallyqualified and equally honourable men, differences on groundsof principle, we should differentiate between people whosuffer from certain disabilities of the type I havesuggested in
this amendment. I put it to those who areresponsible for this draft and to the House also that, evenif we decide as we have decided and must insist upon that,without waiting for the coming of complete literacy, all theadult population should have the vote, we shouldnevertheless insist that the candidate must to start havecertain qualifications and not suffer from certaindisqualifications which I have tried to illustrate. Theseare only illustrations, not, so to say absolutequalifications or indexes of merit in themselves. I havestated nothing more than the minimum requirements forunderstanding the issues that would come before the legislature. As such I think it is but right and proper thatat least in the case of candidates we must insist upon thesequalifications. Those who become Members should similarly befree from certain practices or convictions against them;that may be taken also as the common-places of constitutinglegislatures and should not require any further argument onmy part.
There is a point which I have made in a part of thisamendment that deals with proportional representation. I amafraid the House is not in favour of that idea and thereforeI will not labour the point. It is liable to be ruled out oforder and therefore I shall not myself press it.
The last point stressed in my amendment No. 2248 isthat the representation in the State Legislature shall be onthe basis of one representative for every alk of population:Provided that the total number of Members in the LegislativeAssembly of a State shall in no case be less than sixty. Theformer is I admit an arbitrary selection. It may be varied.I only put it forward because I thought it is indicative of the State Legislature being really representative of largenumbers of the population at the same time keeping themembership within manageable proportions. A alk is a largenumber. Adult voters in a population of one alk would beabout fifty to sixty thousand and as such the possibility ofsecuring a clear verdict on the multiplicity of issues thatmay be placed before the provincial electorates at the timeof the general election would be too great to enable a voterjustly to say that every single issue before that electoratehas been clearly voted upon by all the voters even if all goto the polls.
But while recognising the limitation, I have also inmind the practical requirements of having legislativeassemblies of manageable sizes and as such, this kind ofarbitrary selection is necessary. That can only be remedied,I think, if you continue the process of legislativeorganisation in units of smaller and smaller population,that is to say, carry it from your huge provinces down tosome district or municipal level where perhaps you will havea much more direct representation and therefore direct self-government of the people. But as the provinces or States nowstand, it seems unavoidable to select a figure such as theone that is selected and for that I claim no more merit than that it is likely to give you a more direct and more fullrepresentation of the people than any larger number. For therest, the second part of the amendment gives the minimum andnot the maximum. I am against keeping a clause which givesthe maximum number of representatives to be found in anyprovince of any State on the ground that by fixing such amaximum, whatever the figure may be, you deny the largerelectorate really speaking, the right to assert itself. it is not that you are disfranchising, it is that you arecombining them in such a manner that considerable portionsmay neutralise the effect of other portions and as such yourrepresentative body may not be truly representative. Onthese grounds I commend these two amendments to the House.
Mr. Vice-President: The next amendment is No. 2249standing in the name of Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad (West Bengal: Muslim): Sir, withyour permission I wish to move
the alternative amendment tothis, i.e., No. 48 in List II as I think that form it may beacceptable to the House. Sir, I move:
"That for amendment No. 2249 of the List of Amendments,the following be substituted:-
`That in clause (3) of article 149, for the words`last preceding census', the words `lastpreceding census of which the relevantfigures havebeen published'besubstituted'."
This principle has already been accepted in two other contexts. It is laid down in clause (3) that there should beone representative for every lakh of the population. It isstated also that that population will be found from lastpreceding census. My point is that the figures of thepreceding census may not be available and in that case wemay have to go to the immediately preceding census of whichfigures are available. Some doubt has been expressed in the House whether it would be wise to depend upon the 1941census, that is to say, that the 1941 census is alreadyobsolete in view of the mass exchange of population. Notonly in the case of West Bengal and East Punjab but otherprovinces also the population figures have been disturbed.So far as the next elections are concerned, I suggest that there should be a fresh census or some method ofascertaining the actual number of persons in each provinceand if communal reservations are allowed, we shall also needthe figures on a communal basis. In any case, some method ofascertaining the population figures is absolutelyinevitable. This principle has already been accepted.
(Amendment No. 61 of List IV was not moved.)
Mr. Vice-President: Amendment No. 62 of List IVstanding in the name of Mr. T. T. Krishnamachari.
Shri T. T. Krishnamachari: Mr.Vice-President, Sir, I move:
"That with reference to amendment No. 2249 of the Listof Amendments, in clause (3) of article 149, for the words`every lakh' the words `every seventyfive thousand' besubstituted."
Sir, as the House will understand, this amendment seeksto meet certain objections that may possibly be raised tofixing the figure at a lakh in the case of areas which arebackward where the population is sparse but the area is verylarge. Such areas abound in the country in very manyprovinces. There are a good number of pockets where perhapsa whole taluk does not contain more than seventyfivethousand people. Actually in the Constitution we envisagethat every voter should be able to exercise his vote, butdistance happens to be a very important factor in theexercise of that vote. It might be that in an area where there are about seventyfivethousand people, if the total number of voters are roughlyhalf of seventyfive thousand, because of the distance to thepolling booth, even a fraction of the thirtyfive orthirtyseven thousand voters may not exercise their votes;and the problem therefore is that we must minimise thosefactors which will prevent the voter from exercising hisvote. Actually, in the Constitution which is based on adultsuffrage, we are making no provision with regard to transitfor the voter to go to the polling booth. Distance will be avital factor for a number of people in exercising theirvotes. Sir, it is a matter of common knowledge to Members of the House who have had to face elections that the person whohas the largest number of conveyances is usually the personwho succeeds in an election, though it often happens thatpeople go in one person's conveyance but vote for anotherperson: But, by and large, the person who is able to command the largest number of conveyances is able to secure thelargest number of votes. If possible, we should minimise theeffect of this particular factor operating in our futureconstitution. Having in view the peculiar conditions of ourcountry, the peculiar conditions in the various provinces,it seems right that the limit ought to be lowered from onelakh to seventyfive thousand, though the sequel to it wouldbe that
there would be variations in the number of voters inconstituencies, but we shall perhaps be able to insertprovisions in this Constitution later on so as to minimisethese variations to the lowest possible limit. Taking my ownprovince, we may probably have six or seven suchconstituencies where the population will be seventyfivethousand, but this will not detract from the representativecharacter of the legislature concerned or do any injusticeto the areas which are more thickly populated. This is asaving clause which is very necessary in order to providerepresentation for the backward areas. I hope, Sir, the House will accept this amendment.
May I also move the related amendment which is No. 662.
Mr.Vice-President: You can do it later on.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: I have a point of order. You willbe pleased to find that in the notice sent to me withreference to amendments Nos. 2249 and 2250 that in the firstplace neither of these have been moved. Secondly, in placeof 2249 I have moved another amendment and that has areference to a different subject altogether. In fact it hasa reference to the census but the present amendment dealswith the number of units.
Mr. Vice-President: Kindly come up to the `mike'. Youare inaudible to me.
Shri T. T. Krishnamachari: May I suggest that the Househas already agreed to his moving an amendment to hisamendment No. 2249 and as such he may be restrained fromraising any further point of order.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: In raising this point of order I have nothing to say against the merits of the amendment. Mypoint will be a technical one. It is said in this amendmentthat it is with reference to amendments Nos. 2249 and 2250.That is amendment No. 62 in List IV.
Mr. Vice-President: Wait, wait. Do not be in such ahurry
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: This amendment is sought to bemoved with reference to amendments Nos. 2249 and 2250. I have not moved the first one. But I have moved a substituteamendment with regard to No. 2250. If by implication areference is being made to the substitute amendment That will be found to relate to a different subject.
Mr. Vice-President: Your contention is that it is notright to move amendment No. 62 in List IV here
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: Yes, I want to clarify theposition.
Mr. Vice-President: The position is quite clear and thecommonsense view is that it should come here.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: In that case we should also getan opportunity of coming in by reference to otheramendments. In that case I shall be happy.
Mr. Vice-President: I shall try to accommodate you as I have done except in the case of verbal amendments.
Shall we now go on to amendment No. 2250, standing in the name of Dr. Ambedkar?
The Honourable Dr. B.R. Ambedkar: Not moving.
Mr. Vice-President: In that case amendment No. 59 inList III falls through.
Amendments Nos. 2251, 2252 and 2253 may be moved oneafter the other.
Amendment No. 2251 is passed over as the honourableMember is not in the House.
Amendment No. 2252 is in the name of Shri Rohini KumarChaudhari.
Shri Rohini Kumar Chaudhari (Assam: General): Sir, hereI am, moving an amendment after all Sir, I move:
"That in clause (3) of article 149, for the words`autonomous districts' the word `State' be substituted."
I think, Sir, I have to cut short my jubilation becausethere is an amendment to this amendment and I think that it would be more acceptable. Therefore, Sir, I merely move thisamendment so that the other one may be moved.
Mr. Vice-President: The amendment to this amendmentstands in the name of the Honourable Shri Gopinath Bardoloi.
The Honourable Shri Gopinath Bardoloi (Assam: General):Sir, I move:
"That with reference to amendment No. 2252 of the Listof Amendments, after the words `autonomous districts ofAssam' the words `and the constituency comprising theCantonment and Municipality of Shillong' be added."
It will be
seen, Sir, from the amendment that has beenproposed by Mr. Krishnamachari, which I hope the House willaccept, that the old formula of a lakh of population hasbeen substituted by 75,000 population. That could apply Ifeel to all the places except the "autonomous districts ofAssam" which the amendment of Mr. Krishnamacharicontemplates. By this amendment we propose to exclude alsothe constituency comprising the Cantonment and Municipalityof Shillong. That Constituency consists of about 38,000population. At present it represents not only a constituencywith a seat for a male, but also a female constituency. Thatis to say, a constituency of less than 40,000 people,represents two seats today. To exclude it altogether fromthe category of a constituency without allowing anyrepresentation whatsoever would in my opinion be very wrong.In view of that, I have tabled this amendment and I hope the House will accept it.
In connection with the amendment which has been tabledby Mr. Rohini Kumar Chaudhari, I want to add this only. Whatthat amendment proposes to do, is to exclude altogether theProvince of Assam from the operation of the clause about thelakh population. I feel, Sir, that with the acceptance of the amendment proposed by Shri Krishnamachari our difficultyabout the number of seats will be easy to solve. What ismore, the difficulties which might otherwise arise--the samesort of difficulties that have arisen in this Assembly overthe number of seats--would be obviated if we accept ageneral formula. In my opinion the 75,000 formula is a goodone. Therefore, I do not think there is any necessity fortaking into consideration the motion of Mr. Rohini KumarChaudhari tabled in No. 2252. I therefore request the Houseto accept my proposal that the constituency comprising theCantonment and Municipality of Shillong be excluded from theoperation of this 75,000 clause proposed by Mr.Krishnamachari.
Mr. Vice-President: The next amendment No. 2253 is in the name of Rev. Nichols-Roy. As he is not in the House it is passed over.
(Amendment No.2254 was not moved.)
The Honourable Dr. B.R. Ambedkar: Sir, I beg to move:
"That for the proviso to clause (3) of article 149, thefollowing be substituted:--
`Provided that where the total population of aState as ascertained at the last precedingcensus exceeds three hundred lakhs, thenumber of members in the Legislative Assemblyof the State shall be on a scale of not morethan one member for every lakh of thepopulation of the State up to a population ofthree hundred lakhs and not more than fivemembers for every complete ten lakhs of thepopulation of the State in excess of threehundred lakhs:
Provided further that the total number of membersin the Legislative Assembly of a State shallin no case be more than four hundred andfifty or less than sixty'."
Mr. Vice-President: There are a number of amendments tothat amendment. Shall I call the movers one after another?There are amendments Nos. 31 to 34. No. 31 stands in thename of Mr. Sidhwa.
Mr. R. K. Sidhwa (C. P. & Berer: General): I am notmoving it, Sir.
Mr. Vice-President: No. 32 stands in the name of Prof.Shibban Lal Saksena. The honourable Member is not in the House. Nos. 33 and 34 stand in the name of Shri KamleshwariPrasad Yadav; he is not in the House. Then we come to No. 49standing in the name of Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: I beg to move:
"That in amendment No. 2255 of the List of Amendments,in the proposed first proviso after the words `the lastpreceding census' the words `of which the relevant figureshave been published' be inserted.
Sir, the principle has already been accepted.
Mr. Vice-President: Then we have amendment No. 63,standing in the name of Shri Jaspat Roy Kapoor.
Shri Jaspat Roy Kapoor (United Provinces: General):Sir, I am not moving it. Nor am I moving amendments Nos. 64and 65.
Mr. Vice-President: Then we have No. 66
standing in thename of Shri T. T. Krishnamachari.
Shri T. T. Krishnamachari: Sir, I beg to move:
"That in the proviso to clause (3) of article 149, for the words `three hundred' the words `five hundred' besubstituted."
This, I think, will not necessitate the House acceptingthe amendment of Dr. Ambedkar. Dr. Ambedkar's amendmentseeks to explain why and wherefore the limit should beraised from 300 to 450; the logic of it is explained alongwith the manner how it is to be computed, but this is not necessary in view of the fact that there will be a bodycoming into being, whether constituted by the ProvincialLegislature or by ParlI ament in whichever way the Housemight ultimately decide, which will definitely lay down howthe maximum of the number of Members of each Lower House of the Legislature in a Province should be arrived at.Therefore, I think it is not necessary to go through theprocess of explaining in what manner the number is to beraised beyond the figure 300.
It is also felt that the figure 450 may not be adequatein the case of the large provinces with a growingpopulation, particularly, for instance, U. P. and Madras,where the population is much above the 50 million mark.Therefore it was felt that 500 will not be an unduly largenumber in view of the fact that the House itself hasapproved of this limit for representation to the House of the People so far as the Centre is concerned.
These factors have emboldened me to move thisparticular amendment which I think appropriately enoughshould be an amendment to Dr. Ambedkar's amendment and whichI hope he would be good enough to accept and withdraw hisown amendment, so that the House can decide straightawaywhether it would like the figure to be raised from 300 to500.
Sir, I move.
Mr. Vice-President: Then we come to No. 2256 standingin the name of Begum Aizaz Rasul.
Begum Aizaz Rasul (United Provinces: Muslim): Sir, I move:
"That in the proviso to clause (3) of article 149, for the words `three hundred' the words `four hundred and fifty'be substituted.
The House will remember that last year when thediscussion on the different clauses of the Constitution wastaking place, the House decided that the maximum number ofMembers in any House in the Provincial Legislature shouldnot exceed 300. Later on, it became apparent that myProvince, the United Provinces, stood to lose a great dealby this clause. The population of the United Provinces,isover 55 million and it would be very unfair to that Provinceif the maximum number of Members for the Lower House wasfixed at 300. I think this honourable House will agree thatsome amendment in that direction is necessary. The reasonwhy I supported the maximum number of 300 members last yearwas that a House consisting of more than 300 Members wouldbe a very unwieldy House and the discussions in a very bigHouse on legislation would not give results that would beconducive to good working of a legislature in a State. Butas I have made it clear, our Province stands to lose a greatdeal if this maximum number is adhered to and I am thereforemoving this amendment.
I am glad to see that the Chairman of the DraftingCommittee, the Honourable Dr. Ambedkar, has also seen theinjustice and the unfairness of limiting the number ofMembers to 300 and is moving an amendment to that effect. Myamendment, therefore, is strengthened a good deal by theamendment that has been moved by the Honourable Dr.Ambedkar. I hope that the number of 450 will be accepted.Though according to the population our number really shouldhave been above 550, considering that a House of 550 or morewould be an extremely unwieldy House, I feel that the numberof 450 serves the purpose and we would be willing to make asacrifice and have a lesser number of Members than ourpopulation demands. I hope, therefore, that this amendmentof mine, if it is supported by the
Honourable Dr. Ambedkar,will be accepted by the House.
With these few words, I move this amendment.
Mr. Vice-President: There is an amendment to thisamendment, No. 35 of List No. 1 standing in the name ofPandit Thakur Dass Bhargava. Is he moving it?
Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava (East Punjab: General): I am moving another amendment, Sir.
Sir, I beg to move:
"That with reference to amendment No. 2249 of the Listof Amendments, in clause (3) of article 149, after the word`census', the following be added:--
`except in the case of East Punjab and West Bengalwhere fresh census will be taken to ascertain the population before the first electionsunder this Constitution'."
This is a very simple amendment and I need not take thetime of the House for pressing it. The exodus has resultedin the variation of the proportion of the population in thePunjab and West Bengal and the population concerned is notso trifling as to be ignored. Therefore, it is absolutelynecessary that fresh census should be taken. If fresh censusis not taken, then some other means must be found wherebythe population of these parts may be ascertained rightly.Unless this is done, the difficulty will be that in regardto reserved constituencies, such communities as forinstance, the Muslims, who have gone away from here, fivemillion of them, will get much more representation thanwould be allotted to the Hindus and Sikhs, who have come invery considerable numbers--I think they are more than fourmillions. Therefore, my submission is that either freshcensus should be taken or some other steps should be takento see that these words "last preceding census" do notentail hardship to the rest of the population, who have comehere.
I, therefore, submit, as was observed by me two daysback that either a fresh list of electors should be soprepared and the population should be ascertained from thatsource if that is possible, but my humble submission is that it will be more or less a conjecture. The right thing wouldbe to take a fresh census of these two Provinces before thefirst elections are held.
Mr. Vice-President: You may also move your nextamendment.
Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava: So far as this amendmentis concerned, this relates to Amendment No. 2260 and I willmove it after that amendment is moved.
(Amendments Nos. 2257 and 2258 were not moved.)
Mr. Vice-President: Amendment No. 2259 stands in thename of Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava and two others andamendment No. 2263 stands in the name of Prof. Shibban LalSaksena. These two amendments are of similar import.Amendment No. 2263 may be moved.
Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena (United Provinces: General):Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I beg to move:
"That for amendment No. 2263 of the List of Amendments,the following be substituted:--
`That after clause (3) of article 149, the followingnew clause be inserted:--
(3a) The ratio between the number of members to beallotted to each territorial constituency ina State and the population of thatconstituency as ascertained at the lastpreceding census of which the relevantfigures have been published shall, so far aspracticable, be the same throughout theState'."
Sir, if we glance at clause (3) of article 149 togetherwith the amendment of Mr. Krishnamachari, just moved, inevery Legislative Assembly, we shall have the maximum of 500 and a minimum of 60, but there is noprovision that every constituency shall be equal. In myProvince of U. P. there may be one constituency of 25,000;there may be another constituency of 2 lakhs and a thirdeven 3 lakhs. This is something which leaves a lacuna in the Constitution. I cannot understand how the constituencies canbe so different, one having 1 lakh, another 2 lakhs and athird 5 lakhs. This is certainly a grave lacuna in thisConstitution.
I only want to draw the attention of the House to sub-clause (c) of clause (5) of article 67, wherein we
haveprovided, although it is one representative for every 5 to 71/2 lakhs, that the ratio between the number of members tobe elected at any time for each territorial constituency and the population of that constituency as ascertained at thelast preceding census shall, so far as practicable, be thesame throughout India. It is provided that theconstituencies shall be equal and that means if in the U. P.we decide to have constituencies of the average size of 61/4 lakhs, then so far as practicable, the representationwill be equal. But this will not be so in actual practice;one will be 5 lakhs and another 71/2 lakhs. Therefore allthe constituencies shall be equal and the same throughoutIndia. Similarly I want in the States also the same and whenthere are various constituencies, they must be nearly equal.I think that unless this is provided for in some of theprovinces, there will be grave consequences. There may beprovincial jealousies which may play a role; some may getthe upper hand and may be able to provide those seats. Theymay have more seats, having one for 10,000, and there may beothers where they do not want to give more seats and theymay provide one seat for 2 lakhs. I therefore think thatwhat we have provided as safeguard in article 67 should befollowed. I hope, Sir, this amendment will be accepted bythe House, especially Provinces like East Punjab and WestBengal who will be particularly affected. Sir, I move.
Mr. Vice-President: Amendment No. 2259 cannot be moved,but it can be voted on. Does Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargavawant that a vote should be taken on this?
Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava: No, Sir.
(Amendments Nos. 2260 and 2261 were not moved.)
Mr. Vice-President: Amendment No. 2262. Verbal;disallowed.
Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava: With your permission, Sir,I move an amendment to Mr. Shibban Lal Saksena's amendmentnumber 67, which runs thus:
"That after clause (3) of article 149, the followingnew clause be inserted:--
`(4) The ratio between the number of members to beelected at any time for each territorialconstituency and the population of thatconstituency as ascertained at the freshcensus mentioned in clause (3) shall so faras practicable be the same throughout theEast Punjab and the West Bengal Province'."
In moving this amendment, Sir, I base my case onarticle 67 (3) which we have already passed. I have justheard an argument from my honourable Friend Mr. T. T.Krishnamachari who said that they want to arrange theconstituencies in such a manner that such constituencies ashave not got facilities of communication might be given aless number of electors whereas those constituencies whichare developed in point of communication etc., may not havethe same number of electors. My humble submission is that this will not be fair. If you do not make all theconstituencies equal or so far as practicable equal in theprovinces, there will be much confusion and bitterness. Iunderstand the real notion of democracy is one man one voteand not a collection of men and a collection of votes. It isnot areas which we are recognising, but the number of population which we are recognising for givinga candidate to a particular constituency. Therefore, myhumble submission is, that the principle which the House hasalready accepted in relation to article 67(3) is the soundprinciple. Otherwise it might happen that in East Punjab andWest Bengal such constituencies might be formed as may notbe equal for all the communities. This will engender a greatamount of bitterness and confusion. Therefore, my humblesubmission is, so far as East Punjab and West Bengal areconcerned, first of all a census must be taken and afterthat, it will be best to have as far as possibleconstituencies with equal numbers of population. If theoriginal amendment of Mr. shibban lal Sakesena is passed bythe House, the difficulty in East Punjab and West Bengalwould be
that the last census is not accurate and does notrepresent the true percentage of the communities. Therefore,I have already moved that a census must first be taken and then the constituencies must be so arranged that theyrepresent almost equal number of the population.
Sir, I move.
Mr. Vice-President: The article is now open for generaldiscussion.
Shri R. K. Sidhwa: Mr. Vice-President, Sir, in clause(3) of this article, there was originally a proviso that thetotal number of Members in the Legislative Assembly of aState shall in no case be more than three hundred or lessthan sixty. When this proviso came up for discussion lastyear, the House will remember, I opposed it very strongly;but, Sir, I did not carry the House with me. I am very gladthat on second thought, the Drafting Committee have thoughtit themselves advisable to make an improvement on thisproviso, and remove the words three hundred and increase itto four hundred and fifty. There is an amendment nowproposed that the maximum should be five hundred. I am atleast glad that though the fullest latitude and fullestopportunity according to the population,--will not be giveneven under this maximum, this deficiency which would haveconsiderably come in the way of equal representation in the legislature has been removed.
Similarly, Sir, last year, when we were discussing oneof the clauses regarding the term of the legislature whichwas proposed by the House as four years, I moved anamendment to extend it to five years; and the House did notaccept it. But when our Constitutional Adviser went toforeign countries, he was advised that in Ireland and othercountries, the term of a legislature was five years; and theproposal has come before us and that we have accepted. Thisshows that our amendments are not want that credit tomyself; but I am very glad that this amendment has beenbrought before the House today after mature consideration.
It has been stated, Sir, that the larger the number ofmembers, it will be a cumbersome Assembly. I cannotunderstand this. If three hundred is not an unwieldy number,I fail to understand how the number five hundred could beregarded as cumbersome. Why should we be apprehensive of alarger number? Are there not in foreign countrieslegislatures of six hundred and seven hundred? You arecopying the Constitution of the ParlI ament of England. Arethere not 600 members in the House of Commons? I want toknow where is the harm. It these provinces the UnitedProvinces and Madras, which are the largest, are not goingto accommodate and give an equal right of returning membersto the legislature, then, they have no business to remain solarge. They must be prepared for a partition if they are notgoing to take in 600 members according to their population.I am of the view, Sir, that if there is to be one member forevery 75,000 of the population, the number of seats in theUnited Provinces comes to 650, and why should they deny that right to 150members. If you are afraid of a larger number of members inyour province, you must be prepared to increase the limitfrom 75,000 to 1,25,000. That is a different matter. So longas you accept a certain percentage or proportion, then theremust be uniformity and you should not deny the right ofreturning members because you are a big province. Provincesmust be prepared to accommodate everybody; one should notsay that he has no accommodation and therefore he is notprepared increase that number. Similarly is the case ofMadras. If there are five crores of population, there mustbe 500 members. But, with all that, I am really very glad,and I congratulate the Drafting Committee, that they have,though at a late stage, seen the wisdom of increasing themaximum number. Sir, I entirely support the amendment of myfriend Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad about census and I go furtherthan that and support my friend Pandit Bhargava. This matterhas been repeatedly stated
in this House that you cannotignore the exodus and the number of persons who havemigrated from one province to another and without taking aproper census, you cannot be really doing service to thatclass of people who have unfortunately come out. I know theConstituent Assembly has issued an order to the ProvincialGovernments that irrespective of residential qualifications,their names should be entered in the electoral rolls; but Iknow in certain provinces, e.g., in Bombay, it is not beingfully followed. It is merely an executive order and theauthorities are not going to take that into considerationseriously because they feel that it is a very expensivemethod and unless they are given sufficient money for thepurpose, sufficient enumerators etc. It is not possible toput in the census all those refugees who have come out fromPakistan. I therefore feel, while there has been no officialannouncement on this matter, Dr. Ambedkar should make anofficial statement on this matter as to really what would bethe position even under the amendment of Mr. Naziruddinwhich I understand is going to be accepted. It is stated`latest census' What is the meaning of that. Will it meanthat all those who have come from Pakistan will be reallyenumerated in the electoral rolls? If that is so, thelanguage is not very clear and some sort of declaration willhave to be made, if we are not going to put that in the Constitution, that the provincial Governments should bearthat in mind in preparing electoral rolls.
Sir, I am happy that an improvement has been made in the proviso that whatever the number, the members should beelected according to the population basis that we are goingto accept, viz., 75,000. With these words I support, Sir,this article.
Sardar Hukam Singh (East Punjab: Sikh): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I will confine myself to the amendment movedby Mr. Thakur Dass Bhargava and I fully support that. It isvery essential that census must be taken before electionsare held. Mr. Thakur Dass Bhargava has confined himself totwo provinces and as we know, there has been mass migrationfrom these provinces. If we were so rely on the previous orlast census, certainly it would be very unfair to theseprovinces. I take this opportunity of bringing it to thenotice of the Government that besides being unjust andunfair to the provinces, if this last census were to berelied upon, it will be particularly harmful to mycommunity--the Sikhs. As is well known, they have notconfined themselves after coming over from the West Punjabby settling in the East Punjab. They have gone further andin large numbers to the Provinces of Delhi and U. P. If wewere only to depend upon the previous census, and for thepresent only fresh electoral rolls were to be prepared, thenas we are proposing in the new constitution that seats wouldbe reserved, as is so far provided in the Draft--and we donot know if this will be changed afterwards but so far wecan safely say that seats are to be reserved on thepopulation basis--then it will be very unfair. Merepreparation of electoral rolls would not give themsufficient representation because in Delhi and U. P. they would not get any representation if the last censuswere to be relied upon. My humble request to Government isthat census should first be prepared and then electionsshould be held and particularly of these provinces, Punjaband Bengal because otherwise it would not only be simplyunjust and unfair but would be definitely harmful to mycommunity.
Dr. Monomohan Das (West Bengal: General): Mr. Vice-president, Sir, some apprehension appears before our mindabout the word last preceding census' in article 149. Thispoint was cleared by our Honourable Law Minister during thetime of the discussion of some previous articles. Some ofour friends have brought amendments to the effect that newcensus should be taken, at least in the
provinces of WestBengal and East Punjab before the elections are fought. Ilike to add one-point to the arguments that have been putforward for taking a new census before the elections. Sir,vehement propaganda by some political parties was carried onduring the last census of 1941 in Bengal. The contention of the propaganda was that Hindus as a nation should not giveany caste against their numbers. So about 44 lakhs of Hinduswere mentioned with no caste mentioned against them. Fromthe census it cannot be known how much or what part of the44 lakhs of Hindus are from Scheduled Castes and what partare from Caste Hindus. Now a controversy has arisen betweenthe Scheduled Castes of West Bengal and the Caste Hindus.The Caste Hindus claim that all these 44 lakhs of Hindusbelong to Caste Hindus only and the Scheduled Caste peopleclaim that a substantial part of this 44 lakhs are ScheduledCastes.
Shri Mihir Lal Chattopadhyay (West Bengal: General):May I know whether a person is bound to give his caste whenthe census is taken?
Dr. Manmohan Das: I am not speaking of the questionwhether he is bound to give his caste or not.
Mr. Vice-President: Will you please allow me to make afew remarks. There is a sense of grievance and as I havesaid, whatever the technicalities of the case be, let thesense of grievances be ventilated. Very often when agrievance is ventilated, it loses half its rancour or itspassion. Remember that you wanted five minutes but you havealready spent five minutes.
Dr. Monomohan Das: If a new census is to be takenbefore the elections, then we have nothing to quarrel but iffor some reasons, the new census is not taken before theelections and the records of the 1941 census be taken as ourguidance for the new elections, then this point must besolved by the Government. I mean, Sir, what-part of this 44lakhs Hindus are Caste Hindus and what part of them areScheduled Caste. Sir, I thank you for this opportunity.
Shri Rohini Kumar Chaudhari: Mr. Vice-President, Sir, Ihope honourable Members will excuse me if in this discussionI speak only of Assam and nothing but Assam.
Honourable Members will be pleased to recollect that ashort while ago I read out an amendment in which I had askedfor making an exception in the case of Assam. I wanted suchan exception because there was this qualification of onelakh population for a constituency. If that condition hadremained, a great mischief would have been done to thepeople of the province of Assam. But fortunately thatcondition has been removed by the amendment which the Housewas pleased to accept and which was moved by Mr. T. T.Krishnamachari. In order to make the position morecomprehensible, I would like to draw the attention of the House to page 188 of the Draft Constitution, and Part I of the Table there. There, the autonomous districts have beenenumerated. There are the Khasi and Jaintia Hills District,excluding the town of Shillong, the Garo Hills District theLushai Hills District, the Naga Hills, the North Cachar, and the Mikir Hills portion of Nowgong and sibsagar Districts.Now, in the Khasi and Jaintia Hills District, as also in the MikirHills, portion of Nowgong and Sibsagar Districts, there is alarge population which does not belong to the tribaldenomination; and if article 149 stood as it did originally,great harm would have been caused to these non-tribal peopleof these areas. If honourable Members will kindly look atsub-clause (5) and (6) of article 294, they will find this--
"(5) The constituencies for the seats reserved for anyautonomous district of the State of Assam shall not compriseany area outside that district."
So if the position had stood as it was before, then aportion of the city of Shillong--the Cantonment andAdministration of Shillong, will not come under theconstituency of the Khasi and Jaintia Hills District at all.
In article 294, clause (6) it is stated--
"(6) No person
who is not a member of a scheduled tribeof any autonomous district of the State of Assam shall beeligible for election to the Legislative Assembly of theState from any constituency of that district....."
That is to say, if any portion which has a large populationof non-tribal people is included in the autonomous district,that large portion of non-tribal people will be entirelydisenfranchised. In that case, it is meaningless to have anyright or franchise, if it does not take along with it theright to stand for election.
So far as Shillong is concerned, it has been excludedfrom the Khasi and Jaintia Hills, vide Part I of Table onpage 188. If the population of Shillong is less than 75,000,then Shillong will not have any separate constituency. Butby this amendment which was moved by Mr. Bardoloi, anexception has been made in the case of Shillong. If it stoodas it was, in that case, the non-tribal people would not beincluded in the Khasi and Jaintia Hills, and they will becompletely disenfranchised. The same difficulty would befelt in the case of the Mikir Hills also, because if thearea which is inhabited by the Mikirs only are taken aside,then the non-tribal population in the Mikir Hills will notcome to 75,000.
Now, one difficulty has been removed, by excludingShillong from the operation of this 75,000 formula. Myobject in moving the amendment was that in order to removeall the complication Assam might have been made exceptionaltogether. In the past, Assam has been made an exception invarious matters, both in favour of and against Assam, mostlyagainst Assam. I think there was at one time exception madein the case of Assam being considered a province--that wasrecommended by the Cabinet Mission. Similarly, it might havebeen possible and it might have been better if Assam hadbeen entirely excluded and my amendment accepted. But wiserheads have thought that my amendment had better not bemoved, and I thought, Sir, that I had to agree to that.
Mr. Vice-President: But you have not thanked me, Mr.Chaudhari, for making an exception in your case and allowingyou to speak, though you have not moved the amendment.
Shri Rohini Kumar Chaudhari: Thank you Sir; but I didnot speak on my amendment.
Mr. Vice-President: That is all right. I only wanted tomake my position clear to the House. I allowed thehonourable Member to speak, in my own unconventional way; heonly read out the amendment. The convention was brokenbecause Mr. Chaudhari had something important to talk aboutareas in Assam which had not been touched upon by Mr.Bardoloi.
Shri Raj Bahadur of Matsya Union.
Shri Raj Bahadur (United State of Matsya): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I regret I have to express my dissent fromthe provisions prescribing and restricting the maximumnumber of representatives provided for the Lower House in the Provinces. It has been restricted to a maximum of500, and it has been provided that for every one lakh or75,000 there shall be one member. But this provision isbound to lead to a disparity and inequality in the right ofrepresentation allowed to the people from province andprovince. We can easily see that in smaller provinces thepeople would get better right of representation, and hence abetter vote, as compared to people in provinces where thepopulation is bigger. For instance, if we take Bihar andOrissa and compare it with Madras or U.P. the people ofBihar and Orissa will be getting one member for every 75,000and the people of U.P. will be getting hardly one member fora lakh and 25 thousand or a lakh and 50 thousand. I submitit would have been better if the scale of representation hadbeen universal and uniform for all the provinces. It isobviously desirable that in our Constitution, the scale ofrepresentation should not vary from province to province orfrom State to State. Even the argument that the House wouldbecome cumbersome if no maximum is fixed, does not, I thinkcut at
the root of my suggestion. We can see that in the House of Commons in England there are as many as 640 membersand during the course of an experience of 300 years thatnumber has not proved cumbersome or unwieldy to the oldestdemocratic State in the world. Therefore, it cannot beunreasonable to suggest that the people of U.P. or Madrasshould be allowed the full quota of members which may becalculated on the basis of one member for every one lakh or75,000, of their population. Sir, I am submitting all thisbecause I am interested in this matter as a representativeof a State vitally affected by the provision. The Stateswhich have merged or which are about to merge with the U.P.or other provinces are all interested in this question,because if you restrict the number of seats for example inU.P. or Madras to a maximum of 500, the people of suchStates which propose to enter these provinces will obviouslystand to lose. The people of Bharatpur and Dholpur are eagerto merge their identity with the people of U.P. because of their traditions, history, folklore, culture,, and language,etc., etc. If the people of Bharatpur and Dholpur areallowed the right of self-determination, which, I am sure,no Member in this House would deny them and if they go to the U.P., it will not be fair if all the 500 seats arealready taken up by the present population of the UnitedProvinces and the people of Bharatpur or Dholpur or of anyother State which joins U.P., are deprived of their right ofrepresentation in the legislature.
Secondly, there is the question of those States whichwould merge after the first elections. We know that theboundaries of our provinces are still in a ferment. From dayto day experience, we might come to realise that certainprovincial boundaries have to be changed and consequentlythe population of certain areas would be affected. Thereshould be some provision by which the population of theaffected areas are secured the right of representation.Therefore, I submit that if there had been no maximum fixedit would have been much better. When the power to de-limitthe constituencies and to take decisions on otherconsequential matters have been left to the discretion ofprovincial Governments under article 291 and 312, it wouldbe proper if the right of fixing the maximum number ofmembers in the legislatures is also left to the discretionof the provinces or the States concerned.
Next, I wish to submit that the grounds ofdisqualification of a voter as provided in clause (2) ofarticle 149 have been made exhaustive. We notice that thesegrounds have been limited to certain conditions only, and I think that the powers and authority of the legislatures of the provinces, also have been restricted, in this respect to the grounds mentioned in the said clause. But it is possiblethat cases of high treason, sedition, undischargedbankruptcy or illiteracy may have to be included among thesegrounds. Hence it would have been better if the list of these grounds is not madeexhaustive but only illustrative.
Lastly I have to submit that so far as the amendmentmoved by Prof. Shah is concerned, I do not see any groundfor its acceptance. To disqualify a voter no certificates ofunsoundness of mind or body are needed. When the grounds ofdisqualifications are laid down in the Constitution or in the Provincial Acts, there should be no necessity for such aprovision. To revert to my first tow points, I may submitagain that in view of the changing boundaries of provincesand States, my suggestions may still be considered.
Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra (West Bengal: General): Mr.Vice-President, while we are in the midst of discussion ofarticle 149, I think quite unexpectedly a matter of verygreat importance has been raised and, fortunately severalhonourable Members have realised the importance of thesubject and given their views or it.
Sir, there are two things in
particular which shoulddemand the vary serious consideration not only of theMembers of the House but also of those who are in authority.In the present case by `those in authority' I mean myhonourable Friends Dr. Ambedkar, the Honourable Minister incharge of the Bill, I mean the Draft Constitution.
Shri H.V. Kamath: This is not a Bill.
Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra: I quite realise that. ButDr. Ambedkar is the one Member who has been piloting thismeasure in this House and so all the credit and discredit goto him. And I want to warn him that if there are certainmatters which are likely to bring discredit to his fairname, he should desist from talking for a moment and listendto me.
Sir, the two points to which I would confine myobservation now are, one, the representation in theprovincial legislatures based on certain figures ofpopulation and, two the principle of uniformity. What ismore important and pertinent to the point is that, besidesthe quantum of representation, there is the other vitalprinciple involved, namely, that there should be absoluteuniformity with regard to the scale of representation basedon that population.
Two amendments have been moved in this connection, oneby Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava which seeks to further amendthe amendment moved by Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena. When thesetwo amendments are read together, it will be realised thatwhat is sought to be done by these amendments is nothingextraordinary, but bare minimum justice, political justiceto all concerned. In a democratic State, the mechanics ofrepresentation cannot be based on any haphazard or slipshodfoundation. There must be a definite principle or principleson which the whole scheme of representation should be based.It should be based in such a way that the fundamentalconcept of democracy does not suffer. I think thisproposition is beyond challenge.
Now let us see how it is going to affect certain partsof the Indian Dominion and certain States within thatDominion if article 149 is accepted by the House as it is.It is all very well to say that representation will be basedon population which has been ascertained at the lastpreceding census. Theoretically it is absolutelyunexceptionable, provided the Government is in the mood towait decennial census would be due about the year 1950, ayear hence. If it is to be held preparations must be set onfoot from now on or six months hence if the census is to betaken very seriously and is to be conducted expeditiouslybefore the year 1950 runs out. Now, on a previous occasionin connection with an earlier article, I explained at greatlength the dangers, the difficulties that certain provincesin India would have to suffer if the previous censusfigures, which for all practical purposes would mean thecensus figures of 1941. are acted upon in the case of West Bengal, East Punjab,Bombay and Delhi. The present amendment no doubt relatesonly to the two provinces, West Bengal and East Punjab. The House will remember that with regard to these four provincesincluding West Bengal and East Punjab, I emphaticallydeclared--and I am glad that several members who followed meafter that supported me--that it would be practicallyuseless to depend on the census figures of 1941 with regardto representation in the new scheme of things. Who is therein this country, at least in this House, who does not knowthat the census figures of certain provinces were cooked upin 1941 with the object of getting political advantage in the succeeding stage of political reforms? That is all well-known, and is it necessary for me to repeat it in this Housein season and out of season to those who are in authority?There should be a clear realisation of this position. Now,we are going to start on a clean slate. (At this stage thelights failed in the Chamber). It is all darkness. I seenothing but darkness for the province of West Bengal if thispolitical
injustice is done to them, as also in the case ofEast Punjab.
Mr. Vice-President: The needful will be done as far aspossible. You please continue, Pandit Maitra.
Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra: The difficulty is that Ido not see whom I am addressing.
Honourable Members: You need not see our faces.
Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra: Sometimes faces giveencouragement. Sir, the House is aware that this principleof representation was accepted in the case of the CentralLegislature, the ParlI ament of India, in article 67. Theamendments now moved propose to bring the representation in the provincial legislature in line with that which has beenprovided and accepted by the House for the ParlI ament. Sir,the arguments I advanced on the last occasion need not berepeated now, but some of them will bear repetition here.
With regard to my ill-fated province of West Bengal andalso East Punjab, I want the House to realise that the vastmigration that has taken place in these two provinces shouldbe officially recognised. It has been recognised for reliefand rehabilitation to some extent, but for politicaladjustment, for granting political rights and franchise,this recognition is equally necessary. I deem it morenecessary than the question of rehabilitation andresettlement. You cannot effectively rehabilitate andresettle people, unless at the same time you give thempolitical rights and privileges for the coming governance of the country. Therefore, Sir, I think that this questionshould be decided by the authorities under pressure from this House. There should not be any further dilly-dallyingor shilly-shallying with this question. The problem is verysimple. It is this that the 1941 census figures have notbeen accepted by us with regard to the province of WestBengal. That is also true of East Punjab. West Punjab hasbeen completely denuded of Hindus and East Punjab has beensimilarly denuded of Muslims. Therefore the census figuresof 1941 are absolutely no guide to the real position ofthings with regard to East Punjab. With regard to westBengal, I pointed out-and I point out this once again and, Ihope, for the last time--that this migration started notfrom 1947 only. This migration started since the end of 1941when Japan entered the war against Great Britain. Vast areasof East Bengal now comprising Eastern Pakistan wereevacuated by order of the military aurthorities for variousmilitary preparations such as the construction of airfields,areodromes and other military installations. Those areaswere completely cleared and the people were driven in questof their livelihood to the province of West Bengal,particularly to Calcutta and Greater Calcutta, theindustrial areas where numerous production centres had beenopened. Thousands and thousands of people came over with their families to West Bengal fromareas like Chittagong, Tippera, Chandpur, etc. for personalsafety from the Japanese bombs which were dropped on thoseareas and which was not a pleasant experience to have. Thencame the disastrous famine of 1943. My province has theunique distinction of having a number of calamities, oneclosely following another, and yet the province hassurvived. Do you want it to survive or do you want to giveit a death blow and extinguish it for ever? Are you going togive West Bengal minimum political justice or not? I askthis simple question and want a straight answer. Sir, thefamine of 1943 brought lakhs and lakhs of people to WestBengal from East Bengal in quest of food. Even today in WestBengal the price of rice per maund is Rs. 16 or Rs. 17,whereas it is about Rs. 50 in East Bengal, which is supposedto be the granary of Bengal. In those days, there was morechance of getting food in West Bengal and Calcutta than in the desolate corners of East Bengal. We do not know what isthe population position now. The Famine Commission put thedeaths at thirty lakhs. Every
community claims that it isthat community who suffered most.
An Honourable Member: It is the Scheduled Castes whosuffered most.
Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra: I have heared thisstatement from responsible quarters that it is the ScheduledCastes who suffered most. It is true. It is the women and the children who were the worst suffers. The whole point ofmy contention is that in this province after the last censushad taken place the situation had developed from year toyear to such an extent that the whole equilibrium--if itexisted at all--in the proportions that are given in thecensus figures, has been completely destroyed. Then came thedivision of the country and the partition of the Province ofBengal into East and West. The House is aware that theundivided province of Bengal got cut up into three parts--West Bengal, East Bengal and North Bengal: the districts ofJalpaiguri and Darjeeling were allotted to West Bengal. Ithad a tongue of Pakistan territory in between and migrationhas been going on both in the northern area from this areaof Pakistan and throughout the southern portion.
Mr. Vice-President: What I am afraid of is that both ofus coming from the same province, and I being in agreementwith you views, Members may say that I am partial. That isan ordeal which I would like to avoid.
Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra: I do not want to createany embarrassment for the Chair. So far as I am concerned, I am not a novice in parlI amentary activities and I get theindulgence of the House. If the House so desires I willstop.
Honourable Members: Go on, go on.
Mr. Vice-President: Now it is all right. You can go on.
Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra: This migration has beengoing on and it is perfectly open to the authorities, ifthey want to shirk any responsibility for the unfortunatevictims from East Bengal, to quarrel about the figures butthe fact is that migration is continuing. Does my honourableFriend, Dr. Ambedkar, the hero of this whole show, know thatthousands of scheduled casts people are pouring into theIndian Union? I am sure he knows it. I look up to him totake a dispassionate view, because he is the one man whom wecan get hold of here quickly, expeditiously and effectivelyperhaps He is the one man who has to realise the gravity ofthis and to tell those who differ from him that this is amatter which must be tackled in right earnest. Some say themigration figures go into 15 lakhs. We have our own figures,but 20 lakhs is the official figures of West Bengal.
Mr. Vice-President: Today it is 20 lakhs
Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra: I can understand theposition of the authorities to put down the figures as lowas possible, but the fact is that at least 20 lakhs havebeen driven into the Indian Dominion by the very kindtreatment of our friends in Pakistan, and more will continueto come; I am confident of that. But the whole question is:Are these people going to be left in the lurch? They haveleft their hearths and homes. They have left behindeverything. I am talking of West Bengal, because the Punjabcase is well known. They have all become destitutes and theyhave come over here. But there is less appreciation of whatis happening there because the facts about it are being muchless dramatised. Are these people not going to have anypolitical justice and any representation, when they havecast in their lot with us in this Dominion and when theyhave settled down here and when they desire that they shouldbe part and parcel of the Indian Union? They in their ownway joined in this struggle for freedom and they made theirsacrifices which are by no means negligible. It is all verywell to say that if we want to take a census of East Punjaband West Bengal the elections will be deferred by one year.What does it matter? Are you going to deprive lakhs ofpeople of their legitimate right of representation in the legislatures of the country? Do you want to have expeditionat the cost of
justice? That is a simple question you haveto answer. Are we anxious to have expeditious elections atthe sacrifice of these people? That is for you to answer. I am told that a rule of thumb has been invented by which theelectoral roll will go on being prepared and thereafter itwill be multiplied by two and the number of the populationwill be obtained. But why not go about it in astraightforward way and have a general census? With ourresources will it not be possible to finish the censusbusiness and at the same time carry on the preliminaries forholding the elections? That Constitution has to be finalisedand it cannot be finalised before August in any case: thereis the Third Reading and all that: then there is the datefor its coming into operation and then a date for thedelimitation of constituencies. If you start now, you canhold a census for this province. In case you cannot do that,then some arrangement must be made for these unfortunateprovinces of West Bengal and East Punjab. They cannot bemade to fit in with your census figures because you demandthat elections should be held forthwith.
Sir, the observation from an honourable Friend, who isclosely associated with the honourable Member in charge ofthis Bill created some kind of consternation in our mind.His idea seems to be that the scale of representation couldvary according to different parts of the country becausesome parts are well developed from the point of view ofcommunications and others are not. This means that accordingto his idea--which, I believe, will catch the official mind,and I do not know whether it is a reflection on the officialmind--that where 50,000 people can have representation byone Member, in another area 1,20,000 people will have oneseat. This would be the height of injustice. Democracydemands that one man/one vote should have an equal value.There is a differentiation in value if 50,000 people areasked to elect one man and 1,20,000 people are also asked toelect only one man. There is a lot of difference. Thereforethat will cause great discontent in the whole of East Punjaband West Bengal. This discontent borders on bitterness and Iask the Honourable the sponsor of this Bill, Dr. Ambedkar,to take steps to see how this can be eliminated so that wecan go on in this business with perfect amity, concord andgoodwill. Let no sense of rankling injustice be left in theminds of those who are clambering for this bare modicum ofjustice. These two amendments provide that not only shallthis representation be based on the figures of populationbut these figures must be the latest figures from a censusto be held for the purpose, be it even an ad hoc census. Inany case the census figures of 1941 will be no index of thereal population of these areas. There has been aconsiderable change. That is one point.
The second point is that the sizes of theconstituencies should not be made to vary from place toplace in the sense that the population should not be made tovary. If you fix one seat for 75,000 or one seat for onelakh, by all means try to see that in every constituencythroughout India the proportion is maintained--one lakhpeople having one representation or 75,000 people having onerepresentation. But it will be a travesty of justice if50,000 are given one seat and one lakh of people are alsogiven one seat. There will then be enormous scope forjerrymandering. I think I should sound a final note ofwarning that this condition must cease. The authorities mustmake up their mind and make a declaration that so far asthese two Provinces are concerned the census figures for1941 will not be acted upon and that a fresh census will betaken or that a fresh mechanism for ascertaining the realpopulation figure of these two Provinces--West Bengal andEast Punjab--is brought into action before this particulararticle is implemented.
Sir, I support wholeheartedly the amendment of
Prof.Saksena as sought to be modified by Pandit Thakur DassBhargava. I thank you, Sir, and I thank the House also.
The Assembly the adjourned till Ten of the Clock onFriday, the 7th January 1949.