Saturday the 8th January, 1949
The Constituent Assembly of India met in the Constitution Hall, New Delhi, at Ten of the Clock, Mr. Vice-President(Dr. H. C. Mookerjee) in the Chair.
MOTION RE PREPARATION OF ELECTORAL ROLLS
Mr. Vice-President (Dr. H. C. Mookherjee): The item on the agenda is a motion from the Chair.
Shri H. V. Kamath (C. P. & Berar: General): On a point of information, Sir, may I request you to be so good as to tell us under what provision of the Rules of Procedure of our Assembly this motion is being moved from the Chair? To my knowledge, there is no such provision in the Rules of the Assembly which we have adopted, according to which a motion of this nature can be brought forward by the Chair. So, Sir,we would like to know under what extraordinary provision or rule this procedure is being adopted because I would say in all humility that the draft of the motion that is being brought forward before this House today is not merely not above criticism but also there is scope for correction not only from the point of view of draftsmanship but also that of substance as well. Therefore I would beg of you to tell us whether there is any Rule which we have adopted which authorises the Chair to bring forward a motion of this nature, and whether once having been moved from the Chair,all criticism and discussion would be shut out on this motion.
Shri Rohini Kumar Chaudhari (Assam: General): May I also request you to kindly enlighten whether any amendment will be allowed on this motion because it contains some controversial matters also?
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad (West Bengal: Muslim): I also think that the resolution requires some amendments. If it ismoved from the Chair, it will be impossible for us tos uggest any amendments or even to discuss the same. I have already suggested to Sir B. N. Rau some amendments. In the circumstances it would be far better to allow some Minister to move the Resolution so that we can have a discussion on this. That would be far more satisfactory.
Shri R. K. Sidhwa (C. P. & Berar : General): Sir, my point is whether this House is competent to pass are solution of the nature that you are going to propose. I feel that under Section 291 it is the Dominion ParlIamentthat can issue instructions regarding the franchise and the elections. Sir, you will remember that our President, I do not know under what authority, issued an injunction for the appointment of a Commission for the work of going into the question of the linguistic provinces; and my Friend Mr.Bharathi challenged that and wrote a letter to the President, saving that under Section 290, the creation of provinces can only be done by the Government of India and the Dominion Parliament. I would like to know, Sir, whether this House is competent to pass a resolution of the naturethat you are going to propose in view of explicit provision under Section 291 of the Government of India Act.
Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra (West Bengal: General):Sir, so far, two specific points have been raised, one by my honourable Friend Mr. Kamath and the other by my honourable friend Mr. Sidhwa. Mr. Kamath wants you to point to the particular rule by which you are empowered to make a motion of the nature contemplated in today's agenda. With regard to that, I may say that it is a well-established procedure that on certain occasions, the President can move a resolution, if the House permits it. We had a precedent recently when Dr. Rajendra Prasad moved are solution from the Chair--the condolence resolution on the death of Mr. Mohammad Ali Jinnah. We have got that precedent, and I do not think there is any bar to the Chair making this motion, though personally I would have liked Dr.Ambedkar or somebody else to move the resolution.
With regard to the other point, the one raised by Mr.Sidhwa, I feel, and I am sure the House
will agree with mein that, as this is a sovereign body, there is nothing to stand in the way of this sovereign body moving a resolution of this nature. Of course, the Constituent Assembly in the legislative Section is competent to pass an order like this.But the Constituent Assembly, as the Constitution making body, has a much wider and larger sphere of power than the Constituent Assembly, Legislative Section, and I think it is perfectly right and it is perfectly within the competence of this House to pass a resolution authorising the Provincial Governments to go forward with the necessary preliminaries connected with the coming elections. Therefore, I think the second point raised, the one raised by Mr. Sidhwa, is not a very important one of substance.
Sir, another point was raised by Mr. Sidhwa, that inconnection with the appointment of the Linguistic Provinces Commission. Of course, there is a good deal of difference of opinion with regard to that. There is one body of opinion which thinks that it was ultra vires. But I am not going to enter into the merits of that question and of the order appointing that Commission. But I would point out that no resolution was passed or moved in the Constituent Assembly for that purpose, and that point must be borne in mind. Here the question is entirely different. Here the House, the Constituent Assembly by a resolution is going to authorise the Provincial Governments to do certain things, and I think there is no illegality or irregularity about it.
Shri H. V. Kamath: Sir, on a point of explanation, I would only say that there is a world of difference between a condolence resolution and a motion of this nature.
Shri R. V. Dhulekar (United Provinces: General): Sir, I submit that this sovereign body can direct the LegislativeAssembly. The necessary direction may be issued by this Constituent Assembly to its Legislative side to have this motion passed there, and so we can get out of the impasse that has been created now. If this motion is moved from the Chair here, there is on the one side the difficulty that amendments cannot be moved, and on the other side there isthe objection that we are not here sitting as a legislative body at this time. Therefore, I would propose two ways,either of which may be adopted. This motion may be sent to the Constituent Assembly's legislative side. Or we may as well convert this Assembly for a day or two, or even for a day, to sit as the Legislative Assembly. I submit that either of these two courses may be followed.
Shri Jagat Narain Lal (Bihar: General): Sir, may I propose a third course? That is that if there is no concensus of opinion about the resolution being moved from the Chair, it may be allowed to be moved by any member and then it may be taken up as an ordinary resolution and discussion allowed, though I do not think there is any room or any debate on it.
Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava (East Punjab: General):Sir, I beg to submit that so far as the question of legality of the motion is concerned, it is perfectly competent for the Chair to make this motion. This is a sovereign body and I do not know why such a motion cannot be made from the Chair. The only question which I wish the House to consider is whether this is the appropriate course. Usually motions from the Chair are such as are not subject to debate. But my difficulty is that this resolution contains very controversial matters and I myself have tabled two amendments to it. In regard to clause (4), my amendment seeks that the refugees should not be ordered or be burdened with the liability of filing a declaration of their intention, etc., etc. That is a very important point,because fifty or sixty lakhs of people being asked to go to a court to file such a declaration is no trifling matter.Similarly, in regard to clause (3), I have sent in an amendment that the date 31st March 1948
be changed to 31stMarch 1949.
Mr. Vice-President: I may be ignorant of technicalities, but may I point out in all humility that no reference can be made to any amendment till the resolution itself has been actually moved?
Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava: Sir, I am not moving my amendment, but am only submitting that if this resolution is moved from the Chair, then no amendment will be allowed to be moved. I fully realise the anxiety of those who want elections to take place in 1950--and I am also of the same view, that the elections should take place as quickly as possible. Therefore, I want to be helpful rather than to be obstructive. But all the same I want the amendments to be allowed to be moved in the House. If the resolution is moved from the Chair we will not be allowed to do so and to have our say, in regard to clauses (3) and (4). Therefore the suggestion made by Mr. Dhulekar may please be adopted, and the matter may be sent to the Legislative Section, or adirective may be sent by this House to the Legislative Section and action may be taken by that body in response to the order from this Constituent Assembly.
Seth Govind Das (C.P. & Berar: General): Sir, I could not follow the controversy that has been raised here. I think, Sir, that the controversy has been raised on......
An Honourable Member: In Hindi, please.
Seth Govind Das: *[The objections that have been raised here do not appear to me to be very appropriate. The fact is that we have adopted, during the last two or three days,provisions which are more or less similar to the ones for which the present motion is being placed before us and which are more specifically stated in it. I think that what is intended by this motion is only that the next elections should be held in 1950, and I believe that was precisely the intention when we adopted articles 67 and 148. In my opinion it is meaningless to debate the question whether the President has or has not the right to make this motion. ThePresident always has certain inherent rights, even though they may have not been specified in the Rules. When the occasion arises he can make use of these inherent rights.Again it appears to me to be entirely meaningless to discuss whether this Assembly possesses or does not possess the right of adopting a motion of this kind, and I think so for the simple reason that we have asserted not once but many times that this Assembly is possessed of all rights of sovereignty. Moreover when I consider the motion itself, I do not find anything in it to which one can object. It may be that its wordings may be improved by minor changes here and there. But I am sure that no disaster would occur even if we pass the resolution as it is, without making any change at all. I have already said that some two or three days ago we approved almost all the proposals contained in the present motion. It is our desire that elections should be held at an early date and that these might be held in 1950 at the latest. This resolution contains specifically the provisions which all of us have already accepted. I therefore ---------------------------------------------------------- *  Translation of Hindustani speech.
fail to understand what occasion there is for any debate on this motion. We have much other important work to do and it is but proper that the motion made by you be adopted unanimously by the House.]
Shri H.V. Kamath: May I only point out sub-rule (2) of rule 25 which says that notice of every motion shall be given by a Member? Sir, when you are the Chairman, I dare say you are not regarded as a Member.
Mr. Vice-President: It is rather embarrassing for me to have to defend the procedure I propose to adopt. But I recognise one fundamental fact and that is that this House is supreme and that there is need for a motion of this sort.These facts I cannot forget. I also maintain that, if this motion
is adopted by this supreme Body, that by itself would justify the procedure. (Hear, hear.) That is my feeling.
Then, as regards the amendments, I find that only twohave been received which of itself proves that I have practically the whole House behind my proposal. I therefore propose to move it from the Chair.
I was conscious that there are some learned pandits of rules and procedure who would try to prevent the Chair from moving this much-needed resolution. Therefore I have drafted out a statement which I shall now place before the House.Honourable Members will agree with me that there is necessity for the moving of this resolution and for the passing of it also.
We have been, during the past few days, devoting ourattention in the Constituent Assembly to the consideration of the articles of the Draft Constitution relating to the Constitution and composition of our future Central and Provincial Legislatures. This, as honourable Members areaware, is with a view to enabling the necessary electoral machinery to be set up, so that the preparation of the electoral rolls and other connected matters can be taken in hand without delay.
As a matter of fact, the Constituent Assembly Secretariat has, under the direction of the President, already taken certain steps for the purpose. In some of the Provinces and States, the first stage of the work, namely,the preparation of the preliminary rolls, is almost complete. The articles which we have so far adopted lay down the principles and the basis on which the we have so far adopted lay down the principles and the basis on which the electoral work has to be carried out. But this is not all. We have also to indicate the time within which to complete the elections, as the electoral rolls will have to be prepared with reference to a set date, and prescribe authoritatively the qualifications for voters, etc.
This matter was considered at a meeting of the Steering Committee held on 5th January 1949 and that Committee decided that a resolution on the subject should be brought forward before the Assembly and that it would be in the fitness of things if such a resolution were moved from the Chair. Incidentally, the resolution will also allay the suspicions harboured in certain quarters, however unjustified such suspicions may be, that we are not very serious about bringing the new Constitution into forceearly.
I have further to remind the House that people outside do not very well appreciate the difficulties which we have to face today. I have been receiving letters from many quarters in India and, as the House is probably aware, I belong to a community which was formerly a minority and which is today a majority community. Now, members of my community with whom I have been in contact have been sending me letters from all parts of India asking why there is somuch delay. These people do not seem to appreciate the difficulties which we are facing, namely, first of all, the troubles which happened after India was partitioned, there fugee problem, our troubles in Hyderabad, out troubles in Kashmir and then the general disintegration of the economic structure of the country. These people who do not appreciate these difficulties think that this august Body is delayingits work for reasons which are uncharitable and to which Ido not want to refer. Doubtless many Members also have some knowledge of the state of feeling in the country. It is therefore necessary that these misgivings should be allayed.It is necessary that the public should know that we areseriously thinking about holding our elections at the earliest possible date.
I shall go further and say that I belong to a particular political organisation. I hope Members will admit that I have not allowed my political affiliations in any way to sway me in the way in which the work of the House has been
conducted. That particular political organisation has been the target of attack from more than one quarter. It Is therefore necessary that its position should be made clear.This is the reason why I am moving the following Resolution from the Chair. I hope honourable Members will appreciate its importance and pass it immediately without any kind of discussion or any kind of amendment which, again I may say,I do not propose to admit (Laughter).
The motion is:
"Resolved that instructions be issued forth with to the authorities concerned for the preparation of electoral rolls and for taking all necessary steps so that elections to the legislatures under the new Constitution may be held as early as possible in the year 1950.
Resolved further that the State electoral rolls be prepared on the basis of the basis of the provisions of the new Constitution already agreed to by this Assembly and in accordance with the principles here in after mentioned,namely:--
(1) That no person shall be included in the electoral roll of any constituency--
(a) if he is not a citizen of India; or
(b) if he is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a competent court.
(2) That 1st January 1949 shall be the date with reference to which the age of the electors is to be determined.
(3) That a person shall not be qualified to be included in the electoral roll for any constituency unless she has resided in that constituency for a period of not less than 180 days in the year ending on the 31st March 1948. For the purposes of this paragraph, a person shall be deemed to be resident in any constituency if he ordinarily resides in that constituency or has a permanent place of residence there in.
(4) That, subject to the law of the appropriate legislature a person who has migrated into a Province or Acceding State on account of disturbances or fear of disturbances in his former place of residence shall be entitled to be included in the electoral roll of a constituency if he files a declaration of his intention to reside permanently in that constituency.
Shri H.V. Kamath: On a point of clarification only, may I ask, Sir, why, after having passed the two articles 67(6)and also 149(2), the disqualification of unsoundness of mind only has been included in clause (b) of para. 1 of the motion, while both the other articles include other disqualifications such as crime or corrupt or illegal practice? This is only for clarification.
Another point is that in sub-clause (a) of paragraph(1) of your motion, it is stated that "no person shall be included in the electoral roll of any constituency if he is not a citizen of India," but unfortunately, Sir, we have not passed the article on citizenship and therefore it may raise difficulties for the enumerator or the officer in charge of the electoral rolls as to who is a citizen and who is not.
(Shri Rohini Kumar Chaudhari rose to speak).
Mr. Vice-President: Would you like to say anything on this matter? I cannot allow any amendment or any discussion,but if you want to answer the points raised by Mr. Kamath,you are quite welcome.
Shri Rohini Kumar Chaudhari: I want your clarificationon a point. First of all, sub-clause (1) (b) of the motionsays that "No person shall be included in the electoral roll of any constituency if he is of unsoundmind and stands so declared by a competent court". It means,Sir, that a man...
Mr. Vice-President: I am not allowing any discussion.
Shri Rohini Kumar Choudhari: I am only asking aquestion.
Mr. Vice-President: Order, Order. Yes, Mr. Tyagi.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi (United Provinces: General): I begto request you, Sir, to kindly reconsider your ruling of notallowing any discussion. I hope I have a right to make asubmission to the Chair on the ruling of the Chair. If thereis a resolution to which the whole House agrees, then such aresolution may be moved from the Chair. It is only
suchresolutions that are moved in ParlI ament by the Chair. If,however, the subject matter of the resolution is such thatamendments are warranted, then it must not be moved from theChair. I submit, Sir, that this is a sovereign body and assuch the provincial legislative assemblies may quote yourruling of today. There may be occasions in future whenresolutions are sought to be moved from the Chair, in orderto prohibit any discussion on it. I submit, Sir, that thismay establish a sort of convention in the whole of India. Irequest that you may kindly agree to some Member or one of the Ministers moving this Resolution so that, if there isany Member who wants to improve upon the language or theidea or to oppose it, he may not be debarred from doing so.I submit that you may please reconsider your ruling or atleast announce that it will not go as a precedent in future.
The Honourable Shri Purushottam Das Tandon (UnitedProvinces: General): Sir, I would rather have not spoken butduty compels me to say a word, though it may not be verypleasant. The procedure which is now proposed to be adoptedto stifle discussion on a motion which is moved from theChair. I submit, is one which is unheard of. Whateverknowledge of parlI amentary procedure that I possess, Isubmit with all the earnestness at my command that the Chairshould only move a motion which is accepted by the wholeHouse and that even if there is one man--I am not talking oftwo--who wants to move an amendment,--then the business of the Chair is to say immediately that it will not move such amotion but call upon some member to move it. If theGovernment of the day sponsor this motion, let them do so,but let not the Chair be a party to stifling discussion in the House on the ground that a proposition has been movedfrom the Chair.
The Honourable Shri Ghanshyam Singh Gupta (C.P. &Berar: General): Sir, I endorse every word of what Tandonjihas said.
Shri M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar (Madras: General): Sir,it is not a little surprising to find that such eminent menlike Tandonji are opposed to such an innocuous Resolutionand take exception to it.
The Honourable Shri Purshottam Das Tandon: I wouldaccept the Motion but it is only the procedure that isproposed to be adopted which, I submit, is not acceptable.
Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava: Some sixty lakhs ofrefugees are involved and all of them will be obliged tofile a declaration and spend at least two rupees each.
Shri M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar: Sir, after all whatdoes the resolution want?
Honourable Members: No. no.
Shri M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar: I will address myselfonly to the question of procedure. Sir, I am supporting themotion which has been moved by you.....
Honourable Members: No, no. Address yourself to thequestion of procedure.
Shri M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar: On the Point of orderraised, Sir, there is no point. Such resolutions have beenmoved from the Chair in the past.
So far as the Resolution itself is concerned, this islong overdue. This Resolution must have been moved muchearlier. People outside want to know what is happening inthis House. The dignity of the House and the dignity of thecountry requires that a Resolution of this kind should bemoved. The sooner we pass it, the better for us.
Shri Algu Rai Shastri (United Provinces: General): Iwant to know, Sir, why the honourable Member himself doesnot move the resolution?
Mr. Vice-President: When I proposed to adopt aparticular procedure, I thought I had practically the wholeHouse behind me with the exception of one single honourableMember who had submitted two amendments. Now I find fromwhat has happened just now that there is a sharp differenceof opinion and that most Members--or at least many Members--feel that a proposition like this should not be moved fromthe Chair. I am after all a creature of the House. That Irecognise. But honourable Members will admit that
ineverything which I have done I have always asked the permission of the House, and what is more, I have obtainedit in every case. Here I admit, I made a wrong estimate of the feelings of the House. Probably, that is due to the factthat I am no longer in Constitution House. At any rate, thefeeling is there. I therefore request some honourable Memberto move this Resolution.
Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra: You have formally towithdraw it.
Mr. Vice-President: It seems that before this can bedone, I have to withdraw this Resolution formally. Have I towithdraw it formally?
Honourable Members: Yes, Sir.
Mr. Vice-President: All right, it is done with the permission of the House.
(Several honourable Members rose to speak.)
Mr. Vice-President: Pandit Nehru wants to speak. PanditNehru.
The Honourable Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (UnitedProvinces: General): Sir, I beg to move the followingResolution:
"Resolved that instructions be issued forthwith to theauthorities concerned for the preparation of electoral rollsand for taking all necessary steps so that elections to the legislatures under the new Constitution may be held as earlyas possible in the year 1950.
Resolved further that the State electoral rolls beprepared on the basis of the provisions of the newConstitution already agreed to by this Assembly and inaccordance with the principles hereinafter mentioned,namely:--
(1) That no person shall be included in the electoralroll of any constituency--
(a) if he is not a citizen of India; or
(b) if he is of unsound mind and stands sodeclared by a competent court.
(2) That 1st January 1949 shall be the date withreference to which the age of the electors is tobe determined.
(3) That a person shall not be qualified to be includedin the electoral roll for any constituency unlesshe has resided in that constituency for a periodof not less than 180 days in the year ending onthe 31st March 1948. For the purposes of thisparagraph, a person shall be deemed to be residentin any constituency if he ordinarily resides inthat constituency or has a permanent place ofresidence therein.
(4) That, subject to the law of the appropriatelegislature, a person who has migrated into aProvince or Acceding State on account ofdisturbances or fear of disturbances in his formerplace of residence shall be entitled to beincluded in the electoral roll of a constituencyif he files a declaration of his intention toreside permanently in that constituency."
I do not wish to say much about this Resolution exceptperhaps to clear a misapprehension.
A reference was made by some honourable Member to theGovernment perhaps putting forward this Resolution as aGovernment. Of course, Government as such has not moved thisResolution and Government as such is not functioning in thisAssembly. This Resolution has come from the SteeringCommittee. It is the responsibility of the SteeringCommittee. That Committee felt that they were proposing aResolution which, in effect, embodied a matter which hasbeen already decided by the House and there was nothingnovel or fresh in it; therefore they ventured to suggestthat the Honourable the Vice-President might move it fromthe Chair. Whether that is a fact or not, I do not think weneed go into that. It never occurred to the SteeringCommittee that there was anything novel in this Resolutionwhich might be objected to.
So far as the Government is concerned, the Governmentsome time back took steps to ask the Provincial Governmentsto get electoral rolls prepared. As a matter of fact, evenif this Resolution was not passed, the Government of coursecan proceed with the preparation of those rolls, but therewill be this difficulty, that in the event of theConstituent Assembly at a later stage perhaps varying thequalifications or something, then all the electoral rollsthat have been prepared
or might be prepared might becomeuseless. It was therefore desirable to have some indicationof the wishes of the Constituent Assembly in this matter. In the last few days, this House has been considering theprovisions in regard to elections. Having done that,therefore, this Resolution merely embodies them.
Then some honourable Member referred to the fact thatonly two qualifications, or disqualifications are mentionedin clause (1). What this Resolution says is that all that the Constituent Assembly has so far decided has to be takeninto consideration. It is not considered necessary to sayall that.
Then you will find in clause (3) a certain date givenabout residence--180 days in the year ending March 31st,1948. That date was simply given there because some rollshave already been prepared on that basis and if this is notdone they might become useless and one has to start afresh.
This is all I have to say, except to submit that ineffect there is nothing new in this which the House has notdecided. It may be there is some minor variation.
I heard--rather I think I heard--an objection thatunder clause (4) a large number of refugees and others mightfind it difficult to be enrolled. As a matter of fact, it isnot intended to create any difficulty or any obstruction in the way, but surely some kind of intention has to be given;otherwise you cannot enrol everybody without knowing whetherhe wants to be here, whether he proposes to stay here, ornot. It is for Provincial Governments to take step tofacilitate this process. Suppose a person who enrols has noteven the intention to stay. Therefore, it is proposed herethat some kind of intention should be declared of permanentresidence. You will see that that clause was really meant tobe in favour of the refugees because normally speaking youlay down some qualification therefore that clause was put into facilitate their this process. Suppose a person whoenrols has not even the intention to stay. Therefore, isproposed here that some kind of intention should be declaredof permanent residence. You will see that clause was reallymeant to be in favour of the refugees because normallyspeaking you lay down some qualification of residence, etc.,in a particular locality. Now, because many of the refugeeswho have come here may not be able to fulfil thatqualification, therefore that clause was put in tofacilitate their coming in. That clause, perhaps some peoplethink, is an obstruction. That clause was put in because theresidence clause does not apply to them. If the residenceclause applies, then there is no difficulty. Since theresidence clause does not apply, in the case of recentcomers, it becomes very difficult to enrol them unless thereis some other fact to grip and that other fact to grip is that they declare their intention in future toreside. If there is no past and no future, the present slipsaway. One does not quite know whom to put in and whom not toput in. Therefore I submit that whatever is said in thisResolution not only flows from what the House has decided,but naturally flows from it, and with all respect I reallydo say that there is nothing in this Resolution which shouldraise any controversy. Sir, I move.
Shri Algu Rai Shastri: May I request you, Sir, to allowme to ask the Mover to explain one point? The citizenshipclause still remains held up. How can there be any electoralroll, unless we have decided the fact as to who is a citizenof India and who is not ?
The Honourable Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru: These electoralrolls can be prepared and are going to be prepared. Whateverthe future decision of the Assembly in regard to thecitizenship clause might be it will only affect thepreparation of those rolls slightly. The citizenship doesnot affect the vast number of people in this country. Itaffects only two types of persons ultimately, (1) personswho may be called "refugees" (2) Indians who reside
outsideIndia--which I say is more important. They are affectedcertainly. So far as the refugees are concerned, what I havejust mentioned covers them , that is, we accept as citizensanybody who calls himself a citizen of India. But there isdifficulty in respect of people residing outside India.Since that matter is to be decided by the Assembly later it is not a very difficult matter to arrange for them later on.They will come into the picture after we know what thedecision of the Constituent Assembly is. It does notinterfere with the work. Only a very small part of the workis delayed till you decide that. As soon as you decidethat, effect will be given to it.
Mr. Vice-President: I suggest that honourable Memberswho need clarification had better put their questions, sothat our premier may answer--only those who wantclarification.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi: What about amendments?
Mr. Vice-President: They will come later on. So long asit was moved by the Chair, no discussion was permissible,but now that the Resolution has been moved by an honourableMember of the House, there will be discussion--of course, itmust be limited by the consideration of time.
Sardar Bhopinder Singh Man (East Punjab: Sikh): On apoint of clarification. Though ordinarily 180 days have beenprescribed in the matter of residence, it has been relaxedin the case of refugees in that they have merely to file adeclaration of intention to reside permanently in theconstituency I want clarification on this point, as to whomsuch a person should file his declaration of intention; andif he has to file that declaration before some DistrictMagistrate, obviously it will be very expensive andcumbersome. I want that it should be least expensive, sothat the very right which is sought to be given to therefugees will not be tampered with.
Shri H. V. Kamath: Mr. Vice-President,....
Shri Mahavir Tyagi: On a point of order: I wish to saythat the procedure that you are adopting now is novel. Toraise objections and to get the reply from the Mover everytime means that the Mover of the Resolution will have somany speeches to make and will have to go on clarifyingquestion. I suggest that the discussion should be held onthe lines as it was done in the past.
Mr. Vice-President: An extraordinary procedure must befollowed on extraordinary occasions.
Shri H. V. Kamath: I would like a little more light on this point which I raised a little while ago aboutdisqualifications for voters that will be included in the new rolls that we are undertaking. Clause (1)(b) ofthis motion refers to only one disqualification and that isif he be of unsound mind and stands so declared by acompetent court. But, Sir, I may invite your attention and the attention of the House to article 67 (6), as well asarticle 149 (2) which this House has adopted already. I willread the relevant portion on either of these articlesbecause they are identical. That portion which is relevantto our present purpose reads thus:
"Every citizen who is not less than 21 years of age andis not otherwise disqualified under this Constitution, orunder any Act of ParlI ament on the ground of non-residence,unsoundness of mind, crime or corrupt or illegal practice,shall be entitled to be registered as a voter at suchelections."
It may be argued that these disqualifications will beprescribed or laid down by ParlI ament later on. But, Sir, we have extracted or culled two disqualifications--one of non-residence and the other of unsoundness of mind.
Clause (1) and clause (3) of today's motion refer totwo disqualifications; one is non-residence and the other isunsoundness of mind. I want to know why the other threedisqualifications--that is, of crime, or corrupt or illegalpractice--have been excluded from the list ofdisqualifications. I want to know whether a person who hasbeen convicted for crime in the past, or of corrupt orillegal
practice at previous elections, shall be qualifiedto be registered as a voter, or whether all criminals, allthose who have been convicted of corrupt or illegalpractices in the past--will start with a clean slate, andwhether they will have a sort of "prayashchit". In honour of the new Constitution we are going to adopt, will they bedeclared free from all sin and crime and start with a"Tabula rasa"--a clean slate ?
Another point for clarification is about citizenship.That has been referred to bey may friend already and i tooreferred to if earlier . It would be a rather difficultposition, in case this Assembly revises or changes or altersthe article on citizenship . It will mean so much additionlabour to the authorities concerned for changing theelectoral rolls.
I will only say that I yield to none in my desire that the elections should be held very soon. I should havepreferred that the elections should have been held even atthe end of this year so that people may not have theimpression that Government is trying to entrench itself inits present position. This contingency would never havearisen of bringing up this motion today by an extraordinaryprocedure.......
Mr. Vice-President: You wanted clarification. That isfinished, I think.
Shri H. V. Kamath: ...... had the Assembly met in Mayand October last as we had planned to do. But unfortunatelywe did not meet and this is the consequence.
Mr. Vice-President: It is only waste of time. Youwanted clarification and you have put your case.
Shri H. V. Kamath: I have done, Sir.
(At this stage Shri Algu Rai Shastri was proceeding to the mike.)
Mr. Vice-President: Please wait your turn. Mr.Chaudhari has been asked to speak: just one point forclarification and nothing else
Shri Rohini Kumar Chaudhari: This morning through somestrange coincidence my mind and my friend's mind have beenworking on the same lines. I wanted to refer to a very soundproposition and that was with reference to sub-paragraph (b)of clause (1) of the resolution. Sub-paragraph (b) says thatno person shall be included in the electoral roll of anyconstituency "if he is of unsound mind and stands sodeclared by a competent court".
If this stands as it is Sir, then unless there is adeclaration from a competent court, no one who is of unsoundmind can be excluded from the electoral roll. This is givinga great privilege to people of unsound minds. We generallyknow that in every village and town such and such a man isinsane. We know it very well. But if this Resolution isgiven effect to as it stands, then those people of unsoundmind who have not been so declared by a competent court willbe entitled to have their names included in the electoralroll. I hope the honourable Mover of the resolution willtake notice of this fact that it is very difficult and it isa very lengthy process to have a person declared as a man ofunsound mind. We have to approach the Judge of our districtand then make an application for the appointment of aCurator as well as for a declaration that a particularperson is of unsound mind. That process takes a long time,and if we start today to exclude persons of unsound mindfrom the electoral roll, we must start a civil suitimmediately. In the absence of such a declaration thesepeople can go into the electoral roll, and they will go into the roll. That is the position if this Resolution is giveneffect to. Otherwise, we have found that people of unsoundminds are to be excluded. There is no such qualification:there is no such rider........
Mr. Vice-President: The honourable Member is indulgingin a general discussion. I think he wanted clarification
Shri Rohini Kumar Chaudhari: That is the clarification--whether by this sub-paragraph you want that all persons ofunsound mind should be included in the electoral roll unlessthey are so declared by competent court.
In the other portions of this Constitution
we find that the word is not qualified in this way. There it says"persons of unsound mind". Here it is something more. It isnot only that he is of "unsound mind" but he must bedeclared so by a competent court.
Then, Sir, in the last two lines of clause (4), it issaid that such person shall be entitled to be included in the electoral roll of a constituency, if he files adeclaration of his intention to reside permanently in thatconstituency, if he files a declaration of his intention toreside permanently in that constituency. I do not see why weshould have the word `permanently'. As we all know, therefugees are generally located in refugee camps, and theyare transferred from one place to another and no refugee,whatever his intentions may be, can say today that he isgoing to reside permanently in a particular place.Therefore, I would submit that the word `permanently' shouldbe dropped from this Resolution. Otherwise, there will be agreat limitation placed on the refugees and no refugee, ifhe is honest, will be in a position to make a declarationnor would he be entitled to inclusion in the electoral roll.
Then, Sir, I was asking another question and that is,that we have not discussed the citizenship right as yet. Maywe take it that the word `citizen' may be interpreted, as weunderstand it, in the usual way or whether there is anytechnical meaning attached to it? I may remind the House, atleast those Members who are my contemporaries, that therewas a text book called `The Citizen of India' by Lee Warnerin the Entrance course; and may we follow the definition aslaid down there, or in the absence of any definition in thenew Constitution, may we follow the ordinary definition?
There is one other point, Sir, and I particularly referto the use of the words: `31st March 1948'. By this is meant180 days preceding the 31st March 1948. I think, if wecalculate in this manner, most of the members of the CentralAssembly will be disenfranchised, because we are sittinghere for long since January 1948.
Shri Algu Rai Shastri *[Mr. Vice-President, I submitthat in the Resolution moved by Honourable Pandit JawaharlalNehru there is no provision for -------------------------------------------------------- * [ ] Translation of Hindustani speech.
the delimitation of the constituencies. I do not see howpreparation of electoral rolls can be taken in hand untiland unless a decision about the delimitation ofconstituencies has been taken and arrangements have beenmade to put it into practice. The rule is that the names ofvotes are entered in the electoral rolls according to theconstituency to which they belong. One fails to understandhow, unless the constituencies are delimited, the electoralroll can be prepared or it is plain that it would not bepossible to say in which place a person is to be registeredas a voter. It appears to me that in the matter of preparingthe electoral rolls we are going to act as if it was merelythe taking of a census, but I am afraid that this processwould not enable us to prepare the electoral rolls of eachparticular constituency. If this assumption of mine iscorrect I believe all the labour spent on it would have beensimply wasted.
While the anxiety to hold elections at an early date isunderstandable,-- and we and the whole House are with you inthis matter and as a matter of fact this Resolution has beenmoved with that object only--it is also necessary to keep inview the fact that the electoral rolls cannot be preparedcorrectly on account of the constituencies not having beendelimited so far. I am afraid that even if their preparationis taken in hand at this stage the rolls so prepared may befound to be entirely useless and prohibitively expensive.
It is true that the question relating to citizenship,that had been raised by me, has been answered to a certainextent by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. But I submit, Sir, thateven if a few people only are likely
to be adverselyaffected, it is desirable that ample provision may be madeso that not even a single person entitled to be a voter maybe deprived of his voting right. I cannot lay too muchemphasis on it, for it is evident that this is the mostvalued right of a voter and one which he must be given theopportunity to exercise. It is my submission, Sir, that there should be some provision so as to avoid the leastpossibility of even a single person otherwise entitled to bea voter, losing his right of vote. I am afraid that thedifficulties arising as a result of the question ofcitizenship have not been fully removed as yet. I suggestthat some words should be added in this Resolution whichwould clearly define as to who have the right of vote.Moreover, when the electoral constituencies are delimited,it would be easy to prepare the electoral rolls for suchconstituencies. I submit, therefore, that the questions ofcitizenship and the delimitation of constituencies should besolved before the preparation of electoral rolls is taken inhand. I have great I have great doubt that the object withwhich this Resolution has been placed before this Housewould be realised, unless these two questions are firstsolved. I, therefore, press my suggestion that more lightshould be thrown on these matters. I may add thatcitizenship and delimitation of constituencies are thekeystones of any scheme of electoral rolls and as such anelectoral roll cannot be prepared unless these have beenproperly defined. In any case, if it be said that evenwithout them electoral rolls can be prepared, I would liketo know how that miracle can be performed. This at leastneeds more clarification than what has been given as yet.]
Shri Deshbandhu Gupta (Delhi): Mr. Vice-President, Sir,the point of order that I want to raise is this: The secondpart of the resolution reads like this. It says that theelectoral roll should be prepared on the basis of theprovisions of the new Constitution already agreed to by theAssembly, whereas article 149, which deals with adultsuffrage etc and all the other provisions, has not yet beenagreed to by this Assembly. So I suggest that until article149 is passed, this Resolution cannot be taken up; otherwiseit will be putting the House in a very awkward position.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi: Sir, may I move my amendment?
Mr. Vice-President: I rule that first of all the pointsraised for clarification by honourable Members would beanswered by Pandit Nehru, and after that we will decide asto what should be done.
The Honourable Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru: Sir, I am veryreluctant to appear again and again and speak repeatedly,and my only desire is to clear up any misunderstandingswhich may exist. In fact, I had no intention of moving thisResolution at all. This is not in any sense an officialResolution. I thought there was some misunderstanding aboutthe Government coming into the picture, and you desired thatsomebody should move it. Two or three points that have beenraised, if I may say so, are due to some misunderstanding,because I really do not myself grasp the significance ofthose points. For instance, one of the points raised by Mr.Kamath is that only two disqualifications are mentioned andnot others. If you will see the Resolution, it says: "....the State electoral rolls be prepared on the basis of theprovisions of the new Constitution...... agreed to by thisAssembly.....". That is one thing and the other is "inaccordance with the principles". That is all those mentionedin the Constitution are there; it is in addition to thatsomething that is further mentioned. There are two things:if he is not a citizen of India and if he is of unsoundmind. I will confess to the House frankly that saying that"if he is not a citizen of India" is rather unnecessary. Imean to say, it is a fact; the Constitution is based onthat, and if it is left out, it makes no
difference. It isreally to round off, I may say, and it makes no difference.
There was another point raised by Mr. Rohini KumarChaudhari to which he seemed to attach importance and thatis about the unsound mind.....
Shri H. V. Kamath: On a point of clarification, may Iask why.....
The Honourable Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru: It isimpossible to continue. We cannot have clarification ofevery word and every sentence.
Honourable Members: Order, order.
The Honourable Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru: Am I inpossession of the House or not?
Mr. Vice-President: (Addressing Mr. Kamath) You arealways asking for clarification.
The Honourable Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru: May I submitthere should be a limit to the points of clarification thata certain honourable Member raise in ten minutes.
Shri H. V. Kamath: It is for the Chair to decide.
The Honourable Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru: I am asking theChair. On a plea of clarification, explanation, the time of the House that is taken is extra-ordinary; I think it isreally misusing the time of the House.
Shri H. V. Kamath: That may be Pandit Nehru's view, butyou, Sir, must judge.
The Honourable Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru: I submit, Sir,that as regards Mr. Chaudhari's point, about the unsoundmind, what the Assembly has passed is certaindisqualifications, which include `any law made by the legislature ..... relating to non-residence, unsoundness ofmind, crime or corrupt or illegal practice etc.'. Now, it isobvious that an unsound man is normally considered unfit toexercise this privilege. But, who is to determine it? Thelaw. When the law is made, well and good. At the presentmoment we have no such law. What is stated here is this. Ifa competent court says so, that must be accepted. I do notquite follow Mr. Chaudhari's argument; it is not easy tohear from this side what a person says from the other side. From what I gather, is every person to go to acourt for a declaration that a man is of unsound mind? I donot understand why anybody should go there at all. A fewpersons of unsound mind may get into the rolls. But, manypersons of unsound mind who are not declared to be ofunsound mind come in and not only vote, but do many otherfunctions too. We cannot simply help it. What we want toguard against is this. A person should not be ruled out onaccount of some prejudice or wrong decision. There must besome guide to the enumerator. The decision of a court surelymust be recognised by the man who has to prepare theelectoral roll. For the rest, if a further law is passed bythe Constituent Assembly, I should think that would be good.But, it is quite impossible not to accept the decision of acourt. It is not necessary, I submit, for you at this stageto say, subject to any other rule that may be made.' If thisHouse passes any other rules, the enumerator will followthem. This is a preliminary electoral roll. You cannot gointo too great specifications and details. These rolls will,no doubt, be checked later or in accordance with the rulesand laws passed by this Assembly or by the provincialAssemblies as the case may be. But, in the first instance,too many details cannot be gone into. You must remember that the man who is going to prepare them is an ordinary type ofenumerator and he will have to go by his own lights whichmay not be very great. Afterwards, they would be checked bythe other people concerned. So that, first of all, thedisqualifications mentioned in the Constitutions as it isbeing passed will, of course, be given effect to. If youlike, you may leave out, "If he is not a citizen of India",because it is redundant. But, the second thing is desirable,because, there is no test of unsoundness. There may be acloser test. Anyhow, this is a wide enough test: that if acompetent court declares a man to be of unsound mind, we mayaccept that. If the court does not say so, we may acceptthat he is sound or unsound. If we pass any
further rules,they will be followed.
An honourable Member asked as to where the declarationas to intention to reside is to be filed. Obviously, beforethe registering authority. He has not to go to any court. Hemay declare before the enumerator who puts down his name.The fact is that we should try to make this as simple and aseasy as possible for the party concerned. The earliest wayis for the enumerator to be informed.
One point was raised by Mr. Chaudhari, about people in the refugee camps. it is a very valid point. I think somespecial provision should be made to permit them to vote. For the moment, suddenly, I cannot say what it should be. But, Ientirely agree that that is a valid point and specialprovision should be made. In fact, it was intended that theyshould vote. Nobody is going to reside permanently in arefugee camp. (Interruption).
Mr. Vice-President: We cannot permit any moreinterruptions.
The Honourable Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru: There is oneimportant matter which might perhaps give rise to somemisapprehension. In clause (4) it is said. "subject to thelaw of the appropriate legislature, a person who hasmigrated into a province, etc., etc.,". The words "subjectto the law of the appropriate legislature" might createdoubts and confusion. I should like, subject to the permission of the House, and you, Sir, permitting me to doso, to delete these words, "subject to the law of theappropriate legislature" and to say thus: "ThatNotwithstanding anything in clause (3), a person who hasmigrated into a province etc.". It was the object of clause(4), that the residential qualification in clause (3) shouldnot apply to the refugees. I think, the clause should read:"(4) That, notwithstanding anything in clause (3), a person who has migrated into a Province or AccedingState etc., etc." I think this makes it clear.
Shri R. K. Sidhwa: The word "permanently" in clause(4), line 6 may be removed.
The Honourable Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru: Intention toreside for six weeks or two weeks would not be enough. I canassure the House that this resolution is in the nature of adirective. I would request the House to consider that thisis not part of the Constitution. It is not a statute. Thewords need not be precisely looked upon from the point ofview of a statute. These are general directions given to theGovernment which they will transmit to the enumerators, etc.As I said, even without this resolution, the Government cantake those steps, of course subject to this House later onlaying down any fresh qualifications, which might upset therolls already prepared. I entirely agree that this questionof camps should not come in the way of person voting. But,if you leave out the word "permanently" then you make it tooloose. Any person can say, `I intend to reside here',meaning thereby that he intends to reside there for the nexttwo weeks. That would make a farce of the whole thing. Theidea is, nobody can guarantee what he is going to do for therest of his life; but the intention should be more or lessto reside permanently in that area.
Shri Bikramlal Sondhi (East Punjab: General): It may bestated, "to reside permanently in the Indian Union". He maygo from one camp to another.
The Honourable Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru: Those in thecamps should be specially dealt with. I can give anassurance to the House that this residential clause will notcome in their way.
Shri Bikramlal Sondhi: What is the harm in removing theword "permanently"?
The Honourable Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru: You may leaveout the word "permanently" from the point of view of the menin the camps; that does not apply to them. A way will haveto be found out for them. If you leave out the word"permanently" in the case of those who are elsewhere, not in the camps, vague migrants also may come in. That is a clausein favour of the refugees.
Shri Bikramlal Sondhi: Will any stamp be required forthis declaration?
Honourable Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru: The House willhave to decide that. We want to facilitate this process andnot to make it difficult by requiring stamps, etc. So far asI can say straight off, I do not think any stamp will benecessary. I do not see why that is necessary.
Shri Bikramlal Sondhi: Provincial Governments requirethis declaration on stamp paper.
The Honourable Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru: No stamps arenecessary. To facilitate this, we shall inform theprovincial Governments that this will be free.
Shri S. Nagappa (Madras: General): Most of our peopleare illiterate; it would be better if the declaration isallowed to be oral. (Interruption).
The Honourable Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru: I am sure the House wants that this process should be facilitated andobstructions should not be put in the way in the nature ofstamps, fees etc. We propose to issue such directions to theProvincial Governments. it is difficult to go into thedetails at this moment. I understand that instructions havebeen issued that there should be no fees or stamps for this.
Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra: The word "constituency"should be deleted. We have not yet delimited constituencies.Nobody knows what will be his constituency.
The Honourable Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru: I am preparedto accept the word "area" for the word "constituency".
One word more about the introduction of the word`unsound mind'. That was taken from the present Governmentof India Act that is functioning now. In the Sixth Scheduleof the Government of India Act it says-
"No person shall be included in the electoral rollsfor, or vote at any election in, any territorialconstituency, if he is of unsound mind stands so declared bya competent Court".
Shri Mahavir Tyagi: Sir, may I move my amendments?
Mr. Vice-President: Why are you so impatient? Have youno faith in the Chair?
Shri Mahavir Tyagi: I have no faith in the procedurethat is being followed.
Mr. Vice-President: You have no right to question theprocedure once the ruling has been given.
Shri H. J. Khandekar (C. P. & Berar: General): ThisHouse has a right to question you, Sir.
Mr. Vice-President: The rules, which you are found ofquoting, will tell you that you are wrong.
I understand Pandit Nehru will have to be away and theamendments which I have received will be allowed to be movedone after another and I understand there is the Chairman of the Drafting Committee who will reply to them. Now I want toask Shri Rohini Kumar Chaudhari whether in view of theexplanation already given by Pandit Nehru, he still wishesto move the second part which deals with sub-para. (4).
Shri Rohini Kumar Chaudhari: Sir, I want moreclarification.
Mr. Vice-President: Please come to the mike. Now that the discussions have started and amendments have beenreceived, I cannot permit further amendments to besubmitted. Mr. Chaudhari
Shri Rohini Kumar Chaudhari: Mr. Vice-President, Sir, Ibeg to move:
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar (Bombay: General): Ifthe Honourable Members will not speak loudly, it is verydifficult for me to catch anything of what they say
Shri Rohini Kumar Chaudhari: Sir, I beg to move:
"That in sub-section (b) of the Resolution the words`and stands so declared by competent Court' be deleted".
Sir, we have gone through many elections and we haveseen that in the previous electoral rolls and in previousconstitutions, and even in the Draft Constitution which weare considering in this House, the word `unsound mind' hasnowhere been qualified by the words which have appeared inthis Resolution, and to which I have taken exception. Ashonourable Members of the House are aware, there is a fairlylarge number of people of unsound mind who are unfortunatelynot cared for by their brethren in India. We see some of them--at least the male portion of them who are roamingabout freely and causing disturbance to themselves and theirrelations. But there are
so many others particularly amongstthe females of whom we do not know at all and I am told that there is a larger percentage of people of unsound mind amongthe females. Ninetynine per cent of these have not been sodeclared by any competent court but anyone who is in chargeof the preparation of electoral rolls knows very well that these people are of unsound mind but nobody will take care to go to any court and have adeclaration made for them.
Mr. Vice-President: You are repeating the argumentswhich you put forward before the House once. I would appealto you to take as little time as possible. As the House isaware we are going to disperse today. The House is equallyaware that we must at least get through article 149. May Iappeal once again that if there is anything new you maybring forward but not repeat the old arguments?
Shri Rohini Kumar Chaudhari: If I am allowed to speak Iwill finish it more quickly. What I wish to say is theprocedure which has been followed hitherto is quite correctbecause if you put a Patwari or anybody else as in charge of the work of preparing the electoral rolls, he will excludeanybody whom he knows to be of unsound mind. So thisqualification ought to be deleted. Nowhere have I found thisqualification made. So I say this ought to be deleted and nodifficulty will be created by deletion of that because ifanybody is aggrieved that he has been unlawfully excluded,he can go upto the higher authorities and the returningofficer will consider all those cases. If you do not excludethem, then all the unsound people will go into the electoralrolls.
My second amendment is:
"That in sub-paragraph (4) the word `permanently'occurring in line 6 be deleted."
Now, if I give an instance, I think the honourable Memberswill be convinced about the reasonableness of my amendment.I have heard that there are about 50,000 refugees--Sindhirefugees in Bombay--and they are going to be transferred toBengal or Assam. Now these people have been in Bombay solong and they make a declaration that they wish to staypermanently in Bombay. They would like to be near my FriendMr. Sidhwa. By the time the electoral rolls are preparedthey may be transferred to Assam. Then what is the use ofhaving all those people entered in the Bombay electoralrolls? Similarly, if they come to Assam before the electionand they cannot be included there because the electoralrolls for Assam will have been prepared before and the timefor declaration will have been past, what is the use ofhaving this sub-para unless you remove the word`permanently' from this sub-para? Therefore, in the case ofa refugee who has no such intention, or at any rate whoseintention does not mean anything so far as elections areconcerned, if you retain the word "permanently" in thisclause, you will practically be depriving him of thefranchise. Therefore, I request that this word be removed.
Mr. Vice-President: I have to inform the House thatunless we make satisfactory progress, we shall have to sitagain in the after noon today, in order to get through atleast article 149, and probably to-morrow also.(Interruption) I am in the hands of the House. It was not Iwho created any difficulty probably the House will admitthat.
Shri K. Hanumanthaiya (Mysore): Sir, I wish to move anamendment to the effect that the words "in the year 1950"occurring at the end of the first para, be deleted. Theeffect will be that the sentence will end thus--
"........that elections to the Legislatures under thenew Constitution may be held as early as possible."
My intention in moving this amendment is that whateverwe say or what ever we do must be quite accurate. Sir, thisis not the first time that we have declared it to be ourintention that the elections should be held as early as possible; it was declared in this very Assembly that theelections should be held in 1948. If we go on repeatingdates
which it is almost impossible to keep, to that extentthis House would get a kind of odium at the hands of thepeople. Therefore it is better to state our declaration tohold the elections as early as possible. It may not bepossible to hold the elections in 1950, or it may bepossible to hold them earlier. We are going to work thisadult franchise for the first time and we do not know howlong it will take us to prepare the electoral rolls anddivide the country into proper constituencies and things ofan allied nature. Therefore, in order to be more accurate inour resolutions, I would urge on this House not to put downany specific date, but to say that .....
Shri L. Krishnaswami Bharathi (Madras: General): Thereis no specific date laid down.
Shri K. Hanumanthaiya: By date, I mean the year 1950.It may not be possible to hold the elections in 1950, andpreviously we have found that we could not stick to the yearwe had proposed. Our Prime Minister once said that electionsshould be held in 1948, and it has not been possible to havethem in 1948. I do not want the words of the Prime Ministeror of this House to be treated in that fashion. We must bemore serious about what we say. Therefore, I suggest that the phraseology may be slightly changed and we may say that the elections should be held as early as possible, in orderto be truthful to ourselves and to the people.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi: Sir, I beg to move:
"That all the words occurring after the words `ThisAssembly' in the first paragraph, be deleted."
If this amendment of mine is accepted, then theresolution would read:--
"Resolved that instructions be issued forthwith to theauthorities concerned for the preparation of electoral rollsand for taking all necessary steps so that elections to the legislatures under the new Constitution may be held as earlyas possible in the year 1950.
Resolved further that the State electoral rolls beprepared on the basis of the provisions of the newConstitution already agreed to by this Assembly."
That is what I want this Resolution to be.
In moving this amendment, I want to submit that fromthe beginning to end, the language of this Resolution hasbeen very unfortunate and unhappy. In the first place, wemust all be conscious of the fact that there is adistinction between our resolutions and the articles of the Constitution. We are a sovereign Body, no doubt, but thewords uttered here and the resolutions passed here do notcarry the same value or weight before the eye of the law asthe regular articles of the Constitution. We must pass aBill or Constitution. The resolution has no legal value and the legality of an action done through this Resolution maybe questioned, especially in the matter of constitution-making.
Pandit Balkrishna Sharma (United Provinces: General):What does the honourable Member think about the ObjectivesResolution that was passed in this House?
Shri Mahavir Tyagi: It was an Objectives Resolutiononly, and it has no legal value. The value lies in this bookand nowhere else.
Mr. Vice-President: You will please keep to your point;in that way, we may be able to avoid an afternoon session. Aveteran speaker like you should not be disturbed by suchinterruptions.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi: Thank you, Sir. What I say is that the Government cannot act without a definite article in the Constitution. Every authority issues and comes out from oneor the other of the articles of the Constitution and notfrom a Resolution. This Resolution only expresses the wishof the House that we do not want to delay democracy fromgoing down to the people.
Pandit Balkrishna Sharma: What about the directive?
Shri Mahavir Tyagi: I do not want to be disturbed.(Laughter.) Democracy or freedom has come only up to theConstituent Assembly, it has not yet filtered down to themasses, and it will do so only when the villager exerciseshis freedom and goes to the booth to cast his
vote.Therefore we are in a hurry to see that this freedom goesdown to him. The electoral rolls should be got ready soon.The Constituent Assembly is anxious that the electionsshould take place as early as possible. The Resolution,however, says that "the State electoral rolls be prepared onthe basis of provisions of the new Constitution alreadyagreed to by this Assembly". That means, agreed to upto thetime of the passing of this Resolution, and the mostimportant part has to be agreed to in the afternoon sessionand not now. Up till now, we have only half done it.