Monday, the 8th November, 1948
The Constituent Assembly of India met in the Constitution Hall, New Delhi, at Ten of the Clock, Mr. Vice-President (Dr. H. C. Mookherjee) in the Chair.
TAKING THE PLEDGE AND SIGNING THE REGISTER
The following Member took the pledge and signed theRegister:
1. Mr. H. P. Mody (Bombay: General).
MOTION re DRAFT CONSTITUTION
Mr. Vice-President (Dr. H. C. Mookherjee): It has been the decision of the House that we should close the general discussion today. There are about sixty names on my list andit is obviously impossible for me to give anopportunity..........
Many Honourable Members: We cannot hear you, Sir. Evidently the mike is not working.
Mr. Vice-President: It is obviously impossible for me to give an opportunity to every Member who wishes to speak.I have therefore decided to give Members of the minority communities the opportunity to speak first. Mr. Mahboob AliBaig.
Mahboob Ali Baig Sahib Bahadur (Madras: Muslim): Mr.Vice-President, Sir, Dr. Ambedkar's analysis and review were remarkably lucid, masterly and exceedingly instructive and explanatory. One may not agree with his views but it isimpossible to withhold praise for his unique performance in delivering the speech he did while introducing his motion for the consideration of this House.
I am afraid, Sir, I am unable to agree with either theform of Government or the form of constitution embodied inthe Draft Constitution or the reasons that Dr. Ambedkar gave in their justification.
Firstly, let me deal with the form of Government. Dr.Ambedkar's view is that the British parliamentary executiveis preferable to the American non-parliamentary executive on the ground that the former is more responsible though less stable, while the latter is more stable but less responsible. I am inclined to think, Sir, that the advantages of the parliamentary executive have been exaggerated and its defects minimised. It is common knowledge - and from experience also we have found - that the responsible executive under which we have been working for the last two decades has pointedly brought to our attention the fact that a removable parliamentary executive is at the mercy of hostile groups in their own party. Very little time is left to the executive to achieve the programme which is before it. It is so unstable. It is always in fear of being turned out by no-confidence motions. Further, Sir, it is there that the seeds of corruption are sown. A corrupt party-man cannot be turned out by the electorate under the present Constitution or under the proposed Constitution. TheMinister or Ministers have always to be very careful to satisfy the various elements in their party in all their legitimate and illegitimate demands. This is the opinion also, Sir, of the Commission that was sent out to India sometime ago, called the Simon-Attlee Commission. It was clearly said that the Ministry is so much engaged in cajoling, insatisfying its Parliament that there is hardly time to look after its administration or to put into effect its schemes. That is a very serious defect. Further, I have heard several members of the party saying: "Well, we cannot vote according to our conscience. There is the Party Whip. God save us from this party system". This is what has been expressed by many honest legislators. Further, Sir, as I said, there is no stability at all.
The third point I would like to urge against this parliamentary executive is that it cannot reflect the several sections of the country. The defects are so overwhelmingly great that I should rather prefer a stable Government, a government which does not stand in fear of being turned out overnight, because it was not able to satisfy some corrupt supporters of their party. Now, it istrue in a democratic Government, the executive must be responsible. Let us see whether there is any other system of Government which has both responsibility and stability. It is no doubt true that in the American system there is less responsibility and more
stability. But if you look at another system of Government, namely, the Swiss form of Government, where the elected parliament again in its turn elects the executive, there the responsibility is emphasized. Having elected its executive, it leaves the executive to work out its schemes in a satisfactory way for a period of four years and the decisions of the Parliamentare binding on that executive, unlike in the case of the American Presidential executive. Therefore, if we want both stability and responsibility, the Swiss system of executive is preferable.
Now, Sir, with regard to the form of constitution, I amunable to agree with the constitution that is embodied in the Draft Constitution. People seem to think that the Centre must be strong, and that unless the Centre is very strong the provinces will always be an impediment in the way of theCentre becoming strong. That is a wrong view. If provinces are made autonomous, that does not necessarily mean that theCentre will be rendered weak. What do we find here? My view is that the provinces will be nothing but glorified District Boards. Look at Article 275 where in an emergency all powers can be usurped by the Centre. Look at articles 226, 227 and 229. The Centre can legislate for the provinces in all matters; and again look at the long Union List and the Concurrent List. All these clearly show that in the hands of a Central Government which wants to over ride and convert this federal system into a unitary system, it can be easily done. Now there is a danger of this sort of Government becoming totalitarian. This is the danger in the form of the constitution that is embodied in the Draft Constitution. Now to add to this, look at the Fundamental Rights that are enunciated. Can they be called Fundamental Rights at all? Fundamental Rights are those which are fundamental in character, unchangeable except in extreme circumstances. But what do you find here? These Fundamental Rights are hedged in by provisos, by overriding exceptions. There is a little confusion also in that chapter that deals with Fundamental Rights. It is said that from experience, it is found that instead of a Supreme Court deciding whether the government cannot under certain circumstances override the Fundamental Rights, provision is made in the draft itself; and it is claimed, Sir, is the provisions for the form of constitutionthat it must be a flexible constitution. May I, with due respect to Dr. Ambedkar, state that the rigidity and the legalism which he says must be avoided are the very essenceof a written constitution? It is not an unwritten constitution as in the case of Britain. In the case of Britain, Sir, it is a matter of history. It is an unwritten constitution and it has suited the peculiar genius of theBritish people to go on with their work without any written constitution and the peculiar parliamentary democracy suited the British Government. The very rigidity and the legalism which Dr. Ambedkar complained of is a necessary and unavoidable characteristic of a written constitution. We do not want to be so fiexible as to allow any Government to ride rough-shodover the fundamental rights. They are not written rights atall if they are hedged in by so many exceptions. What is stated as Fundamental Rights, in the very article they havebeen rendered useless. Further, with regard to these Fundamental Rights, it is stated in section 13 that nothing contained in this shall in any way affect the operation of the existing laws. You know very well how reactionary the existing laws have been. No doubt in Article 8 it is stated that all laws which are inconsistent with the Fundamental Rights must go, but in article 13 it is said that the existing laws must prevail as against the Fundamental Rights. Not only there is contradiction here but there isconfusion. I could understand, Sir, if under Article 8 alist of Acts and their sections have been mentioned as wellas those which have been annulled. That section does notmake it clear. In these circumstances, Sir, I am afraid,there are no fundamental rights at all.
One thing with regard to minority rights I am bound tosay. There is nowhere any mention of provisions which safeguard the personal law of the people. You know, Sir, in India, at least, people of several communities are governed by personal laws based on their religion. It is possible to legislate with regard to personal laws also. That would go against the claims that this government is going to be secular, which would not interfere with the religious rights of the people.
Sir, one word with regard to reservation. Some Muslim friends of mine, especially Mr. Karimuddin has stated that he does not want reservation for his community. But, when I had a talk with him, he clearly stated that when there are no separate electorates, the people who will be returned will be those put up by the majority community, and therefore, the Muslim candidates who really represent the Muslims may not be elected. That seems to be the reason why he did not want reservation. If we can find out a way by which the Muslims who are elected would truly represent their community, there should be no objection. If in case of minorities a device is found, for instance, the election being based on what is called proportional representation by the system of single transferable vote, if such a device is made by the party in power, by the persons responsible for the framing of the constitution, I think that might go along way. In the absence of such a device, in the absence of separate electorates, I do not think I will be voicing the opinion of my community if I gave up this reservation that has been agreed to in the Minorities Sub-Committee.Therefore, Sir, I feel, on the whole, that this draft has not been very satisfactory. There is almost a certainty system of Government would lead to fascism or totalitarianism and it is capable of riding rough-shod valued rights of the citizens and also of the minorities.
Mr. Z. H. Lari (United Provinces: Muslim): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, before making my submissions on the draft Constitution, I would like to lodge a protest. The Constituent Assembly refrained from taking any decision as to the language question, and had postponed its consideration to a future stage. But the Drafting Committee,of its own accord, inserted a clause laving down that Hindi and English shall be the languages for transacting the business of the House. In today's paper I saw a report that the Muslim members from the United Provinces and Bihar have agreed that Hindi with Devanagari script shall be the official language. I therefore think it necessary to repudiate that statement at the very outset, and say clearly that we stand for Hindustani written in either script as the national language of our motherland. So far as English is concerned, I think it is necessary to retain it for some years to enable those who are not acquainted with Hindustani to be able to take an effective part in the discussions in the House. An Honourable Member from Madras was right when he said that there should be no linguistic imperialism. For that reason, Hindustani written in either script along with English should be the languages used for transacting the business of the House.
Coming to the Draft Constitution, which is primarily intended to usher in a democratic secular republic, we have to see how far the contents, the form and the spirit of the provisions contained therein are calculated to promote the Objectives Resolution unanimously adopted by this House and universally acclaimed by the country. To assess the provisions of the Draft Constitution, we have to see how far the Draft Constitution ensures the inherent rights of man,rights without which life is not worth living, how far the provisions safeguard against possible prostitution of democratic forms for totalitarianism, how far the provisions ensure justice if not generosity for the minorities and lastly, how far they ensure the independent development of the various national elements in the country. In order to assess the value of the provisions, we have to bear in mind two things: firstly,
certain admissions made by the honourable Mover of the Resolution, I mean the Honourable Dr. Ambedkar, and secondly our experience of the working of democracy in the last fifteen months after the attainment of independence. When the House adopted resolutions which are the basis of the Draft Constitution, we had no such experience before us; but now we have. The first admission that the honourable Mover made was, and I will use his own words: "Democracy in India is only a top-dressing on Indians oil, which is essentially undemocratic"..... "It is wiser not trust the legislatures to prescribe forms of administration." With respect, I say he is mainly right.
An Honourable Member: He is wrong.
Mr. Z. H. Lari: I would like to point out in this connection the various Security Acts which have been passed by the various legislatures, particularly the Safety Act in one province which even excluded the right to move the High Courts under section 491 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The second admission that he made is: "Constitutional morality is not a natural sentiment. It has to be cultivated. We must realise that our people have yet to learn it."
I say not only the people but even our Governments have to learn it. To prove this I will cite only two instances.The House will remember that in Calcutta - in Bengal - the High Court was seized of a case and had appointed a full Bench to decide as to what is the effect of the word reasonable' in an enactment dealing with Government's power to arrest and detain. The Bench was to meet only next day but the Government came out with an Ordinance laying down that the word 'reasonable' shall be held to have been deleted. No doubt, as the High Court remarked in that case 'His Excellency the Governor of the Province' was fully within his rights to enact an Ordinance but it was against constitutional morality.' The second instance which I would place before the House is that the head of an autonomous institution - I mean the Aligarh University - was only the other day asked to quit and give place to another man although that head had the confidence of the University Court and of the community to which the institution appertains. I say therefore in assessing the value of the provisions we have to keep in view these two admissions made by the Honourable Minister, as well as the recent working of the democracies during the last fifteen months.
Now the first requirement of a citizen is there must be security of life and there must be safeguard of liberty.This august House when considering the Draft Fundamental Rights laid down that nobody should be deprived of life and liberty except in accordance with due process of law. Now those words have been substituted by the words 'procedure established by law'. That absolutely nullifies the intention of those of personal liberty and life "in accordance with procedure" it becomes open to the legislature to frame any legislation affecting life and liberty. That nullifies the very intention. Therefore the substitution of the original clause is absolutely essential. In the Introduction to the Draft Constitution reference is made to the Japanese and Irish Constitutions but those responsible for those constitutions had laid down the procedure itself. For instance it is laid down there that everybody arrested shall have the right to be given the cause of arrest and he will have the right to get it adjudicated by courts. Therefore so far as Japanese and Irish Constitutions are concerned, they have laid down the procedure and after laying down the procedure, the Constitution says 'Nobody can be deprived of life and liberty except in accordance with procedure as established by law'. I submit that the examples of Ire land and Japan have no relevance.
Next to individual liberty and life comes the sanctity of one's house. One's house has been said to be a citadel,and it is of sanctity for him. In all democratic constitution you will find that no searches or seizures can be made in the houses except on causes shown and on complaints specifying the reason
thereof and thing to be seized. Similar articles should appear in our Constitution.
The next necessity of the individual is the right to have elementary education. That is singularly absent in the Fundamental Rights. In the Directive Principles of State Policy it is contained that it shall be the endeavour of the State to provide elementary education. My submission would be that is absolutely insufficient. What is necessary is that it should be the duty of the State to provide elementary education and such a provision should exist in the Constitution among the Fundamental articles.
Now I come to Article 13 which refers to freedom of speech, assembly or association. These are conceded but have been hedged in by such provisos and conditions that they reduce them to a nullity. I think addition of the words 'subject to reasonable requirements of public order and morality' would be enough. The Honourable Mover said that in America these rights have been circumscribed by judicial decisions, but when judicial decisions circumscribing those rights are given, they are given out of necessities of State. I think the addition of the words 'subject to reasonable requirements of public order and morality' would do. I submit that Fundamental Rights as conceded in the Draft Constitution are indefinite, insufficient and in certain particulars, vague.
The next item I would like to bring before you is this.The twin principles of democracy are that everybody has aright to representation and the majority has the right to govern. The electoral system, therefore, must be such as to ensure representation to everybody. This is the significance of adult franchise but the method adopted, viz., that of single member constituency really amounts to disenfranchisement of 49 per cent of the voters. It is possible in a single member constituency to disenfranchiseeven a minority extending to 49 percent. I am talking of political minority. Even political minorities are entitled to be represented in representative institutions. Therefore the system which is laid down in this Constitution needs revision. It may be said it prevails in England but this is why I drew the attention of the House to certain basic facts to which the Honourable Mover has referred and I would say it would be more advisable to follow the Irish, Swiss and now France in regard to introduction of proportional representation by single transferable or cumulative voting.It may be said that such system leads to multiplicity of parties. This has been in vogue for 25 years in Ireland and everyone is aware that one party governed the country for more than fifteen years and there had been not more than two parties. France had a plethora of parties even when there was no proportional representation. It is better for us to adopt this principle which is more progressive in instinct and which is really democratic.
I come to another feature of the Constitution, viz.,the Ordinance. There was a time when we used to complain that Ordinance was the rule and legislature was hardly consulted. I may here refer to the Father of the Nation who said: "Under the British rule the Viceroy could issue Ordinance for making laws and executing them. There was a hue and cry against the combination of legislative and executive functions. Nothing has happened to warrant a change in our opinion. There should be no Ordinance rule.The Legislative Assemblies should be the only Law makers".It is said when the Assembly is not meeting, an emergency arises, and an Ordinance has to be promulgated. But there is no significance of time and space and you can get an Assembly within two days and it is not at all difficult.Even if a necessity existed, that has disappeared; and moreover what is its effect? Because of the use of Ordinance-making powers the Assembly has become a rubber-stamp. In our province I know there is hardly any legislation which is not preceded by an Ordinance and in a Parliamentary Government where the Cabinet determines really the policy of the majority, once the Cabinet has framed an Ordinance and it
comes forward in the form of a legislation,it is impossible for the major party to go back and therefore it is the Cabinet which determines the legislation. I would accordingly submit that there is really no necessity of a provision requiring powers of issuing Ordinance.
Then there is the contingency of emergency. No doubt an emergency clause should be there. But such is the wide scopeof the emergency as put in the Draft Constitution, that not only actual violence, not only actual invasion as in the case of America, but threat of violence is enough to warrant declaration of emergency. These features are dangerous and must be eliminated.
I will now come to that portion of the draft which deals with minority rights. In dealing with these rights the first thing that has to be seen is reservation of seats.That is the one unique feature of the Constitution - that a minority is said to be safeguarded by means of reservation of seats, without ensuring that the minority concerned has any right or voice in determining its representative. Thisis meaningless and even deceptive. The only means of safeguarding minorities is by adopting the system of proportional representation. A writer in the Round Table of March 1948 referring to this system and its working in Ireland said that this solved the question of reconciling justice to minorities with the necessities of a stable Government.
Then I come to the Services. What a strange contrast In the Legislature you have got statutory reservations where they are meaningless, but when you come to the Services it is merely said their claims shall be considered. This is a very pious wish. The experience of the last fifteen months in the United Provinces and in other provinces has shown that mere pious wishes are not enough. There must be statutory reservations. Take away the reservation from the Legislature and for God's sake give us reservation in the Services. Here I speak not only for the Muslims of the United Provinces but also for other minority people. You concede reservations to Anglo-Indians but you deny it to the Muslims. Why this discrimination? Take the situation in the United Provinces. If you peruse the results of the last twelve months there, hardly five per cent of the Muslims have been taken in the services. I say if you take into account their discharges and dismissals it will be 75 percent., but if you take new recruitment - it is hardly 5 percent.
Shri Vishwambhar Dayal Tripathi (United Provinces:General): What did your leaders do in Pakistan?
Mr. Z. H. Lari: My friend wants me to follow in the footsteps of Pakistan. I am not going to do so.
Mr. Vice-President: Order, order.
Mr. Z. H. Lari: I have not mortgaged my rights to Pakistan. I stand here as a citizen of India. What Pakistan does or does not do is not my concern.
An Honourable Member: You have grown wise today Mr. Vice-President: Order, order.
Mr. Z. H. Lari: We never said that Muslims in these parts are going to migrate to Pakistan. We are the children of the soil and as such we claim the rights of citizens of India.
Shri. Vishwambhar Dayal Tripathi: Even your U. P.leader has escaped Mr. Z. H. Lari: Interruptions only show how uncharitable and how undemocratic are these.........
Mr. Vice President: Order, order.
Mr. Z. H. Lari: I Submit to the order. I was saying that my time was very short.
Mr. Vice-President: It has gone already Mr. Z. H. Lari: Give me two minutes more please.
Now there is the question of the Cabinet. I admit there can be no statutory representation there. In a parliamentary system of Government it is inconceivable. But you have toconsider whether, after introducing proportional representation, it is not proper for us to go back to the Presidential system. In that case it will be possible to have the election of the Cabinet on the Swiss system. But in the present set-up of the Constitution I admit tha statutory reservation is impossible and the best that could be done has been done.
Lastly, I would beg of this House to consider that there must be some
provision which should recognise the existence of an opposition in the Legislature. Of late since the Socialists seceded from the Congress, there have been utterances from responsible men indicating that the majority party - I do not say this is a confirmed opinion - are not very charitably disposed towards such an opposition. Just asit is in South Africa, or in England or in other countries,the position of the Leader of the Opposition should be accepted, and the one means of accepting is that it should be provided that he should be also granted a salary as in other countries. We know that in the system that is coming,men like myself have no chance to come back. Therefore, it is not in our interest but in the interests of democracy that there should be a proper Opposition which is constructive and charged with a duty to the country, and the motherland, and this can be assured only when you give a status to it in the Constitution itself.
I notice that in the further amendments provided by the Drafting Committee, there is a suggestion for theappointment of an Advisory Committee to advise the Presidentand there the position of the Leader of the Opposition has been recognised. But his position should be recognised even in the Constitution for the Union and for the States.
With these few submissions I conclude. I have made references to certain admissions by Dr. Ambedkar but all the same I have faith in the goodness of my countrymen and in the catholic spirit of those who inhabit this motherland,and I hope that they will rise to the occasion, and now that the critical phase has passed, now that passions have subsided, they will be more realistic and more conciliatory so that there may be an even balance in the country between the majority and the minority, not only theoretically but actually, so that we may concentrate on making India great.
Mr. Hussain Imam (Bihar: Muslim): I wish to say a few words on the Constitution as it has been presented to us. My task has been lightened agreat deal by the previous speakers who have referred to many of the questions to which I wished to refer.
I must say that I find the position of the President of the Drafting Committee unenviable. He has been attacked from the left for not having copied the Soviet Constitution, and from the right for not having gone back to the village panchayat as his unit. May I say that there is an element of confusion in some our friends' minds, when they want thatthe Constitution should provide for all the ills to which Indians are subject? It is not part of the Constitution that it should provide for cloth and food. A very revered Member of this Constituent Assembly regretted that this Constitution does not contain any provision for that purpose. My submission, Sir, is that the Constitution is based on the needs of a country to which it is applied. Wehave to see whether this Constitution does supply those essentials which are peculiar to our own circumstances.
The first lacuna which I find is that there is no mention of the sovereignty of the people. Unless you accept the principle of sovereignty of the people that all power is derived from the people and all Constitutions are based on the will of the people, the result will be confusion.
This has resulted in confusion. For instance, take what was formerly called the Indian States and the British Indian Provinces. The way in which the two have been treated isscarcely just and equitable. We find that people who mainly fought for the achievement of Swaraj or self-rule have lesser power than the people of the States, who did not participate as much in the struggle as we of the Indian provinces. The customs income of certain States has to be compensated by means of central grants. We have been told that there is one citizenship, the citizenship of India.With one-citizenship rights, can the people of the States have different rights? In the Indian States the people will be free from income-tax and income-tax can only be applied to the British Indian provinces. Corporation tax is not levied there
except in so far as it might be applicable to one or two Indian States. I therefore suggest that there should be uniformity with a single kind of suzerainty. That is my first fundamental objection to the Draft Constitution.
Secondly, as Dr. Ambedkar himself has pointed out, I think there must not be any differentiation between the provinces and the States. The right to maintain an army which has been given to the Indian States is wrong. India is in a dynamic condition. Thanks to the sagacity and firmness of Sardar Patel, the question of the Indian States has been solved to a great extent and they are no longer a stumbling block in our way. I was very glad to hear yesterday thePrime Minister of the Jodhpur State and one representative gentleman from Madhya Bharat speaking, in which they themselves came forward with the idea of uniformity with theIndian provinces. There is no reason why the portals of theSupreme Court should be closed to the citizens of Indian States. If they are citizens of India, they have as much right as we have to go to this court for the adjudication o f their interests and rights. I think that it is all due to the fact that we have not conceded the suzerainty of the people nor the proposition that with uniformity you get as a matter of course a system under which every one will be equal before the law in power and in responsibility.
I was also surprised that a learned pundit of constitutional law like Dr. Ambedkar should have skipped over the fact that the responsibility of the non-parliamentary executive is not less than that of theparliamentary executive. If it is examined it will be found that the committees of the House of Representatives and the Senate in U.S.A. exercise far greater control than the control exercised by the House of Commons. It is wrong to say that the Executive in the U.S.A. only comes in for a corrective after four years' term of the President. He is subject to day today control and that control is far greater in the case o f the Senate Committees and the House of Representatives than it is in the case of the British Parliament. A very well-known instance is the failure of President Wilson to carry forward his move for the League of Nations, because it was the Senate Committee which did not consent to it. Even the appointment of ambassadors to other countries is subject to the control of the Senate. Therefore it is wrong to say thatin the presidential non-parliamentary system there is no control and the control if at all is very remote. It is as intimate if not more intimate than in the British system of parliamentary control. I do not wish to discuss this aspect of the matter further as I shall have opportunities later when we will be discussing this subject again.
I might mention in this connection, as I said earlier,that the constitution must be framed to fit in with the needs of the country. I ask leaders to examine conditions in India. Look at the U. P., the centre of India, where the only other political party that you have got, viz., the Socialist Party, was supposed to be the strongest. What was the result in the local board and district board elections?They were beaten. In the Parliamentary elections out of twelve seats vacated by them every one of them was lost. Is this the way in which you can maintain parliamentary democracy? In a parliamentary democracy it is necessary that we must have an effective opposition. You can never have an effective opposition if you have single seat constituencies.It is only by means of a system of proportional representation that you can avoid the danger of reducing India to a Fascist State. I make this observation in all humility that for the preservation of democracy in India it is necessary that you must have a system where by an opposition may be allowed to come in. The popularity, the prestige and the name of the Congress are so great that it is impossible for anyone to come in opposition to theCongress and the result of this is, as has been seen many times in England, that the majority of the electors are disfranchised in
this way that if there is a three-cornered contest the defeated candidates might together get more than the successful one. Even conceding that there will be no three-cornered contest a large part of the electorate is disfranchised. Even if you have 60 and 40 per cent. voting,40 per cent. have no representation in the country, whereas under the system of proportional representation which is prevailing in most of the new advanced countries of Europe you will have representation in which every shade of opinion will be represented.......
Shri. L. Krishnaswami Bharathi (Madras: General): Whatare those countries in Europe where there is proportionalrepresentation at general elections?
Mr. Hussain Imam: In the U.S.A. there is proportionalrepresentation......
Several Honourable Members: No, no.
Mr. Hussain Imam: Switzerland has got it. (Voices: No,no.) Even if nobody has got it, if it is necessary for us,we should not follow what others have done. As I said in thebeginning, a constitution must be framed suitable to theneeds of the country and not necessarily in line with whatothers have been doing.
I might explain a point which was made by the previousspeaker, viz., that the personal law of the minoritiesshould be safeguarded. The majority need not have thesafeguard, because they are the majority, and nothing can bepassed in the legislature without their full consent andconcurrence, whereas, the minority have not got thisprivilege and therefore it is necessary that the personallaw of the Muslims and other minorities who so desire shouldbepreserved from interference by the legislature without theconcurrence of a vast majority of the members thereof.
Adverting to the question of reservation, as Mr. Larihas said reservation in the legislature is no good whenthere is no method of proper representation. I therefore saythat proportional representation, in addition to being avery necessary item for the preservation of an opposition inthe country, would also serve the interest of theminorities. There will be no need to have reservation forminorities provided you give proportional representation insufficiently large numbers.
For instance, one or two constituencies in eachdistrict may be made multi-member constituencies with ten ortwelve seats in each. And, if you have the Lists systemwhich prevailed sometime ago in Germany, that would serve agreater purpose; because voting will be on the basis ofparties and not on the basis of persons. We wantrepresentation more in groups than individually. We do notwant the spectacle of France repeated in India. But we donot wish to have a one-party Government which is liable todegenerate into something anti-democratic.
Before I conclude, Sir, I wish to say few words on thelanguage question. I am not going to say anything inopposition to the prevailing sentiment on this matter. Theneed for the continuance of the English language for thetime being has been advocated by the South. But as far asHindi is concerned, there is no difference of opinion,provided we know what is Hindi. I personally am prepared toadopt the language spoken by Sardar Patel and the languagein which he delivered his recent address at Bombay. He doesnot come from the Urdu-speaking tracts. He is a Gujerati. Hespeaks the language which is spoken by people everywhere. Ihad occasion to listen to the radio-relay of his speech atChowpathi and I found that it was nothing but Hindustani orwhatever name you give it. To me the language in which hespoke at Chowpathi was Hindustani. It is a language which isfar better understood by the people than the language usedby the Department under him, the A.I.R.
We have been told, Sir, that in this respect too, weare following the Gandhian conception. But people forgetthat Mahatma Gandhi stood for Hindustani to the last moment.He stood for Hindustani, in both Devnagri and Urdu scripts.Devnagri, as far as the script is concerned has nothing torival it. It is the best possible medium. But what about thelanguage? Hindi (you may call Hindustani), unless you mix itup with big
Sanskrit words and fill it up with all commongenders, is Hindustani. As I said, the language of theDeputy Prime Minister, coming from a province not speakingUrdu, should be our criterion and guidance. If the Membersof the Constituent Assembly are willing to accept it Isuggest that Hindustani, written in both Devnagri and Urdu,which was the last wish of Mahatma Gandhi and the mostaccepted in India today, should be adopted as the nationallanguage.
Sir, the Constitution is only framed once. It is not athing which is done every other day. So it is but right andproper that in framing it we should give the utmostconsideration, cool consideration, without heat and withoutrancour or mental reservations. I appeal to the House thatthey should forget and forgive the past. It is very painful,Sir, to be reminded every day that we are responsible forbringing Pakistan into existence. In its creation theCongress was as much a party as anybody else. In that spiritI request that Muslims should not be regarded as hostages.They should be regarded as citizens of India with as muchright to live and enjoy the amenities of India - the land of their birth - as anyone else. I conclude my speech.
Begum Aizaz Rasul (United Provinces: Muslim): Sir, Icongratulate the Honourable Dr. Ambedkar for his lucid andilluminating exposition of the draft Constitution. He andthe Drafting Committee had no ordinary task to perform andthey deserve our thanks.
Sir I feel it a great privilege to be associated withthe framing of the Constitution. I am aware of the solemnityof the occasion. After two centuries of slavery India hasemerged from the darkness of bondage into the light offreedom, and today, on this historic occasion we aregathered here to draw up a constitution for Free India whichwill give shape to our future destiny and carve out thesocial, political and economic status of the three hundredmillion people living in this vast sub-continent. We shouldtherefore be fully aware of our responsibilities and set tothis task with the point of view of how best to evolve asystem best suited to the needs, requirements, culture andgenius of the people living here.
Much has been said about the fact that most of theprovisions have been borrowed from the Constitutions of theU.S.A., England, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, etc. Sir, Ifor my part see nothing wrong in so borrowing as long as thehigher interests of the Nation and the well-being andprosperity of the country are kept in mind. There is nodoubt that the draft Constitution has been framed to fit inwith the present administration. But this had to be so inthe very nature of things. After all, we have all becomeused to a certain way of life of government and of administration. If the draft Constitution had changed thewhole structure of Government, there would have been chaos.India is a new recruit to the democratic form of Government.Its people have been used to centuries of autocratic ruleand, therefore, to carry on more or less on the lines theyhave been accustomed for some time more, with changes hereand there according to changed conditions, is the best thingpossible. The important thing is that power is derived fromthe people and it is the people who will make or mar thedestiny of India.
A lot of criticism has been made about Dr. Ambedkar'sremark regarding village polity. Sir, I entirely agree withhim. Modern tendency is towards the right of the citizen asagainst any corporate body and village panchayats can bevery autocratic.
Sir, coming to the Fundamental Rights, I find that whathas been given with one hand has been taken away by theother. Fundamental Rights should be such that they shouldnot be liable to reservations and to changes by Acts oflegislature. It is essential that some at least of the civilliberties of the citizen should be preserved by the Constitution and it should not be easy for the legislatureto take them away. Instead of this, we find the provisionrelating to these Rights full of provisos and exceptions.This means that what has been given today could easily bechanged tomorrow by an
Act of the legislature.
To my mind it is necessary that some sort of agencyshould be provided to see that the Fundamental Rights andthe Directive Principles are being observed in all provincesin the letter and in the spirit. Otherwise it may be thatthe absence of such an agency may give rise to the formationof communal organisations with the object of watching theinterests of their respective communities. It should be thefunction of the agency I have suggested to bring to thenotice of the Government the cases where the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles are not being followedproperly. I hope this point of mine will be seriouslyconsidered by this august Assembly when we come to discussthe Draft Constitution clause by clause.
Sir, as a woman, I have very great satisfaction in thefact that no discrimination will be made on account of sex.It is in the fitness of things thatsuch a provision should have been made in the Draft Constitution, and I am sure women can look forward toequality of opportunity under the new Constitution.
Sir, I will not go into the details of the Constitutionbecause I shall deal with the various provisions as wediscuss the Constitution clause by clause, but there are afew fundamental issues which have been raised and discussedon the floor of this House during the last two or three daysto which I may refer in passing.
Sir, the question of the reservation of seats for theminorities has engaged the attention of this House. It istrue, Sir, that last year on the recommendations of theMinorities Sub-Committee, this House accepted the principleof the reservation of seats for certain communities. At thattime also I was opposed to this reservation of seats, andtoday again I repeat that in the new set-up with jointelectorates it is absolutely meaningless to have reservationof seats for any minority. We have to depend upon the good-will of the majority community. Therefore speaking for theMuslims I say that to ask for reservation of seats seems tomy mind quite pointless, but I do agree with Dr. Ambedkarthat it is for the majority to realise its duty not todiscriminate against any minority. Sir, if that principlethat the majority should not discriminate against anyminority is accepted, I can assure you that we will not askfor any reservation of seats as far as the Muslims areconcerned. We feel that our interests are absolutelyidentical with those of the majority, and expect that themajority would deal justly and fairly with all minorities.At the same time, as has been pointed out by some honourableMembers in their speeches, reservation of seats forminorities in the Services is a very essential thing and Ihope that the members of this House will consider it when wedeal with that question.
Then, Sir, another question which has been engaging theattention of this House is the question of language. Sir,the question of language in its very nature is a veryimportant question because after all we have to devisesomething which is most acceptable to the people living inthis country. It is quite true that the language of thecountry should be the language that is mostly spoken andunderstood by the people of the country, and I do not denythe fact that Hindi is the language which is understood andspoken by the majority of the people (hear, hear), but, Sir,the word 'Hindi' as it is being interpreted today is a verywrong interpretation. After all there is not much differencebetween Hindi and Hindustani. Every one will bear witness tothe fact that the language spoken in the country, whether byHindus or Muslims, is a very different language to thatwhich is being described as Hindi and which is beingadvocated by the protagonists of Hindi. What is advocated isSanskritised Hindi which is only understood by a smallsection of the people. If we take the villages, the languagespoken there is very different to what is called Hindi here.
Then, Sir, I do not think that the forty millionMuslims living in this country can immediately be asked tochange their language. I agree that we will have to learnHindi in
the Devanagri script, but some time must be givento us to effect the change-over. It is very unfair of you toask us suddenly to transact all the business of the state aswell as the business in the legislatures in a language thatwe are not conversant with. I therefore feel that this is amatter which should be calmly and coolly considered. Afterall, this is not a matter which can be decided on the spurof the moment or on grounds of sentiment or passion. We haveto keep in mind the requirements of the country. The Fatherof the Nation up to the last advocated Hindus-tani written in both the scripts as the only language whichis most suitable and which can be acceptable to the mass of the people living in this country. I therefore recommendthat, whereas Hindi in the Devanagri Script can be made theultimate lingua franca of the country, a certain time limit,say about 15 years, must be given for the change over anduntil then Hindustani in both the scripts should remain thelanguage of India.
In conclusion, Sir, I would say that whatever we put inthis constitution, we must see that all our efforts areconcentrated to make India strong and prosperous withequality of opportunity, happiness and prosperity for all sothat India may lead the countries of the world on the pathof peace and progress.
Dr. Monomohan Das (West Bengal: General): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, a few days have passed since the Draft Constitution was introduced on the floor of this House byour able Law Minister and Chairman of the Drafting Committee , Dr. Ambedkar. During these few days, the Draft Constitution has met with scorching criticism at the handsof different members of this House. With the exception of avery few members who questioned the very competency andauthenticity of this House to pass the Draft Constitution,all the other Members have been unanimous in their verdict.They have accepted the Draft Constitution with somealterations, additions and omissions, in some clauses andarticles, as a fairly workable one to begin with. One veryre-assuring feature that we find in the Constitution is thesingle citizenship. As the Chairman of the Drafting Committee has said, unlike the American Constitution, theDraft Constitution has given us a single citizenship, thecitizenship of India. In these days of provincialism, whenevery province likes to thrive at the cost of itsneighbouring ones, when we have forfeited the sympathy andgoodwill of our neighbouring provinces, it is indeed a greatre-assuring feature. I, as a member from West Bengal,especially find myself elated to think that henceforth whenthis constitution is passed, when this clause of singlecitizenship, with its equal rights and privileges all overIndia, is passed, the door of our neighbouring provinceswill be open to us, so that our unfortunate brethern fromthe Eastern Pakistan, will find a breathing space in ourneighbouring provinces.
I beg to mention another point regarding the minorityproblem. The safeguards that have been awarded to theminorities in the draft Constitution, have caused someamount of resentment. Nobody can deny that minorities doexist in this country. No amount of denial can efface theseminorities from the face of India. You know Sir, thatdemocracy means rule by majority. The majority is alwaysthere to rule and the minority will always be there at themercy of the majority. The majority has no need to be afraidof these minorities. It behoves the majority, I think, toprotect these minorities, and give them safeguards, ifnecessary, so that a sense of confidence, a sense ofsecurity may be created in their hearts. I think, what theminorities of India demand and deserve today, from themajority, is a sympathetic consideration of their problemsand not a challenging attitude.
One very pertinent question has been raised by aneminent member of this House, Sir, when he said that theDraft Constitution of India has borrowed many things fromthe Constitutions of other countries of the world, but ithas taken nothing from the indigenous soil, from ourcultural heritage, evidently meaning the Village
PanchayatSystem. We, as a sentimental and idealist race have anatural tendency and love for everything that is old andpast. Our Chairman of the Drafting Committee has beencriticised by various personages of this House, for notincluding this Village Panchayat System into the Draft Constitution. They have taken it for granted that thisConstitution has been the work of a single man, forgettingthat there was a Constitution-making body, the Drafting Committee , always to guide the framing ofConstitutions. I think, it is strange, Sir, that all themembers of the Drafting Committee including the Chairmanhave forgotten to include this Village Panchayat System intoour Constitution. The Village Panchayat System has been ablind spot to all of them. I personally think the Drafting Committee has wilfully left it to the provinciallegislatures to frame whatever they like about this VillagePanchayat System.
In fact, Sir, there are provinces in which legislationhas already been undertaken in that direction, I mean, Sir,the Gram Panchayat Bill of the United Provinces. There isnothing in our Constitution that will take from theprovincial legislatures the power to pass an Act in thatdirection. If our provincial legislatures think that thisVillage Panchayat system will do immense good to ourcountry, they are quite at liberty to introduce it in theirlegislatures and pass it accordingly. So I think, Sir, thecriticisms sometimes amounting to abuse, which have beenshowered upon the Chairman of the Drafting Committee, arewholly uncalled for, unjustifiable, uncharitable, and if Iam permitted to say so, undignified.
I beg to utter a few words of caution to all Honourablefriends who are so enthusiastic protagonists of the VillagePanchayat System. Unless and until our village peoples areeducated, unless and until they become politically consciousunless they become conscious of their civic rights andresponsibilities, and unless they become conscious of theirrights and privileges, this Village Panchayat system will domore harm than good. I know that I am inviting upon myselfwhen I say that the Village Panchayat System has been thereand was there for centuries and centuries. How much has itcontributed to the welfare of our country, how much has itcontributed to our social, political and economic uplift? Ifthis system is introduced before our village people areproperly educated, then I think, Sir, the local influentialclasses will absorb to themselves all the powers andprivileges that will be given by the Panchayat System andthey will utilise it for their selfish motives. This systemwill enable the village zamindars, the village talukdars,the Mahajans and the money-lending classes to rob, toexploit the less cultured, the less educated, poorer classesof the villages.
With these words, Sir, I endorse wholeheartedly themotion put forward by the Chairman of the Drafting Committeefor consideration of the Draft Constitution. I thank you,Sir, for the opportunity you have given me to express myviews on the floor of this House.
Shri V. I. Muniswamy Pillai (Madras: General): Mr.Vice-President, Sir, nobody in this august Assembly oroutside can belittle the efforts and the services renderedby the Drafting Committee that has presented the Draft Constitution for the approval of this House. The futuregeneration will feel great pride that this Drafting Committee has been able to digest the various constitutionsthat are obtaining in the world today and to cull from themsuch of the provisions as are needed for the elevation ofthis great sub-continent.
Sir, going through the various sections, one has tonote whether the underdog, the common man, the communitiesthat have been neglected in the past, have been wellprotected, and facilities for citizenship have beenafforded. Reading this constitution, one finds that thereare two novel things that are not obtaining in any of theconstitutions of the world: first of all, the eradication ofuntouchability. As a member of the so-called Harijancommunity, I welcome it. Untouchability has eaten into thevitals of the
nation, and with all the pride and privilegeof the Hindu community, the outside world have been lookingat India with a doubtful eye. I welcome this provisionbecause it shows the greatness of the majority communitythat they found out that them is afungus that is eating into nation's pride and they have comeforward to remove this course of untouchability. There arepeople in India today who say that enough propaganda hasbeen made to eradicate untouchability and there is no needfor further propaganda. But I honestly feel, Sir, if you goto the village parts, untouchability is rampant still and aprovision of this sort in the Constitution is a welcomething.
The second feature is the abolition of forced labour(begar). If there is any labour required for common purposesin the village, this most unfortunate fellow, the Harijan,is always caught hold of to do all menial and inferiorservice. By the provisions in this Constitution, I am sureyou are elevating a community that has been outside the paleof society. It was given to the great Father of the Nation,Mahatma Gandhi, as a great mycologist, to find out the fungithat were eating into the national vitality. He has madecertain proposals to eradicate this evil and I am glad thatthe Drafting Committee have made provisions to eradicateuntouchability and forced labour on this unfortunatecommunity.
Sir, in the Draft Constitution, they have stated thatthe eradication of untouchability can be made by laws. Iplead that mere laws are not enough. Special laws have to bemade. In my own province the legislature was good enough topass an Act to remove the civil disabilities; but in puttingthe Act into operation, it was not possible even for theGovernment to enforce the facilities that were sought to beconferred by the Act. Therefore, I plead that there ought to be special laws if you really want to do away withuntouchability and forced labour.
Coming to the Fundamental Rights that have beenaccorded to all in this country, and especially for theunfortunate minority communities, the Advisory Committee,the Minorities Committee and the Fundamental RightsCommittee that went through the whole thing have adoptedcertain methods and they have been approved by this augustAssembly.
There are certain sections of people who say that noreservation is required. But, all those, who have seen theunfortunate plight of these minority communities, feel thatreservation must be there, as already accepted by theMinorities Committee and also approved by this augustAssembly. So far as the protection of the minorities areconcerned, it is the good-will of this august Assembly toconfer adult franchise with joint electrates. Of course, noone can deny that this is the best thing that could be donein the circumstances to elevate this community, that is poorin economic status and also poor in education. Any attemptto do away with adult franchise will be a great sin. In thematter of safeguard to the minorities, I think what is nowprovided in the Draft Constitution is a welcome thing; butthere is still in the provinces a strong feeling againstthese safeguards. I honestly feel that they must be enforcedin all ways.
Coming to the economic condition of the villagers,especially the tillers of the soil and agricultural labour,I do not find any provision has been made in the Draft Constitution to consider the village as a unit. Of course,due to exploitation and other things, the villages are inrack and ruin. It is the highest duty of any constitution-making body to see that the village is set right. Due to thehereditary system of appointment of village officers,Maniagars and Karnams, they are the people who rule thevillages. Having made a constitution for the upper stratafor the management of the provinces of India, if we leavealone the village re-construction, I feel that we are doinga wrong thing. It is the wish of Mahatma Gandhi also thatthe village must be made a self-governing unit. I am surethis august Assembly will reconsider what has been presentedto this House and see that we make proper amendments so thatthe
village or a group of villages could come under thecategory of self-governinginstitutions. Whether in the District Boards orMunicipalities, there are no real representatives of thepeople of the village or the taluk. Due to certaincircumstances the Collectors in my province are asked tolook after the District Board administration. TheseCollectors are loaded with so much other responsible workthat they appoint a Special officer to carry on the DistrictBoard administration. This is not a popular institution asit is now constituted. I feel that the village unit must betaken into account.
In the matter of appointment of Ministers, thePresident is given full powers. If you read the provisionsof the Government of India Act, 1935, you will find thatprovision has been made that the Governor or the President,in choosing his Ministers, shall take into account theclaims of the minority communities. I find no such provisionin this Draft Constitution, some such provision will be madeto take into account claims of the minority communities forthese Ministers' posts. Sir, I believe that it is politicalpower that can give a chance of better service to theseneglected communities. Even in the matter of All Indiaservices, in section 10 it is said that the backwardcommunities are to be taken not of. But, if you persue thelist of backward communities from province to province, theScheduled Castes do not come in it. I feel that also must berectified.
Finally, there is the controversy about the nationallanguage. Taking my own community, I do not think that evenone per cent of the population have taken to Hindi orHindustani
I feel, Sir, that this august body must deliberateproperly and should not force any language on a province, ordistrict or state where it is not welcomed.
With these few observations, I congratulate thePresident and members of the Drafting Committee for theirgreat service in presenting the Draft Constitution to thisAssembly and I commend the motion to this House for itsacceptance.
Shrimati Dakshayani Velayudhan (Madras: General): Mr.Vice-President, Sir, now that the draft is before us forgeneral discussion, I request you to permit me to express myviews on the same. The able and eloquent Chairman of thedrafting Committee has done his duty creditably within thescope of the general set-up of the new State of India. Ifeel that even if he wanted he could not have gone beyondthe broad principles under which transfer of power tookplace and I therefore think that any criticism that islevelled against him is totally uncharitable and undeserved.Even if there is any blame - and I think there is - it shouldgo only to those of us who are present here and who weresent for the purpose of framing a Constitution and on whomresponsibilities were conferred by the dumb millions of thisland who by virtue of their suffering for independence hadgreat hopes when they sent us to this Assembly. But thisdoes not mean that I have not got any criticism about theDraft. I fear that the Constituent Assembly from the verybeginning of its formation showed more interest in thingsother than making a constitution. We hear daily speechesmade by our great leaders and their ideals and principlesbut in the Constitution we find that it is barren of theirideas and principles. We have got leaders of national andinter-national importance but in our Constitution we findthat those principles and ideals are absent and it is agreat tragedy to find that such a draft has been placedbefore us and I do not think even the members of theDrafting Committee have completely read the Draft that isplaced before us.
The general criticism is that the draft is a replica of the 1935 Act, but we cannot forget the fact that we have gota legacy of the British Imperialist ad-ministration which goes by the name of the Parliamentarysystem of Government. The trouble was that we were dependingon it and we will have to depend on it even after the Constitution is put into operation. The trouble arose fromone point, viz., just as the British administrators whowanted to keep India
centrally and provincially as a singleunit, we in our bewilderment and anxiety tried to bringIndia centrally and provincially as a strong unit and thiscentralisation of power has led to all the troubles. Thereare two ways of making India a strong unit. One is by themethod of centralisation of power and the other is bydecentralisation; but centralisation is possible onlythrough parliamentary system which now goes under the safewords 'democratic methods', but in this draft we can't findanything that is democratic and decentralisation is totallyabsent. It is a great tragedy that in making theconstitution of a great country with thirty crores ofpeople, with a great culture behind it and the greatprinciples and teachings of the greatest man of the world onthe surface, we were only able to produce a constitutionthat is totally foreign to us. The arguments put forward bythe Chairman of the Drafting Committee are not at allconvincing. He has said that we are very late in making theDraft Constitution. But I can cite examples which will showthat his arguments are not sound. The Drafting Committeerecommends that the President of the Union can nominatefifteen members to the Council of States. Then another pleais that the term of the legislature should be more than fouryears. There is another misnomer in the Draft and that isabout the selection or the election of the Governors. TheCommittee feels that if the Governor and the Chief Ministerwho is responsible to the Legislature are eleced by thepeople then there will be friction between the two. But theremedy they have suggested is worse than the disease. Thereis a panel and the President is to select from the four oneperson as a Governor. If the Centre happens to have aCongress President and if a province is having a Socialistmajority, suppose the Socialist party recommends three fromtheir party and one from the Congress, certainly thePresident at the Centre will select the Congress man to bethe Governor. Certainly this will lead to friction. We findthat this direct recruitment to Governorship is taken fromthe Government of India Act and it shows that we have notleft out even a comma from it.
Then, Sir, I cannot understand why there should beCentrally Administered areas under the new Constitution. TheBritish kept these areas simply to have the military rule inthe country. But I do not understand why we should have suchareas under the present Constitution. It is better thatthese provinces are merged with the adjoining provinces andthus we will not be losing anything. We find that thedraftsmen included such a clause and as a result it has comebefore us for discussion.
Then I want to say a few words about the Socialistdemand at this stage. The Socialists are the second partywhich wants to come as an Opposition to the official bloc.We cannot deny the large following that they are having inthe country. They have declared that they want to be aConstitutional Opposition in the future. But I must say thatI do not agree with their demand that this ConstituentAssembly should be buried. I have to make one suggestion.The present Constitution, when it comes into force, will beput before the public by way of the General Elections. Thenthis Constitution can be made an election issue either forits acceptance or rejection. If the majority of theelectorates accept the Constitution, then we can take itthat the whole country has accepted it. If the majority of the electorates reject it then we must take it that thewhole country has rejected it, and the party that comes intopower, and the Legislature that will be formed thereafter,can take up the Constitution and makes the amendments thatare necessary. I think, Sir, the Congress Party that is inpower today will accept such a policy and seethat we are not blamed for being undemocratic in ourapproach to Constitution making.
Shri Deshbandhu Gupta (Delhi): *[Mr. President I amsorry I cannot congratulate Dr. Ambedkar, the Chairman of the Drafting Committee who has received congratulations fromdifferent Members of the House. I have read that part of
therecommendations of the Drafting Committee which relates tothe Chief Commissioners' Provinces, with great care. I wouldlike to confine my remarks to this part only and wish thatthe Members of this House should go through it minutely.
Mr. President, you are aware that previously when theproblem of Chief Commissioners' provinces was brought beforethe Constituent Assembly, the recommendations of theDrafting Committee were that the system of governance shouldremain the same as is now in force. Hindustan is changed,the country is free, but Delhi and other ChiefCommissioners' provinces, in spite of their considerablepopulation, did not have any say in the administration.There was no change in the system of their governance. Whensuch a recommendation was brought before us in theConstituent Assembly, the representatives of the ChiefCommissioners' provinces raised their voice and theConstituent Assembly appointed a special sub-Committee,which was entrusted with the task of framing a constitutionin accord with the conditions prevailing there. Mr.President, the chairman of this special Sub-Committee wasDr. Pattabhi Sitaramayya, the President-elect of our presentNational Congress and a senior member of this House. Thisspecial Sub-Committee had obtained the services of ourconstitutional "Pandit" Shri N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar.Moreover, our another Constitutional "Pandit", Shri K.Santhanam was also one of its members who always took a keeninterest in it (laughter). (Do you doubt it)? Every memberof the committee took interest in it and the recommendationswhich they submitted were unanimous. This committee heldseveral meetings, considered the whole problem, examined allthe sides of the question minutely and it also consideredthose difficulties of the Government, due to which they haddeemed it proper to treat the Chief Commissioners' Provinceswith indifference. Accordingly, taking all the matters intoconsideration, recommendations were submitted in which itwas clearly stated that although the people of these areasdemand that they should have the same rights as the peopleof the other provinces have already got - and there is noreason why this should not be - yet, considering that Delhihas a peculiar position of its own, they have recommendedthat Delhi and other similar provinces should be turned intoLieutenant-Governors' Provinces; and as regards theappointment of a Lieutenant-Governor it was conceded thatthe Centre should have control over him. Accordingly, it wasresolved that instead of electing the Governor the Presidentof the Republic should nominate him.
Another safeguard which has been provided is that,unlike other provinces, the constitution of the provincesshould be framed differently and in such a manner that theprovincial and central list should be concurrent, so thatthe Centre should have the full power to interfere in anylegislation it likes which has been passed by the provincialLegislature. Moreover, the province should not have itsexclusive jurisdiction.
It also has been provided that its budget should bebrought before the Centre and that the President should havethe right to interfere in it. This is not all. There is yetanother safeguard, which says that should any differencearise between the Lieutenant-Governor and the Ministers onany matter it would be referred to the President whosedecision on the subject would be
*  Translation of Hindustan
taken as final. I fail to understand why the Drafting Committee deemed it necessary to dismiss this question in afew lines on the plea that as Delhi is the Capital town,local administration was not possible - although thecommittee had submitted its recommendations after matureconsideration in which maximum regard was paid to the powersof the Centre. It seems to me that the Drafting Committee,instead of paying due regard to the unanimousrecommendations of the special committee or trying to findany other way out, has acted according to its prejudices andthought that it was not a matter to which considerationshould be given. It seems to me that these
gentlemen wereunder the impression that the special committee wasappointed merely to console the people of Delhi and otherChief Commissioners' provinces. That is why itsrecommendations have been thrown into the waste paperbasket. I would like to ask them, why did they not realisethat so many Members of the Constituent Assembly who spendconsiderable time in Delhi have certainly thought it properthat Delhi's population of 20 lakhs should have a say intheir own administration? Does it look nice that in casethere is a partial strike in Delhi, the Home Minister andthe Prime Minister should run about to stop it? Is it properthat even under the new system of administration the cabinetministers should be called upon to settle even the pettyaffairs of Delhi and the people of Delhi should have novoice? It is said that there being no parallel in Australia,it could not be done also here in India. I should havethought that we should try to benefit by the constitution ofother countries and should not merely copy word by word. Theexample of Australia has been cited, but the population ofits Capital town was 8000, and the estimate of itspopulation in 1944 was 12,000. Its population is less thanthat of Narela, a town near Delhi. If you want to follow theexample of Australia, then by all means make Narela yourcapital and exercise your authority there. The people ofDelhi will have no objection. Another example which has beencited is that of Washington. This example can hold good to acertain extent. But I think that Delhi and Washington cannotbe weighed in the same scale. Delhi is a commercial and anindustrial town and it has a population of 20 lakhs whereasthe population of Washington is near about 8 lakhs.Washington has been specially built to serve the purpose of a capital. Delhi has been in existence for centuries, mayfor thousands of years. It has a culture of its own and itspopulation has its own requirements.
To my mind, great injustice is being done to thecitizens of Delhi by dismissing the whole question in fewlines by saying that, as it is not done in United States andin Australia, therefore nothing can be done likewise inDelhi. I would like to ask whether it is not a fact thatMoscow has a separate province and a provincialadministration of its own. If Moscow, being the Capital ofU.S.S.R. can have a separate administration, why can't Delhihave one? Is it not a fact that there are four separateprovinces in the Union of South Africa? And is it not a factthat even there, the capital city is also the capital of aprovince? Then why cannot it be done in India? Only twoexamples have been cited before us and of these two, one is that of a place where the population is 8000. I would liketo ask with greatest respect: what comparison could there bebetween the capital of Australia and Delhi? Is it not aninjustice that the case of Delhi be dismissed in a minute bycomparing it with a town having a population of 8000?
I would like to say in all humility that if thisConstituent Assembly, which is representative of the people,does not lend its ear to the voice of the people, then theywill have to adopt some other method for making their voiceheard by the members. Since 1927 from every nook and cornerof Delhi the cry is being raised that Delhi should have aseparate administration of its own; even today a resolutionto the effect has been passed by the Delhi ProvincialCongress Committee. A similar resolution has also beenpassed at a provincialpolitical conference. Chief Commissioner's Advisory Counciland the Delhi Municipal Committee have adopted similarresolutions. Similar resolutions have been passed inhundreds of meetings but the members of our Drafting Committee have completely ignored that; they have not caredto take note of that at all. I think it is a graveinjustice. There can be no greater injustice that theresidents of Delhi, which is the heart of India, be denied ashare in its administration. It is said that this demand isbeing put forth as some Delhi-wallas are hankering forGovernorship and Ministership. I ask my worthy friend thatwhile
he poses to be the standard-bearer of the minority-rights - Dr. Ambedkar's attentive eye at once catches eventhe minutest point, if any, concerning the minorities - howdid the claim of this small province escape his notice? Heshould have shown some consideration to Delhi, regarding itat least as a minorities province. Even today when itconcernes a religious minority, which is only 30 to 35lakhs, the question is brought before the ConstituentAssembly. It draws the attention of all of our leaders andthey do their utmost to find a solution, but nobody todaypays any heed to the Delhi province. Is it not an injusticeto ignore the demand of twenty lakhs of people and to regardthe twenty-lakh population as insignificant? Today about sixlakhs of our brethren have come down to Delhi from WestPunjab after losing their all. Delhi has given them shelterand made them its own. I want to know whether thisConstituent Assembly wants to penalise doubly these sixlakhs of people by denying them franchise? That would be agreat injustice. If you think that Delhi, being the capital,needs more of protection then you can certainly give it.Delhi-wallas are prepared for that service. In therecommendation, which we have placed before you, we haveourselves conceded wide powers. What do you then lose bygiving to Delhi a small Legislative Council and a fewministers? You will have full freedom to suspend the wholething whenever you like. The special Committee havethemselves given all these powers to the President. Evenhere, instead of giving this a trial which would be a stepin the right direction, we are told that there is nonecessity of giving it a trial, and the President is vestedwith powers to take any such action, if and when he thoughtfit. On top of it all, it is made out that this is the onlycomprehensive solution of this problem. Mr. President,through you, I entreat the Honourable members of this Houseto ponder over this question calmly and to realise that thefeeling of the people of Delhi is very strong and that theirdemand and their grievance is quite justified.
The same may be said about Ajmer-Merwara and Coorg; butas most probably they may amalgamate themselves with theirneighbouring states they may thus acquire all the rightsenjoyable by an autonomous province; but as regards Delhi itis being ordained that there would be no change in itsstatus. Previously, Delhi's population was about six lakhs.Its present population is near about twenty lakhs, and it isestimated that within the next decade it would increase byanother ten or fifteen lakhs. It is the fourth biggest townof India and its people have no voice in its administration.What is the state of affairs today? Delhi's Administrativereport does not come before us. We are told that a ChiefCommissioner's Advisory Council has been provided and wemust be content with that. So, listen a bit about that also.It is more than a year that it was set up but not even onceduring all this period has the Chief Commissioner thought itnecessary to consult the members of his Advisory Council onany matter of day-to-day administration so far. When riotsbroke out in Delhi, an emergency committee under theChairmanship of Mr. Bhabha was set up by the CentralCabinet. But Delhi's Advisory Council had no hand in it. Iwant to know that if some sort of misfortune or devastationbefalls Delhi today, or some sort of difficulties arecreated by the people of Delhi, then would it not affect us?How could it be therefore that the people of Delhi are notto be given any voice in its administration? New townshipsare being built around Delhi; new schemes are being planned,but nobody consults the people of Delhi. There is no placefor them. For trivial matters they have to go to the PrimeMinister or to the other Ministers. If Bombayites arecapable of self-government, if Calcutta people are capableof running a government, and if U. P. with a population offive crores can run its government, than the same rightshould be given to the people of Delhi so that they may runthe administration of Delhi province. The people of Delhihave
never lagged behind during the hour of trial; theirpart in the struggle for freedom has been no less than thatof others. In spite of all this, it is stated that no rightscan be given to the Chief Commissioners' provinces of Delhiand Ajmer-Merwara. I want to emphasize that this questioncannot be settled so easily.
Sir, I being the only member here for Delhi, my voiceis feeble; I get little opportunity to make known to thisHouse the aspirations of the people of Delhi. Today, withthe great difficulty I have got this opportunity to puttheir case before this House; who cares for a cry in thewilderness? The most potent argument that I can place beforeyou is that whatever safeguards you think proper, you maytake. We shall have no objection to that, but the localadministration should be entrusted to the people of Delhi.Delhi's status should be similar to that of other provinces.If you do not concede this right to them, it would be agrave injustice. The consequences will not be good.]
Shri Gokulbhai Daulatram Bhatt (Bombay States): *[Mr.President, The minorities are being afforded an opportunitytoday to speak to the motion. I am, however, from the NativeStates. But these States are as yet political minors thoughthey are gradually moving forward to attain the age ofpolitical majority. I am specially here to demand that we,who have reached this fulness of political age, should berecognised to have attained it, notwithstanding those whowould like to deny us this right. The fact is that ourstanding those States and Unions of States are similar incharacter to the other provinces. I believe that I have beenafforded this opportunity on this very ground and I only saythat it was for this very purpose that I had agreed to itand I thank you, Sir, for affording this opportunity to me.Since the draft of the constitution reached me I have beencarefully scrutinising it. I may therefore say that it isnot that I have begun its scrutiny only a few days back. Butfrom the day I began to examine it I have felt that there isnothing in it which may be said to be proper and right. Iadmit that it is quite proper to borrow, in a writtenconstitution, such provisions from constitutions of othercountries as may be considered obviously very good anduseful. But the bold and authoritative statement of theChairman of the Drafting Committee that the constitution weare going to accept would be the best in the world should betaken with some reservation. He says so because he is one ofthose who have prepared this draft - and I admit that theyare entitled to gratitude on our part for the pains theyhave taken and the labours they have put in, borrowing partsfrom the constitutions of innumerable countries. Of course,it is not that these parts are disparate nor do I suggestthat they have strung up a remarkable frame of unharmoniousparts gathered from here and there. No, I would not like tomake such an observation, for I do not think that thedisparity within its various parts is to such an extent aswould justify such a sentiment. But I would say that even inthe buildings of Delhi, the city where we are meeting todayand of which Shri Deshbandhuji has been telling us just nowand which I agree should be given a separate status of itsown
*  Translation of Hindustani Speech.
in the buildings of Delhi, for example, in a building likethe Governor General's House there are to be found traces of ancient architecture just as there are those of modernarchitecture. Similarly I concede that good provisions of the constitutions of other countries may be included in ourConstitution. But I feel pained today, as I did even before,that in our eagerness to borrow from other countries we havetotally neglected those ancient principles and institutionsof our country which are there even today and which we haveinherited in our blood. It is a draft of the Constitutionbut neither its guiding principles nor its body arevitalised by the heart of India. The truth is that it doesnot give us the sense of being our own. This draft is nodoubt beautifully decorated and
decorated with flowers andother attractive articles. But the fragrance which such ofconstitution should give out is not there. I do not suggestthat the labours of the Committee were a mere waste ofenergy and time, but I beg to be excused if I do wonder whyso many months were spent on it when the constitution to beframed was to be only of this nature. I do not deny thatthere are some good features in it and I extend mycongratulations to them for the same; but considering it asa whole I doubt seriously if it can at all be considered aconstitution which is Indian in spirit and in character.
Dr. Ambedkar boldly admitted, and the members of theDrafting Committee do concede that in this constitutionthere is no provision for establishing Panchayat Raj, thevillage Panchayati system in India. When there is no suchprovision, it can never be the constitution of India. Toforget or sprung the system of village Panchayats, which haslifted us up and which has sustained us so far and todeclare boldly that it has been deliberately spurned - willin all humility I lodge my protest against it. They admitthat they have spurned it and have not included it in ourconstitution. He has said so and that too with greatemphasis. I am pained at the fact that the chairman of ourDrafting Committee has used the words, "what is the villagebut a sink of localism and a den of ignorance..."I am gladthat the Draft Constitution has discarded the village..." Iwas grieved to find that our great Pandit with all hisknowledge of Sanskrit and politics, has opposed the systemof village Panchayats in this way. If the village is to bediscarded, someone can also boldly demand that thisconstitution be discarded. But I am a humble person and donot have much experience either. Occasionally I am led bysentiment also to make an observation. But in allcircumstances an attempt should be made to include in someform, by the amendments we intend to bring forward, thatdemocracy should be the foundation of our polity. Then alonecan our Constitution be complete, then alone will it havelife and then alone will we have the feeling that thisconstitution is our own. Otherwise we would be rearing thisgreat building on a foundation of sand and it will surelyfall down. This is what I particularly want to suggest andthat was why I wanted to speak.
Another matter to which I want to draw your attentionis that some of our States have joined together to form anumber of unions. It is a matter of great satisfaction thatour able leader Sardar Patel has changed the very face of the States with great speed and I am proud of it. Now, theconstitution will be completed, I admit by the end ofDecember or in January next. But several States have anddesire to continue to have a separate existence of theirown. It must be said that if the province of Orissa can havea separate existence, several states such as Travancore.Cochin, Jaipur, Jodhpur etc., can also maintain theirseparate existence. But I humbly submit that if we form suchsmall provinces, we will find ourselves in the grip of muchworse provincialism than we have today and all our unitywill be shattered. The result will be that we will not be asstrong as we are to-day. I would say that the States and provinces should be sobig and so well administered as to be able to stand on theirown legs. A Revenue of six crores or seven crores or eightcrores is not sufficient. No large province can pull on withthis revenue. I my opinion, no such province should beformed as may have a smaller revenue than twenty fivecrores; nor in my opinion should there be formed any unionStates which does not have that much revenue. But this is amatter which requires consideration, special consideration,by our leaders. I come from Rajputana and from a smallState. Even though I admit that the rulers have made greatsacrifices and may also praise their self-surrender. Yet Iwonder how long can Bhopal be permitted to maintain, as itis doing today, a separate existence from Madhya Bharat, howlong Benares and Rampur can be permitted to have theirseparate existence and Jodhpur and
Bikaner, in our parts,can be permitted to remain separate autonomous identities.When India is going to be divided into various provinces - and of course they should be big ones - I think the rulers,rulers of big States, should come forward and on the basisof the mutual understanding merge their States intosufficiently big units. If, for example, Rajputana is formedinto a unit by itself the question of Ajmer and Merwara willnaturally be solved for there would be no reason to continueits separate existence as it is but a small province. It isa part of Rajputana and should be naturally merged therein.Rulers may be given high officers in order to keep up theirdignity. The offices of Rajpramukh and Up-Rajpramukh arealready there. Besides these, there are many other officesin India which should be given to rulers because we respectthem. So far as the States are concerned, we would not inany circumstances like to lag behind the provinces, norwould be proper to keep them behind the Provinces. If it besaid for any reason that we have acceded only in a fewsubjects, I would say that this need not be so. We do saythat our status should be improved because you are kind tous and want to lead us forward. We would not like to be puton any other footing than that of the other provinces. Ourstatus should be the same as of provinces in all matters, bethey relating to High Court or Supreme Court. I am sure youwill help us in the matter. We shall ask our leaders to helpus, to lead us forward and give us the same place that theprovinces have.
I shall not speak much because many friends havealready put many of these facts before you. But I do like tosubmit that in regard to the formation of small provinces onlinguistic basis I hold a different view. It is my opinionthat under that under the existing conditions in India weshould not even think of this for at least the next tenyears. I would submit earnestly to my friends to postponefor the present the issue of the Linguistic Provinces forthe sake of the unity that we are seeking to establish andfor the sake of the powerful nation we are trying to build up now. We shall think over the question after ten years when things have settled down.
This is what I wanted to say. As far as Delhi and other places are concerned. I would like to urge that we should take into consideration the fact that Delhi is the Capital and that as such it must be given a distinct status. I am one with Lala Deshbandhu Gupta on this question. But thesmall regions like Ajmer-Marwara, Coorg, Pantpiploda etc.should be merged in the provinces. It is no use making them centrally administered areas. This much I would like to submit to Doctor Sahib. He is a great scholar, and as such he should treat this country also as a land of wisdom. It is my appeal to him that he should give a place to the soul ofIndia in this constitution.]
The Honourable Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru: (UnitedProvinces: General) (Rising amidst cheers) Mr. Vice-President. Sir, we are on the last lap of our long journey.Nearly two years ago, we met in this hall and on that solemn occasion it was my high privilege to move a Resolution which has come to be known as the Objectives Resolution. That is rather a prosaic description of that Resolution because it embodied something more than mereobjectives, although objectives are big things in the life of a nation. It tried to embody, in so far as it is possiblein cold print to embody, the spirit that lay behind theIndian people at the time. It is difficult to maintain thespirit of a nation or a people at a high level all the timeand I do not know if we have succeeded in doing that.Nevertheless I hope that it is in that spirit that we shallconsider it in detail, always using that ObjectivesResolution as the yard measure with which to test everyclause and phrase in this Constitution. It may be, ofcourse, that we can improve even on that Resolution; if so,certainly we should do it, but I think that Resolution insome of its clauses laid down the fundamental and basiccontent of what our Constitution should be. The
Constitutionis after all some kind of legal body given to the ways ofGovernments and the life of a people. A Constitution if itis out of touch with the people's life aims and aspirations,becomes rather empty: if it falls behind those aims, itdrags the people down. It should be something ahead to keeppeople's eyes and minds up to a certain high mark. I thinkthat the Objectives Resolution did that. Inevitability sincethen in the course of numerous discussions, passions wereroused about what I would beg to say are relativelyunimportant matters in this larger context of giving shapeto a nation's aspirations and will. Not that they wereunimportant, because each thing in a nation's life is important, but still there is a question of relativeimportance, there is a question also of what comes first andwhat comes second. After all there may be many truths, butit is important to know what is the first truth. It isimportant to know what in a particular context of events isthe first to be done, to be thought of and to be put down,and it is the test of a nation and a people to be able todistinguish between the first things and the second things.If we put the second things first, then inevitably the firstand the most important things suffer a certain eclipse.