Monday, the 8th November, 1948
Now I have ventured with your permission, Sir, to takepart in this initial debate on this Draft Constitution, butit is not my intention to deal with any particular part ofit, either in commendation of it or in criticism, because agreat deal of that kind has already been said and will nodoubt be said. But in view of that perhaps I could make someuseful contribution to this debate by drawing attention tocertain fundamental factories again. I had thought that Icould do this even more because in recent days and weeks. Ihave been beyond the shores of India, have visited foreignlands, eminent people and statesmen of other countries andhad the advantage of looking at this beloved country of oursfrom a distance. That is some advantage. It is true thatthose who look from a distance do not see many things thatexist in this country. But it is equally true that those wholive in this country and are surrounded all the time withour numerous difficulties and problems sometimes may fail tosee the picture as a whole. We have to do both; to see ourproblems in their intricate detail in order to understandthem and also to see them in some perspective so that we mayhave that picture as a whole before our eyes.
Now this becomes even more important during a period ofswift transition such as we have gone through. We who havelived through this period of transition with all itstriumphs and glories and sorrows and bitterness, we areaffected by all these changes; we are changing ourselves; wedo not notice ourselves changing or the country changing somuch and it is a little helpful to be out of this turmoilfor a while and to look at it from a distance and to look atit also to some extent with the eyes of other people. I havehadthat opportunity given to me. I am glad of that opportunity,because for the moment I was rid of the tremendous burden ofresponsibility which all of us carried and which in ameasure some of us who have to shoulder the burden ofGovernment have to carry more. For a moment I was rid ofthose immediate responsibilities and with a mind somewhatfree, I could look at that picture and I saw from thatdistance the rising Star of India far above the horizon(hear, hear) and casting its soothing light, in spite of allthat has happened, over many countries of the world, wholooked up to with hope, who considered that out of this newFree India would come various forces which would help Asia,which would help the world somewhat to right itself, whichwould co-operate with other similar forces elsewhere,because the world is in a bad way, because this greatcontinent of Asia or Europe and the rest of the world are ina bad way and are faced with problems which might almostappear to be insurmountable. And sometimes one has thefeeling as if we were all actors in some terrible Greektragedy which was moving on to its inevitable climax ofdisaster. Yet when I looked at this picture again from afarand from here, I had a feeling of hope and optimism notmerely because of India, but because also of other thingsthat I saw that the tragedy which seemed inevitable was notnecessarily inevitable, that there were many other forces atwork, that there were innumerable men and women of goodwillin the world who wanted to avoid this disaster and tragedy,and there was certainly a possibility that they will succeedin avoiding it.
But to come back to India, we have, ever since I movedthis Objectives Resolution before this House - a year andeleven months ago, almost exactly - passed through strangetransitions and changes. We function here far moreindependently than we did at that time. We function as asovereign independent nation, but we have also gone througha great deal of sorrow and bitter grief during this periodand all of us have been powerfully affected by it. Thecountry for which we were going to frame this Constitutionwas partitioned and split into two. And what happenedafterwards is fresh in our minds and will remain fresh withall its horrors for a very long time to come. All that
hashappened, and yet, in spite of all this, India has grown instrength and in freedom, and undoubtedly this growth ofIndia, this emergence of India as a free country, is one of the significant brothers and sisters who live in thiscountry, significant for Asia, and significant for theworld, and the world is beginning to realise - chiefly Ithink and I am glad to find this - that India's role in Asiaand the world will be a beneficent role; sometimes it may bewith a measure of apprehension, because India may play somepart which some people, some countries, with other interestsmay not particularly like. All that is happening, but themain thing is this great significant factor that India aftera long period of being dominated over has emerged as a freesovereign democratic independent country, and that is a factwhich changes and is changing history. How far it wouldchange history will depend upon us, this House in thepresent and other Houses like this coming in the future whorepresent the organised will of the Indian people.
That is a tremendous responsibility. Freedom bringsresponsibility; of course there is no such thing as freedomwithout responsibility. Irresponsibility itself means lackof freedom. Therefore we have to be conscious of thistremendous burden of responsibility which freedom hasbrought: the discipline of freedom and the organised way ofworking freedom. But, there is something even more thanthat. The freedom that has come to India by virtue of manythings, history, tradition, resources, our geographicalposition, our great many things, history, tradition,resources, our geographical position, our great potentialand all that, inevitably leads India to play an importantpart in world affairs. It is not a question of our choosingthis or that; it is an inevitable consequence of what Indiais and what a free India must be. And,because we have to play that inevitable part in worldaffairs, that brings another and greater responsibility.Sometimes, with all my hope and optimism and confidence inmy nation, I rather quake at the great responsibilities thatare being thrust upon us, and which we cannot escape. If weget tied up in our narrow controversies, we may forget it.Whether we forget it or not, that responsibility is there.If we forget it, we fail in that measure. Therefore, I wouldbeg of this House to consider these great responsibilitiesthat have been thrust upon India, and because we representIndia in this as in many other spheres, on us in this House,and to work together in the framing of the Constitution orotherwise, always keeping that in view, because the eyes of the world are upon us and the hopes and aspirations of agreat part of the world are also upon us. We dare not belittle; if we do so, we do an ill-service to this country ofours and to those hopes and aspirations that surround usfrom other countries. It is in this way that I would likethis House to consider this Constitution: first of all tokeep the Objectives Resolution before us and to see how farwe are going to act up to it, how far we are going to buildup, as we said in that Resolution, "an Independent SovereignRepublic, wherein all power and authority of the SovereignIndependent India, its constituent parts and organs ofGovernment, are derived from the people, and wherein shallbe guaranteed and secured to all of the people of Indiajustice, social, economic and political; equality of status,of opportunity, and before the law; freedom of thought andexpression, belief, faith, worship, vocation, associationand action, subject to law and public morality; and thisancient land attain its rightful and honored place in theworld and make its full and willing contribution to thepromotion of world peace and the welfare of mankind."
I read that last clause in particular because thatbrings to our mind India's duty to the world. I should likethis House when it considers the various controversies - there are bound to be controversies and there should becontroversies because we are a living and vital nation, andit is right that people should think differently and it
isalso right that, thinking differently when they come todecisions, they should act unitedly in furtherance of thosedecisions. There are various problems, some very importantproblems, on which there is very little controversy and wepass them - they are of the greatest importance - with acertain unanimity. There are other problems, important nodoubt, possibly of a lesser importance, on which we spend agreat deal of time and energy and passion also, and do notarrive at agreements in that spirit with which we shouldarrive at agreements. In the country today, reference hasbeen made - I will mention one or two matters - to linguisticprovinces and to the question of language in this Assemblyand for the country. I do not propose to say much aboutthese questions, except to say that it seems to me and ithas long seemed to me inevitable that in India some kind ofreorganization should take place of provinces, etc., to fitin more with the cultural, geographical and economiccondition of the people and with their desires. We have longbeen committed to this. I do not think it is good enoughjust to say linguistic provinces; that is a major factor to be considered, no doubt. But there are more importantfactors to be considered, and you have therefore to considerthe whole picture before you proceed to break up what wehave got and re-fashion it into something new. What I wouldlike to place before the House is that, important from thepoint of view of our future life and governance as thisquestion is, I would not have thought that this was aquestion of that primary importance, which must be settledhere and now today. It is eminently a question which shouldbe settled in an atmosphere of good-will and calm and on arather scholarly discussion of the various factors of thecase. I find, unfortunately, it has raised a considerabledegree of heat and passion andwhen heat and passion are there, the mind is clouded.Therefore, I would beg of this House to take these mattersinto consideration when it thinks fit, and to treat it as athing which should be settled not in a hurry when passionsare roused, but at a suitable moment when the time is ripefor it.
The same argument, if I may say so, applies to thisquestion of language. Now, it is an obvious thing and avital thing that any country, much more so a free andindependent country, must function in its own language.Unfortunately, the mere fact that I am speaking to thisHouse in a foreign language and so many of our colleagueshere have to address the House in a foreign language itselfshows that something is lacking. It is lacking; let usrecognise it; we shall get rid of that lacuna undoubtedly.But, if in trying to press for a change, an immediatechange, we get wrapped up in numerous controversies andpossibly even delay the whole Constitution, I submit to thisHouse it is not a very wise step to take. Language is andhas been a vital factor in an individual's and a nation'slife and because it is vital, we have to give it everythought and consideration. Because it is vital, it is alsoan urgent matter; and because it is vital, it is also amatter in which urgency may ill-serve our purpose. There isa slight contradiction. Because, if we proceed in an urgentmatter to impose something, may be by a majority, on anunwilling minority in parts of the country or even in thisHouse, we do not really succeed in what we have started toachieve. Powerful forces are at work in the country whichwill inevitably lead to the substitution of the Englishlanguage by an Indian language or Indian languages in so faras the different parts of the country are concerned; butthere will always be one all-India language. Languageultimately grows from the people; it is seldom that it canbe imposed. Any attempt to impose a particular form oflanguage on an unwilling people has usually met with thestrongest opposition and has actually resulted in somethingthe very reverse of what the promoters thought. I would begthis House to consider the fact and to realize, if it agreeswith me, that the surest way of developing a natural all-India language
is not so much to pass resolutions and lawson the subject but to work to that end in other ways. For mypart I have a certain conception of what an all-Indialanguage should be. Other people's conception may not bequite the same as mine. I cannot impose my conception onthis House or on the country just as any other person willnot be able to impose his or her conception unless thecountry accepts it. But I would much rather avoid trying toimpose my or anyone else's conception but to work to thatend in co-operation and amity and see how, after we havesettled these major things about the Constitution etc.,after we have attained an even greater measure of stability,we can take up each one of these separate questions anddispose of them in a much better atmosphere.
The House will remember that when I brought that motionof the Objectives Resolution before this House, I referredto the fact that we were asking for or rather we were layingdown that our Constitution should be framed for anIndependent Sovereign Republic. I stated at that time and Ihave stated subsequently this business of our being aRepublic is entirely a matter for us to determine of course.It has nothing or little to do with what relations we shouldhave with other countries, notably the United Kingdom or theCommonwealth that used to be called the British Commonwealthof Nations. That was a question which had to be determinedagain by this House and by none else, independently of whatour Constitution was going to be. I want to inform the Housethat in recent weeks when I was in the United Kingdom,whenever this subject or any allied subject came up for aprivate discussion - there was no public discussion ordecision because the Commonwealth Conference which Iattended did not consider it at all in its sessions - butinevitablythere were private discussions, because it is a matter ofhigh moment not only for us but for other countries as towhat, if any, relation we should have, what contacts, whatlinks we should bear with these other countries. Thereforethe matter came up in private discussion. Inevitably thefirst thing that I had to say in all these discussions wasthis that I could not as an individual - even though I hadbeen honored by this high office of Prime Ministership - Icould not in any way or in any sense commit the country - even the Government which I have the honour to representcould not finally decide this matter. This was essentially amatter which the Constituent Assembly of India alone candecide. That I made perfectly clear. Having made that clear,I further pointed out this Objectives Resolution of thisConstituent Assembly. I said it is open of course to theConstituent Assembly to vary that Resolution as it can varyanything else because it is Sovereign in this and othermatters. Nevertheless that was the direction which theConstituent Assembly gave to itself and to its Drafting Committee for Constitution, and so long as it is (cheers) - that Constitution would be in terms of that ObjectivesResolution. Having made that clear, Sir, I said that it hasoften been said on our behalf that we desire to beassociated in friendly relationship with other countries,with the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. How in thiscontext it can be done or it should be done is a matter forcareful consideration and ultimate decision naturally on ourpart by the Constituent Assembly, on their part by theirrespective Governments or peoples. That is all I wish to sayabout this matter at this stage because possibly in thecourse of this session this matter no doubt will come upbefore the House in more concrete form. But in whatever fromwhether now or later, the point I should like to stress isthis, that it is something apart from and in a senseindependent of the Constitution that we are considering. Wepass that Constitution for an Independent SovereignDemocratic India, for a Republic as we choose, and thesecond question is to be considered separately at whatevertime it suits this House. It does not in any sense fetterthis Constitution of ours or limit it because thisConstitution coming
from the people of India through theirrepresentatives represents their free will with regard tothe future governance of India.
Now, may I beg again to repeat what I said earlier andthat is this: that destiny has cast a certain role on thiscountry. Whether anyone of us present here can be called menor women of destiny or not I do not know. That is a big wordwhich does not apply to average human beings, but whether weare men or women of destiny or not, India is a country ofdestiny (cheers), and so far as we represent this greatcountry with a great destiny stretching out in front of her,we also have to function as men and women of destiny,viewing all our problems in that long perspective of destinyand of the World and of Asia, never forgetting the greatresponsibility that freedom, that this great destiny of ourcountry has cast upon us, not losing ourselves in pettycontroversies and debates which may be useful but which willin this context be either out of place or out of tune. Vastnumbers of minds and eyes look in this direction. We have toremember them. Hundreds of millions of our own people lookto us and hundreds of millions of others also look to us;and remember this, that while we want this Constitution to be as solid and as permanent a structure as we can make it,nevertheless there is no permanence in Constitutions. Thereshould be a certain flexibility. If you make anything rigidand permanent, you stop a Nation's growth, the growth of aliving vital organic people. Therefore it has to beflexible. So also, when you pass this Constitution you will,and I think it is proposed, lay down a period of years - whateverthat period may be - during which changes to thatConstitution can be easily made without any difficultprocess. That is a very necessary proviso for a number ofreasons. One is this: that while we, who are assembled inthis House, undoubtedly represent the people of India,nevertheless I thinks it can be said, and truthfully, thatwhen a new House, by whatever name it goes, is elected interms of this Constitution, and every adult in India has theright to vote - man and woman - the House that emerges thenwill certainly be fully representative of every section of the Indian people. It is right that House elected so - underthis Constitution of course it will have the right to doanything - should have an easy opportunity to make suchchanges as it wants to. But in any event, we should not makea Constitution such as some other great countries have,which are so rigid that they do not and cannot be adaptedeasily to changing conditions. Today especially, when theworld is in turmoil and we are passing through a very swiftperiod of transition, what we may do today may not be whollyapplicable tomorrow. Therefore, while we make a Constitutionwhich is sound and as basic as we can, it should also beflexible and for a period we should be in a position tochange it with relative facility.
May I say one word again about certain tendencies inthe country which still think in terms of separatistexistence or separate privileges and the like? This veryObjectives Resolution set out adequate safeguards to beprovided for minorities, for tribal areas, depressed andother backward classes. Of course that must be done, and itis the duty and responsibility of the majority to see thatthis is done and to see that they win over all minoritieswhich may have suspicions against them, which may sufferfrom fear. It is right and important that we should raisethe level of the backward groups in India and bring them upto the level of the rest. But it is not right that in tryingto do this we create further barriers, or even keep onexisting barriers, because the ultimate objective is notseparatism but building up an organic nation, notnecessarily a uniform nation because we have a variedculture, and in this country ways of living differ invarious parts of the country, habits differ and culturaltraditions differ. I have no grievance against that.Ultimately in the modern world there is a strong tendencyfor the prevailing culture to influence others. That may
bea natural influence. But I think the glory of India has beenthe way in which it has managed to keep two things going atthe same time: that is, its infinite variety and at the sametime its unity in that variety. Both have to be kept,because if we have only variety, then that means separatismand joint to pieces. If we seek to impose some kind ofregimented unity that makes a living organism ratherlifeless. Therefore, while it is our bounden duty to doeverything we can to give full opportunity to every minorityor group and to raise every backward group or class, I donot think it will be a right thing to go the way thiscountry has gone in the past by creating barriers and bycalling for protection. As a matter of fact nothing canprotect such a minority or a group less than a barrier whichseparates it from the majority. It makes it a permanentlyisolated group and it prevents it from any kind of tendencyto bring it closer to the other groups in the country.
I trust, Sir, that what I have ventured to submit tothe House will be borne in mind when these various clausesare considered and that ultimately we shall pass thisConstitution in the spirit of the solemn moment when westarted this great endeavor.
The Assembly then adjourned for Lunch till Three of theClock.
The Constituent Assembly reassembled after lunch atThree of the Clock, Mr. Vice-President (Dr. H. C.Mookherjee) in the Chair.
Giani Gurmukh Singh Musafir (East Punjab: Sikh): Mr.President, like my Honourable friend Shri Deshbandhu Gupta,I cannot say that Dr. Ambedkar, President of the Drafting Committee does not deserve any congratulation. On severalmatters he deserves congratulation for several reasons andthe Committee's labour in framing this first constitution iscertainly praise-worthy. In spite of that, if anybodydiscovers any error, he mentions it, according to themeasure of his understanding.
Now I want to say something regarding Article 5 whichis embodied in the Part relating to the rights ofcitizenship. Some of my friends have already drawn ourattention to the fact that it would be very difficult forilliterate people to appear before a magistrate for fillingtheir declarations. But I look at it also from another pointof view. From both points of view, some sort of amendment isessential, because in this Article no distinction has beenmade between a foreigner and the Hindus and the Sikhs comingfrom Pakistan. Those that are still perforce in Pakistanwill have no right of acquiring citizenship after thisConstitution has been framed. I think this Article should beso amended that they might be regarded as the citizens ofthis land, whenever they come here. There is yet anotherpoint. Just at present Non-Muslims are coming from EastBengal. If, therefore, any provision is made in thisConstitution to the effect that they would not be able tocome, after this Constitution has been passed, then theprocess of their migration will gain momentum. We are notable to look fully well after the refugees who have comehere already. From this point of view, too, I consider itexpedient that suitable amendment should be made in thisitem.
Another point which I want to mention is regarding theFundamental rights, namely the one which concerns our basicrights. They have been stated in grandiloquent style, butthe many limitations made therein have lessened thegrandiloquence. Seth Damodar Swarup had moved an amendmenton behalf of his party, which was lost. The object of hisamendment was to point out that his party, which was lost.The object of his amendment was to point out that thisAssembly which is not elected on the basis of jointelectorate and adult franchise, is not representative of themasses; but we did not agree with him and the House rejectedhis amendment. But this much is very clear that although ourAssembly was not elected on the basis of joint electorateand adult franchise. yet this Constituent Assembly has tolook to the interest of the masses at the time of framingthe constitution. Articles 9 to 13, where the people'srights have been embodied, answer the objection
raised bySeth Sahib. For instance, there is equality of right on thebasis of religion, race or caste, meaning thereby that thereshall be no discrimination on grounds of Caste.Untouchability is abolished. Freedom of speech is guaranteedand in awarding punishment, no discrimination shall be madeon grounds of creed or caste. All these things have beenincorporated and they are all very good; but I haveobjection against some of the limitations. For example, inArticle 13, freedom of speech has been guaranteed, freedomof movement throughout the country without any distinctionhas been given and there is freedom to acquire and todispose of property - all these things have been embodied.But the limitation imposed in item (5) of Article 13 shouldnot have been there. In the face of these limitations, allgrand clauses which have been embodied in it will lose someof their grandeur. Even now I have this complaint. any bodymay admit it or not; but I strongly believe, that those ofour brethren who have come from Pakistan - although in someplaces they have been treated well, yet distinction hascertainly been made and their rehabilitation has not beenliked. Wherever they have gone, difficulties have certainlybeen raisedin rehabilitating them freely and comfortably. Thereforefrom the point of view of refugee problem, too, there shouldnot be any limitation regarding the freedom of movementthroughout the country and of acquiring and disposing ofproperty. Those who cannot acquire plots should have theliberty of acquiring cultivable lands. I have receivedtelegrams from everywhere that this limitation should bedone away with so that this old evil of disunion mightdisappear.
Third thing which I want to say is about the language.This is a very important question but I had not thought itto be so intricate as made out by our learned men andresearch scholars. Till the time this question had not cometo me in its present form, I never thought there was anydifference between Hindi and Hindustani. It never occurredto me that Hindi is separate language from Hindustani. Inthis connection i recall a Panjabi couplet of my own whichmeans "Ignorance was bliss to me; knowledge has landed meinto a difficult situation" or, in other words, I wish I hadnot known about it; now when I have known it I am in apuzzle what to do. But one thing is quite clear. As aprinciple we should agree to keep only one script in ourConstitution. There should be one script and one languagefor the whole of India, as has been stated by our friendSeth Govind Das Ji and several other speakers.
I also agree that our first constitution should beadopted in the National language. This is my firm faith andmy confirmed opinion. So far as language is concerned, itundoubtedly varies from place to place; there is no doubtabout it. There seems to be some difficulty about languagequestion. Some Honourable members have gone to the extent ofthreatening that if a particular decision is taken theywould stop attending the House or would have to take somesteps as a protest. In our armed forces, Roman script, Urduscript as well as Devnagri script are prevalent. If we haveto keep only one script than we ought to see in which of these three scripts all our languages can be written andreproduced correctly. I would go to this extent, that if allthe advocates of provincial languages so agree, then I wouldbe prepared for the position that Bengalis should leavetheir Bengali script, Tamilians and Telugus give up theirscripts and Punjabis leave their Punjabi script and allthese languages should be written in Devnagri script and Iwould have no objection. Under the present conditionshowever this seems to be somewhat difficult, though it wouldcreate a sense of oneness. If all of us differ in everyother respect, at least we must be one in one respect. Wemust unite on one point, that is we must agree to have onecommon script, in which all different languages may bewritten. If it is done we shall be saved from severalperplexities. In case this is not possible, then everyprovincial language must be given equal
importance in thatparticular province.
Then remains the question of language; regarding that Iwant to say this that I have seen all the translations ofthis draft constitution. I have seen its Hindi translation,and have read its Urdu and Hindustani translations. I haveused the word "seen" about Hindi translation for the reasonthat I have talked to several of my friends who aresupporters of Hindi. None of them could explain the purportof the Hindi translation to me. Our great poet of Panjab Dr.Iqbal, used to write his poems in Persian. I have readseveral of his books in Persian but when he realised thathis Persian poetry was like a wild flower for the people,out of which nobody got any fragrance, then he began writingin Urdu. If you see the language of his Urdu poems, you willfind that he was obliged to use a simple diction so that histhoughts may reach the people. Just listen; I repeat one ofhis couplets to you: -
"Iqbal bara updeshak hai, Man baton men moh leta hai, Guftar ka woh ghazi to bana Kirdar ka ghazi ban no saka."
Now tell me what you will call this language - Hindi,Urdu or Hindustani? To which language do the words'updeshak', Man', and 'Moh' belong? If the language in whichmy friend, Chaudhary Ranbir Singh, delivered his speech theother day, is Hindi then I am a supporter of Hindi. Now, wehave to see what is most suitable and most practicable. Ifyou ask me about the Punjab I can tell you that all thosepapers, which are supporters of Hindi, are printed in Urduscript. It is not a question of personal or individualconvenience but of finding a most suitable and practicablesolution.
So what I mean, is that our language should be easy andcommonly understandable. I suggest that a committee beappointed for coining the terms, and after the terms havebeen coined and the simplification of language decided uponthen I think there will be no difficulty in the way ofsolving the language question. There is short-coming in usall and particularly in Panjabis, that we tend to give areligious tinge to every problem. We pitch ourselves againsteach other on the basis of religion. The matter may besimple but by giving it a religious colour we create a mess.
There is a talk of division of provinces on linguisticbasis. On that point our constitution is almost silent; onlya vague hint has been given. in the Panjab this question toohas taken a religious turn although it is a very simple one.So, as was said by one speaker in the morning, it is acontroversial matter. It should be postponed, and thisprinciple should be accepted that if provinces are formedon a linguistic basis, then all the developed languages willbe given due consideration.
My time is almost finished, but I want to say somethingabout the minorities. I have not given much thought to thisquestion because I have been a Congress worker. Even now Iam the President of the Provincial Congress. To my mind,rights of the minorities will be quite safe in the hands of the Congress Governments. But at present the question ofreservation is before us. This is true that on the basis ofreligion I belong to a minority community, and I am proud of the fact that I have never viewed this question from acommunal angle. Regarding this, I would like to state thatthe Sikh community has always been proud of the fact that ithas bravely made sacrifices in making the country a strongnation. That was the reason which prompted revered PanditMalviyaji to remark that every Hindu family must have a Sikhson. Shri Savarkar had once advised the co-religionists ofDr. Ambedkar that if they wished to change their religionthey could become sikhs. I had then enquired from ShriSavarkarji as to how could he, being himself a Hindu and anArya Samajist, give such advice? (A voice - Savarkar is notan Arya Samajist.) Then, I withdraw my words. Anyway, hereplied to me that though he had not studied Sikhism, thismuch he knew that when he was at the Andamans there wereseveral old and distinguished Sikh prisoners with him, inwhom he had found intense patriotism, passion for nationalservice and sacrifice in
abundance. Judged from that hecould say that they were good people and for that reasons hehad advised co-religionists of Dr. Ambedkar to embraceSikhism. From the point of view of the minoritiesthemselves, I venture to say that without weightagereservation is of no use. I think that if our hearts arefreed from mutual suspicions and we gain each other'sconfidence then several provisions can be embodied whichwould help us in forging one nation. Governors and thePresident can be vested with the power of nomination incases where minorities fail to secure their adequate placeunder election. If any such method is devised wherebyreservation is done away with then it would be a test of themajority also, as well as a step forward towards forging onenation. We have seen how the reservation and separateelectorates have worked under the British regime; instead ofbecoming one nation, the country had been torn to pieces.This treatment simply aggravated the malady. We should takealesson from that; we should know what steps we ought to takefor knitting the country into one nation. Majority communityought to find out the ways for filling up the shortage, ifany, in the representation of the minorities.
With this end in view let us proceed in a way wherebyone united nation may emerge. There is no time left;otherwise I had to say much more on this subject.
Mr. Vice-President (Dr. H. C. Mookherjee): I havereceived notice of an amendment from Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad tothe following effect: -
"That the Draft Constitution be referred to a SelectCommittee consisting of such members, elected or nominatedby the Honourable the President in such manner as he thinksproper, to report thereon by such date as the Honourable thePresident thinks proper."
I rule it out of order on the ground that in the rulesfor the consideration and passing of the Draft Constitutionthere is no provision for reference to a select Committee.Acceptance of this amendment would amount to an amendment of the rules already framed. This cannot be done withoutreference to the Steering Committee. Not only that. Rule 31(4) says:
"The Chairman may disallow any amendment which heconsiders to be frivolous or dilatory".
I consider this a dilatory amendment. I therefore ruleit out of order.
The Honourable Rev. J. J. M. Nichols-Roy (Assam:General): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, it is indeed a greatprivilege to associate myself in rendering tribute to Dr.Ambedkar and the other members of the Drafting Committee forthe stupendous task they have undertaken to bring out thisDraft Constitution. they all deserve our best thanks.
To me, the structure of the Constitution depicted inthis draft looks good though it requires certainmodifications in some details and important matters. By thisConstitution, India is to have unity in diversities, Indiawith diverse races, colours, creeds languages and culturesand with varied degrees of civilisation is being mouldedinto one Nation that will work together for the good of thecommon whole. This is not a small task. India is like thedifferent States in the continent of Europe which have notbeen able to form a united sovereign country. But by thehelp of God and the wisdom given to our leaders India ishaving unity in the midst of diversities. This unity is notto be achieved by eliminating all diversities and puttingall component parts into one mould by a stroke of the pen,for such an attempt will cause terrible revolution and greatdistress everywhere. The process for achieving the unity ofIndia is by evolution as provided in this Draft Constitution.
The provisions for freedom of worship etc. etc. forminorities and for certain special areas and for hill tribesare the necessary stages for evolving unity in the midst ofdiversities. The wisdom of our leaders and of the majoritycommunity in acknowledging the necessity for allowingdiversities in this unity structure is greatly appreciatedand will be greatly appreciated by all. This is God's ownmethod. God's own creation everywhere is unity withdiversities. I thank Sardar Patel, the Chairman of theAdvisory
Committee for Minorities etc. He appreciated theneeds of minorities and special tribal hill areas.
I must especially thank the Drafting Committee foraccepting the draft for the creation of District Councilswith autonomy in the hill districts in Assam which in theSixth Schedule are called autonomous districts. These hilldistricts, inhabited by tribal hill people, will under thisconstitution be able to develop themselves according totheir own genius and culture. The result, I believe, will becharming if these autonomous districts are nurtured todevelop themselves in their own way without disturbing themain purpose of unity underlying the constitution presentedin the draft. These tribes, though small in themselves, havebeen self-governing bodies from time immemorial. The Indiaof tomorrow will surely stand to gain if the schemes fordevelopment of these areas are duly financed by the Government of India asproposed in the draft. Certain improvements in the SixthSchedule will have to be made in the draft. I hope the Housewill accept the amendments which will be moved in duecourse.
While I fully appreciate the attitude expressed by Dr.Ambedkar and others as regards the strengthening of theCentre, I have to express that my views are very strongagainst the unbalanced strengthening of the Centre at thecost of causing weakness to the component parts thereof. Itwill be like the picture of an unbalanced man with a verybig head but with bony and lean limbs. Such a head in thatvery condition will not be able to stand.
In perusing the printed amendments to Article 131 itappears that the Drafting Committee wants that the Governorshould be appointed by the President. Powers are thereforeproposed to be centralised. I hope the Drafting Committeewill revise their view and find it undesirable to move it. Ithink this country has long given up the idea of nominatedgovernorship with discretionary powers. The Drafting Committee has also given an alternative proposal for theappointment of Governors from a panel of four candidates to be elected by Members of the Legislative Assembly of theState. The argument of some of the members of the Committeeis that the co-existence of an elected Governor and a PrimeMinister responsible to the Legislature might lead tofriction and consequent weakness in administration; but atthe same time the existence of a nominated Governor withdiscretionary powers might cause obstruction and deadlock. Ihave had experience as a Minister with eight nominatedGovernors. I am strongly of the opinion that an electedGovernor will be better substitute. This matter will bediscussed at length when the amendments to Article 131 aremoved in this House. I shall have occasion to say more aboutthis then.
In the matter of Finance this draft is veryunsatisfactory - particularly in reference to smallerProvinces. It does not give a fair deal to the Provinces.Poor Provinces like Assam and Orissa have reasons to beparticularly disappointed. Those Provinces should not beweakened financially. Even one weak limb of the body willmake the whole body weak. If India is to live and prosper,the States which are its component parts should function ashealthy organs of the body politic of India. To come to thepoint, I want to say that the provisions of Articles 253 and254 cannot be appreciated by us. They are couched almost inthe same language as that of section 140 of the Governmentof India Act of 1935. The good wishes of the Government ofIndia have so far remained a dead letter while the backwardProvinces like Orissa and Assam remain where they werebefore. Even this year, Sir, our Assam Province is beinggreatly hit by the financial policy of the CentralGovernment. We were in great hopes that our most essentialneeds such as building up of institutions for educating andtraining personnel in various nation-building activitieswould be satisfied, but we are told that these have to bepostponed or delayed. The construction of strategic highwaysand roads absolutely essential for giving relief to ourdistressed people living on the border of Pakistan
and forthe protection of the country are proposed not to be pushedon with the same rapidity as it is essentially necessary to be done for we are told that not even one-fourth of themoney required for these schemes for the current year willbe available to us. The great Congress organisation hasdeclared that our goal is a co-operative commonwealth, butwhen rural centres for an all round development of thevillages are proposed to be opened on co-operativeprinciples, the money required for the fulfillment of theschemes in this connection is not forthcoming. Our AssamGovernment in order to raise the maximum finances it iscapable of doing, within the provincial list, has exhaustedall the sources of taxation; but our province is yet facedwith a deficit of about a crore, while its substantialincome is only over four crores. But Assam would have hadenough to bear its own responsibilities without begging fromthe Centre, had not the Central Government taken away theexport duty on tea. Tea and petroleum are produced in Assam.If the excise and export duties ontea and petroleum are allotted to us, which give about eightcrores of rupees annually from Assam alone to the coffers of the Government of India, we shall have enough to finance ourdevelopment schemes all round. Why should not this exportduty be given to Assam, at least the largest share of it,every year?
An Expert Committee was appointed to investigate thesequestions and the Premier of Assam, Mr. G. N. Bardoloihimself led the deputation before the Committee. While theCommittee conceded that a portion of the export duty on jutecould be given to Bengal (a small portion of which comes toAssam also) and that a portion of the excise duty on tobaccomight be given to the Province of Madras, the Committee didnot consider it desirable to concede anything in favour of assam on account of tea and petroleum produced in Assam. Isthis just and equitable? Assam is kept under this system ofeternal doles from the Centre. It passes our comprehensionwhy this difference is made. Is it because Assam does nothave a strong voice in the Centre? For many years during therule of the British, Assam has been crying hoarse againstthis injustice committed by the central financialauthorities in the past; but all our cries and condemnationof that injustice have gone unheeded by the Centre. Whyreduce this producing province which could have had enoughto support itself to a state of a beggar perpetually? Sir, Ihope any strengthening of the Centre financially in thismanner while robbing a province of its legitimate right willnot be supported by any one. I believe that this just Housewith reasonable minds and sympathetic hearts will see thatthe province gets a fair deal. Facts should be faced.
I think myself that the authorities have been so busywith other matters that their attention could not be drawnin the past to this matter of life and death for Assam. Weare today appealing to all the Honourable Members to come toour rescue at this time. Let it not be forgotten that Assamis a Frontier province which is subject to aggression fromall sides. It is the duty of the whole Union to attend tothis from the very beginning before evil days come. It isalso very necessary for India to keep the bordering areassupplied with the necessities of life in order to keep themsatisfied, otherwise adverse elements will cause greattrouble which may cost India ten times more than the amountof money which may be spent during peaceful time. It will bea shortsighted policy to deprive our Assam province of itsexport duty on tea and to reduce its legitimate share ofexcise duties on tea and petroleum etc. In the past thebureaucratic Government overlooked the claims of backwardprovinces like Assam or Orissa, but how can we imagine thatthis Constituent Assembly will allow the perpetuation of thesame wrong which was by the alien Government? I hope, Sir,that when the amendments to right this wrong are broughtbefore this House, they will receive full support from allthe Members of this august Assembly.
Before I close, Sir, I must also
say that adultfranchise is necessary as the basis of election. The peopleeverywhere must feel that freedom has come to them and thatthey have a share in the shaping of the administration of the country. This has been the hope given by the Congress inthe past and any deviation from this principle will causedisappointment and arouse agitation in the country. It istrue that the common man in the villages does not understandmuch, but it is the duty of the politicians to educate thecommon man in the right direction. We have adopteddemocratic principles, and the salvation of our country isto educate the common man and trust that he will be guidedto exercise his right of franchise in the right direction.
I do not want to take the time of this House with otherobservations and criticisms which I would have liked tomake, but before I conclude, I want to say that if we aregoing to build up a democratic State, we must make every onein this country, however humble and poor he may be, feelthat he has a share in the making of a better country. Wemust cultivate the spirit of fraternity and this should havefull sway in this country of oursso that every one of us, however humble and low we might be,can feel proud of this country to which we belong. God alsowill no doubt help us when we are saturated with this spiritof honesty and fraternity.
Mr. Mohammed Ismail Sahib (Madras: Muslim): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I thank you, in the first instance, forhaving allowed me some time though almost at the last stageof this general debate. I shall touch only on a few of thepoints I wanted to place before the House and try tocompress my ideas within the short time which I understandhas been kindly allowed to me by you.
Sir, it is indeed a great speech in which theHonourable Dr. Ambedkar has commended the consideration of the Draft Constitution to the House. For lucidity, forpersuasiveness, impressiveness and logic I do not think thatit could be beaten. All congratulations to him. But thisdoes not mean that one is agreeing with everything that issaid by him in the speech. For example, take the question ofprovincial autonomy, the relationship between the Centre andthe States. He pleads more really for a unitary type ofState. He says that a balance has been struck betweenfederalism and the unitary type of Government. But I aminclined to think, when I go through the Draft Constitution,that the emphasis is too much upon the unitary nature of theState. In my view, this is not conducive to the happinessand prosperity of the country. Ours is a vast country ofgreat distances and huge population. However much the Centremay be anxious to accord uniform treatment to the variousparts of the country, still, in the very nature of things,there will be draw-backs and shortcomings. This willnaturally lead to discontent, and conflict. It is for thisreason that many political thinkers have been of the viewthat a federal type of Government is more suitable thananything else for such a country as ours. We in India neednot be afraid of anything like disintegration or undueclashes and conflicts between the various parts of thecountry. The example of the United States of America hasbeen cited. What has happened there really? This countrywhich has got more than forty States, all autonomous, have,as one unit, stood two of the severest wars ever known tothe history of mankind, and these States have also stoodtogether and have dealt with and confronted successfully thestress and strain of post-war problems that faced them afterthe last two wars. Take again the case of Russia. The Statesof Russia are called autonomous Republics. It is said thatthey have got even control over external affairs. What hashappened? That country with all these autonomous republics,has been able to withstand the deadly and terrible onslaughtof the last war, and today she is as one big country, ableto pull on in the face of so many hardships anddifficulties. Therefore, it is not so much the type ofGovernment, or the number of powers which we give to theCentre that really matters. It is the
character of thepersonnel which runs the Government, and it is the characterof the people that really counts in these matters. Sir, inspite of the Russian States being autonomous republics, whathas fact, to be over-weighted with powers. The Centre hascome, in actual fact, to be over-weighted with powers. Thatis human nature. Here, it is said, on occasions, ourConstitution will become unitary. But, in the nature ofthings, when once it becomes unitary, the tendency will beto stay on the unitary type of Government. I say that thefederal system is more suited to the conditions of ourcountry than the unitary type.
The conditions in different parts of the country aredifferent. Therefore they have to be dealt with by thepeople who are in more intimate touch with those conditionsfrom day to day. In this connection, I shall just touch onone point. That is to say, when the province is deprived ofso much of itsautonomous powers, there is a proposal which does not agreewith this framework, viz., that of the election of theGovernor through adult franchise. The Governor himself isonly a constitutional head if he is not a figure-head and togo through all the paraphernalia and trouble of having himelected by tens of millions of people in a province is notnecessary and it really bristles, with possible difficultiesand probable hardships apart from huge expenditure it wouldinvolve. The Governor must of course be elected by certainagencies in the provinces and States themselves and that isin keeping with the provincial autonomy of my pleading. Suchan agency might take the form of an electoral collegeconsisting probably of members of the legislature in aprovince members of the municipalities and district boardsand I would even go, if friends would like it, to the extentof including members of the Panchayat Board as well. Afterall it may mean only about fifty or sixty thousand voterswhen the Governor is also elected by the people throughadult franchise it is only natural that on occasions he willcome into conflict with the ministry which will claim to bethe spokesmen of the people.
Regarding Fundamental Rights, the Mover of theResolution said that the exceptions have not eaten up therights, but as a matter of fact they have actually eaten upthe rights. He says everyone of these exceptions can besupported by at least one decision of the Supreme Court of america. To say so is on a par with the argument advanced bythe British politicians when the Government of India Act of1935 was on the anvil of the Parliament in Great Britain.They said they were including in that Act things which werethere and they had come into being and therefore it was thatthey were putting them into that Act. To say that theSupreme Court has decided in a certain way, has decided thatcertain exceptions are quite legal and all right andtherefore such exceptions must come into our Constitution - to say that is different from saying that the people willhave the freedom of going to Supreme Court or Federal Courtwhenever a fundamental right is in question in doubt. Thisfreedom of the people to go to the Federal Court even asagainst the Government will really imbue them with a senseof real freedom and that will also have a salutary check onthe Government which is very necessary in democracy.
Some of my friends claimed that Constitution is apolitical Constitution but really is it so - I don't know. Itdeals with untouchability, temple-entry and religiousinstruction. I don't blame the Constitution or its drawersfor this. I say it is quite right in noting these things;but one important fundamental thing I want to refer to andthat is regarding religious instruction. The Constitutionsays that religious instruction shall not be provided in anyof the State schools. Taking this provision with thecompulsory elementary education which is being introduced inalmost all the provinces. it means that the Government isagainst religious instruction, it is against people gettinginstruction in their own religion even if they wanted it.Therefore until 15 years of age upto which age the
childrenhave to be sent to these elementary schools they shall nothave an opportunity in these schools of having anyinstruction in religion. That right is not derogatory to theneutrality or secular nature of the State. The State wouldnot impose any religious instruction upon people who do notlike it. They only give facilities for the people if theywant to give instruction to their children in their ownreligion.
Then, Sir, I have to refer to the question ofminorities. Some friends said that reservation must go; somesaid it must go because it is not of much use and some saidthat reservation as such must go. They said that it wasgood-will that was required and not reservation. It isreally true that goodwill is required; it is essential evenin the working of this elaborate bulky constitutionand without goodwill any elaborate scheme will be of noavail. But on that plea goodwill might be taken as asubstitute for many other provisions in the Draft Constitution; nevertheless, those provisions are there.Goodwill has to be grounded on something and it can't belive on air. There has to be something for goodwill to bebased upon and for it to grow and that is the elementaryrights - fundamental rights and safeguards given tominorities. Therefore it is that my community wants thisreservation though it alone does not satisfy theirrequirements. I don't mean to say that it satisfies thepeople who want representation in the legislatures. Theywant themselves to be given the right of really representingtheir views and the feelings and aspirations before thelegislature. Will these people who are the occupants of these reserved seats under joint electorates be able toexpress the view of the community as such? When I say thiswe should not rake up the past and I don't want to refer tothe past and kindle and stir up controversies and disputes.We should take up this question on its own merits - whetherit is reasonable or not we should consider. In my view thereshould not only be reservation of seats but these seatsshould be filled up through separate electorates. I don'tfind any other alternative if you want to give the right tothese minorities to express themselves before the majoritycommunity, before the country and before the legislature.This is all that is meant by this electorate. It is nobarrier between one community and another and if there wasany trouble in the past it was not due to this system ofelection, but it was due to other things. As I have toldyou, I don't want to enter into the past. Again, when wetalk of these separate electorates communalism is broughtforward. In this connection I would only give the House thebenefit of a quotation from one of the Ministers, a CongressMinister in the Madras Assembly, about ten days ago. Aquestion was put regarding communal representation for theadmission of students to a certain college.
One of the Members put the question to the Minister:
"How is the Minister justified in preserving andfostering communalism even within the ranks of the Hindusthemselves?"
Then the Minister for Education answers:
"It is not the Government that do it. It is there. Thecommunities exist. It is an unwise man that does not takenote of the things that exist. People are born and die inthese various communities."
Then the Minister further added:
"The Government wanted to put an end to thiscommunalism. But without giving equal opportunities to thevarious communities to come up that could not be done".
That is the view expressed by a Congress leaderbelonging to the majority community who is now working animportant portfolio in one of the important provinces of thecountry.
Therefore, Sir, that is the position. There is no harmin recognising those communities and this is not a positionpeculiar to our country. When I was a young-man I used tofollow the national movement of Egypt. When they firstwanted independence, a community called the Copts came up.This community started a counter-movement. They wanted to beassured of their rights under independence and then ZaghlulPasha, the leader of Egypt called those
people and askedthem to formulate their demands. The demands were broughtforward in due course of time and he considered them. Hethen said that those demands alone would not secure theminority's rights and position; that they would not evengive them the right or proper expression. He said that hewas giving them more. That was how the minority was treatedin that country. Until then, whenever there was anythingabout Egypt therewould be something about the Copts as well. But all thischanged. From that day of settlement until now we do nothear the name of the Copts at all. Now they are a contentedpeople. They are all living today as one people. I hope theHouse will consider this question in a dispassionate manner,excluding any emotionalism or sentiment from the subject.
Shri Algu Rai Shastri: (United Provinces: General):*[Mr. President, as there is only one hour left at ourdisposal I would request that the time for discussion beextended by a day. Many members have expressed a desire tospeak and so far no closure has been moved. It appears thatthe House wants to have more discussion on the subject. Theissue is of great importance and, as Shri Diwakar saidyesterday, it should not be disposed of hurriedly. At leastone day's extension should be given for its consideration.Only some of those persons whose names are already with youwould like to speak. I beg to make one more submission. Sir,the entire time today has been given by you to those whomyou consider to be the members of minority communities Theyhave placed their view point before the House. Will you notnow give an opportunity to those whom you consider to bemembers of majority communities to place their views? Somereasoned reply to objections raised here must be permittedto be made here so that the world may be influenced to believe that whatever decisions are being taken in thisHouse, are based on reasoning and not on a majority vote. Ifany one wants to meet the objections raised here, he must begiven an opportunity to do so. There is the question oflanguage, the question of our relations with Great Britainand other problems of this kind. These are very importantmatters and require through elucidation in the House. Iwould, therefore request you kindly to give us one day morefor discussion. We must have at least one day more so thatothers also place their views on these matters.
Mr. Vice-President: You want one extra day Pandit Govind Malaviya: (United Provinces: General):May I support that request. I think we are discussing a veryimportant matter, for which there will be no otheropportunity and I think, even when three days have alreadybeen devoted to this, so long as there are a number ofMembers of this House who have yet to express their viewsbefore it on this matter, I think we shall be doing nothingwrong in extending the time.
The Honourable Shri B. G. Kher (Bombay: General):Tomorrow again a request will be made that one more dayshould be granted. There will be plenty of opportunitieswhen amendments are moved and all these points could bebrought out. We have been treated to a variety of views indifferent languages and sufficient light or darkness hasbeen thrown on a subject which has been before us for twoyear. I sympathise with Members who want to speak and to beheard, but I do submit that there ought to be some finalityto such general discussion and when you have alreadyextended the time by one day I thought that was enough Isuggest there should be no more extensions.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi (United Provinces: General): As longas there is one Member who wants to record his opinion onthis subject, he should be given a full opportunity toexpress himself. I therefore submit, that not only one, butif tomorrow we want another day, then another day must begiven.
Mr. Vice-President: I have here the names of aboutforty gentlemen who want to speak. At the same time I haveto point out that I have been keeping a note of theprincipal items touched upon by the previous speakers, and Ifind that they concern more or less six different points.Already about thirty
Members have spoken and they have goneround these six different
*  Translation of Hindustani speech
points. If the House is certain that the gentlemen who comehere-after will be able to do something more than coverthese six points, then there will be some justification. ButI am in your hands. I am perfectly prepared to extend thetime, provided you can convince me that something new willbe contributed.
Pandit Govind Malaviya: Would you like us to submit toyou a precis of the points we wish to raise?
Mr. Vice-President: Perhaps you have misunderstood meand that deliberately.
I have never suggested that I wanted a precis. Butthose who have sat down here and listened - you came onlytoday and so you do not know the points that have beentouched upon......
Pandit Govind Malaviya: But I have taken theproceedings home and studied them Mr. Vice-President:... the Members whose names arealready with me, if they can convince me or convincethemselves that they have something new to contribute, thenI am prepared to consider the proposition.
Mr. Hussain Imam: (Interruption)....
Shri Suresh Chandra Majumdar: (West Bengal: General)When there are forty names outstanding even a day'sextension may not suffice. So you must go on for the wholeweek Shri Vishwamber Dayal Tripathi: (United Provinces:General) I suggest two more days should be given for thisdiscussion.
Mr. Vice-President: All right, I will give one daymore. But I do hope the time will be used for some usefulpurpose.
Shri Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar (Madras: General): Sir,before making a few remarks on the Draft Constitution, Ishould like to join in the tribute of praise to theHonourable Dr. Ambedkar for the lucid and able manner inwhich he has explained the principles of the Draft Constitution, though I owe it to myself to say that I do notshare the views of my honourable Friend in his generalcondemnation of village communities in India. I must alsoexpress my emphatic dissent from his observation thatDemocracy in India is only a top-dressing on Indian soil.The democratic principle was recognised in the variousindigenous institutions of the country going back to theearliest period in her history. Democracy in its modern formis comparatively recent even in European history, as itsmain developments are only subsequent to the FrenchRevolution and to the American War of Independence. Theessential elements of democracy as understood and practisedat the present day are even of much later date and havegained currency and universal support during the last warand after its termination.
Before I proceed to make my remarks on the Draft Constitution, in view of certain observations of myhonourable Friend Mr. T. T. Krishnamachari on the work of the Drafting Committee and the part taken by its members, Iowe it to myself and to the House to explain my position. Asa member of the Committee, in spite of my indifferenthealth, I took a fairly active part in several of itsmeetings prior to the publication of the Draft Constitutionand sent up notes and suggestion for the consideration of mycolleagues even when I was unable to attend its meetings.Subsequent to the publication of the draft, for reasons ofhealth, I could not take part in any of its deliberations,and I can claim no credit for the suggestions as to themodifications of the draft.
In dealing with the Draft Constitution, it is as wellto remember that the main features of the Constitution inregard to several particulars were settled by the Assemblyafter due consideration of the reports of variouscommittees; this Assembly is not starting afresh after twoyears of work. I doubt if even, some of the Members whoanimadverted upon certain features of this constitutionsettled by this House could disclaim responsibility for thedecisions already reached. The federal framework of the Constitution with an over-riding power in the Centre, theneed for a concurrent list and the items therein, thecomposition of the Houses, the relative powers of the twoHouses of Parliament and in the provincial legislatures, themode
of election of the President and of the Governors, therelationship between the legislature and the executive, theconstitution and powers of the Supreme Court and of the HighCourts, the fundamental rights to be guaranteed to thecitizen and a number of other matters relating to theconstitutional framework, were settled by this House orconsidered by the Committees appointed by this House. In sof ar as the Drafting Committee has embodied in the articlesas framed the considered decisions of this Assembly, theDrafting Committee can in no way be responsible for thedecisions already reached, while it may be quite open tothe House to revise those decisions on special grounds. Inregard to such of the provisions of the draft as have notbeen considered by this House, it is open to this House, tocome to any conclusion, consistently with the resolutionsalready reached and with the general framework of the Constitution.
The main criticisms on the Draft Constitution rangeunder the following heads: -
Criticism 1. - It draws largely upon foreignconstitutions and there is nothing indigenous about it.There is not much force in this criticism when it isremembered that federalism in its modern form is of recentgrowth, since the American Revolution and America hasfurnished the example to all the later federations. Itcannot be denied that there is a strong family resemblancebetween the several federations and that each laterconstitution has drawn upon and profited by the experienceand working of the earlier federal constitutions of theworld. In this connection, it is as well to remember thateven the Soviet Constitution has not departed from certainaccepted principles of federal government.
Criticism 2. - The Centre is made too strong at theexpense of the units. In view of the complexity ofindustrial, trade and financial conditions in the modernworld and the need for large scale defence programmes, thereis an inevitable tendency in every federation in thedirection of strengthening the federal government. TheDraft Constitution in several of its provisions has takennote of these tendencies instead of leaving it to theSupreme Court to strengthen the Centre by a process ofjudicial interpretation. I might point out in thisconnection that the U.S. Supreme Court, by the wideinterpretation which it has put upon the General Welfareclause as well as on the trade and commerce clause in the Constitution, has practically entered into every sphere ofstate activity, so that it may be in a position to regulatethe economic activities, the relationship between capitaland labour, the hours of labour and so on, taking advantageof these two clauses.
Criticism 3. - The existence of a large list ofconcurrent subjects might lead to the Centre encroachingupon the provincial sphere and giving a unitary bias orcharacter to the constitution. A study of the several itemsin the Concurrent List shows that they mainly relate tomatters of common concern all over India. Whatevercriticisms might be levelled against the Britishadministration in India, the enactment of the great codeswhich has secured uniformity of law and legal administrationhas been its special merit. It is common knowledge that eventhe Indian States have adopted the greatIndian Codes. Instead of not having a Concurrent List orcurtailing the list of concurrent subjects, I would advocatethe Concurrent List being extended and applied to the Statesin Part III. The existence of a Concurrent List in no waydetracts from the federal character of the constitution,there being an independent provincial list of subjects.
Criticism 4. - The constitution does not give sufficientimportance to village communities which are an essentialfeature of India's social and political life. With the largepowers vested in the provincial or state legislatures inregard to local self-government and other matters, there isnothing to prevent the provincial legislatures, fromconstituting the villages as administrative units for thedischarge of various functions vested in the Stategovernments.
Criticism 5. - The criticism
regarding the fundamentalrights was that they are hedged in by so many restrictionsthat no value can be attached to the rights guaranteed underthe constitution. The great problem in providing for andguaranteeing fundamental rights in any constitution is whereto draw the line between personal liberty and socialcontrol. True liberty can flourish only in a well orderedstate and when the foundations of the state are notimperilled. The Supreme Court of the U.S.A. in the course ofits long history has read a number of restrictions andlimitations based upon the above principle into the rightsexpressed in wide and general terms. The Draft Constitution,instead of leaving it to the courts to read the necessarylimitations and exceptions, seeks to express in acompendious form the limitations and exceptions recognisedin any well ordered state. It cannot be denied that there isa danger in leaving the courts, by judicial legislation soto speak, to read the necessary limitations, according toidiosyncracies and prejudices it may be of individualjudges.
The problem of minorities has been solved by commonagreement in a manner satisfactory to the various partiesconcerned, and the draft Constitution merely seeks to giveeffect to the agreement reached. As has been pointed out inthe spirted address of our Prime Minister this morning,while regimented unity will not do, nothing should be donewhich will tend to perpetuate the division of the nationinto minorities and to prevent the consolidation of thenation.
The next criticism is that the common man is ignoredand there is no socialistic flavour about the Constitution.Sir, the Constitution, while it does not commit the countryto any particular form of economic structure or socialadjustment, gives ample scope for future legislatures andthe future Parliament to involve any economic order and toundertake any legislation they choose in public interests.In this connection, the various Articles which are directiveprinciples of social policy are not without significance andimportance. While from the very nature they cannot bejusticiable or enforceable legal rights in a court of law,they are none the less, in the language of Article 29,fundamental in the governance of the country and it is theduty of the State to apply the principles in making laws. It is idle to suggest that any responsible government or anylegislature elected on the basis of universal suffrage canor will ignore these principles.
The financial provisions in the draft Constitution havealso come in for strong comment from my honourable friendShri T. T. Krishnamachari. While an independent source orsources of revenue are certainly necessary for the properfunctioning of a federal government, there is a distincttendency, however, in the several federations, for theCentral Government to act as the taxing agency, taking careto make adequate provision for the units sharing in theproceeds as also for the central or national Governmentgranting subsidies. After all, it cannot be forgotten thatthe tax payer is the individualcitizen or a corporation - whichever the taxing agency mightbe - and the multiplication of taxing agencies is not amatter of convenience to the citizens. I doubt whether inthe present uncertain state of the country it is possible tooverhaul the whole financial structure and attempt a re-distribution on entirely new lines. That is why a provisionhas been made for a Financial Commission at the end of tenyears. Possibly the draft is defective in that specialprovision has not been made for the re-arranging of thelists in regard to financial matters in light of therecommendations of the Financial Commission without havingrecourse to the procedure as to Constitutional Amendments.
In regard to the subject of taxation, Professor Whearemakes the following observations in his recent Treatise onFederalism: -
"There can be no final solution to the allocation offinancial resources in a Fedral system. There can only be anadjustment and reallocation in the light of changingcircumstances".
We then had the criticism that the
Constitution is fartoo detailed and elaborate and contained more number of articles than any other known Constitution. This criticismdoes not take note of the fact that we are not starting aConstitution anew after a Revolution. The existingadministrative structure which has been worked so longcannot altogether be ignored in the new framework. Thesecond point that the critics have failed to take note of is that unlike other constitutions, the draft Constitutioncontains detailed provision as to the constitution and powerof the Supreme Court and the High Courts and also Articlesrelating to the Constitution of the units themselves. If wecould eliminate all those Articles, our Constitution alsocould be rendered simpler and shorter.
In regard to the Judiciary, the draft Constitution alsorecognises the importance of an independent judiciary forthe proper working of democracy, and especially of a FederalConstitution. The Supreme Court, under the Draft Constitution, has wider powers than any other court underany Federal system in the world.
More than any other provision in the Constitution. Ishould think the boldest step taken by this Assembly is inthe matter of universal adult suffrage with a belief in thecommon man and in his power to shape the future of thecountry. For this institution to work properly too great acare cannot be taken in the matter of the preparation ofproper electoral rolls and a uniform principle being adoptedin the different parts of India. I would commend for theconsideration of the House the suggestions made by myfriend, the Honourable Shri Santhanam, in the course of hisspeech yesterday.
There are other matters which require very close andcritical examination by this Assembly before the Constitution is finally adopted, such as citizenship, theformation of new States, and the position of the IndianStates which have been grouped together under the ableleadership and guidance of our Sardar. The position of theStates which are not represented in the Constituent Assemblywill also have to be considered and dealt with before the Constitution is completed as otherwise complicated legalquestions might arise in regard to the relationship of theseStates vis-a-vis the Union of India.
There are two other points also which have been touchedupon in the course of the debate. These relate to theemergency powers vested in the Government and to theordinance-making power. One point that has to be rememberedin this connection is that any power exercised by thePresident is not to be exercised on his own responsibility.The word `President' used in the Constitution merely standsfor the fabric responsible to the Legislature. Whether it isOrdinance or whether it is the use of the emergency power,the Cabinet is responsible to the popularly elected House.It should be remembered too that during the last debate itwas the representatives......
Prof. N. G. Ranga (Madras : General) : There is toomuch noise in the House. Another debate seems to be going onin that corner of the House.
Mr. Vice-President: Order in the House, please.
Shri Alladi Krishnamachari Ayyar: I may mention thatduring the last debate the representatives from theProvinces were more anxious, including the Ministers, thananybody else, to have emergency powers. It is they, havingregard to the actual working of the administration, whowanted these emergency powers given to them. How exactly theemergency power is to be provided for, whether any changesare necessary, all that is another matter. So normally whenthe Assembly is not in session. If the Assembly is insession, I do not think that the representatives electedunder universal suffrage are likely to be less insistentupon their rights than the Members of this House elected ona comparatively narrow ticket.
A brief survey of the draft Constitution must convincethe Members that is based upon sound principles ofdemocratic government and contains within itself elementsnecessary for growth and expansion and is in line with themost advanced democratic Constitution of the world. It iswell to remember that a
Constitution is after all what wemake of it. The best illustration of this is found in the Constitution of the United States which was received withthe least enthusiasm when it was finally adopted by thedifferent States but has stood the test of time and isregarded as a model Constitution by the rest of thedemocratic world.
Shri K. Hanumanthaiya (Mysore): Mr. Vice-President,Sir, Dr. Ambedkar was pleased to make a reference to theIndian States and made an appeal that so far as the unitsare concerned, there need not be any difference in theconstitutional set-up between the Provinces and States. I amglad that such an opinion is given, I think, though for thefirst time. Hitherto, every State was allowed to have aConstituent Assembly of its own and even the Unions ofStates were permitted to summon Constituent Assemblies forthe purpose of framing their own constitutions. Many of usare wondering whether the Constituent Assemblies to besummoned in the States and Unions of States are free to maketheir own constitution, whether they were in consonance withthe Indian Constitution or not. I want to suggest some waysby which we can attain the desired end.
In Mysore, Sir, the Constituent Assembly has donealmost half of its work, and when it was about to appoint aDrafting Committee, it thought it fit that the opinions of the other Assemblies in the States and also the opinion ofthis honourable House may be of much value in coming tofinal conclusions. Therefore it has appointed a Committee offive members to get into touch with the representatives ofother States' Assemblies and if possible with this Housealso. The personnel of the Committee has been announced. Ihope the Members representing the States in this House willbe able to sit separately together either officially orunofficially and evolve a policy acceptable to this Houseand to the country. The constituent assemblies in variousStates and Unions of States will no doubt take the advicethat may be given to them by the States representatives inthis House. But there are certain impediments in the waywhich I would like to point out.
The States, as you know, Sir, even under the Britishregime were enjoying a certain amount of autonomy more indegree than the provinces were allowed to enjoy and thatautonomy, I might say, has never been misused. Every State,whatever the degree of its autonomy, has always had theinterests of India at heart and acted accordingly. We, theStates people, feel that the Units of the Federation may nothave sufficient autonomy in the draft as itstands to manage their own affairs well and efficiently. Thedraft as it stands - I beg to differ from Dr. Ambedkar - israther too much over-Centralised. It practically makes theIndian Union a Unitary State and not a Federal State. Intheir anxiety to make the Centre strong, they have given toomuch legislative and financial powers to the Centre, andhave treated the provinces and States as though they weremere districts of a province. This tendency, I am afraid,will not make for what is called the strength of the Centre.Let me tell all those who are concerned in drafting thisConstitution that mere accumulation of files in the ImperialSecretariat does not make for the strength of the Centre.The strength of the Centre, if I understand correctly,consists in having a strong Army, a strong Navy and a strongAir Force and in the possession of sufficient money forthese purposes, instead of it taking a begging bowl beforethe States and provinces. Beyond that, if they take too muchpower and accumulate their legislative lists, what happensis that the initiative that should come form provinces willnot be there and the provinces will be reduced to mereautomatons. I have read experts on constitutions and one of the accepted tests whether a country enjoys freedom is tosee how far the units and the local bodies enjoy freedom andautonomy. Different people understand the strength of theCentre in different ways and the Drafting Committee havemerely understood that the mere accumulation of files in theImperial Secretariat makes for the
strength of the Centre.This is a great impediment in the way of the States peopleagreeing to have a common constitutional set-up for theunits. Before the States agree to come on a par with theprovinces - I am talking here for all the units, States aswell as provinces - they will have to be assured realautonomy, not autonomy to injure the interests of the Stateas a whole, but sufficient powers and responsibility tomanage their affairs well and efficiently. We have forgotten whom we repeatedly call the Father of Nation. He saidthat the constitution should be a pyramid-like structurewith the Centre occupying the apex. But the present set-upis absolutely topsy-turvy. The fear is there in the minds of the States people, that the Centre is taking too much power.
There is one other matter which has not been broughtsufficiently to light and I hope I would not bemisunderstood if I say that the States Ministry as such hascaused more dissatisfaction to the States people than eventhe Political Department did previously. I have heard itsaid by the representatives of the States people in theHouse that the States Ministry has failed to take theopinion of the States people into consideration at all. Theyare more after the Princes and their Dewans. The people arereally nowhere in the picture. It seems as though thePrinces and the Dewans get everything and the peoplenothing. If the integration of States has taken place today,it is not because the people in the States who participatedin the freedom movement had created such a position that thePrinces had no other course except to follow this line, andit is a sorrowful thing that we have forgotten the people inour anxiety to placate the Princes and their Dewans. Thispsychology of the States Ministry has to be reversed as soonas possible in order to make the people really feel thatthey are one with the rest of India and they are in safehands.
Then, Sir, the States have been enjoying in the matterof taxation much more latitude than the provinces. We haveconceded three subjects and in order to meet the expenditurein connection with these three subjects, sufficient moneymay be provided. For example, most of the States collectincome-tax just now. We have no objection if it goes to theCentre, but the other taxing heads ought to be left to theStates themselves in order to meet their own expenditure. Infact the complaint is repeatedly made that the mergingStates today are not enjoying even as beneficent aGovernment as they were enjoying under the Princes. That isthe opinion of the accreditedrepresentatives of the people. This is a very sorrowfulfeature. We expected that after the Princes went away andafter the States were merged with the provinces they wouldget better amenities and better opportunities than they wereaccustomed to previously. It is a bitter feeling that isexpressed by the States representatives. In the OrissaStates and the Deccan States the administration underCongress Governments is not as beneficent as it was underthe Princes' administration. I am not merely speaking as arepresentative of Mysore, but I have had occasion to talkwith other States representatives and this is their opinion.
Then, Sir, Delhi happens to be the capital for thepresent. Most of us from the South, from Bengal and fromother parts of the country, feel that Delhi is not suited to be the capital of India for various reasons. HistoricallyDelhi has developed a course; it has got all the empires ithad buried in its tombs scattered all about the place, andwe do not want our new Government to go that way. I have gotnot a sentimental reason only. Here in Delhi excepting fortwo months either we have to sweat or shiver and in thisextremity of climates, it is almost impossible to do anyhard work. The capital of a country, it is reasonable toexpect, should be in the centre of the country and we canlocate our capital either in the C. P. or somewhere nearabout.
The Honourable Shri B. G. Kher (Bombay-General): Bombayis better! Shri K. Hanumanthaiya: Sir, I might say, after Ihave gathered the opinions of many of my
colleagues, I amsaying that C. P. is preferred. For example, it may be Betulin C. P. Sir, there is an argument that having expended somuch money on Delhi, is it wise for us to expend furthersums of money for another capital? In Delhi, we can stilllocate some of the Central offices. Now East Punjab ishunting after a capital and they want to make Ambala as itscapital. We can make over half of our Government buildingshere to East Punjab Government and take money from them. Inthe financial proposals I see that after the partition of the Punjab it has not been able to maintain itself and wantsa subsidy from the Centre. If you make Delhi part of thePunjab, there will be no necessity for us to pay thesubsidy, for it will then be a self-sufficient province.From this point of view and from the point of view of publicopinion also it is better and in the interests of thecountry and its future, Delhi should cease to be the capitalof India. We must be able to build a fresh capital in theCentre Provinces. Thank you very much, Sir.
Mr. Vice-President: Pandit Govind Malaviya.
Pandit Govind Malaviya: Since we are carrying on tilltomorrow, may I have the privilege of speaking tomorrow?
Mr. Vice-President: I think you had better speak now.
Pandit Govind Malaviya: Sir, before I say anythingelse. I should like to offer my cordial congratulations toourselves and to the Drafting Committee and its versatileChairman, our friend, Dr. Ambedkar, for the very excellentwork which they have done in giving us this Draft Constitution. It was a difficult problem which they had tof ace and they have tackled it most excellently. There may bemany things in the Draft Constitution which one might havewished to be slightly different, but then that must be soabout anything which can be produced anywhere.
The reason, Sir, why I requested you to allow me anopportunity to take a few minutes of this House was not toput before this House all the points about which I wish thedraft was slightly different. In such matters, differencescan remain, but after all they do not matter very much solong as a thing is tacitly good. For instance, in the Draft Constitution there are some things which personally I shouldhave preferred to be slightly different.There is the election of the President, Sir, by proportionalrepresentation by single transferable vote. I do not feelhappy about it; I should have preferred that it should havebeen by a straight vote. The proportional method might proveextremely unhealthy but I do not wish to take one momentmore of your time than is absolutely necessary. I can onlymention that by the way. There is, Sir, the right in thehands of the President to nominate fifteen members to theUpper Chamber; I should have felt happier without that. Thenthere is the federal judiciary about which we have a fixedminimum limit, but we have no maximum limit. I am sorry,Sir, I came only today. I did not know this discussion wascontinuing. I have not brought my papers, etc. I was notprepared to speak just now. I am just saying a few things asthey strike me. There is the minimum limit but there is nomaximum limit fixed to it. I can contemplate a situationwhere the executive, the Government of India, might abusethat provision by adding to the federal judiciary a numberof new judges and getting the work done by them and in thatmanner bypassing any inconvenient older judiciary. I do notsuggest that it will happen, but when we are framing aconstitution for the future administration of the country,the more cautious we are the better. I should, therefore,have preferred that there should be an upper ceiling also tothe number of judges of the federal judicature.
Sir, there are many other similar things in theconstitution to which I might have referred, as I said,about which I should have felt happier if they were slightlydifferent, but that was not the main purpose of my takingthe time of this House and I shall not inflict that uponyou. What I particularly wish to suggest, Sir, is about thePreamble to this Constitution. We shall be failing in ourduty to our
country, to the entire history of our country,to the entire culture and civilization of our country, tothe entire ideology of our people if we adopt that baldpreamble which we have put into the Draft Constitution.
I should very much like that we should have in it areference to the Supreme Power which guides the destinies of the whole world. The reason why I make this suggestion isnot merely that we have it in many constitutions of theworld. It is not on that ground that I make that suggestion.As I said, the entire back-ground that we have in thiscountry demands that we should do it. I will make only onesubmission about it as I do not wish to take up the time of the House and wish to be as brief as possible. We sit hereas representatives of the people of India. Today, in thiscountry, if we were to devise some method of finding out asto what the views of the people are in that matter, I amcertain that more than ninety per cent. of our people, ifnot more, will be staunch believers in God Almighty. Theywill desire that our failing in our duty as representativesof our people if we, - even if some of us, even if all of us,do not believe in God - I say 'even', I do not say that it isso - but, even if that be so, I respectfully submit that weshall be failing in our duty to our people and to ourcountry whom we represent here, if we do not bring that intothe Preamble, because, as I said, more than ninety per cent.of the people of this country believe in God and would liketo have a reference to the Almighty in the Preamble. Thegreat point about our culture has been, the great pointabout our philosophy has been, the great point about oursocial structure has been that, while we have with completetolerance allowed unmolested place in society to everyschool of thought to the atheist and the agnostic, yet, as awhole, as a people, we have always had a strong and ferventbelief in the higher Power which guides us. An allpervading, an active and living belief in, and devotion toGod, has been, since the very beginning of our long andglorious history, the fundamental basis, the veryfoundation, the supreme essence of the very life of ourpeople.Mahatma Gandhi's life, the life of the builder of our nationtoday, was one beautiful, unchequered sermon to that effect.He died with the name of God on his lips. Everyday, hepractised Ramdhun and I submit that the glorious impressionwhich our country has made everywhere in the world, in theinternational circles and gatherings, the great impressionwhich our great Prime Minister has made recently in theConferences where representatives of all the countries of the Commonwealth were present, is due to the philosophicalbackground of our country, which has in the ultimate shapetaken the form of our beloved Prime Minister's presentbrilliant and soothing policy which we have pursued underthe leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. I submit, Sir, that wewill be unjust to our people and to our country if we donot do that. I hope therefore that my friend Dr. Ambedkarand others will consider that aspect and will remedy thatdefect or omission as I feel it to be.
The other point that I should like to mention is thatin our Constitution we should have our own name for ourcountry. I cannot understand our having a Constitution inwhich our country should be called 'India'. I shall notsuggest any particular name; I shall be content with anyname which appeals to the whole House. But, what I submit is that it will be wrong to leave India as the name of ourcountry. We may, for some time, if necessary, put down afterour own name within brackets 'India'. or say, "(Known inEnglish as India)", as the Irish have done. But, to put downIndia as the name of our country appears to me to beridiculous. That is the second point which I wish to bringbefore this House for its consideration.
The third point, Sir, that, I wish to submit is alittle delicate. I hope no friend of mine will misunderstandme. In his speech, our friend Dr. Ambedkar referred to thequestion of minorities. He referred to the proceedings of the Irish Conferences about
partition. But, he forgot thatif there was a Cosgrave to say there, "To Hell with yoursafeguards; we do not want to be ruled by you," there wasthe entire English Government to back him up. We have noneso here now. I am certain that no minority now willgenuinely wish to have any such separate State. Therefore, Ihave got one submission to make. I do not say that we shouldnot provide safeguards for minorities. By all means, weshould do so; we should give them every assurance possible,not only in words, but in actual deed; but what I submit,Sir, is that the Article in the Draft Constitution aboutreservation of seats should have one further clause added toit - I do not want to disturb it - I do not want in any way totake away from it; by all means let the minorities have thatreservation. The clause as it stands today, says that thereservation shall automatically go after ten years unlessotherwise decided upon. All I want, Sir, is that if theminorities themselves or any section of the minoritiesthemselves desire, even before the lapse of those ten years,to do away with this reservation or special representation,then, that Article of the Constitution should not be allowedto come in the way. As I said, I hope I will not bemisunderstood. It is not my desire in the least degree totake away from the safeguards which have been provided; Ionly want that the possibility of the minorities themselvesdesiring and deciding to give up that reservation should notbe ruled out. I hope, Sir, this will be done.
Then, Sir, I wish to submit that, at the end of ourconstitution, we should have a provision for a statutoryrevision of it after a certain period. I know that theprovisions for amending the Constitution have been preparedwith great thought. But, notwithstanding all that has beensaid, I still feel that the provision is not of a very easynature. I should like to make it clear that I am not abeliever in very easy provisions for changes or amendmentsto a Constitution. I firmly believe that it should be a verydifficult thing to get through any amendments to aConstitution. But, for the first time at thebeginning, for once only, I should like that there should bea Statutory provision in our Constitution that after theexperience of a few years, one review will take place, andas a result of that review, any changes which are suggestedshould be considered and dealt with by the method of simplemajority. I should like to have that provision for onlyonce. I am not dogmatic about the details of thatsuggestion. It may be after three years, five years or sevenyears. But, my purpose is that after we have experience ofthree or five years, once at least we should have astatutory review which should be there automatically andthen after consulting the experience of people in theprovinces and at the Centre, we should adopt whateverchanges may be necessary. After that, I should personallylike to make the provision for amendments to the Constitution as difficult and as rigid as may be possible. Iam anxious, Sir, not to let your bell ring. I shalltherefore stop here. These are the few suggestions which Iwish to place before the House and i am grateful to you forhaving given me this opportunity to do so.
Shri R. K. Sidhwa (C. P. and Berar: General): Sir,before we adjourn, may I know the final programme regardingthe motion under discussion.
Mr. Vice-President: After tomorrow nobody will have theface to say that more time is wanted.
The House stands adjourned till 10 A. M. tomorrow.
The Assembly then adjourned till Ten of the Clock, onTuesday, the 9th November 1948.