Wednesday, the 15th June 1949
Mr. President: That is the question which he has answered.
Shri K. Hanumanthiya: If the interpretation of Dr. Ambedkar holds good. . . . . .
Mr. President: No more discussion about it. Dr. Ambedkar has said what he has to say. Members have to take it.
I shall now put the article to vote.
The question is:
"That the following new article be added, after article 271 :-
271-A. All lands, minerals and other things of value lying within territorial waters vest in the Union.All lands, minerals and other things of value underlying the ocean within the territorial waters of India shall vest in the Union and be held for the purposes of the Union."
The motion was adopted.
Article 271-A was added to the Constitution.
Mr. President: The motion is:
"That article 272 form part of the Constitution."
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: Sir, I move:
"That in article 272, after the word and figure `Part I' in the two places where they occur,the words and figures `or Part III' be inserted."
Shri H. V. Kamath: Mr. President, there is only one point that I want to raise in connection with this article which is before this House. The article seeks to extend the executive power of the Union and of each State for the time being specified in Part I or Part III of the First Schedule, not merely to the grant, sale, disposition or mortgage of any property held for the purposes of the Union or of such State, as the case may be, but also to the making of contracts. I wonder whether it is wise on our part to invest the executive with power to make contracts without any reference to or subsequent confirmation by the sovereign Parliament at the Centre. On a reference to article 2 and 3, the House will see that Parliament has been invested with very wide powers of a fundamental character. This article, if adopted as it is, without any sort of clarification or without any authoritative exposition of the same-this has been moved before us without any speech by Dr. Ambedkar or any of his wise colleagues-seeks to invest the executive with the power or privilege of making contracts.
Mr. President: "Subject to any Act of the appropriate legislature."
Shri H. V. Kamath: Yes Sir. The first part says, "subject to any Act of the appropriate Legislature." But, the second part says, "as the case may be, and to the purchase or acquisition of property for those purpose respectively, and to the making of contracts." We should lay down specifically in the article that the right to make contracts should be subject to the right to make contracts should be subject to the right of Parliament or the appropriate Legislature to rescind it. Otherwise, I am afraid that some Ministry, either in the State or at the Centre may enter into some undesirable contract; and Parliament or the Legislature therefore should be invested with the power to rescind it. The article only says, `subject to any Act. I do not know whether Act means any Act already on the Statute Book or any subsequent right of the Legislature to rescind. I want this right to be conferred on Parliament and the Legislature specifically that both of them have got the power to rescind any contract that may be entered into by the executive at the Centre or in the States with regard to any property. If that safeguard were not provided for in this article, I fear we might land ourselves in trouble. I therefore think that clarification is necessary on this point to the effect that Parliament or the Legislature in the State has not merely the right to lay down the provisions with regard to disposition of property in various ways, an making of contracts but also has got the right to rescind any such contract made by a State or the Union.
Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena: Sir, I do not think the observations of the Mr. Kamath and his apprehensions have any foundation because the article clearly says:
"(1) The executive power of the Union and of each State for the
time being specified in Part I of the First Schedule shall extend, subject to any Act of the appropriate Legislature, to the grant, sale, disposition or mortgage of any property held for the purposes of the Union or of such State, as the case may be, and to the purchase or acquisition of property for those purposes respectively, and to the making of contracts.
(2) All property acquired for the purposes of the Union or of a State for the time being specified in Part I of the First Schedule shall vest in the Union or any such State, as the case may be."
So it means that this article applies to all contracts as well. There is no apprehension that contracts shall be made without reference to acts of legislature but I was wondering whether this article was necessary at all the whether this power does not vest in the Parliament without this article being in the Constitution. The Parliament can always pass laws for disposing of properties of the Union or purchasing of properties or mortgaging them. Why should there be an article of this sort in the Constitution itself? Parliament is all powerful and it can pass laws for purchase and disposal of properties of the Union. I do not see the necessity of this article at all in the Constitution.
Shri K. M. Munshi (Bombay:General): Mr. President, Sir, if my honourable Friend Mr. Kamath had considered the article fully, he would have found that the rights of the Parliament are fully protected. All the transactions which are mentioned there, grant, sale, disposal or mortgage are not legislative acts but executive act and therefore appropriately vested in the Executive; they are subject to any Act of the appropriate legislature. Therefore the Parliament or the legislature of the State will pass laws and thereby the manner in which these transactions are to be entered into, the authority which is vested with the power to enter into these transactions, will be properly defined. It would bring down the whole Government if Parliament or Legislature is invested with executive power mentioned here. For instance, take the question of sale of a property. A screw in a distant military Cantonment belongs to the Government and some official wants to dispose it off; should the matter go to Parliament for this purpose? The whole idea of having two organs of State Executive and Legislature is that all executive action has to be done by the executive but under the qualifications, the authority and the manner prescribed by Legislature. So Parliament cannot have any executive power reproduced from the Government of India Act is a well-advised article and should be maintained.
Mr. President: Would you like to speak, Dr. Ambedkar?
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: I think Mr. Munshi has clearly explained and I do not like to add anything to it.
Mr. President: The question is:
"That in article 272, after the word and figure `Part I' in the two places where they occur, the words and figures `or Part III, be inserted."
The amendment was adopted.
Mr. President: The question is:
"That article 272, as amended, stand part of the Constitution."
The motion was adopted.
Article 272, as amended, was added to the Constitution.
Mr. President: We take up 273. Dr. Ambedkar.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: Sir, I beg to move:
"That in clause (1) of article 273, after the word and figure `Part I' the words and figures `or Part III' be inserted.
That with reference to amendment No. 201 above, in clause (1) of article 273, after the word `Governor' in the two places where it occurs, the words `or the Ruler' be inserted.
That with reference to amendment No. 201 above, in clause (2) of article 273, for the word `the governor of a State' the words `the Governor nor the Ruler' be substituted."
Shri Mahavir Tyagi: Sir, reading the whole article as it is, one is at a loss to understand as to who will ultimately be responsible for the wrong transactions if there are any. The article reads:
"All contracts made in the exercise of the executive
power of the Union or of a State for the time being specified in Part I of the First Schedule shall be expressed to be made by the President, or by the Governor of the State as the case may be, and all such contracts and all assurances of property made in the exercise of that power shall be executed on behalf of the President or the Governor by such persons and in such manner as he may direct or authorise."
From the words "shall be executed on behalf etc." I understand that the emphasis is not on the word `executed' but on the use of the name of the Governor-General. I want to make it sure that in future it may not be construed that the meaning of the article is that whatever has been agreed upon by the Governor or the persons above shall essentially be executed. I can understand that it shall be executed in the name of the Governor but the question is; is it also the meaning that whatever has been agreed upon by the Governor or those who do it in the name of the Governor, whether it is in our interest or not, shall at all costs be executed? For instance there may be occasions just as only lately the Ministers of the Dominion of India or Cabinet just issued a statement and announced that with regard to Kashmir they will have a referendum and that referendum will decide. . . . .
Mr. President: This is the case of the contract and it has nothing to do with a political act like that.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi: Yes in contracts also, suppose the assets of the Government are contracted away by the men at the helm of affairs, will there be no check? Will the Parliament's ratification be necessary or they will be executed only because the commitments have been made by a person at the helm? Will the Parliament have a hand in confirming it or not? Political commitments also have their repercussions financially. I do not want to mention Kashmir but then there are so many other transactions-I do not want to quote instances of the previous or present Government-I am just inventing instanced. There may be occasions when some big financial deals are made which go against the interests of the country but this article says:
"All contracts and assurances of property made in the exercise of that power shall be executed on behalf of the President."
If the meaning is only this that the execution will always be on behalf of the President, I do not mind. But if it means that it shall have be executed at all costs I object to that.
Shri T. T. Krishnamachari: The liability is there.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi: Are you going to have the liability without defining the nature of the liability? If it were only a case of your defining that the liability shall always be executed in the name of the Governor or such other persons I can understand, because he is the head of the State and all executive action has to be taken in his name. But in clause (2) you say "Neither the President nor the Governor of a State-nor the Ruler now-shall be personally liable in respect of any contract or assurance made or executed for the purposes of this Constitution. This also I can understand in the case of the Governor whose name has been used only formally but I cannot pardon the officers or the Ministers who do wrong things in his name. Such an officer shall be personally and even morally responsible for his wrong action. A carte-blanche is sought to be given here that whatever is done, no personal liability will rest either on the man in whose name it is done, or on the person who does it. Unless a liability has been ratifies by Parliament, somebody must be responsible for it. So I want a clarification of this issue, for, there may be big commitments made of a nature with which the nation might not agree. The commitments are to be executed and then nobody is to be a liable for it. I think in matters of State everybody who works must be liable and responsible-even personally for all what he does. I deprecate the notion given to us by foreign rule here that a man who in the exercise of his official duties does wrong will not be responsible for that
personally-as if an officer can do no wrong just as the king can do no wrong. This is a notion to which I do not agree. I feel that if a man commits an error or plays wrong with the finances of the State or does anything which injures the cause of the nation he must always know that the liability lies on his head and that he will be responsible to answer for it and also have to pay the liability. After all the liability must be located somewhere. Otherwise the officers will be free from all liabilities, and contracts and agreements and commitments will be made generally freely without having any regard to their propriety. If the Governor are not responsible, those who have committed themselves on his behalf or committed the nation must be responsible. It is only a question I have put to Dr. Ambedkar and I hope he will clarify the position.
Shri H. V. Kamath: Mr. President, I do not think that my Friend Mr. Tyagi's objection is valid. If he would take the trouble of turning to article 64(1) and also the corresponding article for the Governors in the relevant part he will find that all executive action of the Government of India or of a State shall be expressed to be taken in the name of the President or of the Governor. Here also this article follows article 64 very closely. This article lays down that all contracts made in the exercise of the executive powers of the Union shall be expressed to be made- the words used are "expressed to be made"-by the President etc. Neither the President nor the Governor nor, in the light of the new amendment, the Ruler of the State actually makes the contract. Whatever contract is entered into or made by the Union or the State is expressed as having been made in the name of the President or the Governor or the Ruler.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi: Who actually does it?
Shri H. V. Kamath: The Union or the State does it.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi: It is the people.
Shri H. V. Kamath: If my Friend thinks the sovereign authority is vested in the people are responsible for everything that happens in the Union or the State. That depends upon the connotation that my Friend wants to give to the vesting of the authority of the Union or the State. If it vests in the people then the people are responsible. Everything is done in the name of the people because it is a democratic Constitution, and everything done in the Union or the State is done for the people or by the people. But certainly whatever is done is expressed as having been done by the President or the Governor or the Ruler, whatever the case may be. It is only a constitutional or a legal formula for enabling certain contracts to be made effective or to be given effect to. Otherwise, if every contract is signed by the people of the Union or the papal of the State then I suppose in constitutional law, before the High Court or the Supreme Court it will make no meaning whatsoever. Somebody will have to sign it. For instance, treaties are signed by the Foreign Minister or the Prime Minister here.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi: I do not object to the name of the Governor being used but to the immunity given to those persons who execute those undertakings and commit the country.
Shri H. V. Kamath: I am coming to that. Clause (2) lays down that "neither the President not the Governor etc. shall be personally liable." Certainly it stands to reason, to logic and to the sense of law which I am sure the House possesses in abundant measure, that for anything that the President or the Governor or the Ruler does not actually do but that is expressed to be done in his name-the Cabinet at the Centre or the State will make the contract and the titular head of the Union or the State will sign the contract-he cannot be made personally liable. That is all that is meant by the article.
There is, however, another point which I would like Dr. Ambedkar to clarify in his reply, if at all he replies. That relates to the language of this article. I suppose this has been lifted bodily from the Government of India Act, as has been done in the case of various other article.
The article begins with "all contracts made in the exercise of the executive power of the Union or the State", but proceeding further the article refers to "all such contracts and all assurances of property". Suddenly these words "assurances of property" are pitchforked into the article. What exactly in constitutional terminology or legal parlance it means I do not know, because I am not a lawyer. "Contracts" I know; I am fairly well aware of its connotation. But what exactly is meant by "assurance of property" I do not know. What are the assurances, verbal or written, and what sort of assurance will be given with regard to property I do not know. Since the article starts with "contracts" is it not enough to say "contracts" later on too? I think it will be wiser to stick to that. I think this will create confusion and will not lead to any clear understanding of this article. Then the amendment of Dr. Ambedkar refers to the word "ruler". I do not know whether we are in future going to be saddled or burdened with a distinction between Governors and rulers. Today we have this distinction of course and that is why I suggested postponement of the consideration of these articles. We have been assured by Sardar Patel and the Prime Minister that they are trying-and I dare say they will succeed- to bring the States into line with the States mentioned in Part I of the First Schedule that is to say, Governors' provinces. I do not think that when this Constitution comes into force there will still be this distinction between Parts I and III; I think there will be only one category, and the distinction between ruler and Governor will vanish. With regard to terminology I think the ruler is not referred to as ruler but as Raja, Rajparamukh etc.
Mr. President: The question was raised yesterday and Dr. Ambedkar said that he would consider any other expression which might be more suitable.
Shri H. V. Kamath: I am sorry; I was not here yesterday. It therefore struck me that the expression "ruler of a State" would not be quite appropriate for the executive head of the State. I hope they will all be called Governor and the word "ruler" will not be used any longer. I hope these points will be clarified by Dr. Ambedkar.
Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena: Sir, I think the point raised by my honourable Friend Shri Mahavir Tyagi is due to his not having read article 272 carefully. The power to make contracts has been given there and it will be subject to Acts of the legislatures. He cited the case of Pakistan and contracts with them about property, etc. I am sure whatever has been done was done with the consent of Parliament. So all contracts made under this article will be in accordance with the laws of the legislature, and no one can make any contract in contravention of those laws.
I however do not see the necessity of the second clause of article 273. It is well known that the President or Governor acts in the name of Governor and is not personally liable. So why make this provision specifically?
Shri Mahavir Tyagi: I would point out that in article 272 the "grant, sale, disposition or mortgage of any property" is mentioned; article 273 is different and refers to "contracts and assurances" etc.
Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena: The article says that contracts can only be made subject to laws made by the legislature. But I do not see the purpose of the exemption made in article 273(2). If the President or Governor contravenes the laws he may be impeached and any other officer doing so will be punished. I should like to know the reason for the special exemption made in this subsection.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: Sir, my honourable Friend Mr. Kamath had something to say about the use of the word "assurance", and I think his argument was that we were using the word "contracts" in one place and "assurances" in another. "Assurance" is a very old word in English conveyancing ; it was used and is being used to cover all kinds of transfers and therefore the word "assurance" includes the word "contract". So there is no difficulty if
both these words are used because assurance as a transfer of property has the significance of a contract.
Shri H. V. Kamath: My difficulty was about the language. The article starts with "all contracts" and then we have "all such contracts and all assurances of property", etc.
The Honourable Dr. B. R.Ambedkar: If there is any difficulty about the language it will be looked into by the Drafting Committee; I was explaining the technical difference between assurance and contract.
Then, Mr. Tyagi asked why a person should be freed on liability if he signs a contract. I think much of the objection raised by Mr. Tyagi would fully disappear if he were made a member of the Cabinet; I should like him to answer the question whether any contract that he has made on behalf of the Government of India should impose a personal liability on him. I am sure he knows the ordinary commercial procedure. A principal appoints an agent to do certain things on his behalf. Unless the agent has acted outside the scope of the authority conferred upon him by the principal, the agent has not personal liability in regard to any contract that he has made for the benefit of the principal. It is the same principle here. My honourable Friend Mr. Tyagi does not know that there is a well establish system in the Government of India whereby it is laid down that it is only a document or letter issued by an officer of a certain status that binds the Government of India; a document or letter issued by any other officer does not bind the Government of India. We have therefore by rule specifically to say whether it is the Under-Secretary who would have the power to bind the Government of India, or the Joint Secretary or the Additional Secretary or the Secretary alone. Therefore I do not see why the person who is acting merely on behalf of the Government of India as a signing agency should be fastened upon for personal liability, because he is acting on the authority of the Government of India or within the authority of the Government of India. If the Government of India approves of any particular transaction to which the legislature raises any objection as being unnecessary, unprofitable or out side the scope of the legislative authority conferred by Parliament upon the executive Government, it is a matter between the Government and the Parliament. Parliament may either remove the Government or repudiate the contract or do anything it likes. But I do not understand how a personal liability can be fixed upon a men who is merely appointed as an agent to assure the other party that he is signing in the name of the Government of India. There is no substance in the objection raised by my Friend Mr. Tyagi.
Mr. President: I will now put the various amendments to vote.
The question is:
"That in clause (1) of article 273, after the word and figure `Part I' the words and figures `or Part III' be inserted."
The amendment was adopted.
Mr. President: The question is:
"That with reference to amendment No. 201 above, in clause (1) of article 273, after the word `Governor' in the two places where it occurs, the words `or the Ruler' be inserted."
The amendment was adopted.
Mr. President: The question is:
"That with reference to amendment No. 201 above, clause (2) of article 273, for the words `the Governor of a State' the words `the Governor nor the Ruler' be substituted."
The amendment was adopted.
Mr. President: The question is:
"That article 273, as amended, stand part of the Constitution."
The motion was adopted.
Article 237, as amended, was added to the Constitution.
Mr. President: Article 274 is now for the discussion.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: Sir, I move:
"That in clause (1) of article 274, for the words `Government of India', in the second place where they occur, the words `Union of India' be substituted."
Sir, with your permission I will also move my other amendments to this article now.
"That in sub-clause (a) of clause (2) of article 274, for
the words `Government of India' the words `Union of India' be substituted."
"That with reference to amendment No. 2980 of the List of Amendment, in clause (1) of article 274, after the word and figure `Part I' the words and figures `or Part III' be inserted."
"That with reference to amendment Nos. 2980 and 2981 of the List of Amendments, in clause (1) of article 274, for the words `by the Legislature' the words `of the Legislature' be substituted."
"That with reference to amendment No. 204 above, in clause (1) of article 274, after the words `corresponding Provinces' the words `or the corresponding India States' be inserted."
"That with reference to amendment No. 206 above, in sub-clause (2) of article 274-
(i) after the words `a Province', the words `or an Indian State' be inserted; and
(ii) after the words `the Province' the words `or the Indian State' be inserted."
Shri Jaspat Roy Kapoor (United Provinces: General): I am not moving my amendments Nos. 2981 and 2984. They may well be referred to the Drafting Committee for consideration.
(Amendment No. 2982 was not moved.)
Mr. President: Does any one wish to speak on this article?
Shri H. V. Kamath: Mr. President, amendment No. 2980 seeks to substitute the words `Union of India' for the words "Government of India" so far a s suing or being sued is concerned. I do not know exactly what is the change that is sought to be effected by the substitution. Article 270 refer to the Government of India as being the successor Government to the Dominion of India. When I suggested that this might be changed to either "Union of India" or "Republic of India", that was not accepted by the House. So under article 270 we recognise the Government of India as succeeding the Dominion of India so far as assets, Liabilities and obligations are concerned. But when we come to article 274 we are told that for the purpose of suing or being sued it will not be the Government of India but the Union of India. So long as the Government of India Act was in force, whenever the India Government was sued or had to sue it was the Secretary of State for India that came into the picture. I do not know exactly why a suit may be filed against the Union of India? Article 2 tells us that India shall be a Union of State. In law what is sued or may be sued is the whole body, the whole corporate body of the Union Government. The Union as such in law is not a corporation may sue or be sued. It is only the Union Government that may sue or be sued. In the light of article 1, if we want to precise and exact so far as law is concerned, we should state in this article "the Government of the Indian Union". As it is, however the sense is quite clear and therefore it will be wise to retain the phrase "the Government of India" instead of "the Union of India" as suggested in amendment No. 2980.
As regards the other amendments moved by Dr. Ambedkar, there are certain points which are obscure. If Dr. Ambedkar will turn to article 270 he will see that it refers to Governors' provinces. In this article we refer to provinces. I think this is rather incorrect. So far as legal terminology is concerned, I think the provinces must be referred to as Governors' provinces, not merely as provinces. If we turn to the First Schedule, Part I, the provinces are referred to as Governor's provinces.
Then, sir, about clause (2) of this article. The amendment in relation to this clause is No. 207. We do not know exactly what picture will emerge before us at the time of the Commencement of this Constitution. Sub-clause (b) of clause (2) refers to Governors' provinces and, by reason of this amendment of Dr. Ambedkar, to Indian States as well. It is purely a hypothetical case, but if for instance as regards an Indian State which is an integral part of the Indian Union at the time this Constitution comes into being, some legal proceedings are pending to which this Indian State is a party. Suppose subsequently Parliament by law, under article 3 or by some
other means, provides for the merger of this State with some province. According to sub-clause (b) the effect will be that the corresponding Indian State shall be substituted, but what will happen if that State disappears, if it is merged into an adjoining province? There is no such corresponding State at all left.
All these things are obscure at this stage and that why I feel that the consideration of this Chapter, when there are so many obscure points of which we have not got a clear picture, may very wisely be held over till the entire picture comes before our eyes and the relationship and the relationship between the various States and the Union is clarified. But some articles have already been moved and adopted by this House. I submit that this article has got some obscure points and I hope Dr. Ambedkar or any of his colleagues will come before the House to clarify these points before we adopt this article.
The Honourable Shri K. Santhanam: Sir, I have just a single point to make. In 274 (1) the words "enacted by virtue of the powers conferred by this Constitution" are wholly superfluous and the meaningless because neither the Parliament nor the Legislature of any State can act except by virtue of the powers conferred by this Constitution. Therefore I suggest that these words may be dropped.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: Sir, perhaps it might be desirable be desirable if I read to the House how the article would stand if the various amendments which I have moved were incorporated in the article. The article would read thus:
"The Government of India may sue or be sued in the name of the Union of India, and the Government of a State for the time being specified in Part I or Part III of the First Schedule may sue or be sued in the name of the State and may, subject to any provisions which may be made by Act of Parliament or by the Legislature of such State, enacted by virtue of the powers conferred by this Constitution, sue or be sued in relation to their respective spheres in the like cases as the Dominion of India and the corresponding Provinces or the corresponding Indian States might have sued or been sued if this Constitution had not been enacted.
(2) If at the date of commencement of this Constitution-
(a) any legal proceedings are pending to which the Dominion of India is a party, the Union of India-"that is new thing-
"shall be deemed to be substituted for the Dominion in those Proceedings; and
(b) any legal proceedings are pending to which a Province or an Indian State is a party, the corresponding State shall be deemed to be substituted for the province or the Indian State in those proceedings. "
Now, this article, as it will be seen, merely prescribes the way in which suits and proceedings shall be started. This has no other significance at all. The original wording was that it shall be sued in the name of the Government of India. Obviously the Government of India, that is to say, the executive government, is a fleeting body, being there at one time and then disappearing and some other people coming in and taking charge of the executive.
H. V. Kamath: The Government is not fleeting; the personnel of the government may be fleeting.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: There is a difference between the Government of India and the Union of India. The Government of India is not a legal entity; the Union of India is not a legal entity, a sovereign body which possesses rights and obligations and therefore it is only right that any suit brought by or against the Central Government should be in the name of the Union or against the Union.
Now, with regard to the term "corresponding States" some difficulty was expressed. It may no doubt be quite difficult to say which State corresponds to the old State. In order to meet this difficulty, provision has been made in article 303 (1) (g) , which you will find on page 145 of the Draft Constitution, where it has been provided that a corresponding Province or corresponding State means in cases of doubt such Province or State as
may be determined by the President to be the corresponding Province or, as the case may be, the corresponding State for the particular purpose in question. There this difficulty- since the exact equivalent of an Old Province or State is difficult to judge as there are bound to be some variations as to territory and so on-can be solved only by giving power to the President to determine which new particular State corresponds to which particular Old State. So that provision has been made.
Sub-clause (2) deals with pending proceedings and all that Sub-clause (2) suggests is this: that when any proceedings are pending, where the entities to sue or to be sued are different from what we are providing in sub-clause (1) , the Union of India or the corresponding State shall be inserted in the old proceedings, so that the States may be sued in accordance with 274 (1) . With regard to the objection taken by my honourable Friend, Mr. Santhanam that the words "enacted by virtue of powers conferred by this Constitution" as being superfluous, all I can say is I disagree with him and I think these are very necessary.
Mr. President: The question is:
"That in clause (1) of article 274, for the words 'Government of India', in the second place where they occur, the words 'Union of India' be substituted. "
The amendment was adopted.
Mr. President: The question is:
"That in sub-clause (a) of clause (2) of article 274, for the words 'Government of India' the words 'Union of India' be substituted. "
The amendment was adopted.
Mr. President: The question is:
"That with reference to amendment No. 2980 of the List of Amendments, in clause (1) of article 274, after the word and figure 'Part I', the words and figures 'or Part III' be inserted."
The amendment was adopted.
Mr. President: The question is:
"That with reference to amendments Nos. 2980 and 2981 of the List of Amendments, in clause (1) of article 274, for the words 'by the Legislature' the words 'of the Legislature' be substituted. "
The amendment was adopted.
Mr. President: The question is:
"That with reference to amendment No. 204 above, in clause (1) of article 274, after the words 'corresponding provinces' the words 'or the corresponding Indian States' be inserted. "
The amendment was adopted.
Mr. President: The question is:
"That with reference to amendment No. 206 above, in sub-clause (b) of clause (2) of article 274-
(i) after the words 'a Province' the words ' or an Indian State' be inserted; and
(ii) after the words 'the Province' the words 'or the Indian State' be inserted.
The amendment was adopted.
Mr. President: the question is:
"That article 274, as amended, stand part of the Constitution. "
The motion was adopted.
Article 274, as amended, was added to the Constitution.
New Article 274-A
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: Sir, I would like this article to be held over.
Mr. President: Then there is a long amendment, a new part to be added by Mr. Sidhva.
Shri T. T. Krishnamachari: May I suggest that the House may take up Part XIII-the election chapter, article 289 and onwards as put in the Order Paper?
Shri R. K. Sidhva: Sir, this new article which I seek to move relates to the delimitation in local areas, urban and rural of the entire territory of India.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: This is to be held over.
Shri R. K. Sidhva: Therefore, Sir, with your permission, I shall move it when that article comes in.
Mr. President: We shall now take up Part XIII-article 289.
Shri T. T. Krishnamachari: May I suggest that amendment No. 99 may be taken up as it substantially replaces the whole article? all the other amendments may be discussed thereafter.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: Mr. President, Sir, I move:
"That for article 289, the following article be substituted :-
289. The superintendence, directions and control of elections to be vested in an election commission.
(1) The superintendence, direction and control of the
preparation of the electoral rolls for, and the conduct of, all elections to Parliament and to the Legislature of every State and of elections to the offices of President and Vice-President held under this Constitution, including the appointment of election tribunals for the decision of doubts and disputes arising out of or in connection with elections to Parliament and to the Legislatures of States shall be vested in a Commission (referred to in his Constitution as the election Commission) to be appointed by the President.
(2) The Election Commission shall consist of the Chief Election Commissioner and such number of other Election Commissioners, if any, as the President may, from time to time appoint, and when any other Election Commissioner is so appointed, the Chief Election Commissioner shall act as the Chairman of the Commission.
(3) Before each general election to the House of the People and to the Legislative Assembly of each State and before the first general election and thereafter before each biennial election to the Legislative Council of each State having such Council, the President shall also appoint after consultation with the Election Commission such Regional Commissioners as he may consider necessary to assist the election Commission in the performance of the functions conferred on it by clause (1) of this article.
(4) The conditions of service and tenure of office of the Election Commissioners and the Regional Commissioners shall be such as the President may by rule determine:
Provided that the Chief Election Commissioner shall not be removed from the office except in like manner and on the like grounds as a judge of the Supreme Court and the conditions of the service of the Chief Election Commissioner shall not be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment:
Provided further that any other Election Commissioner or a Regional Commissioner shall not be removed from office except on the recommendation of the Chief Election Commissioner.
(5) The President or the Governor or Ruler of a State shall, when so requested by the Election Commission, make available to the Election Commission or to a Regional Commissioner such staff as may be necessary for the discharge of the functions conferred on the Election Commission by clause (1) of this article. "
Mr. President: I have notice of a number of amendments, some in substitution of the articles 289, 290 and 291 and some amendments to the amendments which are going to be moved. I think I had better take the amendments which are in the nature of substitution of these articles. Dr. Ambedkar has moved one. There is another amendment in the name of Pandit Thakur Das Bhargava.
Pandit Hirday Nath Kunzru (United Provinces: General) : May I ask, Sir, whether Dr. Ambedkar is not going to say anything in support of the proposition that he has moved? It concerns a very important matter. Is it not desirable that Dr. Ambedkar who has put forward an amendment to article 289 should say something in support of his amendment. I think he would be proceeding on sound lines if he took the trouble of explaining to the House the reasons for asking it to replace the old article 289 by a new article. The matter is of the greatest importance and it is great pity that Dr. Ambedkar has not considered it worth his while to make a few remarks on this proposition.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: Mr. President, Sir, I did not make any observation in support of the motion for two reasons. One reason was that if a debate took place on this article, -it is quite likely that a debate would undoubtedly take place-there would be certain points that will be raised in the debate, which it would be profitable for me to reply to at the close so as to avoid a duplication of any speech on my part. That is one reason.
The second reason was that I thought that everybody must have read my amendment; it is so simple that they must have understood what it meant. Evidently, my honourable Friend Pandit Kunzru in a hurry has not read my new Draft.
Nath Kunzru: I have read every line of it; I only want that honourable Member should treat the House with some respect.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: The House will remember that in a very early stage in the proceedings of the Constituent assembly, a Committee was appointed to deal with what are called Fundamental Rights. That Committee made a report that it should be recognised that the independence of the elections and the avoidance of any interference by the executive in the elections to the Legislature should be regarded as a fundamental right and provided for in the chapter dealing with Fundamental Rights. When the mater came up before the House, it was the wish of the House that while there was no objection to regard this matter as of fundamental importance, it should be provided for in some other part of the Constitution and not in the Chapter dealing with Fundamental Rights. But the House affirmed without any kind of dissent that in the interest of purity and freedom of elections to the legislative bodies, it was of the utmost importance that they should be freed from any kind of interference from the executive of the day. In pursuance of the decision of the House, the Drafting Committee removed this question from the category of Fundamental Rights and put it in a separate part containing article 289, 290 and so on. Therefore, so far as the fundamental question is concerned that the election machinery should be outside the control of the executive Government, there has been no dispute. What article 289 does is to carry out that part of the decision of the Constituent Assembly. It transfers the superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of the electoral rolls and of all elections to Parliament and the Legislatures of States to a body outside the executive to be called the Election Commission. That is the provision contained in sub-clause (1) .
Sub-clause (2) says that there shall be a Chief Election Commissioner and such other Election Commissioners as the President may, from time to time appoint. There were two alternatives before the Drafting Committee, namely, either to have a permanent body consisting of four or five members of the Election Commission who would continue in office throughout without any break, or to permit the President to have ad hoc body appointed at the time when there is an election on the anvil. The Committee, has steered a middle course. What the Drafting Committee proposes by sub-clause (2) is to have permanently in office one man called the Chief Election Commissioner, so that the skeleton machinery would always be available. Election no doubt will generally take place at the end of five years; but there is this question, namely that a bye-election may take place at any time. The Assembly may be dissolved before its period of five years has expired. Consequently, the electoral rolls will have to be kept up to date all the time so that the new election may take place without any difficulty. It was therefore felt that having regard to these exigencies, it would be sufficient if there was permanently in session one officer to be called the Chief Election Commissioner, while when the elections are coming up, the President may further add to the machinery by appointing other members to the Election Commission.
Now, Sir, the original proposal under article 289 was that there should be one Commission to deal with the elections to the Central Legislature, both the Upper and the Lower House, and that there should be a separate Election Commission for each province and each State, to be appointed by the Governor or the Ruler of the State. Comparing that with the present article 289, there is undoubtedly, a radical change. This article proposes to centralize the election machinery in the hands of a single Commission to be assisted by regional Commissioners, not working under the provincial Government, but working under the superintendence and control of the Central Election Commission. As I said, this is undoubtedly a radical change. But, this change has become
necessary because today we find that in some of the provinces of India, the population is a mixture. There are what may be called original inhabitants, so to say, the native people of a particular province. Along with them, there are other people residing there, who are either racially, linguistically or culturally different from the dominant people who are the occupants of that particular Province. It has been brought to the notice both of the Drafting Committee as well as of the Central Government that in these provinces the executive Government is instructing or managing things in such a manner that those people who do not belong to them either racially, culturally or linguistically, are being excluded from being brought on the electoral rolls. The House will realise that franchise is a most fundamental things in a democracy. No person who is entitled to be brought into the electoral rolls on the grounds which we have already mentioned in our Constitution, namely, an adult of 21 years of age, should be excluded merely as a result of the prejudice of a local Government, or the whim of an officer. That would cut at the every root of democratic Government. In order, therefore, to prevent injustice being done by provincial Governments to people other than those who belong to the province racially, linguistically and culturally, it is felt desirable to depart from the original proposal of having a separate Election Commission for each province under the guidance of the Governor and the local Government. Therefore, this new change has been brought about, namely, that the whole of the election machinery should be in the hands of a Central Election Commission which alone would be entitled to issue directives to returning officers, polling officers and others engaged in the preparation and revision of electoral rolls so that no injustice may be done to any citizen in India, who under this Constitution is entitled to be brought on the electoral rolls. That alone is, of I may say so, a radical and fundamental departure from the existing provisions of the Draft Constitution.
So far as clause (4) is concerned, we have left the matter to the President to determine the conditions of service and the tenure of office of the members of the Election Commission, subject to one or two conditions, that the Chief Election Commission, shall not be liable to be removed except in the same manner as a Judge of the Supreme Court. If the object of this House is that all matter relating to Elections should be outside the control of the Executive Government of the day, it is absolutely necessary that the new machinery which we are setting up, namely, the Election Commission should be irremovable by the executive by a mere fiat. We have therefore given the Chief Election Commissioner the same status so far as removability is concerned as wee have given to the Judge of he Supreme Court. We, of course, do not propose to give the same status to the other members of the Election Commission. We have left the matter to the President as to the circumstances under which he would deem fit to remove any other member of the Election Commissioner, subject to one condition that the Chief Election Commissioner must recommend that the removal is just and proper.
Then the question was whether the Electoral Commission should have authority to have an independent staff of its own to carry on the work which has been entrusted to it. It was felt that to allow the Election Commission to have an independent machinery to carry on all the work of the preparation of the electoral roll, the revision of the roll, the conduct of the elections and so on would be really duplicating the machinery and creating unnecessary administrative expense which could be easily avoided for the simple reason, as I have stated, that the work of the Electoral Commission may be at times heavy and at other it may have no work. Therefore we have provided in clause (5) that it should be open for the Commission to borrow from the provincial Governments such clerical and ministerial agency as may be
necessary for the purposes of carrying out the functions with which the Commission has been entrusted. When the work is over, that ministerial staff will return to the provincial Government. During the time that it is working under the Electoral Commission no doubt administratively it would be responsible to the Commission and not to the Executive Government. These are the provisions of this article and I hope the House will now realise what it means and in what respects it constitutes a departure from the original article of the Draft Constitution.
Mr. President: Pandit Thakur Das Bhargava--do you wish to move your three amendments?
Pandit Thakur Das Bhargava: No, Sir.
Mr. President: Mr. Kapoor is not moving his amendment. The article is open for discussion.
Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena: Sir, I have given notice of an amendment to an amendment to article 289.
Sir, I beg to move:
"That in Amendment No. 99 of List I (Fifth Week) , the following amendments be incorporated:-
(1) At the end of Clause (1) add the following words:--
'Subject to confirmation by 2/3rd majority in a joint session of both the House of Parliament. '
(2) After the word appoint in clause (2) , the following words be inserted:--
'Subject to confirmation by 2/3rd majority in a joint session of both the Houses of Parliament. '
(3) In clause (3) , for the words 'after consultation with' the words 'in concurrence with' be substituted.
(4) In clause (4) for the words 'President may be rule determine' the words 'Parliament may be law determine' be substituted.
(5) In proviso (1) to clause (4) substitute 'Election Commissioners' for the words 'Chief Election Commissioner' in both places.
(6) In proviso (2) to clause (4) omit 'any other Election Commissioner or. '"
Mr. President, Sir, I must congratulate Dr. Ambedkar on moving his amendment. As he has said, his amendment really carries out the recommendations of the Fundamental Right Committee and in fact the matter was so important that it was thought at one time that it should be included in the Fundamental Rights. The real purpose is that the fundamental right of adult franchise should not only be guaranteed in practice. He has explained to us that he was tried to make the Election Commission wholly independent of the Executive and he therefore hopes that by this method the fundamental right to franchise of all the individuals shall not only be guaranteed but that it shall also be exercised in a proper manner so that the elected People will represent the true will of the people of the country. After a careful study of his amendment I have suggested my above amendments to carry out the real purpose of Dr. Ambedkar's amendment in full.
What is desired by my amendment is that the Election Commission shall be completely independent of the Executive. Of course it shall be completely independent of the provincial Executive but if the President is to appoint this Commission, naturally it means that the Prime Minister appoint this Commission. He will appoint the other Election Commissioners on his recommendations. Now this does not ensure their independence. Of course once he is appointed he shall not be removable except by 2/3rd majority of both the Houses. That is certainly something which can instil independence in him, but it is quite possible that some party in power who wants to win the next election may appoint a staunch party-man as the chief Election Commissioner. He is removable only by 2/3rd majority of both Houses on grave charges, which means that he is almost irremovable. So what I want is this that even the person who is appointed originally should be such that he should be enjoying the confidence of all parties -his appointment should be confirmed not only by majority but by two-thirds majority of both the Houses. If it is only a bare majority then the party in power could vote confidence in him but when I want2/3rd majority then it means that the other parties must also concur in the appointment so that in order that real independence of
the commission may be guaranteed, in order that every one even in opposition may not have any thing to say against the Commission, the appointments of the Commissioners and the chef Election Commissioner must be by the President but the names proposed by him should be such as command the confidence of two-thirds majority of both the Houses of Legislatures. Then no person can come in who is a staunch party-man. He will necessarily have to be a man who will enjoy the confidence of not only one party but also of the majority of the members of the Legislature. Then alone he can get a 2/3rd majority in support of his appointments. I therefore, think that if the real purpose of the recommendations of the Fundamental Rights Committee is to be carried out, as Dr. Ambedkar proposes to do this by amendment, then he must provide that the appointment shall not be by the president subject to confirmation by a two-thirds majority of both the Houses of Parliament sitting and voting in a joint session.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi: Don't you think that the party will issue whips to elect a certain man ? He will be a party -man.
Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena: What I have said in this. He will not be a Member of Parliament. He can be anybody else, but whosoever is chosen must be a person who enjoy the confidence of at least two-thirds majority of both the Houses of Parliament so that one single party in power cannot impose its own man on the country.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi: The majority party will put up its own candidate for the job and issue whips that all should vote for that candidate. Whether he is a Member or outsider he will be a party nominee.
Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena: Majority means only 51 per sent., but I want a two-thirds majority.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi:You are having more than two-thirds majority already.
Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena: At this time nothing will help in this matter. Whosoever you put forward will be elected. But we are making a Constitution for ever and not only for today. Today of course whosoever is appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Cabinet will be approved. We are lucky in having as our Prime Minister a man of independence and impartiality and he will see that a proper person is appointed. But we can not sure that the Prime Minister will always be such a personality. I want that in future, no Prime Minister may abuse this right, and for this I want to provide that there should be two-thirds majority which should approve the nomination by the President. Of course there is danger where one party is in huge majority. As I said just now it is quite possible that if our Prime Minister wants, he can have a man of his own party, but I am sure he will not do it. Still if he does appoint a party-man and the appointment comes up for confirmation in a joint session, even a small opposition or even a few independent members can down the Prime Minister before the bar of public opinion in the world. Because we are in a majority we can have any thing passed only theoretically. So the need for confirmation will invariably ensure a proper choice. Therefore, I hope this majority will not be used in a manner which is against the interests of the nation or which goes against the impartiality and independence of the Election Commission. I want that there should be provision in the constitution so that even in the future if some Prime Minister tends to partial, he should not be able to be so. Therefore, I want to provide that whenever such appointment is made, the person appointed should not be a nominee of the President but should enjoy the confidence of two-thirds majority of both the Houses of Parliament.
The second point made by Dr. Ambedkar was that this commission may not have permanent work and therefore only the Chief Election Commissioner should be appointed permanently and the others should be appointed when necessary on his recommendations. Our Constitution does not provide for a fixed four years cycle like the one in the United States of America. The elections will probably be almost always
going on in some province or the other. We shall have about shorty provinces after the states have been integrated. Our Constitution provides for the dissolution of the Legislature when a non confidence is passed. So it is quite possible that the elections to, the various legislatures in the province and the Centre will not be all concurrent . Every time some election or other will be taking place somewhere. It may be so in the very beginning or in very five or ten years. But after ten or twelve years, at every moment some elections in some province will be going on. Therefore, it will be far more economical and useful if a permanent Election Commission is appointed-not only the chief Election Commissioner but three or five members of the commission who should be permanent and who should conduct the elections. I do not think that there will be lack of work because as I said in our constitution all the elections will not synchronize but they will be at varying times in accordance with the vote of no-confidence passed in various legislatures and the consequent dissolution of the legislatures. Therefore, I think that there will be no dearth of work. This commission should be a permanent commission and all the commissioners should be appointed in the same manner as the Chief Election Commissioner. They should all be appointed by a two-thirds majority of Legislatures and be removable in the same manner.
In clause (3) it has been said that the President may appoint regional Commissioners after consultation with the Election commission, that means the chief Election Commissioner. Mere consultation means the President can have his way even disregarding the view of the chief Election Commissioner. Therefore, I want "in concurrence with" so that if anyone disagrees, - if the Election Commission or the President disagree about a person-then he cannot be appointed.
Clause (4) says "the conditions of service and tenure of office of the Election Commissioners shall be such as the President may be rule determine". This I think is not proper. The conditions of service and tenure of office etc., of the Election Commissioners should not be in the power of the President to determine. Otherwise he can use his influence in a manner prejudicial to their independence. Therefore I want that these things should be determined by Parliament by law and they should be permanent so that nobody will be able to change them and no election Commissioner will then look to the President for favours.
These are my suggestions so that the Election Commission may be really an independent Commission and the real fundamental right, the right of adult franchise, may be exercised in a proper manner. I agree with all that Dr. Ambedkar has said I only want to suggest that what he has suggested will not be sufficient to carry out what he wishes.
Shri H. V. Pataskar (Bombay: General) : Mr. President, Sir, I have carefully gone through the new amendment No. 99 moved by my respected Friend Dr. Ambedkar and I have also very carefully listened to the arguments that he advanced. While I agree with him entirely, that the election in any democratic from of government must be free from any sort of executive interference I still do not understand and realise the necessity of making it wholly centralised always. That is the only point. I am going to discuss the difference between the original article 289 as it stood in the Draft Constitution and the new Article which has been suggested in its place by amendment No. 99, and particularly clause (3) of the same. I would now like to give a brief history of this article. There was first the report of the Union constitution Committee dated the 4th July 1947 and so on page 55 there was this paragraph:
"The superintendence, direction and control of all election, whether federal or provincial held under this Constitution, including the appointment of election tribunals for decision of doubts and disputes arising out of or in connection with such elections shall be vested in a Commission to be appointed by the
This clause (24) therefore laid it down that whether it is federal or provincial, the superintendence, direction and control of elections should vest in one single Commission. Then the matter came before this House on 29th June 1947 and I brought forward an amendment confining it to federal elections only. The idea was that there should be similarly constituted independent tribunals for provinces also. The underlaying reason even then was that elections should be free; the only question was that there should be separate independent Commissions for the provinces or States. The idea was that it would be difficult for one Commission sitting here in Delhi or somewhere else to supervise election all over India. That amendment was accepted by then mover of the clause, Honourable Mr. Gopalaswamy Ayyangar. The idea of every one, including Dr. Ambedkar, then was that elections should be kept free from executive interference. The only point was that there should be different Commission as one Commission could not carry out the functions entrusted to it. Then on 29th August the Drafting Committee was appointed which considered the decision of the House in framing article 289 (1) and (2) . The Draft Report says:
"The Committee has not thought it necessary to incorporate in the Constitution electoral details including delimitation of constituencies, etc. "
They left it to be provided by auxiliary legislation. So they considered the decision of this House of the 29th July and the original article 289 is in conformity with that. And the House will consider whether clauses (1) and (2) of article 289 are not enough for the purpose. Granting that election are the basis of democracy and should be free from executive interference, let us see whether article 289 (1) and (2) are or are not enough. So far as federal elections are concerned the provisions of the present amended or substituted article and clause (1) of article 289 are the same. Supposing we have to provide for the appointment of a federal Commission, it cannot be done by the Central Government which is an Executive Authority. It has to be done by the President. Then with regard to clause (2) the Drafting Committee thought that with respect to appointment of a Commission for the province it will be equally independent if that appointment was made not by the Government of the day but by the Governor of the State. At the time of the Draft the idea was that there should be an elected Governor. Now at present we have no elected Governor but now we have provided for a Governor who will be nominated by the President. So virtually the appointment of the Commission to be made by the nominated Governor will be in the hands of the President himself. The Commission appointed by the President for the purpose of elections to the federal legislature can be independent. But I do not see why in the provinces the Commission appointed by the Governor should not be equally independent. His official existence depends entirely on the President. In that respect, if it was thought necessary, the power could be given to the President himself to make the appointment of a Provincial Commissioner. But is it necessary that we should go back and have one Central Commission only with all the inconveniences that it is likely to cause? Then clause (3) removes the regional Commission altogether. There is only one Central Commission and the regional commissioners are to assist that election commission. Is it desirable that one Commission sitting in one corner of India should be entrusted to do this work, and the regional commissioners are merely to assist? I see absolutely no reason why this should be done. Then I find that after the Constitution was presented to us, a note was given to us toward the middle of May 1949 which indicates to us the reasons for changing what we decided on 29th July 1947. Let us analyse the reasons given. The first reason is that this is a matter which requires careful consideration and that it has been hinted in a section of the press that in some provinces the
Governments are helping the registration of their own supporters. This is a point which was adverted to by Dr. Ambedkar also. Sir, there will be no one in this House who will not condemn such practices aimed at the denying the people the franchise which this Constitution gives them. But then what is the remedy for it? The Proper remedy would be to take action against people who resort to such practices. The Central Government has full power and authority to see that nothing of the kind is done. This is in the interests of democracy. Then we are told that it is hinted in a certain irregular actions. Sir, if it is merely a hint why should we be upset? Perhaps Dr. Ambedkar knows better how things are happening in the provinces. He may have information in the Cabinet. If this is so, it is better to take action against people who trifle with democracy on linguistic, racial or other consideration.
Another reason given is that inn the bye-election to the provincial assemblies it has been alleged by members of the losing party that provincial Governments take undue advantage of their position. That is bad. But I fail to understand how a change in the procedure as contemplated is going to bring about better state of affairs. If there are such people in Government they are unfit to be there in any democratic Government. If one or two instances of this kind have come to the notice the remedy is not to put down something in the Constitution which is not found anywhere else. These two reasons given in the report do not appeal to me.
Then it is said that the idea occurred of the Drafting Committee to change their draft of article 289 by a reference to what has been done in the Canadian Election Act of 1920. Sir, I find that Act refers only to the appointment of a Chief Commissioner for the purpose of election to the Dominion Parliament. At page 380 of his latest book on the Canadian Government, Dr. Dawson says that the appointment of a Chief Commissioner or Chief Electoral
Officer was made to provided for an independent official to supervise the Dominion Election. It is only for the Federal election that the Chief Officer functions. For that there is no objection here also. There is already article 289 (a) . It is rather strange that even for provincial elections such an appointment should be considered necessary by the Central Authority.
To may mind the reason for all these changes is to be found in the fact that we are now trying gradually to move away from the idea of federation. On account of certain happenings in the provinces, on account of certain internal situations and external factors which are threatening us we are trying more and more to reverse the process of having a federations with which we started our business here. The first resolution of this Assembly knows as the famous Objectives Resolution which we passed was to form a Union of autonomous units together with residuary powers. We are moving away from that from that position. We started with the idea of a Union or Federation of autonomous units It may or may not be necessary now, to have such autonomous units. We have changed the name of a provinces into States. Then came the great tragedy of partition which gave a swing in favour of the unitary type of Government. It is due to this sort of thing that we are now trying to make everything, as we think safe. We are clinging to the form of federation but we are changing it from within in substance. It is this process which has resulted in the amendment now under consideration. The land-marks in this process are that we changed from the elected Governors into nominated Governors and we are wanting to have for the Centre power to legislate in respect of subjects given to the provinces. Now we have this proposal that in matters of election, even to provincial legislatures, the Centre alone should have power. In fact, this amendment No. 99 means that we are abolishing all provincial commissioners for elections, for what reason I do not know. If a Commission is appointed by the President for the Centre, why should
not the same President appoint also election commissioners for the different provinces? Always why should we interfere with the provincial election and thwart the process of democracy? I submit that this means that we are creating more and more points of difference between the Provinces and the Centre. After all, is this necessary? If you do not trust your Governor as he likely to be influenced by the provincial Government, let the President appoint provincial commissioners or regional commissioners for elections. Why do you suppose that in the provinces there will be no purity of administration and that democratic practices will not be followed? It is not proper. I think a provision like this will only mean that we are getting away from the principles of federation and our distrust of even the nominated Governors is there. We are going to have adult franchise and for the transition period certain exceptional provision may be necessary. But that need not lead us into framing a provision of this nature. After all in elections on the basis of adult franchise, whether for the Centre or for the province, the same type of people are likely to be returned and so I do not understand why there should be this distinction between the two. This can only result in creating a spirit of hostility which cannot and should not exist. Sir, I admit that the present conditions justify that there shall be a strong Central Government, but what is the idea of the Central Government should be so strong that the provinces will be deprived of their legitimate powers? It has become the fashion these days to say that if anybody talks of the provinces, it is something anti-national. This is entirely wrong.
Mr. President: Are you likely to take much time?
Shri H. V. Pataskar: Yes, Sir.
Mr. President: Then you can continue tomorrow.
Mr. Tajamul Husain (Bihar: Muslim) : Before you adjourn the Assembly, since we have been reading in the papers that the Assembly....................
Mr. President: If the honourable Members had waited, I was myself going to make a statement before adjourning.
We shall continue the discussion of this article tomorrow. Before we adjourn today, I desire to make one statement with regard to the programme of work. We have already dealt with nearly three-fourth of the Constitution. The are certain articles and certain Parts which have not yet been dealt with, but with regard to which we are not in a position today to take up the discussion. For example, the position of the Indian State in some cases is not quite clear yet. Then, there is the question of the distribution of revenues between the Union and the Units. This requires consultation between the Central Government and the provincial Governments. We are not in a position to have that Conference immediately for various reasons, one of which is that the Finance Minister has to be away from India for some time in connection with urgent national work. It has therefore become necessary to adjourn discussion of the remaining article of the Constitution for some time so that within the time available these consultations may be held and the articles may be taken up for consideration at a time when everybody is ready to deal with them finally. It has therefore been proposed that we adjourn discussion of the other articles of the Constitution after tomorrow and we meet again, say, about five weeks later, and then we pass the remaining articles of the Constitution in the second reading. When that will be finished, some time will be taken up in putting the various articles in their proper places, looking into the various articles from the drafting point of view and also considering whether any lacuna has been left or whether any changes are required when the whole picture is before the Drafting Committee. That will take some time and when that has been done, we shall meet for the third reading which, I hope, will be a short session because the whole thing will have been thrashed out in the second reading state and we shall be able to get through the third
reading pretty rapidly. That is the programme as I envisage it, and therefore I desire Members to note that we shall be adjourning after tomorrow for about five weeks. I shall announce the exact date of the meeting later on.
Shri R. K. Sidhva: Any idea of the date?
Mr. President: As I said, I shall announce the exact date later on.
Mr. Tajamul Husain: Under the rules, the President has no power to adjourn the House for more than three days.
Shri L. Krishnaswami Bharathi (Madras: General) : A formal resolution can be moved tomorrow before we adjourn.
Mr. President: When we adjourn, we shall adjourn in accordance with the rules.
We adjourn now till Eight O'clock tomorrow morning.
The Assembly then adjourned till Eight of the Clock on Thursday, the 16th June 1949.