Friday, the 20th May 1949
No doubt these are merely procedural matters, which can be regulated primarily by each House or Parliament by rules. But if injunctions of this kind are incorporated in the Constitution itself, my amendment is necessary, as it will help to economise time. I commend it for the acceptance of the House.
Mr. President: I have received notice of certain amendments by Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena.
Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena : (United Provinces: General): There are two amendments. One is to article 87 and the other is to article 88. I am not moving the amendment to article 87.
Mr. President: These are all the amendments that we have got. Now the amendments and the original proposition are open to discussion.
Shri Brajeshwar Prasad (Bihar: General) : Mr. President, Sir, I am opposed to clause (2) of article 87 wherein it is stated that no Bill shall be deemed to have been passed by the House of the Parliament unless it has been agreed to by both Houses. I do not see why in a democratic state, the representatives of the people should be placed on a par with the nominated representatives of the provincial governments. The supremacy of the Lower House must be recognised if democratic institutions are to function efficiently. It has been said that this clause is in conformity with the federal principles which have be agreed to in the beginning. I for one, Sir, do not see why anyone should trot out such in argument now. I do not consider this Draft Constitution to be purely Federal in character. It is partly federal and partly unitary and more unitary than federal in character. When we accepted federation the position prevailing in India was quite different. We did not accept the principle of federalism to accommodate the provinces. The provinces were never in our minds when we accepted the federal principle. We accepted federalism in order to meet the challenge of the Two-Nations theory of the late lamented Mr. Jinnah. We accepted federalism in order to persuade the Indian Princes to surrender a part of their sovereignty. Now the position is entirely changed. This country, Sir, has been unfortunately partitioned. The Princes today have been liquidated. The States today are in a far worse position than the Indian Provinces. Last time when the Constituent Assembly met I had spoken in this House in favour of a unitary State. Sir, I do not know what is in the mind of our Constitutional Pandits. Federation tends towards a unitary form of Government. I do not know of a single instance in history where a unitary form of Government has degenerated into federalism. As far as federalism is concerned, Sir, almost in all federal countries the constitution has tended towards a unitary form of Government. I visualize the role of a second chamber at the Centre merely as an advisory body. It should be a check upon hasty legislation, but to emphasize the federal character of the Constitution will be a retrograde step and those persons who talk and emphasize this aspect of our Constitution do a great disservice to the country. The Provinces were always subordinate to the Government of India and to say now that they have got autonomous and federal powers is really to turn the hands of the clock back. We are reversing, Sir, the process of history: we are emphasizing federalism, which is conservative in character and is full of weakness. Sir, I oppose clause (2) of article 87.
Mr. President: The question is:
"That the following new clause be inserted before clause (1) of article 87 :-
'(1) Either House of Parliament shall be entitled to receive petitions or representations from the people of India or from the people of any unit forming part of the Union of India.'"
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. President: The question is:
"That in clause (5) of article 87, after the words 'A Bill which' the words 'has been passed by the Council of States and' and after the words 'in the House of the People' the words 'shall not be deemed to have lapsed on a
dissolution of the House of the People; but may be taken up by the new House of the People elected after such dissolution from the stage at which the Bill was at the time of the dissolution of the House; and if agreed to in identical form with that passed by the Council of States, the Bill shall be deemed to have been duly passed by both Houses of Parliament, and shall be forthwith sent up for the assent of the President.
If any, amendments are made in the House of the People in the Bill as passed by the Council of States, such a Bill shall be returned to the Council of States and if the amendments made by the House of the People are accepted and agreed to by the Council of States such a Bill shall not be passed by both Houses of Parliament and shall forthwith sent up for the assent of the President' be inserted respectively.
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. President: The question is:
"That after clause (5) of article 87, the following new clauses be inserted :-
'(6) A Bill which is pending at any stage in the House of the People but not passed at the time of its dissolution shall be 'deemed to have lapsed on a dissolution of the House of the People.
'(7) A Bill which has been passed through all the stages by the House of the People before its dissolution, but not sent to the Council of States at the time of its dissolution, shall be taken up by the Council of States as passed by the House of the People, and if agreed to in identical form within 30 days of the dissolution of the House of the People shall be deemed to have been duly passed by both Houses of Parliament, and shall be sent up to the President for his assent.
(8) A Bill pending in the Council of States at any stage but not considered by the House of the People shall not be deemed to have been passed at the time the House of the People is dissolved, but shall be deemed to have lapsed on dissolution of the House of the People.'"
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. President: The question is:
"That article 87 stand part of the Constitution."
The motion was adopted.
Article 87 was added to the Constitution.
Mr. President: The motion is:
"That article 88 form part of the Constitution."
(Amendment No. 1644 was not moved.)
Shri H. V. Kamath (C.P. & Berar: General): Mr. President, I move:
"That in clause (1) of article 88, after the words 'If after a Bill' the words 'other than a Money Bill or other financial Bill' be inserted."
Shri M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar : May I ask the honourable Member to see the proviso to article 88 which says: "Provided that nothing in this clause shall apply to a Money Bill." What is the advantage in transposing this clause ?
Shri H. V. Kamath : Then the proviso itself must be altered. Sir, it is more or less a formal amendment, but it makes for clarity. I am all for brevity, but not at the expense of clarity and precision. Article 89 and 97 deal with Money Bills and other financial Bills. Therefore, when we refer to a Bill in article 88, it would have been far happier and far clearer if we had laid it down specifically that the Bill referred to in this article was something different from or something other than a Money Bill or other financial Bill. My honourable Friend, Mr. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar, has rightly pointed out, and I am grateful to him for having done so, that there is a proviso here at the foot of clause (1) of this article referring to the exception made in regard to Money Bills. But, Sir, the language used in article 87 reads: "Subject to the provisions of articles 89 and 97 of this Constitution with respect to Money Bills and other financial Bills." So if we want to be consistent in our language and in our phraseology, I think Mr. Ayyangar would agree that even the proviso should have been drafted in consonance with the language used in article 87, Article refers to not merely Money Bills; but Money Bills and other financial Bills, and therefore, I would accept an amendment if moved by Mr. Ayyangar modifying the proviso in the light of my
amendment and including other financial Bills along with the Money Bills referred to in this Proviso.
Mr. President: What will be the effect, supposing your amendment is accepted and the proviso is not deleted ? There is no amendment to delete the proviso.
Shri H. V. Kamath : That is unfortunate, I realize. But unless the proviso is modified suitably a sort of lacuna will remain. If you would permit Mr. Ayyangar or anyone else to move a suitable amendment to the proviso itself including financial Bills with Money Bills referred to in this proviso, then it would meet my objection completely; otherwise, I fear there would be a lacuna which might do violence to the consistency of a language used in the two articles.
Shri Prabhudayal Himatsingka (West Bengal: General): There is amendment No. 1649 to delete to proviso to clause (1) of article 88.
Shri H.V. Kamath: If that is accepted and mine is also accepted, that suits the situation admirably. I therefore move my amendment.
(Amendments Nos. 1646, 1647, 1648 and 1649 were not moved.)
The Honourable Dr. B.R. Ambedkar: Sir, I move:
"That in clause (2) of article 88, for the words 'both House are' the words 'the House referred to in sub-clause (c) of that cause is' be substituted."
Sir, it is just a matter of clarification by referring to the House referred to in sub-clause (c).
Mr. President: Amendment No. 1651. I think that is covered.
(Amendment No. 1652 was not moved.)
The Honourable Dr. B.R. Ambedkar: Sir, I moved:
"That is clause (2) of article 88, before the last word 'days' the word 'consecutive' be inserted."
(Amendment No. 1654 was not moved.)
The Honourable Shri K. Santhanam: Sir, I moved:
"That in clause (4) of article 88, the word 'total number of', be deleted."
Sir, I do not want to press the deletion of the proviso. I want to amend the amendment to that extent.
The Point here is simple. What is intended is that the decision of the joint sittings should be taken by a simple majority. In all such cases, the usual wording is majority of the Members of both the Houses present and voting. The wording, 'total number' is generally used only in connection with absolute majority.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: I shall be grateful if my honourable Friend would leave this matter to the Drafting Committee to consider and then we can bring it up afterwards?
The Honourable Shri K. Santhanam: I agree, Sir.
Shri H.V. Kamath: Sir, I move:
"That in clause (4) of article 88, the words 'for the purposes of this Constitution' be deleted."
Sir, this, to my mind, is an instance where these words could be omitted without sacrificing precision or clarity of meaning intended by this article. Whatever is drafted here, whatever article comes before the House is for the purpose of this Constitution. We are dealing with the Constitution. Nobody I am sure, would presume to say that anything which is embodied in this Constitution is for purposes other than this Constitution. Therefore, It is to my mind redundant, needless and superfluous to state to any article, or in this article for the matter of that, that the result of the voting shall be deemed to be for the purposes of this Constitution. I therefore move that these words which are to my mind unnecessary may be deleted. I moved my amendment.
Mr President: Amendment No. 1657. I think it is a drafting amendment.
(Amendments Nos. 1658 and 1659 were not moved.)
Shri T.T. Krishnamachari: I am afraid the amendment is of a drafting nature, seeking to omit certain words which are redundant.
Mr. President: Amendment No. 1660 is of a drafting nature.
(Amendment No. 1661 was not moved.)
Mr. President: I have received notice of an amendment from Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena, that for article 88, the following be substituted. I am afraid that is not an amendment to any amendment. To which amendment is this an amendment?
Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena: To any of these.
Mr. President: How will you put it? It is an amendment to the original article and not an
amendment to any amendment. You cannot circumvent the rule about time by merely saying that these are amendments to amendments. This is really not an amendment. Notice of this should have been given before.
Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena: It is an amendment to amendment No. 1650.
Mr. President: How will you substitute the whole of article 88 in the place of these words?
Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena: What I am suggesting is that a joint sitting should be avoided.
Mr. President: That is a different matter. I entirely see that point that you want to avoid joint sittings. But you should have given notice of this in due time. You want to bring in this amendment which goes to the root of the whole matter in the shape of an amendment to an amendment, will which it does not fit in at all.
Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena: This procedure has been adopted throughout in bringing such amendments.
Mr. President: I do not think I can allow this kind of amendment which is really not an amendment to an amendment.
Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena: Then, may I speak on the clause, Sir.
Mr. President: Yes, I shall see if all the amendments have been moved.
The article as well as the amendments are now open for discussion.
Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena: Mr. President, Sir, in this article a provision has been made by which in the case of disagreement over Bills between the Lower House and the Upper House, there shall be a joint sitting to solve the dispute. I had given notice of an amendment which you have thought fit to rule out; but I hope that the purpose of that amendment is worth consideration by this House.
Firstly, I do not think that an Upper Chamber is a very good institution. I am opposed to that itself. but as the House has accepted that, I do not want to say anything more about it. What I do want to say is that the Upper House should not have an authority out of all proportion to its importance. We have based our Constitution on the model of the British Parliament. There we have got the House of Lords and the House Commons; but, authority of the House of Lord is very much restricted What I want is that here too, the Upper House should have limited authority and this should not be almost equal in power with the Lower House, as it becomes if there are joint sittings. According to the present draft, a Bill which is passed in the House of the People will go to the Upper House and if rejected there, then there will be a joint session in which the members of both House will sit and decide the matter, by simple majority. Thus the Upper House may succeed in rejecting a Bill passed by the House of the People which will not have sufficient authority to give effect to that legislation by its own simple majority. I think the Upper House, even though it will be elected by the Provincial Legislatures, will not be as representative of the people as the Lower House. The Lower House will be directly elected. The Upper House will be elected by the Lower House and will have also some element which will be nominated by the President. Secondly, it will be a House one third of whose members will be elected every second year so that at least 2/3rds of the members will not represent the new spirit but will be persons who shall have been elected 2 years and 4 years before. I therefore, think that the Upper House will not represent the feelings of the people of the time and to give the members of that House the same status as the members of the Lower House is, I think reactionary. Even if we want to give the Upper House some status, we must give it only that authority which the House of Lords has got in England by the Act of 1911. When the House of Lords does not agree to a Bill passed by the House of Commons it automatically becomes law after the lapse of a particular period. In our Constitution if the Upper House rejects a Bill, there will be a joint sitting and the fate of the Bill will be decided by the Joint Sitting. I think the British model which we have adopted should also be adopted in the present case as well, and if a Bill is
rejected by the Council of States, then the will of the House of the People should prevail , and the Bill must become law, irrespective of the fact that the Council of States has rejected it. If the Council of States delays the consideration of the Bill and the delay is longer than a specific period, then the Bill should be taken as passed. The Upper House should not be in a position to stultify a Bill passed by the Lower House. That is a very salutary principle and even in England where the institution of Upper House began they thought it fit to limit the powers of the Upper House and it is not allowed to stultify the voice of the people expressed by the House of Commons. By providing for a Joint session we are giving the Upper House a vital power, the power to act as a check on the progress and the wishes of the people who may like legislation passed at a rapid speed to bring our country abreast of the great nations of the world. In our country when we are so much backward, we shall need to go quickly and we do not need such brakes from the Upper House as the clause provides I, therefore, feel that the practice in Britain should be adopted. The provision of the British Parliament has been copied by other Commonwealth countries as well. In Australia if in six months the Bill is not considered Bill should be passed. In England even that is not required; so the purpose in both places is the same, that the House of Commons should have the final say and its voice should not be stultified by the Upper House. I therefore hope that in considering this clause, members will bear in mind that they are laying down a principle which may act as a brake on our progress. I do not want that this provision should disgrace the Constitution which we are passing for our new Free Independent Democratic Republic. I therefore hope that this provision for a Joint Sitting of both the Houses should not be accepted by the House and I hope that my words will be borne in mind by the House.
Shri Chimanlal Chakubhai Shah: (Saurashtra): Mr. President, Sir, I oppose the amendment moved by Mr. Saksena.
Mr. President: I did not allow him to move the amendment. He spoke opposing the article.
Shri Chimanlal Chakubhai Shah: I speak in support of the article . Under article 87 we have provided that a Bill shall not become an Art unless assented by both the Houses. That is a thing which we are perfectly clear about. Then the question arises as to what to do when there is a difference of opinion between the two Houses. It is possible that we may say that where there is difference of opinion we will leave the matter at that stage and allow the Bill to lapse and not make it and Act. That would be following the American model but there are some who feel that it should not be left at that stage and we should provide some machinery by which the difference of opinion between the two houses can be resolved. There are three or four ways in which that machinery can be provided. One is the British model under which after a certain lapse of time the Bill passed by the Lower House automatically becomes an Act if certified by the Speaker. Then there is the Irish model under which the Lower House should again pass a Resolution accepting the Bill once more on which it will become an Act. But the analogy between these two models and our model has no application at all because both those are unitary constitutions where ours is a federal constitution. In a Federal Constitution, the Upper House is composed of the representatives of the various units or states. It is not like the House of Lords which is hereditary or which by its very character is conservative. Our Upper House is elected by the representatives of the various States and therefore it is as representative as the Lower House itself in a particular manner. The object of providing an Upper House in the Centre is to see that the States voice or the voice of the units is adequately represented. Therefore the third way of providing to resolve the deadlock is by Joint session. Now that is not a very
ideal solution no doubt but it is a solution which is as good as possibly can be conceived of. When both the Houses meet together it is possible that either by compromise they resolve their differences or the majority of the Lower House will carry the day. But it is not right to say that the Lower House alone will be the sole judge of a particular Bill and that after a particular lapse of time the Upper House will have no voice, because the Upper House is intended to represent in a Federal Constitution the voice of the Units and they are as much elected representatives of the people as the member of the Lower House. I, therefore, submit that the solution embodied in Section 88, if not ideal, is as good as can be conceived or in a Federal Constitution and to copy the British Model is not proper because the composition of the House of Lords is entirely different from the one which we have conceived of under our constitution and secondly it is a unitary Constitution whose model can have no application to a Federal Constitution. I, therefore, support article 88.
Shri M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar: Sir, I am only trying to answer the point raised by my Friend, Mr. Kamath, by pointing out to him that there is a proviso under article 88 that-
"Provided that nothing in this clause shall apply to a Money Bill"
But he thinks this is not exhaustive and therefore wants to put in the words "or other financial Bill". With all respect to him, Sir, I submit that these words ought not to be there and I say this for these reasons, In this article a difference has been made between Money Bills and other Financial Bills. Money Bills come under article 90 which says-
"For the purpose of this Chapter, a Bill shall be deemed to be a Money Bill if it contains only provisions dealing with all or any of the following matters....."
It is only in cases where these matters alone are dealt with in a particular Bill that a procedure is prescribed, as distinct from other financial Bills where not finance matters exclusively, but other matters also are incidentally raised. It is only a Bill which relates only to those matters provided in article 90 that can be introduced only in the House of the People. So far as the Upper House is concerned it has no jurisdiction in these matters except in the matter of recommendations which should be sent to the House of the People. The House of the People may or may not accept the recommendation. In either case the Bill will be considered to have been passed by both the Houses. So far as other financial Bills are concerned, another procedure is prescribed; and if any question arises as to whether a Bill is exclusively a Money Bill or not, the decision of the Speaker of the House of the People is to be final. So far as other matters are concerned, they can be introduced in both Houses of Parliament and both houses have jurisdiction to go into them. Under article 88 they have exempted Money Bills alone. With respect to any other financial Bill, other than money Bills, which deals with other matters also, both Houses have got jurisdiction. In the case of Money Bills, they have to be introduced only in the Lower House; the Upper House can only recommend. I would therefore, submit that this amendment is unnecessary and contrary to the scheme of the Act. So Mr. Kamath's amendment is out of order.
Shri S. Nagappa (Madras: General): Mr. President, Sir it was not my intention to speak on this article, but coming as I do from Madras I have been experiencing how the two Chambers have been working, and how the Upper Chamber retards the work of the legislature. So far as the Congress Legislative Party is concerned, it is meeting more or less as a joint sitting, for everything that has to be passed in the Legislature is being discussed there. As is well-known, it is in the Lower House that all Bills originate, but its number happens to be 215 and in a joint sitting with the Upper House, it is not a deciding factor. So the Upper House restrains legislation that is passed by the Lower Chamber. If the Upper
Chamber does not agree with anything, it can suggest amendments, and send back the Bill to the Lower Chamber, and Chamber does not agree and there is a dispute, then there is a suggestion in the clause for joint sittings. If there is a clear division, say of 100 on one side and 150 on the other, then practically the Lower Chamber will become the deciding factors in the joint sitting. But the Upper Chamber does not represent the people directly. The Upper Chambers as constituted today happen to be representatives of the petty bourgeoisie and bureaucrats, and wherever there is any trend towards progressive legislation, they try to delay matters and even to torpedo legislation passed by the Lower Chamber. As a common man, as a layman, that is how I feel about this matter. Whether there should be an Upper Chamber or not was considered by the Provincial Legislature and I was against it for a very long time. But we are now going may be people of experience and also people of little experience. So it is that we may have their experienced politicians nominated in the Upper Chamber so that we may have their experience and guidance. That was the reason which made me support the proposal to have an Upper Chamber. I do not think there was such a provision in the 1935 Act; but after all we did not work that Act fully. We had experience of it only for about a year and a half from 1937 to 1939. Within this period I do not think we ever had occasion to have a joint sitting. But as I said, in the Congress Legislative Party, we members who belongs to both Chambers assemble and discuss and decide, and so we were practically having joint sittings. We also found that progressive legislations brought in by members of the Lower Chamber were more or less retarded or delayed by the Members of the Upper Chamber. But anyhow, the Honourable Dr. Ambedkar has explained that as it is constituted, the Upper Chamber will not act as a check or rather that it will not stand in the way of progressive legislation. The people to be elected to the Upper House will not be elected from the landlords or zamindars, but by the people of the Lower Chambers; so I agree to this. The members of the Lower Chambers will understand what sort of people are to be elected to the Upper House. That does not mean, however, that once elected it will be the will of the people who elected them that will prevail. It is the will of the people who are elected that prevail in the House. That is the point to be considered to see that progressive legislations are not checked. In my opinion, in order to have a kind of check over the hasty legislations of the Lower Chamber, it would be better to have a time-limit during which the Upper Chamber must deal with a particular question. During that period the Upper Chamber must either accept the legislation passed by the Lower Chamber or send it back to the Lower Chamber for rectifying any defects. If the Lower Chamber sticks to its own guns, and says that it will not yield, then by the sheer lapse of time it would become the law. That, I think would have been better than having joint sittings. But anyhow there is provision in this Constitution that after ten years, if the people feel the necessity for it, they can change any clause or article in it, and they say, "practice makes a men perfect." After some time, as in the future legislature there will be the real representatives of the people, they will be in a position to know actually the difficulties they have to face because of this clause, and they may effect the necessary change. Sir, with these words, I conclude.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: Sir, there is only one amendment moved by my friend Mr. Kamath which calls for some reply. His amendment is No. 1656 by which he seeks the omission of the words "for the purposes of this Constitution". My submission is that those words are very essential and must be retained. The reason why I say this will be found in the provisions contained in clause (2) of article 87 and article 91. According to clause (2) of article 87, the main
provision therein is that the Bill shall be passed independently by each House by its own members in separate sittings. After that has taken place, the constitution requires under article 91 that the Bill shall be presented to the President for his assent. My Friend Mr. Kamath will realise that the provisions contained in clause (2) of article 87. Therefore it is necessary to state that the Bill passed in a joint sitting shall be presented to the President notwithstanding the fact that there is a deviation from the main provisions contained in clause (2) of article 87. That is why I submit that the words "for the purposes of this Constitution" are in my judgment necessary and are in no sense redundant.
With regard to the observations that have been made by several speakers regarding the provisions contained in article 88, all I can say is, there is some amount of justification, for the fear they have expressed, but as other Members have pointed out this is not any sense a novel provision. It is contained in various other constitutions also and therefore my suggestion to them is to allow this article to stand as it and see what happens in course of time. If there fears come true I have no doubt that some honourable Members will come forward hereafter to have the article amended through the procedure we have prescribed for the amendment of the Constitution.
Shri H. V. Kamath: In view of the light shed on my amendment (No. 1645) by Mr. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar, I beg leave of the House to withdraw the amendment.
The amendment was, by leave of the Assembly, withdrawn.
Mr. President: The question is:
"That in clause (2) of article 88, for the words `both are' the `Houses are' the words `the Houses referred to in sub-clause (c) of that clause is' be substituted."
The motion was adopted.
Mr. President: The question is:
"That in clause (2) of article 898, before the last word `days' the word `consecutive' he inserted."
The motion was adopted.
Shri H. V. Kamath: In view of the clarification made by the Honourable Dr. Ambedkar I beg leave of the House to withdraw my amendment No. 1656.
The amendment was by leave of the Assembly withdrawn.
Mr. President: There have been two amendments which have been adopted to this article 88. I shall now put the amendment article to the House.
The question is:
"That article 88, as amended, stand part of the Constitution."
The motion was adopted.
Article 88, as amended, was added to the Constitution.
Mr. President: I think amendment No. 1662 is a verbal amendment and it is covered by the other provisions in the Draft Constitution.
Prof. K.T. Shah:It is a much more strong assertion of an undoubted privilege or right of the lower House. I do not see why it should be put negatively.
Mr. President: That is right is there. It is not taken away by the provisions of the constitution.
Shri H.V. Kamath: Sir, at the outset I have to reiterate what I had to point out yesterday that I sent these as two separate amendments but unfortunately they have been lumped up in one. I have no desire to find fault with the office which is working at high pressure. I ask your permission to move the second part of the amendment only.
"That in clause (1) of article 89, for the words `not be introduced in the Council of States' the words `be introduced in the House of the People's be substituted."
Mr. President: Is not an amendment of a formal nature?
Shri H. V. Kamath: I freely admit Sir that it is an amendment of a formal nature and so I shall leave it to the Drafting Committee for consideration.
(Amendment No. 1664, was not moved.)
Shri T.T. Krishnamachari: Sir, I beg to move:
"That in article 89, for the words `thirty days' wherever they occur the words `twenty one days' be substituted."
The idea is that after a money Bill has been passed by the House of the People it shall be transmitted to the Council of States for its recommendations. In actual practice the period of time involved might not be even more
than a week. Thirty days is intended as an outside limit. At the time some of us framed this amendment, we were a little chary of suggesting a lower time-limit, than twenty-one days but I believe that a fortnight or fourteen would be more than enough to cover all contingencies. If Dr. Ambedkar would agree and the House would give me leave I would like to substitute fourteen days instead of twenty-one days, as the former period would be more than adequate for the purpose. Sir, I move.
Mr. President: There are two amendments in the name of Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad (No 1666 and 1667). They are amendments of a drafting nature.
So there is only one amendment to article by Mr. T.T. Krishnamachari. The article is now open for discussion.
The Honourable Dr. B.R. Ambedkar: Sir, I accept the amendment moved by my Friend Mr. T.T. Krishnamchari. I would also agree to the further reduction of the period to fourteen days. If the House will permit me to make such an amendment I should like to move that the period of twenty-one days as mentioned in the amendment be further reduced to fourteen days. I shall give my reasons for this change. In the British Parliament the House of Lords merely concurs in the financial provisions passed by the House of Commons; it has completely abrogated itself so far as finance is concerned. We are here making a departure from that position and are allowing the upper chamber to have some voice in the formulation of the taxation and financial proposals which have been initiated by the Lower House. As I said, we are conferring a privilege which ordinarily the upper chamber does not possess. At the same time we must bear in mind that the budget is a very urgent matter. Even now, as Members know, we do not give the Lower House more than six or eight days for the Finance Bill. It seems to me that to allow such a long period of thirty or even twenty-one days would result in hanging up such an important matter for a considerable length of time. If the Upper House wants to express an opinion fourteen days is a more than enough period.
Mr. President: The original question was:
"That in article 89 for the words `thirty days' wherever they occur the words `twenty-one days be substituted."
To that a further amendment has been moved that for `twenty-one day' the words `fourteen days' be substituted."
"That in the amendment for the words `twenty-one days' the words `fourteen days' be substituted."
The question is:
"That the amendment to the amendment be adopted."
The amendment was adopted.
Mr. President: The question is:
"That the amendment 89, as amended, be adopted."
The motion was adopted.
Article 89, as amended, was added to the Constitution.
Mr. President: Article 90.
(Amendment No. 1668 was not moved.)
The Honourable Shri Ghanshyam Singh Gupta (C.P. & Berar: General): Sir, I beg to move:
"That in clause (1) of article 90, the word `only' be deleted."
This article is a prototype of Section 37 of the Government of India Act which says that a Bill or amendment providing for imposing or increasing a tax or borrowing money, etc. shall not be introduced or moved except on the recommendation of the governor-General. This means that the whole Bill need not be a money Bill: it may contain other provisions, but if there is any provision about taxation or borrowing, etc. It will come under this Section 37. and the recommendation of the Governor-General is necessary. Now article 90 says that a Bill shall be deemed to be a money Bill if it contains only provisions dealing with the imposition, regulation, etc., of any tax or the borrowing of money, etc. This can mean that if there is a Bill which has other provisions and also a provision about taxation or borrowing etc., it will not become a money Bill. If that is the intention I have nothing to say; but that if that is not the intention I must say the word "only" is dangerous, because if the Bill does all these things and at the same time does something else also it will not be a money Bill. I
do not know what the intention of the Drafting Committee is but I think this aspect of the article should be borne in mind.
(Amendment Nos. 1670 and 1971 were not moved.)
Prof. K. T. Shah: Sir, I move:
"(a) That at the end of sub-clause (a) of clause (1) of article 90, the words `duty, charge, rate, levy or any other form of revenue, income or receipt by Governments or of expenditure by Government' be inserted; and
(b) That in sub-clause (b) of clause (1) of article 90, after the words `or the amendment of law' the words `or existing contract' be inserted."
This amendment is intended to amplify, in clause (a), the items mentioned as characterising or included in the definition of Money Bill, namely the imposition, abolition, remission, alternation or regulation of any tax, duty, charge, levy, rate, or any other form of revenue, receipt, or any other form of expenditure. This Draft Constitution has not yet included any article giving definition of important terms used in it, and hence this attempt to elucidate a crucial term in this article.
If it is intended that the word `tax', as included in this clause, is to include all those other forms of public revenue or income, which I have particularised and separately included, then I am afraid, in the absence of clear definition clause, this is liable to mislead. It is quite possible that the ingenuity of lawyers may lead to the connotation of the word `tax' to be so narrowed down, as to exclude many of the other items or categories of public revenues I have mentioned; and a Bill which would be substantially a Money Bill, but not include a "tax" by way of imposition, modification alteration, or regulation of "tax", narrowly construed, may not be regarded as a Money Bill. I think that would seriously increase the powers of the Council of States; and so it is of the utmost necessity that these other forms, also, of public revenue, income or receipt should be included, so that there could be no room for dispute in this matter.
After all, any student of Constitutional history would be aware that the struggles for supremacy between the House of Commons and the House of Lords in England almost invariably centered round the definition or scope of a Money Bill. The powers of the House of Lords to deal with money bills have been successively curtailed by including many matters, which, perhaps, previously were not part of the budget. By that means the supreme power of the House of Commons on financial matters has been now made almost unchallengable.
The wording of this article as it is here leaves, according to me, considerable room for apprehension that the powers of the House of the People over matters financial will not be as wide not be as wide and as complete as I had thought ought to be the correct position in representative democracy with responsible ministry.
It is for that purpose that I have inserted all those items which have in the past, in one way or another, cause some difference in other countries, and therefore should be clearly specified.
As regards the second part of my amendment, namely variation of any law or of any contract, that is still more important. The contracts of Government relate very often to borrowed money, and for the interest contracted to be paid on such borrowed money, there may be variations and there have been variations. These variations are one-sided modification of a contract, which a sovereign Legislature is, of course, entitled to make; but that power should be in the House of the People, as part of its sole authority over money Bills and financial administration. For instance, the rate of interest on the Funded Public Debt has been frequently reduced in England. Now that is an act of sovereign authority, which no doubt belongs to the Legislature under the Constitution we are drafting. But it is part of a financial legislation; and, as such, should be within the competence only of the Lower House.
I also remember other instances. About fifteen years ago in the United States, contracts of even private
individuals, in which the so-called "Gold Clause" had been inserted, were modified by an Act of the Congress. That is to say if a contract between an American citizen and his customer abroad required payment for goods services to be made in gold, no matter in what currency the contract was expressed, that clause in the contract could be disregarded. It such contracts had remained unaffected, all measures taken by the Administration and the remained and the Congress touching the exchange value to the Dollar would have been of no effect, for no matter what happened to the local currency, the international contract was made in terms to be liquidated only in gold, or currency equivalent to gold, or bullion as the case may be. Now, the American legislature did enact that this kind of clause would be invalid. If it was allowed to stand, it would defeat the legislation that the administration had then got enacted. If you do not permit any such power to be included in the powers to the House of the People as analogous to a Money Bill, then I am afraid, in the age in which we are living you will leave out a very considerable margin of power to legislate to authorise attempt at modification of economic dealings, either between the State and the citizen or between citizen and citizen, which, in my opinion, ought to be included. If the principle is accepted very clearly that the supreme financial authority and control is in the Lower House only, there can be no objection to this suggestion.
It was with that view that I had suggested an earlier amendment, making in categorically clear that a Money Bill can only be introduced in the Lower House. The negative way, in which that clause has been framed, is open to some misconstruction and abuse. However, that amendment has not been moved. I am, therefore, now seeking to make clear what ought to be beyond doubt even in the basic Constitution, and should not be left to be elaborated either by rules of the House or standing orders or precedents. We have no precedents of our own, but have to create precedents. We cannot every time refer to the analogy to British Constitutional History. We need not leave room for legal ingenuity to be exercised at the expense of liberal institutions. On an earlier occasion it was stated in this House that this Constitution will provide a paradise for lawyers. I hope that would not be true. We must not leave our fundamental Constitution vague, uncertain, unclear by any words or phraseology, open to distortion by legal ingenuity. It is for this purpose that I have suggested this amendment, and I hope it will be acceptable to the House.
Shri H. V. Kamath: Sir, I move:
"That in sub-clause (e) of clause (1) of article 90, for the words 'the increasing of the amount of', the words 'varying the amount of, abolishing', be substituted."
It is not necessary for me to expatiate upon the need for an amendment of this nature, because it is common knowledge that when items of expenditure are charged to the revenues of India circumstances may so change that the need for incurring that expenditure may not be felt and the expenditure may cease to be incurred or it may be decreased or even increased. I visualise the possibility of increase. But here this sub-clause visualises only one possibility and that is increase. Why, I ask, was 'decrease or abolition of such expenditure' not visualised? The question will arise, what are the various items expenditure to be charged on the revenues of India? For an answer to that we turn to article 92(3) which lays down that the following shall be expenditure charged on the revenues of India. I shall not read out the whole list. I shall content myself with bringing it on the notice of the House. There are six items, (a) to (f). If you examine them closely you will find that where as the Constitution provides in the case of the salary and emoluments of the President,--let us then to article 48(4) which provides that the emoluments an allowances of the President shall not be diminished during his term of office. Well and
good. But if we turn to the provision for the emoluments and allowances of the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman of the Council of States, or the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker of the House of the People, the relevant article does not state explicitly that the emoluments of the Chairman of the Deputy Chairman, or the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker of the House of the People shall not be diminished during their term of office, as is laid down in the case of President. I do not suppose that they will be diminished, but the Parliament being sovereign can diminish the emoluments of the Speaker or the Deputy Speaker or the Chairman or the Deputy Chairman. Comprehending this possibility, I have suggested the use of the word "vary". The word "vary" connotes to my mind both reduction as well as enhancement, increase as well as decrease. Therefore I appeal to Dr. Ambedkar and the House to accept the word "very" as being more comprehensive and as being able to embrace in its scope both an increase and a decrease.
As regards abolition, that too is not beyond the bounds of possibility. If we turn to clause (3) of article 92 to which I have just referred, we will find that it refers to various items of expenditure which shall be expenditure charged to the revenues of India. Sub-clause (f) of this clause provides that any other expenditure declared by this Constitution or by Parliament by law to be so charged shall be charged to the revenues of India. I need not point out all the various items of expenditure which Parliament might decide to be chargeable to the revenues of India. There may be grants to various institutions, educational, cultural or social or otherwise which Parliament by law may decide to be chargeable to the revenues of India and then it may subsequently decide by law to do away with these. Therefore, Sir, this article as it stands does not include or visualise the possibility of a decrease of abolition of the items of expenditure which are charged to the revenues of India. To rectify this position and to embrace in its various contingencies that may arise, I am moving my amendment, No. 1674, and I commend it for the acceptance of the House.
Mr. President: Amendments No. 1675, 1676, 1677 and 1678 are all verbal. All the amendments to this article having been moved, anyone who wishes to speak on the amendments and the article may do so now.
Shri M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar: I will confine my remarks to the amendment moved by my Friend, Mr. Kamath. He referred to article 90, clause (1) sub-clause (e) which says" the declaring of any expenditure to be expenditure charged on the revenues of India of the increasing of the amount of any such expenditure. Now, it is only in case an expenditure is increased, then it becomes a Money Bill. He wants the substitution of the word "varying" for the word "increasing". Now I would only ask him to refer to the scheme and then if after understanding what the scheme of the framers is, he still wants this change, that is another matter, but let us understand what the scheme is. If we turn to article 97, it says, "Bill or amendment making provision for any of the matters specified in items (a) to (f) of clause (1) of article 90 of this Constitution shall not be introduced or moved except on the recommendation of the President.....". Even for a Money Bill, for increasing, the recommendation of the President is necessary. The proviso to this article says that "Provided that no recommendation shall be required under this clause for the moving of an amendment making provision for the reduction for abolition of any tax". Now it has been the usual procedure even under the existing law that when an amendment is moved to a Money Bill or a financial measure for the reduction or of any tax, the recommendation of the Governor-General is not necessary. Likewise, the same thing is copied here. But the imposition of a tax is a burden imposed upon the community. When you seek to reduce or abolish a tax, no such recommendation is necessary. It is left the House, and the previous enquiry by the
Presiding whether it is in the interests of the community or not is not necessary. That is the scheme. The earlier part of article 97 refer both to a Bill and an amendment, whereas the proviso refers only to an amendment. Therefore a Bill for the purpose of reducing or abolishing a particular tax has to be recommended by the President Otherwise it cannot be introduced. A Bill which seeks to increase an existing tax or increasing the expenditure also requires the sanction of the President, but the difference between a Bill, seeking to increase the amount of expenditure and a Bill seeking to reduce or abolish it is this: In one case where increase is sought, it can be introduced in the lower House only, whereas in the case where a reduction or abolition is sought, it can be introduced in any House, both the House having jurisdiction. In the case of reduction or abolition, the Bill can be initiated in either House, whereas my Friend wants to confine that power to the Lower House only. Increase stands on a different footing because it has to be considered whether India is in a position to bear that. Whether any expenditure should be chargeable to the revenues of India is a matter which requires investigation, since any expenditure chargeable to the revenues of the country is not subject of the vote of the House, even though the House can generally debate on it or discuss it. But it is taken out from the purview of its vote. In that case, should we not restrict the limitation imposed upon the right of the House by confining it only the increase? You want to take away the jurisdiction of the Houses in the matter of decrease as in the case of increase. I would respectfully submit that he has misunderstood the scope of this clause and is trying to restrict unnecessarily the authority of the jurisdiction of both Houses in a matter where only in respect of money matters and in respect of increase only the jurisdiction is confined to the Lower House. I am therefore not in agreement with the amendment moved by Mr. Kamath.
Shri H. V. Kamath: On a point of clarification, may I ask my honourable Friend to point out the article which provides that any Bill which relates to reduction or abolition can be introduced in either House, because proviso to article 97 relates to reduction or abolition of any tax, and not to other items of revenue and expenditure. The whole scheme is not very clear and I do not know how it is clear to Mr. Ayyangar. If he convinces me, I shall certainly reconsider my amendment.
Shri M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar: So far as the amendment is concerned, an amendment to a Bill can be moved even without the recommendation of the President in so far as it relates to the reduction or abolition of a tax, but if it is a Bill specifically for the purpose of reducing, then the recommendation is necessary, but in the case of increasing, it must be in the form if a Money Bill. Let us refer to article 97. It is not a Money Bill at all.
Shri H. V. Kamath: Where is the provision?
Shri M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar: It is a Money Bill only when it relates to increase. It is not a Money Bill when it does not relate to increase, and, therefore, it may come under article 97 and then require a recommendation or may not require a recommendation at all. My honourable Friend wants that there should be a recommendation and in addition it must be a Money Bill. As it is, when it is a Money Bill, only one House has got jurisdiction.
Shri H. V. Kamath: May I interrupt? I am sorry, but I want to have it cleared up. May I invite my honourable Friend's attention to the proviso to article 97(1) to which he has referred, which says that no recommendation shall be required where reduction or abolition of the tax is contemplated. What about other expenditure, about reduction and abolition of other items of expenditure. There is nothing in the whole scheme.
Shri M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar: Then is would not be either a Money Bill or a financial Bill. Money Bill is one which comes under clauses (a) to (f) of sub-section (1) of article
90. Now a Bill relating to increase of the amount of any expenditure alone is a Money Bill or a financial measure; if it does not relate to increase, that is, either reduction or abolition, it is not a Money Bill. That is why we want a recommendation. If this proviso relates only to a tax as I understood it, then tax means not all the matter provided for from (a) to (f). Now I find the word 'tax' has been used separately from the other provisions. Therefore that proviso does not necessarily mean a tax in any Bill or amendment relating to reduction or abolition of any of the expenditure provided in clause (1) (a). It is neither a Money Bill nor even a financial Bill. Therefore, it can be introduced freely in either House and without any recommendation whatsoever. Now the only question, therefore, is whether we should like to make it is also in an exclusive category along with the measure for increasing. I would submit that we ought not to limit the scope or abolition of any tax. A Bill to increase in given to the Lower House as an exclusive jurisdiction. The other Bills may be introduced freely without any restriction or limitation in either of these House. I am not in favour of this restriction, Sir.
Prof Shibban Lal Saksena: Mr. President, in clause (2) of this article, it is said: "A Bill shall not be deemed to be a Money Bill by reason only that it provides for the imposition of fines or other pecuniary penalties or for the demand or payment of fees for licences or fees for services rendered or by reason that it provides for the imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax by any local authority or body for local purposes." Now, Sir, a Bill providing of the imposition, abolition, or alteration of any tax by any local authority would no be a Money Bill. I personally feel, as Mr. Ayyangar just now pointed out, that if a Bill provides for an increase o taxation, or of a new imposition, the Bill will be a Money Bill, but here in this clause it is intended that it shall not be a Money Bill.
Mr. President: I think you are under a misapprehension. It can only provide authority to a local body to impose a tax, not the tax itself, but only gives authority.
Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena: I know that, Sir. I feel when any Bill authorises any body to impose taxes, that should also be a Money Bill. In fact, I think Prof. Shah's amendment which wants to add at the end of sub-clause (a) of clause(1) of article 90 the words, namely: "duty, charge, rate, levy or may other form of revenue, income, or receipt by Governments or of expenditure by Government", would be a much better provision. Sub-clause (a) only says "the imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax." It has not included "duty, charge, rate, levy or any other form of revenue, income or receipt." I would request the Honourable Law Minister who is in charge of this Bill to see that this sub-clause (a) is suitable amended. I feel that clause (2) takes away some power from the Lower House and makes it obligatory on the Government to place such bills which are properly money Bills before the Upper House. I do not think that in regard to such matter this should be so. I personally feel that many of the local bodies are today starved of revenue. They are partially without any funds today to do the huge work that they have got to do. I myself am in one of the Board of a big district and I feel that unless the local bodies have got more revenue, they cannot carry out their programmes at all. In our Parliament we pass expenditure of crores of rupees in two or three hours time, but these local bodies are not able to raise in the whole year even a few lakhs for their most essential needs such as school buildings which have to be built and village roads which have to be repaired and similar other amenities of every day life. But here is a provision that such Bills which authorise local bodies to impose taxation shall not be Money Bills. They may thus be delayed. I think there should be some amendment to this section so that at
least local bodies should not be handicapped by this dilatory process.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : Sir, while going over this article, I find that it requires further to be considered. I would therefore request you not to put this article to vote today.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: I should also like to suggest that the position of the word" 'only', in connection with amendment No. 1669 should be specially considered. It is a word which is absolutely mis-placed.
Mr. President: There are four amendments moved to this article, and the first amendment is No. 1669 that in clause (1) of article 90, the word 'only ' be deleted. Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad wishes to emphasise the importance of that amendment. That may be taken into consideration by the Drafting Committee. The whole article is going to be reconsidered.
Mr. President: We shall take up the next article, 91
That motion is:
"That article 91 form of the Constitution.'
(Amendment No. 1679 was not moved.)
Shri Lokanath Misra (Orissa: General): Sir, I move:
"That in article 91, for the words 'either that he assents to the Bill, or that he withholds assent therefrom' the words 'that he assents to the Bill' be substituted, and the following words be added at the end of the proviso to the article:-
'and if the Bill is passed again by the House with or without amendment and presented to the President, the President shall not withhold assent therefrom.'"
Sir, in moving this amendment, I am in the beat of company in so far as the Drafting Committee itself has suggested the same in a subsequent amendment. I beg to submit that when I move this amendment to take away the power-from the President to dissent from any Bills passed by Parliament, I mean nothing more than saying that since our President is analogous to the King in England and as the king has no power of dissenting from any Bill passed by President this amendment is appropriate.
As regards the second amendment, without that amendment the proviso seems to be incomplete. Supposing the President sends back a certain Bill for reconsideration and Parliament comes to a certain decision, without this amendment, the whole action becomes incomplete and inconclusive and since this is also the view taken by the Drafting Committee, this amendment too should be accepted.
(Amendments Nos. 1681, 1682, 1683 and 1684, were not moved.)
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : Sir, I move:
"That in the proviso to article 91, for the words 'not later than six weeks' the words 'a soon as possible' be substituted."
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: I have an amendment to this amendment, No. 94.
Mr. President: I think that is of a drafting nature.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: There would be a difference in actual practice.
Mr. President: So, you consider it to be substantial?
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: Yes, Sir, I beg to move:
"That in amendment No. 1685 of the List of Amendments, in the proviso to article 91, for the proposed word 'possible', the words 'may be' be substituted."
I beg to submit that this amendment will make some substantial change. The Proviso is to the effect that "the President may, as soon as possible, after the presentation of the Bill, return the Bill," and so on. I want to make it "as soon as may be". If we leave it exactly as Dr. Ambedkar would have it, it leaves no margin. As soon as possible' means immediately. Possibility which means physical possibility is the only test. It may leave on breathing time to the President. The words 'may be' give him a reasonable latitude. It would mean, "reasonably practicable". This is the obvious implication. That is the only reason why I have suggested amendment.
(Amendment No. 1686 was not moved.)
Mr. President: Amendment No. 1687, I think, is merely verbal. Amendment No. 1688, I think, is the same as the amendment already moved by Mr. Lokanath Misra.
Shri T. T. Krishnamachari: There is a slight difference in language. I think Dr. Ambedkar's proposal will be the better one.
Mr. President: I shall put this to
the vote. It need not be moved.
Amendment No. 1689: this is also the same as amendment No. 1688 of Dr. Ambedkar, We have taken it as having been moved. Is it necessary to move this? You can move it is there is some slight difference.
Begum Aizaz Rasul (United Provinces: Muslim): Sir, I beg move.
"That in article 91, after the first proviso the following second proviso be added:-
'Provided further that if after the President has declared that he withholds assent from the Bill or has returned the Bill with a request for reconsideration of the Bill or of a specified provision thereof, or of any amendment by him, the Houses of Parliament should, after reconsideration of his recommendations pass the Bill again with or without an amendment and return it to him for his assent, he shall not withhold his assent therefrom.'"
Sir, the present provision in article 91 provides for the action that the President has to take presumably on the first presentation of a Bill. But it does not make it clear what should be the procedure if a Bill is returned to the President without accepting any of the amendments suggested by him. Does it mean that he can again return the Bill to Parliament for reconsideration of his amendments? This will mean unnecessary delay and will mean that the Bill can be returned to Parliament more than once. My object in moving this amendment is to do away with this ambiguity and to make it clear that the President can return the Bill to Parliament with his suggestions once only, but if Parliament does not agree to the amendments that are suggested by him and returns the Bill to him, he should not in that case return the Bill a second time for the re-consideration of Parliament. In the House of Commons automatically becomes law even if the House of Lords disagrees. In the same manner in the U.S.A. a Bill becomes an Act even if the President vetoes it, provided it is passed by two-thirds majority of the Congress. Some such provision should be made here in this article also so that unnecessary delay may not take place. With these words I move my amendment.
(Amendment No. 1690 was not moved.)
Mr. President: Amendment No. 1691 is covered by other amendments already moved Amendment No. 1692.
Mr. Tajamul Husain: Sir, i beg to move:
"That the following new clause be added to article 91;-
'(2) If the Houses do not accept the recommendations of the President, the Bill shall again be presented to the President, and the President shall declare either that he assents to the Bill or that he does not assent to the Bill. If the President does not assent to the Bill, the House of the People shall automatically dissolve itself, and a fresh election shall be held immediately. If the Party that was in power at the time of the dissolution is returned in majority, the President shall vacate office and the Bill becomes an Act of Parliament.'"
Now, Sir, with your permission I will first, before I begin my submissions, read article 91 and the proviso to it. The article reads:
"When a Bill has been President may, not later then six weeks after the presented to the President, and the President, shall declare either that he assents to the Bill, or that he withholds assent therefrom:
Provided that the President may, not later than six weeks after the presentation to him of a Bill for assent, return the Bill if it is not a Money Bill to the House with a message requesting that they will reconsider the Bill or any specified provision thereof, and, in particular, will consider the desirability of introducing any such amendments as he may recommend in his message, and the House shall reconsider the Bill accordingly."
Article 91 says that when a Bill is passed, it is presented to the President, and the President's power is that he either assents or does not give his assent. The proviso says that if the President does not give the assent, he return the Bill for reconsideration. Then the House shall reconsider the Bill. My point is suppose the House does not reconsider the Bill or does not accept the
suggestion made by the President, what will happen? no provision has been made in this article as regards this. Therefore I have moved this amendment. My amendment amounts to this. If the House does not reconsider or accept his amendment, then the Bill shall go back to the President. Then the President shall accept what has been sent by the house and if he does not accept, then according to the English Constitution as I understand it, the House should dissolve itself. There should be re-election and if the party that is in power is returned again--according to the English Constitution the King must abdicate-- then I want the President either to accept or he must be considered to have resigned his office and the Bill will become law by itself. This is my amendment. I think I am moving this in accordance with the English Constitution which we have been following in this House to a great extent. I commend to the House that my amendment may be accepted.
Mr. President: All the amendments have been moved. The original article and the amendments are now open for discussion.
Dr. P. S. Deshmukh: Mr. President, Sir, Obviously the article it was worded in the beginning was found to be defective in at least two particulars, as is clear from the fact that Dr. Ambedkar himself has moved one amendment suggesting the substitution of the words 'not later than six weeks' by the words as soon as possible'. The second difficulty which has been visualized and which is tried to be removed is by making a provision in case the President withholds the assent. The Provision intended is that when a Bill is presented for a second time, it shall be incumbent upon him i.e., the President to give his assent and he shall not have the option to withhold the assent. So far as the first amendment of Dr. Ambedkar is concerned, I do not know if it is very necessary that the amendment should be accepted. The question for consideration is whether we should merely say that the President should give his assent as soon as possible or whether we should state any period within which he should do it. I think if the words 'not later than six weeks' are to be left as they are, then it is the duty of the President to indicate his decision as early as possible and in no case later than six weeks. So I am not fully convinced of the propriety of changing the wording as proposed.
So far as the other amendment is concerned, I think it is very necessary that there should be a proper provision in cases where the President withholds his assent. It is to be presumed that the President will always act according to the advice tendered to him by Prime Minister and unless and Bill passed in the House has the support of the Party in power, there is no possibility of any Bill being passed. So that question of withholding assent is not likely to arise unless the President finds himself under circumstances where he actually differs from and disagrees with the recommendations of the party and the Government in power. Under those circumstances, it is correct to presume that there is a conflict between the views taken by the Prime Minister of the Government of the day and the President, and when such a conflict arises there must be some solution of which the present House must think of and must make a clear provision with regard to this question so as to solve the difficulty of disagreement between the President and the Prime Minister. I think that so far as this contingency that is likely to arise, and I therefore, support it.
Shri H. V. Kamath: Mr. President, Sir, I rise to support the amendment moved by my Friend Mr. Misra, No. 1680, and to oppose the amendment moved by my learned Friend Dr. Ambedkar, No. 1685. My friend Dr. Deshmukh has ably supported the amendment of Mr. Misra and I do not propose to dilate further upon that. As regards the amendment moved by my learned Friend Dr. Ambedkar, I venture to state that he has not acted wisely in bringing this amendment before this House, and I am reminded of the saying that even Homer nods. And I think Dr. Ambedkar has tripped on
this occasion. That such an experienced man, not only an experienced public man, but an experienced Minister of the State cannot recognise the distinction between a definite period of time and the word "as soon as possible" rather appears to me strange, to say the least. In human nature, if you will permit me to say so, unless there is a compelling sense of duty of service, there is always a tendency to procrastinate. Our wisemen have recognised this by saying:
Alasyam hi manuyanamsh,
This tendency to inertia, this inclination to procrastinate has to be rooted out, by infusing the ideal of duty or service. We cannot be sure that every President of the Union of India will always be guided by this ideal, by this compelling ideal of duty and service. Of course we hope and party that it may be so, but there is no guarantee. Therefore, it is very necessary, to my mind, that the Constitution should provide specifically a time limit for a contingency of this nature. As a minister, Dr. Ambedkar, I am sure, must be aware that in the Secretariat various files are knocking about with tags of labels attached to them, some being "Immediate", some urgent," some "early" and so on. Files marked "Immediate" reach the honourable Minister in a day, those marked "urgent" reach him in a couple of days and those marked "early" have been known to sleep in the Secretariat for two of three months. Further latterly, Government has devised new forms such as "consideration" and 'active consideration". I therefore wish to obviate any difficulty arising from substitution of the words "as soon as possible". Nobody knows what they mean, what "as soon as" means. We know in the Legislative Assembly Ministers are in the habit of answering questions by saying "as soon as possible". When we ask, " When will this thing be lone?" the answer is "As soon as possibly or very soon." But six months later, the same question is put, and the answer is again, "As soon as possible," or "very soon". This phrase is vague, purposeless and meaningless and it should not find a place in the Constitution, especially in an article of this nature where we specify that the President must do a thing within a certain period of time. Why do we do it? We do it in order to see that Bills are not left hanging fire in the President's Secretariat--and I know his secretariat is not going to be different in any way from other secretariats. And so I request Dr. Ambedkar to withdraw his amendment. It serves no purpose whatsoever, and I request that the article which is quite clear as it stands may be passed. I oppose the amendment of Dr. Ambedkar and support that moved by Mr. Misra.
Mr. President: I would now put the amendments to vote. Do you want to say anything, Dr. Ambedkar?
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : No, Sir. I do not think any reply is necessary.
Mr. President: Amendments Nos. 1680 and 1688, the substance is the same, but the wording of 1688 is slightly better, and I first put No. 1688 to vote.
The question is:
"That to the proviso to article 91, the following be added at the end:-
'and if the Bill is passed again by the House with or without amendment and presented to the President for assent, the President shall not withhold assent therefrom.'"
The amendment was adopted.
Mr. President: I think that blocks amendment No. 1698 which has the same substance and so need not be put.
Then I come to No. 1692, that of Mr. Tajamul Husain.
The question is:
"That the following new clause added to article 91:-
'(2) If the House do not accept the recommendations of the President, the Bill shall again be presented to the President, and the President shall declare either that he assents to the Bill or that he does not assent to the Bill. If the President does not assent to the Bill, the House of the People shall automatically dissolve itself, and a fresh election shall be held immediately. If the party that was in power at the time of the dissolution is again returned in majority, the President shall vacate office and
the Bill becomes an Act of Parliament.'"
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. President: There is one amendment left over, i.e., No. 1685 moved by Dr. Ambedkar. There is an amendment to it, moved by Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad. I would first put Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad's amendment to vote.
The question is:
"That in amendment No. 1685 of the List of Amendments, in the proviso to article 91, for the proposed word 'possible', the words 'may be' be substitution."
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. President: Now I put Amendment No. 1685.
The question is:
"That in the proviso to article 91, for the words 'not later then six weeks' the words 'as soon as possible' be substituted."
The amendment was adopted.
Mr. President: Then I put the article as amended by these two amendments namely, Nos. 1685 and 1688.
The question is:
"That article 91, as amended, stand part of the Constitution."
The motion was adopted.
Article 91, as amended, was added, to the Constitution.
Mr. President: We shall adjourn now, and meet on Monday at 5 P.M.
The Assembly then adjourned till Five P.M. on Monday, the 23rd May, 1949.