Wednesday, the 25th May 1949
The Constituent Assembly of India met in the Constitution Hall, New Delhi, at Eight of the Clock, Mr. President (The Honourable Dr. Rajendra Prasad) in the Chair.
INDIA (CENTRAL GOVERNMENT AND LEGISLATURE) (AMENDMENT) BILL
The Honourable Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee (West Bengal: General): Sir, I beg to move for leave to introduce a Bill to amend the India (Central Government and Legislature) Act, 1946.
Mr. President: The question is:
"That leave be granted to introduce a Bill to amend the India (Central Government and Legislature) Act, 1946."
The motion was adopted.
The Honourable Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee: Sir, I introduce the Bill.
REPORT OF ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON MINORITIES, ETC.
The honourable Sardar Vallabhbhai J.Patel (Bombay: General): Sir, I have come before you to move for the consideration of the *Report of the Advisory Committee which met during this month for the last time. The Committee has, after completion of its work, been dissolved. The House will remember that in August 1947, probably in the 8th of August, a report was submitted by the Advisory Committee, and the Minority Committee taking into consideration the Advisory Committee's political safeguards for the minorities by way of reservations of seats in the legislatures on the basis of population and also certain other safeguards.
Now when this report was made, the House will remember that it was at a time then conditions were different and even the effect of partition was not fully comprehended or appreciated. At that time even when the report was passed suggesting the acceptance of reservation of seats in the Legislature on population basis, there was difference of opinion. will, a group of people of highly nationalistic tendencies led by Dr, Mookerjee, Vice Chairman of this House, from the beginning opposed such reservations in the Constitution. Rajkumari Amrit Kaur also at that time stoutly opposed these reservations, but the minorities them on basis of population; and the Advisory Committee, in spite of the difference of opinion, thought it necessary to allay the apprehensions of the minorities at that time, which they considered might be regarded as reasonable. The House will also recall that the representative of the Muslims in South India, Mr. Pocker, the no-changer and confirmed Muslim Leaguer, then proposed an amendment in this House when the proposals were submitted to the House, for introducing or continuing the separate electorates, the effects of which have been fully known and felt all over the country and perhaps, known outside too. My proposals as Chairman of the Advisory Committee were then accepted by the House practically unanimously and a general sense of appreciation was expressed by the minorities when these proposals were accepted. At a later stage we had to meet again because our proposals were incomplete in so far as the East Punjab and the West Bengal provinces were concerned, because when the House passed the proposals in the August Sessions of 1947, the effect of partition was not felt of known and the vast migrations that took place were at that time in a process of continuation and the position of the Sikhs was practically uncertain at that time. So also in Bengal the effect of the partition was not fully realized, and both the Provinces were desirous of postponing the question till the conditions were fully settled and the effects were fully realized. At a later stage in December a Committee was appointed to consider this question. A sub-committee of five persons was appointed by the Advisory Committee in which our revered President was also one of the members; Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, myself, Mr. Munshi and Dr. Ambedkar were the members of this Committee. This Committee met and made its report in February. When this report was made the representatives of the Sikh community wanted time to consider the report and consult their community in this matter. Also when the report was put before the Advisory Committee, the
Muslim representatives, some of them, had changed their opinions after full reflection for a long period since the passing of the principles of the Constitution in August Sessions of 1947; they put forward the plea that all these reservations must disappear and that it was in the interests of the minorities themselves that such reservations in the Legislature must go. It was strongly pressed by the representative from Bihar and supported be other representatives. There was then a little difference of opinion and I was anxious, and so was the Committee, that we should do nothing to take a snatch vote on a question of such vast importance. As the Sikh representatives wanted time to consider their position, we naturally adjourned and met again, during the early part of this month.
When we met this time, we found a considerable change in the attitude of the minorities themselves. Dr. Mookherjee moved a motion for the dropping of the clause on reservation of seats in the legislature on population basis. When this proposal was moved, Mr. Muniswamy Pillai, who was representing the Scheduled Castes, moved an amendment to the effect that the provision for reservation, so far as the Scheduled Castes are concerned, may be continued for a period of ten years. The general opinion in the Advisory Committee was, which was almost unanimous, that this reservation so far as the Scheduled Castes are concerned, should be continued for that period and that Mr. Muniswamy Pillai's amendment should be accepted. The Sikh representatives brought in a proposal which, to a certain extant, was an improvement on the previous position. Whatever may be the object of that proposal, the Advisory Committee thought it fit to give due consideration to the proposal of the Sikhs, because the members of the Committee always felt a sort of responsibility for the susceptibilities and sentiments of the Sikh community which has suffered vastly by the partition of the Punjab. After a full debate, the Committee came to the conclusion that the Sikh proposal to fall in line with the dropping of reservation clause was, although diluted by another proposal which, in effect, gave them a sort of reservation of certain conditions, a treat improvement. The Committee considering the whole situation came to the conclusion that the time has come when the vast majority of the minority communities have themselves realised after great reflection the evil effects in the past of such reservation on the minorities themselves, and the reservations should be dropped.
In a House of about forty members of the Advisory Committee, there was only one solitary vote against the proposal. So we thought that although these proposals were accepted by this House in August 1947, it was due to us and to the House that we should advise this House to reconsider the position and put before the House a proposal which is consistent with the proclaimed principles of this House for the establishment of a genuine democratic State based purely on nationalistic principles. Therefore, when we found the changed atmosphere, we considered it our duty to come before this House to revise this former decision, which was provisional as has been laid down by this House in several cases. It is under these circumstances that these proposals have been brought before the House.
So far as the Sikh community is concerned, there is only one proposal which in effect, does not really differ from the principles that have been laid down by the Advisory Committee, because the Advisory Committee also has accepted the amendment of Mr. Muniswamy Pillai that the reservation for the Scheduled Castes must continue. The Sikhs themselves have thought that certain classes of people amongst them, who have been recent converts, and who were originally Scheduled, Caste Hindus, and suffering from the disabilities which the Scheduled Caste Hindus are suffering from the fault of the Hindu community. The Sikhs are suffering for the fault of the Sikh community and nobody else. Really, as a matter of fact, these converts are not
Scheduled Castes or ought not to be Scheduled Castes; because, in the Sikh religion, there is no such thing as untouchability or any classification or difference of classes. But, as unfortunately in this country the Hindu religion is suffering from the evil effects of certain customs and prejudices that have crept into the society, so also, the reformed community of the Hindus, called the Sikhs, have also in course of time suffered from degeneration to a certain extent. They are suffering from a complex which is called fear complex. They feel that if these Scheduled Castes who have been converted to Sikhism are not given the same benefits as the Scheduled Castes have been, there is a possibility of their reverting to the Hindu Scheduled Castes and merging along with them. So, the House will realise, and I do not propose to conceal anything from the House, that religion is only a cloak, a cover, for political purposes. it is not really the high-level Sikh religion which recognises this class distinction. The Sikhs, today it should be recognised, have suffered from various causes and we have to regard with considerable tenderness of feeling in taking into consideration their existing state of mind and provide as far as possible to meet with that situation. And so when these proposals were brought to us, in fact, I urged upon them strongly not to lower their religion to such a pitch as to really fall to a level where for a mess of pottage you really give up the substance of religion. But they did not agree. Therefore, the utmost that we can do is to advise those people in their community who were wanting these safeguards to go into the classification of Scheduled Castes. These people have now agreed to be limped into the Scheduled Castes; not a very good thing for the Sikh community, but yet they want it, and we feel, for the time being, we would make that allowance for them. Theoretically the position is logically correct. They will be all Scheduled Castes, the Ramdasis , and three or four others whatever they are, they will all be called one Scheduled Caste. The Sikhs may call them Scheduled Caste Sikhs. After all, in the eye of religion, in the eye of God and in the eye of all sensible people they are one. These advantages are these reserved for a class of people, and therefore, although there was stout opposition from the Scheduled Castes people, who also naturally feared, and who had a justifiable fear complex that if they agreed to this, or if the House accepts this position, there is really a danger of forcible conversion from their class to the Scheduled Caste Sikhs, we have accepted it. Now our object is, or the object is, or this House should be, as soon as possible and as rapidly as possible to drop these classifications and differences; and bring all to a level of equality. Therefore, although we may recognise this it is up to the majority community to create by its generosity sense of confidence in the minorities; and so also it will be the duty of the minority communities to forget the past and to reflect on what the country has suffered due to the sense of fairness which the foreigner thought was necessary to keep the balance between community and community. This has created class and communal divisions and sub-divisions, which in their sense of fairness, they thought fit to create, apart from attributing any motives. We on our part, taking this responsibility of laying the foundations of a free India which shall be and should be our endeavour both of the majority-- largely of the majority--and also of the minority community, have to rise to the situation that is demanded from all of us, and create and atmosphere in which the sooner these classifications disappear the better. Therefore, I will appeal to the House, particularly to the Scheduled Castes, not to resent or grudge the concession that is made in the case of the Sikhs, and I concede that this is a concession. It is not a good thing, in the interest of the Sikhs them selves. But till the Sikhs are convinced that this is wrong, I would allow them the
latitude, consistent with what we think to be our principles of just dealings. So far as the other communities are concerned, I feel that enough time was given when we met in February in the Advisory Committee when these proposals were brought forward on behalf of the minorities, particularly the Muslims, enough time was given to consult their own constituencies, their communities and also other minority communities. It is not our intention to commit the minorities to a particular position in a hurry. If they really have come honestly to the conclusion that in the changed conditions of this country, it is in the interest of all to lay down real and genuine foundations of a secular State, them nothing is better for the minorities than to trust the good-sense and sense of fairness of the majority, and to place confidence in them. So also it is far us who happen to be in a majority to think about what the minorities feel, and how we in their position would feel if we were treated in the manner in which they are treated. But in the long run, it would be in the interest of all to forget that there is anything like majority or minority in this country and that in India there is only one community (hear, hear). With these considerations, Sir, I move that the Report of the advisory Committee be taken onto consideration, as under:-
"Resolved that the Constituent Assembly do proceed to take into consideration the Report dated the 11th May 1949 on the subject of certain political safeguards for Minorities submitted by the Advisory Committee appointed by the resolution of the Assembly of 24th January 1947.
(i) that notwithstanding any decisions already taken by the Constituent Assembly in this behalf, the provisions of Part XIV of the Draft Constitution of India be so amended as to give effect to the recommendations of the Advisory Committee contained in the said Report; and
(ii) that the following classes in East Punjab, namely, Mazhabis, Ramdasis, Kabirpanthis and Sikligars be included in the list of Scheduled Castes for the province so that they would be entitled to the benefit to representation in the Legislatures gives to the Scheduled Castes."
Mr. President: I have received notice of certain amendments. But I think those amendment will arise after we have dealt with this motion for consideration of the report. They will arise in connection with the second resolution which I think the Honourable Sardar Patel will move at a later stage. Is that the idea?
Mr. Z. H. Lari (United Provinces: Muslim): The second part is also part of the same motion. It is all one and the same. They have to be taken as a whole.
Mr. President: I take it that both the parts are moved and so we can take the amendments also at this stage.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi: (United Provinces: General): I would like to know, Sir, whether the motion for consideration of this report can be discussed generally, without taking up the amendments now. I want to know if we can have a general discussion on it.
Mr. President: There is only one motion, which is in two parts, and I have ruled that both be taken together. Therefore, the whole motion consisting of both the parts has been moved and we shall take the amendments, and then we can have discussion on the main proposition as also on the amendments.
Mr. Muhammad Ismail Khan (United Provinces: Muslim): Sir, before you call upon the movers of the amendment of move their motions, may I know whether the whole question as to how the minorities are to be represented in the legislature is open to discussion or merely the revision of the previous report on the subject of reservation of seats provided for the minorities.
Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra (West Bengal: General): Sir, I do not think that this question my honourable Friend Mr. Ismail suggests that the whole gamut of this subject will be brought under discussion. The whole history of the question is not before the House. In the course of his speech of course honourable Members might make incidentally references to the
circumstances that led to the change. But certainly we sitting here are not going to discuss all that has happened since 1947 as a substantive motion.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi: Sir, on a point of order I do not know whether the House can proceed with the discussion of this motion. The motion worded as it is does not warrant the moving of any amendments. This motion as it is, is not an amendment to the Draft Constitution at all. The motion is drafted in a manner which cannot be incorporated in the constitution. It requests the Drafting Committee to redraft the clauses so as to accommodate certain changes. Taking both the parts of the resolution as it is, it warrants only a general discussion and we cannot move amendment as of it were part of the Draft Constitution.
Mr. President: It is not as a part of the Draft Constitution that this Motion has been brought before the House. There were certain decisions taken by the Advisory committee and by the House at a previous stage. It was thought that the report which has recently been made by the Advisory Committee should be first placed before this House for its consideration. If that report is accepted by the House then the necessary amendments to the Draft Constitution will be introduced at a later stage. At this stage we are only considering the report of the Advisory Committee dated the 11th of this month. The question of amendments to the Draft Constitution will arise at as later stage. This is only a general consideration of that report and because that report makes certain changes in regard to the decisions previously taken, these changes are also indicated in the second part of the Resolution. If these changes are accepted than the draft will be amended accordingly.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi: I take it then that it will be a sort of general discussion that we will have.
Mr. President: We will have the amendments to the Resolution and then the general discussion will follow.
Mr. Muhammad Ismail Khan: Sir, the whole question was discussed at the last meeting of the Constitution Assembly. The decision was reached that only reservation of seats for the minorities will be made. If the suggestion is that the reservations be done away with, does this then reopen the whole question as to how the minorities are to be elected to the legislatures? Or is the discussion merely to be confined as to whether reservation should be retained or not?
Mr. President: The report of the Advisory Committee confines itself only to the question of reservation at the present moment and therefore at the present stage we can only take that up.
Mr. Muhammad Ismail Khan: I submit, Sir, that any amendments going beyond that will be out of order.
Shri Jaspat Roy Kapoor (United Provinces: General): Sir, any decision which has been previously arrived at can be reopened only in accordance with rule 32 of the Rules of Procedure. That rule lays down that no question which has been once decided by the Assembly shall be reopened except with the consent of at least one-fourth of the members present and voting. Therefore, Sir, I submit that only such question can be reopened to which one-fourth of the members present today agree. When we come to the amendments tabled by Mr. Ismail the question will arise ad to which parts of it are such in regard to which reconsideration is being agreed to by at least one-fourth of the members present today.
Mr. President: I do not think that question will arise. I am quite sure that more than one-fourth, in fact the majority of the House, are in favour of the changes.
Shri Jaspat Roy Kapoor: That is true, Sir, so far as the question placed before the House by the Honourable Sardar Patel is concerned. There can be no doubt absolutely that almost the whole House will agree to the reconsideration as recommended by Sardar Patel. As regards the question raised by my honourable Friend Mr. Ismail as to whether any other matter not incorporated in the report can be taken into consideration, my submission is that it can be taken, up for consideration only when 25 per
cent of the Members present hare will agree.
Mr. President: We shall consider that when that question arises.
Mr. B. Pocker Sahib (Madras: Muslim): Sir, on the point of order raised, I would like to mention this. Under the present motion it is sought to take away the reservation which was decided upon previously by the House, and that reservation is based upon the fact that the minorities must have some method of representing their grievances. It is for the same purpose that the question of separate representation was also urged. When this reservation goes, the only chance of the minorities having their representation in the legislature also goes. Therefore the question of separate representation automatically arises on the consideration of this report.
Mr. Mohamed Ismail Sahib (Madras: Muslim): Sir, I have to thank you first of all for giving me and my friends an opportunity to place before the House an important question in which the minorities, not only the Muslims but also the other minorities, are vitally interested. I shall first of all move the amendment that stands in my name and that of my friends.
Sir, I move:
(a) That sub-paragraph (i) of the second paragraph of the motion be deleted, and sub-paragraph (ii) be re-numbered as sub-paragraph (i).
(b) That after sub-paragraph (i) so formed, the following sub-paragraphs be added:-
"(ii) that the principle of reservation of seats on the population basis for the Muslims and other minority communities in the Central and Provincial legislatures of the country be confirmed and retained; and
(iii) that notwithstanding any decisions already taken by this Assembly in this behalf, the provisions of Part XIV and any other allied article of the Draft Constitution be so amended as to ensure that the seats reserved in accordance with sub-clause (ii) above shall be filled by the members of the respective communities elected by constituencies of voters belonging to the said respective minorities."
Shri Jaspat Roy Kapoor: Sir, I had objected to the moving of clause (iii) of part (b) of this amendment in view of rule 32. We have on a previous occasion already taken a decision to the effect that there shall be joint electorates and there shall be no separate electorates at all. This decision can be reconsidered, I would submit, only when 25 per cent, of the members present today agree to it. I submit that rule 32 specifically stands in our way.
Mr. Mohamed Ismail Sahib: Sir, I submit that the whole question of the minorities has been reopened, as a matter of fact, by the report and the Resolution that are before us. Therefore, my amendment forms only a very legitimate part of that proposal which has opened the whole question. When that part of the decision of the Assembly which relates to the reservation of seats for the minorities is being reopened, the other part is also reopened. Therefore I do not think that there is any violation of any rule of the Assembly in this connection. Therefore I may now, Sir, with your permission go on with what I have to say on my amendment.
As I was saying, the Sub-Committee appointed to report on the minority problems affecting the East Punjab and West Bengal met and recommended on the 23rd November last year that the arrangements already approved by this Assembly in August 1947 for other provinces should be applied to those provinces as well and that no deviation was necessary. While considering this report the Advisory Committee reopened the whole question. The Advisory Committee thought that they could, with advantage, reconsider the question of reservation of seats for the minorities. Sir, I do not object to this action of the Committee at all. What I want is that the subject of minorities and of safeguards for them, including that of separate electorates which forms a very vital and natural part of this question, should also be reopened.
Mr. President: May I first dispose of this question of order which has been raised by Mr. kapoor? Does any other Member wish to say anything on the point of
Mr. Z. H. Lari: Mr. President, the motion moved by the Honourable Sardar Patel seeks to re-open the question of representation of minorities and political safeguards for them. Once the question of representation of minorities in the Legislatures is re-opened, not only the question of removal of reservation, but also all cognate matters are necessarily re-opened. You cannot consider the question of removal of reservation of seats without considering in what manner the representation is going to be secured. Therefore, my submission is this that if the House agrees to take into consideration political safeguards for minorities, then it is open to any Member to move any amendment which relates to political safeguards and pertains to representation of minorities in the Legislatures. I, therefore, feel that all amendments given notice of are pertinent and should be allowed.
Pandit Balkrishna Sharma (United Provinces: General): May I have to your notice one fact, Sir? On the 27th August 1947, Mr. Pocker moved an amendment in the following form:
"That on a consideration of the Report of the Advisory Committee on Minorities, Fundamental Rights, etc., on minority rights, this meeting of the Constituent Assembly resolves that all elections to Central and Provincial Legislature should as far as Muslims are concerned, be held on the basis of separate electorate."
This specific motion was defeated by the House. In view of that fact and in view of Rule 32 which regulates the proceedings of this House, I think that unless 25 per cent of the Member of the House give their consent, this amendment will be out of order.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi: Sir, on this point of order, I agree with what Mr. Lari has said. I feel, Sir, that by considering this report, we are going against the decisions which we have already taken. The point of order raised by my honourable Friend, Mr. Kapoor applies as much to the motion of Sardar Patel as it does to the amendment of Mr. Ismail. If a previous verdict of the Assembly can be revoked in the case of a motion, why should it not be revoked in regard to an amendment to the motion? Moreover, this is a very important subject and every opportunity should be given for reasonable amendment to be moved. On this vital matter I want a clear mandate from the representatives of the nation. Therefore, I submit, Sir, that such amendments must not only be allowed, but must be welcomed by the House.
Prof Shibban Lal Saksena (United Provinces: General): Sir, the amendment just now moved is a complete negation of this motion and I want your ruling as to whether it can be moved as an amendment at all?
Mr. Mohamed Ismail Sahib: Sir, I submit that when the House gave permission for Honourable Sardar Patel to move his motion, it has, I think, given permission for my amendment as well, because Sardar Patel's motion reopens a question which has already been decided by the House. When it reopens an important portion of that decision, Sir, I think the other portion also is thereby automatically reopened.
Mr. President: Two points of order have been raised in connection with this motion. The first is that the question of separate electorates has already been decided once by this House and it cannot be reopened, unless one-fourth of the Members express their consent to its reopening. The second point, which has been raised by Professor Shibban Lal Saksena, is that the amendment which is sought to be moved is a negation of the original motion and, therefore, it cannot be taken as an amendment.
On the first point, my view is that what Mr. Poker moved at that time was an amendment or something in the nature of an amendment to the motion which was then before the House and his amendment was rejected by the House and the motion was adopted. Today we are going to have a motion which was then adopted reopened: Therefore, any amendment or anything which is in the nature of an amendment to that original motion is also open to discussion. I therefore rule that the first point of order raised is not sustainable and
the amendment is in order.
As regards the second point of order, I think it is not a negative one because in the amendment itself there is another method which is suggested and therefore it is not a negative one. I rule that the second point of order is also not sustainable.
Mr. Mohamed Ismail Sahib: Mr. President, Sir, I was saying that while the Advisory Committee was considering the recommendations of the Special Sub-Committee appointed to go into the question of West Bengal and East Punjab, they re-opened the whole question of minorities of all the provinces. As I said, I have no objection whatever to this action of the Committee. I only want that the whole question of minorities and the political safeguards for them may be placed before the House once again so that it may at present when it is engaged in the final stages of passing the Constitution give maturer re-consideration to the subject.
This is a subject which affects the minorities vitally and therefore it is only appropriate that the House reconsiders the matter at this stage. Sir, the report of the Advisory Committee says--and this has also been explained by the Honourable Sardar Patel--that conditions have vastly changed since August 1947 when the House came to its previous decision. The report also says that it is no longer appropriate that there should be statutory reservation of seats for minorities except the Scheduled Castes and the Tribals. I admit that the conditions have changed, and suspicions and doubts and prejudices that were entertained have been disproved by this time the atmosphere has been cleared. The Muslims have demonstrated that those suspicions were unjustified and unwarranted. They have proved that they are in fore front in the defence of the country and in upholding the honour of the motherland. So, Sir, this is the change that has taken place in the country, but this change is not in favour of abolishing even the niggardly safeguards that were given to the Muslims and other minorities. On the other hand the change is for giving them better and real safeguards. That is my opinion. The conditions now prevalent show that the Muslims are a frank and open-hearted people, that they mean what they say and that they have proved what they have all along been saying, viz., that they are as much loyal citizens of the motherland as any other section of the people.
Sir, to say that the Honourable the Prime Minister and the Honourable Sardar Patel and you also, Mr. President, are imbued with a high sense of generosity and justice is one thing. All sections of the population have got the utmost reliance upon you. That is one thing. But to say that every part of the personal of the Government is imbued with the same sense of justice is another thing. As I said, the heads of Government are gentlemen with a sense of justice and generosity. But they cannot be everywhere. They cannot be in every place and always. Therefore things will happen in places which will give dissatisfaction and disappointment to certain sections of the people. Then, how are they to bring that to the notice of the Government? Can anybody say that things will go on in such a way that no section of the people will have anything to say about the affairs of the people as managed by every section of the personnel of the Government? Evidently no such claim can be made. Then, if anything happens, the people in a democratic State must have the opportunity and the right to make representations to the Head of the Government, and the Government generally.
Then, the report further on says that the Committee are satisfied that the minorities themselves feel that statutory reservation of seats should be abolished. I do not know how the Committee to be satisfied in that manner. So far as the Muslims are concerned, some members of this honourable House might have agreed to the abolition of reservation. I admit it, but then what is the nature of their agreement? What is the nature of any action of theirs with reference to the community which they seek to represent? Some of them
have repudiated the ticket on which they were elected and on which they have come to the Assembly. Thereby they have demolished their representative character. Therefore, to take them as representing the views of the minorities of the Muslims, I think, is not fair. I know that there was canvassing for sometime past in connection with this question and now we have got the report before us.
Sir, I assert and say definitely that the Muslim, as a community, are not for giving up reservation. Not only that, they implore this House to retain separate electorates which alone will give them the right sort of representation in the legislatures. The Muslim League, which still is the representative organisation of the Muslim community, has more than once within this year not only expressed a definite view in favour of reservation of seats, but has also urged the retention of separate electorates. That is the position so far as the Muslim minority is concerned.
Now, if the majority community or the party in power to do away with any of these safeguards, that is one thing. But I submit that it is not fair to place the responsibility for doing away with such safeguards on the shoulders of the minority.
When we read the report and also other similar literature we got the impression that objection is being taken to the religious basis of the minorities. Indeed, in other countries, particularly of Europe, minorities are formed mainly on the basis of language and race, but here in our country the conditions are fundamentally different. Here one set of people differ from the other mainly on account of their religion. The difference in religion creates a difference in life and in outlook on matters and things connected with life. Man here in this country is measured in terms of his religion. Even the Scheduled Castes, I may say, are based only on religious beliefs. They have become a minority community on account of the religious beliefs that are current in this country. Sir, I do not think that there is any harm in basing the difference of one set of people from the others on religion. Any way, that is the practice obtaining in this country and we cannot go away from it. When we say that one is a Hindu and when we say that another is a Mussalman, nobody can deny that there exists a difference between the two, but it does not mean that these two people must fly at each other's throat. This difference has to be adjusted and is capable of being adjusted. What we want is harmony not physical oneness or regimented uniformity. We do not want that the population of a country must be made up of the followers of only one religion or one set of beliefs. That is not the idea of the sponsors of unity. Unity really means harmony, the adjustment of things which are different with different groups of people not only in this country but also in other parts of the world. Harmony is possible only when all sections o people are satisfied, are contented. If in that way they find that they are having their rights, that they are not harassed, that they are being listened to and that they are being treated as human being, harmony will come by itself. It is again and again said that separate electorates have been creating trouble and antagonism amongst people. Are separate electorates the cause of all these troubles, Sir? Now, elections have been going on for very many years in the past on the basis of separate electorates. If the mass of the people really resented this form of election, then there ought to have been trouble at the time of the elections more than at any other time. I want honourable Members of this House to tell me whether they have heard of such trouble or rioting or disturbance at the time of elections. The truth is that the mass of the people recognise that it is the it is the right of these different sections of people to elect their own representatives. Therefore they do not resent it. I say that, because of this right of every section of the people to send their own representatives to the legislatures, people have been living on
the whole happily together in the villages and elsewhere. It is not always, Sir, that people are flying at each other's throat. If it were so and of this system of separate electorates has been the cause of it, then it is at the time when that system is in operation, i.e., during the election time that trouble should particularly arise. But then what is the cause of the trouble? It is the opposition, I should say, to any demand that the minority communities may make, and it is not, I think, the characteristic of the masses to because love of power is at the root of this attitude of the political parties. Sir, in other countries of Europe, special arrangements have been made for minorities, in countries like Poland, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Albania, Greece, Turkey and so on.
Shri M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar (Madras: General): Are there separate electorates anywhere in those countries?
Mr. Mohamed Ismail Sahib: In Albania they have agreed to some separate electoral arrangement for the minorities, in that small country, a country of only ten lakhs of people, a small country with a small population. Even there they were not afraid that separate electorates will divide the country into smaller bits. They thought that it was a natural thing to do for the minorities. In other countries, it is not a question of separate electorates, but the minorities had the safeguards that they wanted. That is the point. They were given the safeguards which they were in need of under the conditions prevailing in those countries. In our country, under the conditions prevalent here, it is separate electorates that will give contentment to the minorities and will place them on a footing of equality with other sections of the people. It is for that reason that in this country we have been urging for separate electorates and we have been agitating for the retention of it. When special arrangements were made in the West for minorities in such matters as personal law, religious instruction etc. and in the matter of even electoral affairs in the West, it was done under the supervision and auspices of the great statesman of the world who were assembled in the League of Nations. If it was wrong, would these great statesmen of the world have agreed, that too after the first World War, to such special arrangements? They thought that there was nothing wrong in those arrangements. So much so, they even agreed in the case of the Ruthenians in Poland that they might have local autonomy. That was the view of the great statesmen of the world just when they had emerged from one of the greatest catastrophies. I mean, the first World War. So, Sir, there is nothing wrong if we ask for separate electorates in this country. Just at present there is also this difference with reference to this question. Previously our country was under foreign rule. It was said and said freely that the system of separate electorates was a device invented by the Britishers to divide the people and perpetuate their rule over them. But at present the foreigner is not here. Now we are an independent nation. It is only when people have separate electorate, the real representatives of the people having that system, can go and represent their views before the Government or in the legislature or before the majority community. What they want is only the right of self-expression. What they want is the right of being heard. The question which they may be agitating about may be decided in any way, but what is meant by separate electorates is only the right of self-expression and allied with it, the right of association. What harm is there, Sir, even now for the Assembly to hear me and to listen to my views? They may decide in whatever way they please, but should they be denied even this right of being heard? It is said that this separate electorate creates a spirit of separatism and hard words are being said about it. Hard words are no argument, Sir, I submit. This separate electorate is not separatism at all; it means the recognition of differences between one group of people and another; it
means that this difference should be recognised and wherever those differences come into play the real representatives of the group of people who are subject to that difference ought to be heard by the authorities; that is what it means. Therefore, it is not really a device of separating the communities. It is really a device of bringing together people. As I said, one section of the people will go to the other section of the people, the minority community will go through their representatives to the majority community and to the Government and to the Parliament. Therefore, it is really bringing the people together and not separating them. Supposing you want to do away even with this difference between people and people I first of all want to ask you whether it is necessary. As I said unity does not consist in the regimented uniformity of all the people.
Even in the present minorities and their difference cease to exist there will appear other differences and other minorities amongst the people. That is the nature of human beings. We have to face and meet such differences in the most suitable way and the most suitable way is one based upon giving contentment and satisfaction to the people concerned, of course, within legitimate bounds and limits. Therefore, I say it is not necessary to do away with such differences. It is neither right, because it will be a matter of dictation, if one group of people are asked to give up certain differences in their way of life.
Then, Sir, even supposing you persist in doing away with such differences, can you do it by ignoring them, because doing away with separate electorate means ignoring all the differences that exist between one group of people and another? Surely, Sir, ignoring them and trying to forget the differences is not the way to deal with them. It will create and breed a feeling of grievance, discontent and dissatisfaction amongst the people and this is not good to anybody or to anything.
Sir, the Schedule Castes have been given and rightly given the safeguard of the reservation of seats for them in the legislatures. They fully deserve it; they are a class of people who have been the victims of oppression, if I may say so, and so many difficulties for ages; and therefore, now when we are emerging into the world of freedom, it is only right that they should also be given the freedom of coming before the world and saying what they want to say. Therefore, Sir, this Committee has done the right thing in recommending the retention of the reservation of seats for the Scheduled castes. But when they according to the majority community form part of that latter community, they follow the same culture and same religion and when they are of the same race according to them, yet it was thought fit, Sir, that they should be given separate safeguard of the reservation of seats. When it is justified for them, Sir, is it not all the more justified in the case of other communities which are admittedly different from the majority community? Sir, this action may look like something like vindictiveness, but any arrangement based upon ill-will or vindictiveness cannot be a lasting one. I want the House to consider this aspect. The Muslims as well as the other communities want to contribute effectively and efficiently towards the harmony, prosperity and happiness of the country which is their motherland and for that purpose, they want to have equal opportunities with other people. They want to be an honourable section of the people of the land, as honourable as any other section; in the days of freedom they also want to have freedom of expressing their views. Sir, it may be said that they may express their views through the representatives elected by all the people put together. Supposing there is a difference of opinion between the minority community and the majority community, then will the representative of the majority community represent the different views of the minority, sir? Such differences may not be many, but when there are such difference they are important and it is
necessary and vital that the minority people should be satisfied on those matters.
Then, Sir, how are they to represent such matters if they do not have any representatives of their own? Then again it is said that the representatives elected by Muslims will represent only Muslim, it is communal electorate and therefore, the whole thing is tainted with communalism. I do not know what is exactly meant by Communalism itself. Even the report says that it is not always easy to define what is Communalism. If by Communalism you mean exclusiveness, fanaticism and such other things, of course, the Muslims are not for it. If to say that I am a Muslim or to say that I am a Christian is Communalism, then I do not know how to help it. How can a community help being a Muslim Community or a Christian Community? It is not a joke for the minority communities always to be courting disfavor and criticism from the majority community. They also want to live as peacefully as any other section of the people, but then why do they insist upon this system of safeguards and the system of separate electorate and reservation of seats? Because they know it is only through this they can approach, make a real approach to the other people and thereby cement the harmony to which they are wedded. It is for that purpose the Muslims as well as the other minorities want this arrangement which I am pleading for and not for any other thing; and so, it is only reasonable that where differences are concerned, they should be given an opportunity, a means of representing their views. Then it does not mean that in other matters, they cannot join hands with the other sections of the people. It is not so in actual practice. As a matter of fact every honourable Member of this House has been elected on a communal basis. For the Hindus the Muslims did not vote; for the Christians the Muslims did not vote and for the Muslims neither the Hindus nor the Christians votes, and so everybody has been elected on a communal basis. Does it mean that the honourable Members hare are not able to speak for the whole people in most of the matter that come before this House? It has not warped their mind and it has not made any difference at all in dealing with matters of general import and therefore, it is not right, it is not logical to say that separate electorates really divide one people from the other. It is really this criticism, this assault on the cherished right of the people that creates this suspicion and discontent and dissatisfaction. If they are given this right, they are satisfied, they go the right way and they co-operate with the other people, and there is harmony in the land. This right they have been enjoying for a long time, from the time when features of parliamentary rule were introduced into this country. Therefore, I say that separate electorate instead of creating any trouble is really the means, the device of bringing about harmony amongst the people. It enables you, it enable the Government to know what the respective people have got in their mind and then enables you to cure those grievances and those troubles. If you do not listen to them, if you do not know what is really at the root of their discontent, you will not be able to apply the proper remedy in such a case. Therefore, it is really a means of cementing co-operation and unity among the people.
Another feature of the report is this: it says;
"Although the abolition of separate electorates had removed much of the poison from the body politic......"
Shri B. Das (Orissa: General): Is there not any time-limit for the speeches? We must finish the debate today. If one Member is allowed to speak for more than half an hour, there are so many members who are very anxious to speak.
Mr. President: As this is the principle amendment, I have not interrupted the speaker. I hope Members will also keep their eye on the clock.
Mr. Mohamed Ismail Sahib: Perhaps this is the last time that I am pleading on behalf of the minorities over this important and vital matter. Therefore......
Shri R. K. Sidhva
(C. P. & Berar: General): There are other Members who are anxious to speak. He has already taken too much time. (Interruption).
An Honourable Member: He must be given time to explain his position. (Interruption).
Mr. President: That is why I have given this time.......
Mr. Mohamed Ismail Sahib: I think you for the latitude you have given me. Even two hours will not be long for such a subject as that.
I am quoting another statement from the report:
"Although the abolition of separate electorates had removed much of the poison from the body politic, the reservation of seats for religious communities, it was felt, did lead to a certain degree of separatism........."
Sir, separate electorates have not been abolished. We are still under separate electorates. As I said, we all Members here have been elected under separate electorates. Reservation of seats as adumbrated in the Draft Constitution has not yet come into being. I do not know how the report says that this has removed much of the poison and how the reservation of seats does lead to a certain degree of separatism. Evidently, what they mean is that the knowledge that separate electorate have been abolished has removed a little of the poison. Here again, these are hard words. As I said, these hard is words do not carry conviction and cannot be substitutes for arguments. This is what I want to submit. As I have already made out, separate electorates in their very nature are creating harmony and contentment amongst the people and enable the people to make their best contribution towards the happiness, prosperity and unity of the country. This knowledge has been there amongst the people--the knowledge that separate electorate is being abolished. Even then the people have been patient and peaceful. Why? Because they have got confidence that this august Assembly will still reconsider this question and will do them justice. Whatever that may be, I agree with one important point contained in this statement that there is now an atmosphere of good-will in the country. But that atmosphere has not been brought about in the manner suggested by the report. As I said, the trouble is not due to separate electorate of any other safeguard. The good-will is consequent upon the contentment which the people get through respect shown for their views and feelings.
Sir, I do not want to raise any controversy over the matter. I am a man of peace, and have always been working for peace and harmony. That has been acknowledged from various quarters. In this matter, I only reflect the character of my community. My community wants peace, and prosperity in the country; is wants harmony in the land. It is with that view, Sir, that I am speaking and I ask on behalf of my community that they may be given this fundamental right of representing their views before the legislatures and the Government so that they may be in a position to contribute their utmost and their best for the happiness, strength and honour of the country which is their motherland as much as it is of anybody else.
Sir, I move
Mr. President: Mr. Lari. I hope Mr. Lari will bear in mind the suggestion made by Members to be brief.
Mr. Z. H. Lari I would, Sir.
Mr. President, I express my humble concurrence with the approach of the special sub-committee appointed by the Advisory Committee on Minorities. That Approach is--to use their own words-that "the Constitution should contain no provisions which would have the effect of isolating any section of the people form the main stream of public life." I concede a minority must aspire to be an integral part of the nation.
Mr. Tajamul Husain (Bihar: Muslim): The honourable Member has not moved his amendment.
Mr. Z. H. Lari: I know parliamentary practice. I will move it. Have patience. The minority must claim only such safeguards as are consistent with this aspiration and are calculated to give it an honoured place in the governance of the country, not as a separate indifferent entity, but as a welcome part of the organic whole. I am no longer satisfied with
sending some Muslim Advocates of certain causes. It is my ambition that my representative, be he a Muslim or a Hindu, shall have an effective voice in the governance of the country. In that view of the matter, I am positively opposed to separate electorates, and I do not favour reservation of seats in the legislature. The first is positively dangerous and the other ineffectual and has the taint of separatism. But I am not content with a negative approach. It is not enough to say that reservation must cease, that it is vicious, that separate electorates is bad. These must be a positive approach to ensure due recognition of the political rights of the minorities. I want this honourable House to approach this question in the light of difficulties encountered by minorities in other secular democratic States, like Switzerland or Ireland and to consider solutions sought and found there. And this is the reason why I move, Sir, and Mr. Tajamul Husain will be satisfied now--
"That in sub-paragraph (i) of the second paragraph of the Motion, after the words 'the provisions of' the words 'article 67 and' be inserted.
That in sub-paragraph (i) of the second paragraph of the Motion, after the words 'in the said Report' the words 'with the addition that elections be held under the system of cumulative votes in multi-member constituencies and the modification that no seats be reserved for the Scheduled Castes' be inserted.
That sub-paragraph (ii) of the second paragraph of the Motion, be deleted."
My amendment merely means that there should be multi-member constituencies, of say two, three or four to be fixed by Parliament--resulting in allowing the minorities to group their votes. The solution--and I may say so with all respect, to disarm a section of the House, though it is a very meagre section--the solution that I have offered is not a Muslim League mixture, it is a solution which was made as far back as 1853 when it was advocated by Mr. Marshell in an open letter, Minorities and Majorities, their relative rights" addressed to John Russell.
The Problem of minorities is not unique to India. In all lands and in all climes there have been minorities and they have had to suffer. A writer, adapting Shakespeare coined this epigram, "Minorities must suffer, it is the badge of all their tribe". But I feel it is superficial. It is not a profound truth. To me it appears that justice to minorities is the bedrock of democracy. The reason is this. The twin principles of democracy are, one, that the majority must in the ultimate analysis govern, and second, it is the right of every individual to have some voice in sending his representative to a representative institution, and thereby have some share in selecting a government to which he owes and renders obedience. Those who have read the writings of Mill must have been impressed by his advocacy of fundamental principle of democracy, that every political opinion must be represented in an assembly in proportion to its strength in the country, and naturally so. Why is this Assembly here? The entire thirty crores of people cannot come and deliberate here. Therefore, there is the device of sending representatives. But if you adopt a method by which only 51 per cent of the people alone are represented in the legislature, it ceases to be the mirror of the nation. Now the question is, does the method of representation adopted by this House give effect to or rather does it implement the principle of democracy? At the very outset, with your permission, Sir, I will read to the House an observation of Lord Action. He says,
"The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, that succeeds. by force or fraud in carrying elections. The common system of representation perpetuates the danger. Equal electorates give no representation to minorities. Thirty-five years ago it was pointed out that the remedy is proportionate representation. It is profoundly democratic, for it increases the influence of thousands who would otherwise have no voice in the government and it brings men
more near an equality by so contriving that no vote shall be wasted, and that any voter shall contribute to bring into Parliament a member of his own opinion."
Sir, it is this solution that I am advocating before this House. The House knows that the present in the countryside, there are three political parties-the Congress, the Socialists and the Communists. Two of them have already accepted this as the proper method of representation. On October 15th 1947, the National Executive of the Socialist Party adopted a resolution, in the course of which it says-- I would again beg to be excused for quoting it--
"All elections should be by direct, secret, and adult suffrage, under a system of joint electorates. There should be multi-member constituencies, and voting should be according to the system of cumulative votes, thus providing for minority representation."
At about the time, the People's Age contained an article about this representation, and the writer wrote thus:
"The establishment of adult franchise and joint electorates will be universally welcomed as laying the basis for a sound democratic solution. We should now appeal to the people on the basis of their common interests for a joint endeavour behind a common democratic programme. But the question still remains as to how to evolve a method of representation that would enable the minorities to elect the representatives in whom they have confidence and yet not breed separatism."
And then it says,
"The best, the most democratic and non-communal way of ensuring this is by proportionate representation, the electorate method that obtains in the new democracies like Yugoslavia and in many of the old ones. In this no communal reservation would be needed."
Now, Sir, I think the House has not forgotten the three series of Constitutional Precedents prepared by this Constituent Assembly under the able guidance of Mr. Rau. In these, this question of proper method of representation for the minorities was discussed. I hope the House has not forgotten those volumes. If you will kindly refer of Series I, on page 17. the author, or rather the compiler remarks:
"One of the best safeguards for minority rights and interests in the system of election by proportionate representation."
I hope one interrupter on those seats will be satisfied that he is not a Communist or Socialist. The matter is fully discussed in another volume, the third series, at the end of page 164. The compiler says:
"There is however general agreement among the critics of proportional representation that the application of the system is a necessity in the case of countries with self-conscious, racial or communal minorities."
There you find those who were charged with the duty of exploring the possible methods of representation of minorities in a non-partisan spirit and the two major political parties, one of them likely to come into power in the future, have accepted this principle of proportional representation.
If that is not enough, you may see what is the experience of other countries. We are not framing a constitution on an absolutely new slate. There have been constitutions before: there have been difficulties encountered before and there were minorities before. The most parallel instance is that of Ireland. May I ask the House to bear in mind that in Ireland there were two religions contending against each other--the Protestants and the Catholics. Ireland too was divided as a result of agitation by the religious minorities with the result that there are two State in Ireland. At the outset both these countries adopted the system of proportional representation, Northern Ireland giving in up subsequently, where as it continues in Erie proper. What is the position there? A writer has summed up the position as follows:
"In Southern Ireland the religious question has ceased to be a dividing line in polities." In that part of Ireland where proportional representation exists the writer says that the religious question has ceased to be the dividing line in politics. The Writer
"The religious issue which used to be as bitter in the South of Ireland as in the North has ceased to be a feature in politics. There is no longer a Protestant Party and a Catholic Party. Far otherwise is it in Ulster. Proportional Representation was carrying out its beneficent work of appeasement there also. The Catholics and Nationalists were in a minority but were fairly represented and had no sense of grievance. The Catholics had some representation even in areas predominantly Protestant and vice versa. The abolition of proportional representation was followed by an outbreak of bitterness which is still to be found today."
That is the actual experience of the working of proportional representation in one part of the country and absence of it in the other.
Those Members of the House who want to keep in touch with the politics of the day do, I believe, read the Round Table. In its issue of March 1948, While discussing the reasonableness or otherwise of proportional representation in Ireland the writer says:
" The proof of the pudding is in the eating and this system of election has not only enabled every substantial interest to retain representation, but has given us stable government. It has solved so far as solution is possible for us the crucial problem of reconciling justice to minorities and the right of the majority to govern."
Here you have the instance of a country where similar circumstances prevailed, where agitation led to separation, where proportional representation has been tried in one part and give up in another. Is it not wise for us to take lesson from that experience which is similar to what prevails in our country?
Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra: What is the population of Southern Ireland?
Mr. Z. H. Lari: Are you concerned with population or you concerned with the principle? You can easily consult the Year Book and find out the population.
The Honourable Sri K. Santhanam (Madras: General): Does he suggest that there is cumulative voting in Ireland now?
Mr. Z. H. Lari: Yes, there is proportional representation.
The Honourable Shri K. Santhanam: In the Irish constitution no voter may use more than one vote and the vote shall be by secret ballot.
Mr. Z. H. Lari: Which year do you refer to?
The Honourable Shri K. Santhanam: 1937.
Mr. Z. H. Lari: It is wrong. Read it again and you will find what I say. The issue is discussed fully in the Round Table. Please read it.
The Honourable Shri K. Santhanam: Please refer to the Constitutional Precedents supplied to you.
Mr. Z. H. Lari: The same thing happened in Switzerland. The House is aware that the canton was divided into three Constituencies one was mainly Protestant and the other mainly Catholic. The result was that in one part Catholics could not be represented and in the other the Protestants could not be represented. Proportional! representation was introduced. Everybody knows that Switzerland is a happy family today, strong, democratic and secular.
The same thing has happened in Belgium. I may quote another writer again. He says:
"The non-representation of minorities in Belgium accentuated the racial, language and religious differences between Flanders and Wallony. Flanders were represented by Catholics only, the French speaking districts by Liberals and Socialists. With proportional representation members of all these parties are returned in both areas and this has brought in its train political consolidation of Belgium.
According to the theory of democracy there should not be disenfranchisement of a minority, be it political, religious or social. If you look to logic you will find that where the election is by simple majority of 51 per cent, 49 per cent is left unrepresented. If you take realism into consideration you will see the necessity that election be so managed as to give representation to every section of the people and of you want to profit from experience you will find that in those countries where this problem arose the only solution they had was proportional representation. I would
go further and say that the adoption of this method is in the national interest and that for three reasons.
1. Parliament must be the mirror of the national mind: otherwise it will not have the respect which is due to it. There are instance before where the minority has succeeded in electing the majority of the members of the House, where an election has led to the complete disenfranchisement of a section. I would point out the recent elections in United Provinces where the Socialists got about 35 per cent of the votes in 11 constituencies but not a single representative of theirs was selected. So far as the people are concerned it can be said with certainty that 35 per cent. Were behind the Socialist Party but the system of election was such that the party went unrepresented absolutely. To that extent that House has fallen into disfavour and to that extent it ceases to be representative of the nation which it seeks to represent.
2.There will be no grievance for any minority. I am not one of those who believe that all the supposed or imagined grievances of a minority must be met. They must be reasonable. Their interests can be looked after so long as they are consistent with the national interest. The moment there is antagonism of conflict between their interest and the interest of the notion the minority must go to the wall. But where national interest is preserved or is not jeopardised or imperilled it is necessary to consult minority opinion. If you do that it necessarily leads to consolidation of the State. Therefore, the second advantage of proportional representation is that it will lead to the consolidation of the State.
3. If you have proportional representation you will have an opposition in the House. You will have a party not on a communal basis but based on large national issues. You will have a party which will co-operate with you so far as the integrity of the state is concerned, so far as the advancement of the prestige of the nation is concerned. If will at the same time correct you and keep you on the right path. As soon as you hold the elections you will have in the House an opposition conscious of the dignity of the nation, conscious of the necessity of defending the interests of the nation and at the same time presenting a corrective to the majority in newly. Therefore I say that the solution which I have offered-- which is not my own as I have said, but which is age-old and which has been practised in so many countries--is the only sound one.
Now what is the criticism? Why don't you adopt it. As every Member of the House is aware proportional representation assumes different forms: there is the single transferable vote, there is the cumulative voting and there it list system. I have suggested proportional representation by way of cumulative voting. Will it may be said that it is only another form of separate electorate and that if you concede that, it amounts to conceding separate electorates. That was the criticism when I placed it before the U.P. Legislature. But you forget that conditions have changed from 1937. Take the case of the United Provinces where the Muslims are numerous. You are aware that in the U.P. there are 8 million Muslim, but their percentage is only 11 or 12 per cent. If you have three-member constituencies, nobody can be elected unless he gets 33 per cent, of the votes.
Therefore, this criticism that proportional representation is another form of separate electorate is, to say the least, very uncharitable. As a matter of fact, I have been elected by separate electorate here. What service do I do to my community? No doubt, I can come forward and air certain views, but does airing of certain views help my community? (An Honourable Member: It does) It does not. It only enables my Friends over there to make people bitter against me still further and to say that Mr. Lari has raised this question simply because it suits his community. But I want a representative, be he Sardar, in preference to Maulana Azad, provided I feel that in electing Sardar I have also a voice and
that he is bound to respect my sentiments, because he has to come again for my votes.
But take the case of the U.P. The 10 per cent, of Muslims can easily be ignored. The test of a system is to be made at critical times, at a time when passions are running high--not when things are smooth. Therefore, my submission is that you should coolly consider the question whether apart from reservation of seats, apart from separate electorates, is there any democratic method which can ensure due rights to minorities--be it political, social or religious.
The spirit of accommodation has been the underlying tone of everything that has been done by us. Only the other day by endorsing the London decision you accepted the King as the link-a king whom you previously regarded as a symbol of Imperialism and oppression of our rights. That shows how accommodative you are. Should you not display that spirit of accommodation when you are dealing with a section of your own, whom you have agreed you cannot but have as an integral part of the nation? Why not try to console my feelings, if it is possible? As I have already said, national interests must reign supreme. If it can be pointed out that national interest cannot be served or it is in danger, I will be the first person to give it up.
Shri H. V. Kamath (C. P. & Berar: General): Why did you demand Pakistan?
Mr. Z. H. Lari: Well, if it is a personal question, I may tell may honourable Friend that I opposed the creation of Pakistan at the Delhi meeting of the Muslim League. But the question is this: is that question pertinent now? Are you not nursing old grievances? I am asking you in all fairness. You say you regard me as an integral part of the nation. But the moment you raise such criticisms you give away the whole show. You show that you do not regard me as a part of the whole, that you are still harbouring old suspicions. That is not in keeping with the spirit of accommodation displayed by you.
I am sure that in spite of all these interruptions of the kind over these, the heart of this House is very sound, at least the heart of the leaders of the country is very sound and that heart will see how the Muslim heart pulsates.
Mr. Ismail spoke of the Muslim League of Madras. Will, I am not here to enter into any controversy. But I must say that so for as the U.P.
Muslim League is concerned, we have decided that the League will not take part in politics and the Madras Muslim League has ceased to be representative.
Now, Sir, if you concede that proportional representation has to be accepted, then my third amendment, namely reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes should disappear is really consequential, because once you accept proportional representation there is no scope for any reservation for any community.
But may I pause here for a moment and say a few words in regard to this? If you take away the representation for the Muslims, but at the same time continue it for the Scheduled Castes, two question arise: For an intelligent mind, possibly they may not be of value. But to sentimental minds they are of great importance. The Muslim man in the street will naturally say: "Well, the Scheduled Castes are a part of the Hindu community. There is no antagonism between the Hindus as such and the Scheduled Castes. Apparently you give representation to the Scheduled Castes, because you feel possibly that you will not be able to return sufficient number of Scheduled Castes to the Legislature. If the electorate is wide awake, if the electorate is conscious, if the electorate is aware of the necessity of having representation of every portion of that community then you cannot say that reservation is necessary. The reservation shows that you are not feeling strong on the point. There is a suspicion in some minds that possibly we will not be able to overcome prejudices of the Caste People and thereby ensure the quantum of representation of the Scheduled Castes." The Muslims will say "you have not got that confidence in regard to the Scheduled Castes who have always been
part of you. What about the Muslims who are still regarded in certain places with suspicion"? And there was some ground for suspicion because as you right said Muslim India is tantamount to Muslim League India. That is true: I do not deny it. Why should you create the impression in the Muslim mind that while you are solicitous of the interests of the Scheduled Classes and are conceding representation to them, you do not care and you are not mindful of the interests of the Muslims and, although you say that the majority community will be generous and will consider it its duty to return Muslim representatives in enough numbers, you have not at all shown the same care and the same solicitude for the Muslims? It may be that the Muslims, you think, will be able to secure representation in spite of the majority.
That is the first consideration which must weigh with the Honourable Sardar Patel. He must consider it in the psychological background.
The second thing is this: If you concede the principle of representation by reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes, do you not accept that such reservation does not go against the national interests? If it goes, why accept it? If it does not, why do you say that the Scheduled Caste people have unanimously expressed the view that they want reservation? But was the Muslim view sounded on this question? I do not think the members of the Advisory Committee- I regret to say, it is another matter I would have expressed the same opinion in the Advisory Committee If I had been there, because I do not want reservation of seats--belonging to Muslim community have got any hold on the country and cannot possibly commit the Muslims to any line of action. If you want the true opinion of that community the proper thing to do would have been for Sardar Patel to convene a meeting of the Muslim Members under his Presidentship, place the facts before them and invite opinion. I personally do not think that any member of the house should go with the feeling that the vocal members have their way and that they carry day. I am a vocal member but other members are not vocal. I do not want that my colleagues should feel that I, without consulting them and under false pretence assured Sardar Patel that this is the position. Therefore I say there are two courses open. The first is not to give reservation of seats to anybody. That is in the national interest. But if you want to give it or take it away on the basis of the view of the minority ascertained. I say in fairness to may colleagues, who cannot express themselves as loudly as I do, that this course may be adopted. I proceed on the assumption that the past has been forgotten. Those who refuse to forget the past, I do not take notice of. I know that their number is small. If it were opinion of the majority it will be dangerous to ignore it. But knowing as I do, I proceed on the assumption that the past should be forgotten. I am here as an integral part of the Indian nation. In that capacity alone I advocate certain courses before this honourable House. It is for the majority to accept or reject what I say. History will judge who was right. Majority sometimes is in the wrong and minority need not necessarily be always in the right. But I have the satisfaction in my own conscience that what I say is proper and in the national interest of the community. I am satisfied that it is also in the wider national interest of the nation as a whole. On that basis I have made this motion before this honourable House. I appeal to the leadership of the country to consider the matter afresh. First you should consider whether it is not possible for them to adopt a method which has been practised by others and has been successful and has not endangered the stability of the State. That would I think solve the problem for all times to come. Let us have experience of this system for ten years. The Constitution can be changed any time. Why not accept if the minority say: Let us have proportional representation?' Why not have it for two elections? Are you going to bind the
succeeding generations? You are not. Perhaps you will say, "Why not you try this? It is a reasonable question. But I may point out that at that time possibly I may not be here. There is a great danger in that. But you try it for five years and if it works any danger to the integrity of the State, give it up. You formerly resolved to have reserved seats. Now you say, 'No'. What is there to prevent you from amending the Constitution six years hence? Therefore I say, be fair, be generous. (Interruption). If not generous, at least be fair. I appreciate the interruption. Generosity does not appeal to me also. It is the language of the weak and the imbecile. But fairness is the right of any citizen. Therefore I say, be fair. Let us consider the question and in doing so invite also neutral thinkers and politicians from Switzerland or other countries. Let us invite them to consider this question and, if they say that I am wrong, you may proceed as you like. But, for God's sake, do give a chance, not to me as a member of the Muslim community, but to me as a member of the Indian nation. Give then: a chance to survive and to play their part in the larger interests of the country.