Another consideration in that regard is article 13, sub-clause (f) of clause (1) which confers the right to acquire, hold and dispose of property. There is, of course, a proviso to that, proviso No. (5); "Nothing in sub-clauses (d),(e) and (f) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes, or prevent the State from making any law imposing reasonable restrictions on the exercise of any of the rights conferred by the said sub-clauses either in the interests of the general public, etc., etc.". Bearing these two articles in mind, I have suggested this amendment to clause (2) of the proposed draft article 24. That is to say, I want to provide specifically that even in the case of industrial property including any interest in or in any company owning any commercial or industrial undertaking, the principles and the manner of payment of compensation shall not be justiciable. That would approximate to the principle of non-discrimination as between industrial property, and landed property with regard to which certain provinces have already taken action. I have provided for only the amount of compensation being made justiciable, because the Prime Minister stated in his speech today that the few have also to be protected, and therefore I feet that the only safeguard that they can,have is as regards the amount of compensation. On no other ground can they go to the court and question the principles or the manner of payment of compensation.
Lastly, I would refer to the Government of India Act mentioned in clause (6) of the proposed draft article 24. Section 299 of the Government of India Act lays down in sub-section. (3) that Bills passed by the legislature of a State need not be submitted to the Governor-General for his assent. I fear that the power conferred on the President to give or withhold his assent might lead to serious complications in future and the only way to obviate any conflict between the States and the Union is to confer sovereign powers upon the legislature to acquire any property which is within the purview of the State.
Sir, I commend my various amendments to the House for its serious and mature consideration.
Mr. President: Mr. Brajeshwar Prasad, you have several amendments in your name; but it does not appear how they will fit in with the present discussion and the present amendments. Some of them are with reference to the present amendment which has been moved by the Prime Minister. Others referto the previous amendments which have not been moved. Those which refer to the previous amendments, I rule out. There is thus one amendment No. 387 where you want to substitute "President" for the word "law". You have already spoken upon this subject at length and I take it as moved.
"That in amendment No. 369 of List VII (Seventh Week), in clause (1) of the proposed article 24, for the word 'law', the words 'the President' be substituted."
Prof. K. T. Shah (Bihar: General) : Mr. President, I have also got several amendments. May I give you a list of the numbers ?
Mr.President : I have got a list.
Prof. K. T. Shah: These amendments are taking the place of those which I have submitted to the original article and therefore, those are not to be moved.
My first amendment is number 388
"That in amendment No. 369 of List VII (Seventh Week), at the end of clause (1) of the proposed article 24 the following proviso be added :
'Provided that no rights of absolute property shall be allowed to or recognised in any individual, partnership firm, or joint stock company in any form of natural wealth, such as land, forests, mines and minerals, waters of rivers, lakes, or seas surrounding the coasts ,of the, Union; and that ultimate ownership in these forms of natural wealth shall always be deemed to vest in and belong to the people of India collectively; and that they shall be owned, worked, managed or developed by collective enterprise only, eliminating altogether the profit motive
from all such enterprise."'
The next one is amendment No. 394.
"That in amendment No. 369 of List VII (Seventh Week), in clause (2) of the proposed article 24,-
(i) for the words 'No property' the words 'Any property' be substituted; (ii) for the words 'shall be taken' the words 'may be taken' be substituted; (iii) for the words 'unless the law provides for compensation' the words 'subject to such compensation, if any' be substituted; (iv) for the words 'acquired and either fixes the amount of the compensation, or specifies the principles on which, and the manner in which, the compensation is to be be determined the words 'acquired as may be determined by the principles laid down in the law for calculating the compensation' be substituted;"
If you will permit me, Sir, I may read the amended clause which would be clear instead of in this disjointed manner. The amended clause will read thus :-
"Any property, movable or immovable, including any interest in, or in any company owning, any commercial or industrial undertaking, may be taken possession of or acquired for public purposes under any law authorising the taking of such possession or such acquisition subject to such compensation, if any, for the property taken possession of or acquired as may be determined by the principles laid down in the law for calculating the compensation."
"(v) the following be added at the end:
'Provided that no compensation whatsoever shall be payable in respect of
(a) any public utility, social service, or civic amenity which has been owned, work managed or controlled, by any individual partnership firm, or joint stock, company for more than 20 years continuously immediately before the- day this Constitution comes into force. "
I have added the word "immediately". I have an amendment No.490 in this respect. That means, not at any time, but immediately before.Then, Sir,
"(b) any agricultural land forming part of the proprietary of any land-owner, howsoever described, which has remained uncultivated or undeveloped continuously for ten years or more immediately before the day this Constitution comes into force;
" (c) any urban land, forming part of the proprietary of any individual partnership firm or joint stock company, which has remained unbuilt upon or undeveloped in any way for fifteen years or more continuously immediately before the day this Constitution comes into effect;
" (d) any agricultural land forming part of the proprietary of any landowner, howsoever described, which has remained in the ownership or possession of the same individual or his family for more than 25 years continuously immediately before the day when this Constitution comes into operation;.
" (e) any mine, forest or mining or forest concession which has remained in the ownership or possession of the same individual, partnership firm or joint stock company for at least twenty years immediately before the day this Constitution comes into operation;
"(f) any share, stock, bond, debenture or mortgage on any joint stock company, owning, working, managing or controlling any industrial or commercial undertaking which has been owned, worked, controlled or managed by the same joint stock company, or any combination or amalgamation of it with.any other company for more than thirty years continuously immediately before the day this Constitution comes into operation,
which has paid in the course of its operations and existence in the a the shape of dividend or interests, a sum equal to or exceeding twice up value of its shares, stock, bonds or debentures;
whose total assets (not including goodwill) at the time of the acquisition by the State of any such undertaking are less in value than its total liabilities."
The next is No. 410 which has already been moved by Mr. Kamath and I do not wish to take the time of the House over that. Next is No. 419. I move
"That in amendment No. 369 of List VII (Seventh Week), in clause (4) of the proposed article 24,-
(i) for the words 'If any' the word 'Any' be
(ii) for the words 'has, after it has been 'the words 'may be be substituted;
(iii) the word, 'received the assent of the President,' be deleted; and
(iv) for the words 'assented to' the word 'passed' be substituted."
Sir, I move :
'That in amendment No. 369 of List VIl (Seventh Week), in clause (6) of the article 24, for the words 'not more than one year' the words 'at any time' be substituted.'
I also move:
'That in amendment No. 369 of List VII (Seventh Week), in clause (6) of the proposed article 24, for the words beginning with 'may within three months and ending with 'Government of India Act, 1935', the following, be substituted :
'shall not be called in question in any court on the ground that it contravenes any provision of this article.,,
Sir, I now speak to all the amendments, which, taken together, make a constructive proposition, and an alternative to the policy laid down in the amendment moved by the Honourable the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister 'has advanced the proposition that under this Constitution, there shall be, no expropriation without.,compensation. I am afraid I am unable to share this view, if'it is to apply to all property indiscriminately and without modification. For not all property is such that the present holder or owner of it can claim, in justice, in ethics, any right to be compensated since the origin of property is not aways unquestionable.
A great French thinker asked the question 'What is property' and he answered it by saying 'it is theft'. I am afraid 'theft' perhaps is very often too mild a Word because much of the property has been acquired-if you go into the origins of this-by force, fraud and violence which under any system of ethics can hardly be justified. If you are going to seek to compensate those who have acquired property, no matter how long since, by such means as force or fraud or violence .or theft, I am afraid you would not be acting up to the ethical standards which are supposed to animate this Constitution.
Mention has been made by one of the previous speakers in the course of this debate, of slavery the right to own human beings, prevailing in the Southern States of the United States which was abolished at the cost of a civil war. That form of property had to be abolished, and to the best of my recollection, without any compensation. True, compensation was given for the slave-holding owners in the British West Indies Colonies by the British Government when they decided without any violence to abolish slavery. But the ethical proposition does not become objectionable because in the case of the United States, and many other countries instances can be quoted-where nefarious forms of property have not been compensated for by those who expropriated the owners of such properties.
In this case I suggest that there is a certain divergence between the sense of economics and of ethics. Property is not an ethical institution, I venture to submit. It is an economic institution with close connection with ethics. I may say the economics has suffered because of this divergence from ethics, and holding property sacrosanct and demanding compensation even if the property is acquired by force or fraud or is used or abused or even unused.
At a later stage I shall come to that part of the argument which seeks to give compensation without any condition, or according to my amendment, which restrict compensation by certain conditions. But at this stage I am concerned to point out that there are public utilities, social services and civic amenities which under the existing system are under private enterprise. They are owned by individuals who derive considerable profit. By their nature they are monopoly or they have become monopoly; and whether operated by individuals, partnership firms or joint stock companies, they tend to rob, in my opinion, the community of that which belongs and ought to belong only to the community.
For such, therefore, I venture to submit there should be no compensation. The amendment I have suggested says
that whatever may have been the case hitherto, hereafter, under this Constitution, no absolute right of property shall be allowed or recognised, whether in any individual, in partnership firm or in joint stock company, which concerns the working, controlling managing or operating of any public utility, social services or civic amenity; and that these shall be in future operated entirely for the public benefit by public enterprise in which there shall rot be any private profit in the least.
I trust the actual wording of my Amendment in that regard will be carefully scrutinised by those who may not take the same view as myself. I have been very moderate in laying down the conditions. I repeat I refer only to the future, without regard therefore to what has happened in the past, in regard even to these utility services and amenities. I consider, even in regard to that future, the absolute right of ownership should not be recognised under the Constitution in anyprivate concern whether individual or firm or company. But hereafter they must be operated by collective enterprise for the common benefit without any profit motive. I trust the essential mode-sty of this demand will be accepted and recognised and the Prime Minister would agree to accept this amendment.
Passing on to clause (2), I have suggested that there should be a positive clause. Instead of opening the clause in a negative manner, which somehow seems to suggest that the primary right and overriding right is that of the individual. I would lay down rather positively the right of the State or of the community to acquire any property if for any purpose it deems it necessary to do so. It has been limited by the words 'for public purposes'. In 'public purposes' I include, not merely the non-remunerative and common civic amenities e.g., when you want to clear the slum of a big city and acquire the ground held by tenements, you may keep up that ground for public purposes in the shape of parks or open spaces- I think that would be a very legitimate category of "public purpose'. But there may be public purposes which are not only of that character-not only for building open spaces, parks or gardens; not only for building schools, hospitals or asylums, but even for building those lands on a more economic and more profitable scale- I mean profitable to the community and not to any single individual.
Acquisition of lands for public purposes, acquisition of any form of property, movable or immovable, for any public purpose, including the working of that enterprise for the benefit of the public, is, I think, an inherent right of the sovereign community which should not be subject to any exception of the type implied if not so much laid down in the wording of this clause (2). I have therefore suggested that any such property to be acquired can be acquired for public purposes without defining what is exactly meant by 'public purposes' subject to such compensation if any. I would like to sound a distinct note of warning in connection with the calculation of compensation-in fact on the very basis of compensation. Not all property is deserving of compensation nor should the Constitution recognise categorically without qualification or modification the right to compensation as appears to me to be the case in the clause under discussion and hence the amendment I have suggested to it. I would certainly leave the margin of doubt whether any compensation is ever due and must be paid in every case without question. Doubt having thus been expressed by the term "if any" I would also go further and say one thing more : viz., that property having been acquired, movable or immovable, the law' should lay down the general principles according to which the, compensation will be calculated and the law should not try to lay down the exact detailed amount for each case.
I would now give you my reasons for objecting to the laying down of the amount in law, and preferring to lay down the principles according to which compensation should be calculated. The amount, if laid down by the
Legislature, which presumably will be dominated by parties, is liable to be fixed more, perhaps for party reasons than because of the inherent or intrinsic justice of each claim, apart from the fact that the Legislature would be involved in endless series of individual recognitions. I think it would be ethically wrong for the legislature to go into the details of each valuation, let us say of each estate, each share or stock or debenture as the case may be. Now, it would be the best course for the Legislature to lay down only broad principles according to which, in any case, where it is decided to give compensation, that compensation will be calculated., and the calculation should be made- by tribunals which tribunals, as I have always been insisting, should be free from any influence or contact with any otherorgan of the Government, whether executive or legislative. You will be doing the right thing if you entrust the administration of tile principles that you lay down in your sovereign legislature to the judiciary.
Having said this, I next lay down certain categories of' property in which, according to my judgment, no compensation should be due or be payable, and that I contend, is inherent both in the economics and ethics of the case I am trying to advance. That is to say, any agricultural property which may form part of any proprietary, which is utterly unused for a number of years, neglected for a number of years, may be taken over without payment of any compensation. The land has remained utterly unutilised, or the zamindari has become unsocial, and therefore for that unsocial act, for that act of negligence, or for that incompetence or indifference the community is not bound to compensate the owner. I, therefore suggest that in the case of any property which is capable of being properly used, which is capable of adding to the growth and wealth of the co unity, but which on account of the indifference, incompetence, negligence or otherwise of the owner is not so utilised, the owner does not deserve to be compensated and the community would be wrong if it gives any compensation in respect of such items of property.
I say the same thing with regard to public utility and social services which may have been hitherto- operated by private individuals, corporations or firms and which. according to general principles, should not have been left in their hands. But since they have been there, let us compensate them, provided that these have not been held for a period exceeding the one I have suggested or some such period. Again, the basic principle of my argument is the same. They have gained from this kind of monopoly, from this kind of public service, a profit and a surplus far in excess of what should be legitimate, to the exclusion of the public benefit, and therefore, they have no right to demand compensation for such services. If the period for which they have held it is in excess of the one I have mentioned, the presumption is that they have already had more than enough, they have compensated themselves more than enough. Therefore no compensation is, in law or ethics or economics, due to them and should be paid to them.
Similarly too with regard to urban lands which very often is held merely in the hope that by development of population, by the growth of population, the development of social services, and of public utilities the value of he land will be increased. People simply do not want to invest any more capital and just wait, until purely by the conjunction of and by the operation of social forces, the value of the land is increased. They simply allow the forces of nature to play upon such lands, and therefore no compensation should be paid to them. I think they are social offenders and the community would be well within its rights to deal with them as social offenders for having taken potential sources of production and not utilised and developed by them. Therefore, they are not entitled to demand any compensation for this kind of unsocial or even anti-social behaviour.
I pass on now to other forms of
natural wealth such as mines, forests and mining concessions which are also in the nature of monopolies. They are gifts of nature belonging to the community, but have been alienated from the community to private individuals-I will not use a harsher term. If these have fallen into hands of individuals because of our helplessness or by reason of the foreign rule, we see no reason why we should go on recognising this injustice, this robbery of the people's right. Therefore, I do not think that for these mines or mining concessions, forests or forest concessions, any compensation is due. If operated for the given number of years I have stated, the, holders have in all conscience received more than enough and therefore, theycannot demand any more compensation, whether they be coal-miners, or iron miners, or gold miners. Compensation for them would be utterly unjust and must not be allowed.
Apart from these forms of natural wealth, I pass on to the next, industrial and commercial undertakings which is their own way, are no less offensive than perhaps the primary sources of production like land, mines or forests. These too have got into private hands, because of the prevailing economy of those days, and it is now too late to complain. But the have been operating, and those of them which have been operating for a number of years, have been earning sizeable profits from this operation, these should not be entitled to demand compensation, as they have already received enough, in my opinion, and more, enough and to spare, for times to come.
The three categories I have laid down are, first, those who have been paid in the aggregate more than twice the amount of their share capital or debentures or stock or whatever it may be, so that in a period of so many years they have already reimbursed themselves, and consequently therefore it is necessary, it is but just and proper that the community should be called upon to take over their enterprise and conduct it in the way that it deserves to be conducted in a properly coordinated and planned economy for the nation: Those again, who have held it for the entire period, say for thirty years, whether with or without profit, have proved themselves either too,incompetent or unprofitable and therefore they do not deserve, to continue holding the property. 'Therefore they should be expropriated. The others have already received sufficient and more than sufficient to reimburse themselves for any investments they may have made, and therefore they are not entitled to any further compensation. I do not wish to offer examples of mining concerns and concerns connected with basic industries like iron and steel, banking and insurance which have in the last generation or more, particularly since the Swadeshi movement, tried and earned very fat dividends,.very large, surpluses, which should be taken to have more than reimbursed them; and now in these cases, particularly those which are of basic necessity for the country's development, to pay compensation on anything like the artificial value which is given to them is, I submit, utterly unfair and ought not to be permitted. I have therefore suggested by this amendment that no compensation shall be payable to categories of property of this kind.
Lastly, in the case of the industrial and commercial undertakings, in the case of - those whose liabilities and assets do not tally, whose assets are much below their liabilities and therefore it being always a losing concern, for compensation to be given to such concerns would be putting a premium on wastefulness and extravagance. and uneconomic working and therefore ought not to be allowed. Time and again, the State has taken over in the past enterprises which were in the previous two, three or four years so wasting their resources as to make themselves a white elephant. I am particularly speaking of some of the railways which had to be taken over by the State and which under the terms of the agreement worked in such a manner that the assets received were much below Any real value of the liabilities that they
will Out upon us. The any such case, therefore, I submit it is unfair, it is unwise, uneconomic, unethical, to offer any compensation merely because it is a losing concern or that the owners have, proved themselves utterly incompetent and undeserving of any compensation merely because of their own negligence they have failed to make both ends meet,
The other amendments which I have tabled are of a procedural character and as such I will not take too much time of the House on them. I do not think it is desirable that any room should be left for an avoidable conflict between,for example, the head of the State and the legislature. Therefore clause (3) which suggests that every Bill of this kind may be reserved for the assent of the President and make it an item of importance is in my opinion unwise and therefore ought to be avoided. I have therefore suggested that that clause be deleted.
Similarly, in the case of pending Bills or Bills which have been passed one. year before or at any time before this Constitution comes into force,, there should be no need, in my opinion, for any reservation, for the approval or the assent of the supreme executive authority in the land and create a kind of tension between the Central authority, the national authority and the local or State authority as the case may be. I trust these points that I have advanced so briefly would meet with the approval of the House and the amendments work be accepted.
Shri Jadubans Sahay (Bihar : General) : Mr. President, Sir, I beg to move:
"That in amendment No. 369 of List VII (Seventh Week), clauses (2), (3). (4). (5) and (6) of the proposed article 24 be deleted."
My justification for moving this amendment must have been very clear to the Members by this time. The draft article as it stands before us is, I venture to submit, one of the most wonderful examples of chaos and confusion of ideas. Nowhere possibly you will find such a conglomeration of things, such a confusion of ideas, on such an important and vital issue as this concerning the property of the country. As an august body, we are going to lay down the foundation of property for future legislatures and for the posterity of this country, but I venture to submit that we have utterly failed in this task. It must be apparent to the members of this is House that the more the two differing schools of thought have tried to compromise their view-points the more confounded has this entire draft become. You know that the question of property has been engaging the attention not only of this country but of other countries as well. Agrarian and industrial reforms have set at naught centuries-old definition of property in many countries. It was expected of us that at least on a matter affecting the teeming millions, on a matter affecting the future economic structure of the country, we should come out with a clear-cut economic formulation of policy regarding property. But what we find is that the draft has not been able to inspire confidence in any class.
Take the industrialists and capitalists. They are not satisfied with it. Take the landed magnates They are not satisfied with it. So far as the teeming millions are concerned, they would not be satisfied with it, had they the voice to lay before you their feelings regarding this Draft Constitution. They in whose name we have come here and for whose sake no doubt all of us possibly are making this Constitution,-what are we giving to them ? I will not enter into the controversy as to whether compensation as provided in this article can root out the growth of capitalism that is taking place in this country so rapidly and which is bound to affect the future political economic and other growths of the country.
Suffice it to say that the conception of property has been changing. The world has been changing. From the Divine Right of the sovereign we have, come to the sovereignty of the people. But our mind- have not been changing so far as the concrete realities of the question of property are concerned. Are we going to hold out hopes for the
future- that industry in this country will be nationalised or socialised in the interests of the masses of the people ? No. This Constitution does not hold out any hope; rather it binds down the future generation, the future legislatures, to pay full compensation to any industry which they may want to nationalise.
This article has not created any enthusiasm in the mind of anyone. So far as. Bills, are concerned, what do we find? There is confusion reigning there because in one province we find that a Bill which is pending is given recognition here. Is it the duty of the constitution-makers to deal with Bills which are pending, which have not gone, to the Select Committee. So far as the amendment is concerned, I am seeing that chaos and confusion reigns everywhere. What would be the, effect on other provinces ? Leave the case of the U.P., Madras and Bihar. What policy are you going to lay down for the guidance of Assam, Bengal and also C.P., where zamindaries may be abolished in the future. Would they be asked to pay compensation or would they get protection under clauses (4) and (6) ?
I would beg to yoy to consider that this article is the most important in the you whole Constitution and it is an acid test of the Members of this House. We have failed because like what we are on every other thing we have become victims of confusion. When problems face us we shirk them or we try to interpret them in two different ways. There are two schools of thought and one of them should have found place here-it is either compensation or no compensation. It is quite a different thing to say that we should not, in the present state of our country, in the present crisis in the country, proceed in a way that such a legislation might overawe our industrial magnates and make capital shy. I think the State legislatures and Parliament will certainly take note of the crisis In the country. But it is quite a different thing that for all generations to come you are going to bind the hands of the future by such provisions. It is because of this possibly that we have not enunciated clear economic policy to the country.
My forebodings may not be correct, but I fear that upon this Constitution, possibly the whole labour we have put in in this House for the last two years, might be thrown away, because it is bound to be one of the most controversial things, for we are taking a line which is neither to the left, nor to the right nor in the centre. There is conflict and confusion in our minds. Therefore I have in view that only the first clause Should remain and all others should be deleted. Let it be left to the State legislatures or Parliament or to our leaders who run the government to give direction to the country, to say how laws should be formulate regarding property in any province. But for God's sake do not burden this Constitution with all such things which you do not find in any other constitution of the world.
Mr.President : Amendments Nos. 390, 391, 392 and 393 are ruled out.Amendment No. 396 is verbal and need not be moved. I call upon Mr. B. Das to move his amendment No. 397.
Shri B. Das : Sir, I move :
"That in amendment No. 369 of List VII (Seventh Week), in clause (2) of the proposed new article 24. for the words 'unless the law provides for compensation' the words 'unless the law provides for or and equitable compensation' be substituted."
With your permission, Sir, I would also move amendment No. 427:
"That in amendment No. 369 of List VII (Seventh Week), in clause (6) of the proposed article 24, for the words 'not more than one year before the commencement of this Constitution' the words and figures 'after August 15, 1947' be substituted."
Sir, I support the motion moved by the Honourable Pandit Nehru. I think it my two amendments are accepted by the House It will just clarify the situation so that we do not fall into the traps of which we just now heard form our honourable Friend Prof. K. T. Shah, who is going to be the leader of the Opposition in the Parliament a few days hence.
On the 9th August 1942
all our leaders were incarcerated for giving the nation the battle slogan "Quit India" and they came back sanctified, and determined to achieve our FREEDOM. In 1945-46 our leaders issued the Congress election manifesto to the nation in which, referring to the reform of the land system and acquisition of property, they declared :
"The reform of the land system which is urgently needed involves the, removal of intermediaries between the peasant and the State. The right of such intermediaries should therefore be acquired on payment of equitable compensation."
It has been recognised by a majority of Congress leaders outside and some of them inside that equitable compensation should be paid for properties acquired. Somehow there has been a big controversy both inside and outside the House that nationalisation and expropriation should prevail and not fair and equitable compensation. Unfortunately when Congressmen came into power in 1947 some of the younger section of the party began to talk of nationalisation and expropriation. Today some of them are Members of this House and even of the Congress Government and they are silent over the word .expropriation' which has 'been enunciated so definitely by the democratic socialist leader, my old friend Prof. Shah.
We Congressmen have an onerous duty to the country. Are we to fall into the trap of the Socialists and take shelter under the law and pay no compensation in the name of the law or are we to stand by the Congress Parliamentary manifesto that equitable compensation should be paid ? That is why I want the exact words of the manifesto to be introduced in the amendment of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
As regards the second amendment where it has been said "any law that has been passed one year before the commencement of the Constitution," I find that others too have tabled amendments to the effect that it should be one and a half years. Why mince matters ? We attained our freedom and independence - though that independence is today qualified by our kowtowing to the Commonwealth countries. Why not say "any law that has been passed after the 15th August, 1947" ? This does not alter materially the amendment which Panditji-has moved but it fixes a date which is well known and it is no use talking of one year before the commencement of this Constitution.
Coming to the motion moved by Pandit Nehru, whether my amendments are accepted by the House or not, I have to accept it, because there has been no fairer proposition that has been tabled or moved by any other member of the House. In accepting that we must admit that we recede from our original ideals. We go back on the election manifesto that gave to the country high hopes and high ideologies, for the last four years-the election manifesto of 1945-46. Perhaps as we exercised power, power-politics have upset the leaders of the nation and the leaders of the Congress Party feel that idealism is not the right thing and that there must be compromise in life
But I am not one who will be cowed down by the Socialists. If the Socialists want to succeed the Congress in the country, let them plan out what they will do. Except making a few criticisms of Congress leaders in the press and on the platform the Socialists have not evolved or done any constructive work in the country whereby they show their fitness to succeed the great Congress Party in the country in the control of the administration of the nation, I was amused to read a little note in the "Statesman" this morning where the writer has mentioned that the Socialists have formed themselves into the Social Democratic Party in the Parliament to oppose the Congress Government. He says that besides irresponsible talks-irrelevant garrulity inside, the Assembly and little action outside, they have not so far produced any planned programme by which they can establish better Government in the country, or rather Government to usher in a peaceful era of constructive Socialism. If I am to understand the Socialist programme as my Friend Professor K. T. Shah enunciated a few minutes
ago, they want expropriation of all properties. I interjected "Why does not my Friend Professor K. T. Shah want to expropriate all movable properties of the citizens of India?" That will give him and the Socialist Party a certain amount of property and wealth by which they can carry on their so called programme, as the Pakistan Government is carrying on by confiscating properties worth Rs. 4,000 crores of displaced Hindus and Sikhs who have migrated to India. That is not the right solution. Expropriation is not the right solution to produce better wealth. Expropriation will not work the industries that Professor K. T. Shah and perhaps the Socialists want to work in the country for greater production and larger prosperity and wellbeing of the people. No industry can survive if it is expropriated. If expropriation will make the Socialist labour workers to do better work to produce more, I think they are thinking on wrong lines. Unless there is adequate production on man-hour basis, whether industries are private-owned or Stateowned, such industries must produce enough to maintain the national credit of India. If my Friend Professor K. T. Shah, who was the Secretary of the National Planning Committee, after writing those beautiful and studied volumes has come to the conclusion that national credit cannot be maintained unless you expropriate all property, be it landed property or be it public utility concerns or other concerns, if that is the sort of dreams that Socialism has, then I pity the Socialists and they will never be at the helm of the Government of India in the near future.
In supporting Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's motion I accept the compromise. It does not satisfy my soul, but it satisfies the present exigencies and on that ground I support it.
Mr. President: Amendment 398 is to the same effect as 397. Also 399 the first part of it-is to the same effect. Therefore these need not be moved.
Shri Jaspat Roy Kapoor: May I submit that part (a) is something different from amendment 397 or 398 ?
Mr. President: You may move clauses (b) and (c) ot your amendment.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad : (b) and (c) have also been covered already-by amendment 389.
Mr. President: Yes, that has been moved by Mr. Jadubans Sahay. Therefore all these amendments need not be separately moved.
Shri S. Nagappa (Madras : General): Mr. President, Sir, I move:
That in amendment No. 369 of List VII (Seventh Week), in clause (2) of the proposed article 24, for the words "for compensation for-" the words "compensation not more than 5 per cent. of the market value of" be substituted.
When these words are substituted the clause will read thus:
"No property, movable or immovable, including any interest in, or in any company owning. any commercial or industrial undertaking, shall be taken possession of or acquired for public purposes under any law authorising the taking of such possession or such acquisition, unless the law provides compensation not more than 5 per cent. of the market value of the property taken possession of or acquired" etc.
We have made this article non-.justiciable. When we do so there must be some principle. What is the maximum that we can pay as compensation? We are not going to pay justiciable compensation. Whatever we give is supposed to be just and equitable. All these days the State has given protection to the zamindars or capitalists to acquire the properties. Now we are requiring the properties for the State, for the good of the State, for the betternent of the common people in order to maintain the national economy of the country. So we Must also take into consideration how these capitalists and zamindars have been responsible for the fall of national economy by not utilising the property in a proper manner, that is to say, by not roducing the required amount of value out of the capital that has been in their possession. As a result of that they have been responsible for the fall of production. Let us for example take a zamindar who owns thousands of acres of land. At times because he may not find
enough manual labour he may not cultivate the whole land and most of the land goes fallow. Or even if he does it he may not do it with all the intensity that is required and necessary, and he may not produce the quantity that can be produced from that land. So he has been responsible for the fall in the national wealth. He therefore deserves not compensation but something else. He must be taken to task for having deprived the nation of the national wealth.
Now we are glad that the country has realised that we should not allow properties to be owned by either individuals or corporations, but that all property should be, at the disposal of the country as a whole. We have been abolishing the zamindari system. It has already been commenced in two provinces. Now, to whom does this land go? It should not go into the hands of petty zamindars. It must go to the State. We should not create innumerable petty zamindars in the place of a few. 'That is not abolition of zamindaries. Now if you give more compensation, it will mean purchasing the zamindaries and not abolishing them. When you acquire properties for State purposes, the State should have control over them. After all the person who is in possession is there only to make use of the land. He need not own it. A pattadar today is not the owner of the land he is using. Government is the owner because the Government has conquered it inch by inch and should therefore be the owner. The pattadar has only the right of using the land. He canont say that the land belongs to him. Even the zamindars were there having the custody of the land on behalf of the people, that is all. They were collecting also rent from the people. Now you are taking away the right to collect rent and giving the land to the people who have been under the thumb of the zamindars cultivating it. You are not taking the land to the State. You are taking away the land from the zamindars and creating a number of chota zamindars, more numerous than the former. That way you cannot solve the land problem. The solution of the problem lies in nationalising or socialising the land. The people of the locality must be the owners of the lands; the tillers of the soil must be the owners. Then only you cad say that you have acquired the land for State purposes. Until and unless this is done you can not say that you have solved your problem.
We decided in the beginning that our aim is to establish a co-operative commonwealth. Unless you socialise the land you cannot have that commonwealth. The lands acquired from the zamindars must be plotted out on a co-operative basis and given to well-trained cultivators with instructions that they grow more and more food. Now what I propose is that while you acquire land for this purpose it is just and proper that you pay 5 per cent. or less. With these few words I commend my motion for the acceptance of the House.
Mr. President: Amendment No. 401 of Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad is covered by the amendments already moved.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: No, Sir.
Mr. President : All these expressions 'fair compensation'. 'full compensation', etc., mean the same thing.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: There is a shade of difference between-them.
Mr. President: Well, shades of differences are matters for drafting. Amendment No. 402 is also covered.
Pandit Thakur Das Bhargava (East Punjab: General) : This item (iii) of 402 is entirely different. This is not covered.
Mr. President: Only item (iii) in amendment 402 which seeks to introduce appropriate" before the word "principles" is new. You may move it.
Pandit Thakur Das Bhargava: I beg to move:
"That in amendment No. 369 of List VII (Seventh Week), in clause (2) of the proposed article 24- before the word 'principles' the word 'appropriate' be inserted."
Then, Sir, I move:
"That in amendment No. 369 of List VII (Seventh Week), in clause (4) of the proposed article 24, after the word 'Constitution' the word 'and designed to execute a scheme of agrarian reform by abolition of Zamindari and conferring rights of ownership on peasant
proprietors for such compensation as the Legisature of the State considers fair', be inserted."Mr. President: Your amendment No. 479 cannot be moved. It is covered by previous amendments. You may move amendment No. 487.
Pandit Thakur Das Bhargava : 'Then I move :
"That in amendment No. 369 of List VII (Seventh Week), in clause (2) of the proposed article 24, after the words 'or specifies the' the word 'proper' or alternatively, 'fair' be inserted."
Next I move, Sir,
"That in amendment No. 369 of List VII (Seventh Week), in clause (3) of the proposed article 24, for the words 'having been' the word 'is' be substituted."
Mr. President: Your amendment No. 503 is covered by amendment No. 389. Amendment No. 512 also cannot be moved.
Pandit Thakur Das Bhargava : Then with your permission I move:
"That in amendment No. 369 of List VII (Seventh Week), after clause (6) of the proposed article 24, the following new clause be added :-
'(7) If any State passes a law designed to execute a scheme of agrarian reform in the State by abolition of Zamindari conferring rights of ownership on peasant proprietors or at least rights of occupancy for such compensation as the State Legislature considers fair on the lines of the law referred to in clause (4) of this article, such law shall be submitted by the Governor or the Ruler as the case may be, to the President for his certification. If the President by public notification certifies the law, it shall not be called in question in any court on the ground that it contravenes the provisions of clause (2) of this article'."
In regard to the amendments, I beg to submit that the present principle of acquisition of property for public purposes is sought to be saved by clause (5) of the proposed article. The existing law is contained in Act 1 of 1894, according to which, before property is acquired or requisitioned, compensation is to be paid. The compensation which is laid down by the law to be paid is the market value of the property at the time of the acquisition plus 15 per cent. for disturbance. I understand that clause (5) of article 24 saves that law, so, that before any other provision is made by the legislature subsequently. this law will hold the field, and if any land is acquired, it will be acquired according to this law. Under the present law, an executive officer determines the compensation but his determination is not final. A person aggrieved from this order can go to a civil court or a District Judge and there get the order revised, if he is not satisfied by the order of the executive officer or the revenue officer or whoever the officer determining the compensation may be. After that, it becomes a civil suit and the civil court will find out what the market value is and add 15 per cent. to it. This is the present law. According to amendment No. 369, if any law is passed by the legislature subsequently, then that law will be on the lines given in article 24.
Now, this article 24, as it is, seeks to delude any person who reads it that he has got a justiciable right. We have been told times without number not in this House but in other places, that this right is justiciable. Exception was taken on the core that it should not be justiciable so far as zamindars are concerned. The whole dispute centered round this question whether the right given by article 24 of the Draft Constitution was justiciable or not. From the very start I have been of the opinion that there is little of justiciability in article 54 of the Draft Constitution. because after the legislature has laid down the principles, those principles become unalterable. 'These principles cannot be questioned in any court of law. Nobody can agitate before a court that the principles which have been approved by the legislature fail to give adequate compensation. The word "compensation" itself means a good quid pro quo' In the word "compensation" itself the adequacy and fullness of the consideration is implicit, though doubts have also been thrown on this connotation of the word "compensation". I do not know
whether this word compensation has got this meaning or not, but as I understand this article 24, I am absolutely clear in my mind that if clause (2) remains as it is on the Statute Book, then the legislature and not the courts shall become the final arbiters of the compensation.
It would follow that if the principles are given in a piece of legislation, those principles will ultimately decide-what the compensation has to be. of course, if practically no compensation is given, a man can go to a court of law; otherwise he cannot go to a court of law. Thus if the compensation paid is a fraud upon this section, then in that case the matter can be taken to courts. It means that if instead of 100 rupees one rupee is paid, then it will be complete destruction of the word "compensation". If out of one hundred rupees one rupee is paid, it will be a fraud; if ninety-eight rupees are given or five rupees are given, it would not be a fraud. I think Sir, that this clause (2) is at present a fraud on us because I understand that it is not justiciable. It is made to appear to be justiciable to convince the general public. My submission is that it can only be justiciable in one way and that is what I have submitted for your consideration in my amendment No. 402 that the word "appropriate" be added before the word "principles". If the House accepts this it will mean that the principles must be appropriate, must be fair, and the application of these appropriate principles must result in one thing viz., that full compensation, or fair compensation will be given. My submission, Sir, is that if the word "principles" remains here without any adjective, I am sure the clause is not justiciable. Therefore if the House accepts my amendment, then we can make this right justiciable, as it is evidently the intention of the framers of the Constitution that it should be so. And 'so my submission is that the House will be well-advised to accept my amendment.
I have heard the arguments of my Socialist friends who are of the view that if the legislature fixes some compensation, or the principles, then the courts should not have any power, should not have the final say in the matter. I do not quarrel with them because it is only a point of view, but to those of us who believe that the courts in this country, as in all other, countries, are the final arbiters of civil rights, to them it is very clear that this article 24 goes against the very principal of justiciability and the rights of property, even as recognised and guaranteed under article 13.
Now, Sir, the Honourable Prime Minister, when he moved this amendment, told us that the rights of the individual as opposed to the rights of the community should also be considered. I quite agree. in the Objectives of our Constitution, we have already laid down that we want to ensure justice, economic and social. I want that the dignity of the individual and theunity of the nation must be there. I think, Sir, that we should arrive at a happy blend between the rights of the individual and the rights of the community, and in this regard the Congress and the whole country is committed to the abolition of the zamindari. We shall not be in the, right if we go back and say that there will be no abolition of zamindari. I do not want that the whole thing should be resolved in this manner. Every person in this country should understand and accept the principles, the broad principles of legislation in this respect.
With regard to clause (4) I have seen the legislation of the U.P. and I am satisfied with the principles which govern this legislation. The whole idea of that legislation is that the peasants should become owners of the property, that every person must be made the owner of his land, so that he may take full interest in the land and develop it as much as he can. I accept the principle that if for the purposes of agrarian reform by virtue of which the peasants or the tenants are made proprietors and the zamindari is abolished, then in that case such compensation may be given as is equitable and in that
case the State Legislature may be the final arbiter and the best judge of it. Therefore, I have put in an amendment No. 514 which seeks to have another clause, namely clause (7) wherein I say that if such an occasion arises when any State in future also wants to have a law, like this, it can have the benefit of the law under clause (4).
In regard to clause (6) I have given an amendment that it should be deleted. I am not satisfied with the Bihar law at all. I went through the Bihar law and when I read its provisions, I was simply startled. Its provision says that from a certain date when the public notification is there, all rights of property will be confiscated and those persons who were owning properties today will become only occupancy tenants if they possess, Sir, lands. So far as this, law is concerned, the Bihar Government is not affected at all because if they want to have a law on this new basis, if they abolish zamindari and then create instead peasant proprietors with full rights of ownership, I am one with them. There is another amendment sought to be moved by Messrs. Munshi and Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar and that amendment says that if such law goes to the President, the President shall have the power to require any specified amendments to be made in such law.
Moreover I cannot understand why Madras, U.P. and Bihar Governments should have such laws passed in this manner and other States should be denied the liberty of having the Zamindari dissolved. I think we ought to be fair and equitable. If the basis of the U.P. legislation is accepted by law, we should see that that principle is applied to all the other cases. These words "that there must be an agrarian reform by abolition of Zamindari and conferring rights of ownership on peasant proprietors" are there in my amendment and these principles are sound. They have been sanctified by experience of ages, of course there are the people who have owned those properties for a long time and on account of their absence from their places the exercise of rights by those people cannot be so useful to the community as in the case of others. Unless this exception is made and this is made applicable to all the provinces, this will not be fair.
I have put in amendment No. 496 which seeks to substitute the word "is" for the words "having been". If my amendment is accepted it would mean that the Provincial Government will thereby be compelled to hold it for the assent of the President and then the. President will give the assent because today, supposing a Provincial Government does not hold the Bill back for the assent of the President, then a difficulty would arise as it may not be allowed to go to the President at all.
In regard to all these, I have to submit that these fundamental rights we have been told are justiciable, times out of number. Now I see that attempts are being made to see that the rights which are guaranteed to the citizens of India are being taken away, one by one. Two or three days back, I had occasion to say that article 16 was sought to be taken away and it will be taken away and article 13 is also I see being burdened with such reservations and being subjected to such modifications that it is also being taken away. The accursed article 15 is neither fundamental nor justiciable.
If we really mean to have a Constitution of this nature for which we have been boasting all over the country, we should not enact a provision like article 24 because it is the very negation of the rule of courts in this country. In our country where we have got this freedom without going through any bloody revolution, it is necessary that we should see that discipline and democratic ideals are installed in our hearts and that the law of the land becomes the law by which every person is governed. Unless and until the courts are em powered, and the courts are the final arbiter of the civil rights and of the liberties of the people, I feel that if the legislatures alone are given the power we are coming to a point where fiats of executive officers will deny us our
rights and this would be very wrong. I feel in the activities of the Government a tendency that everywhere we seek to destroy the powers of the courts and substitute therefore the power of the legislature or the executive.
What is an executive officer ? Supposing an executive officer has to decide my fate; he is the person who is interested in getting my property and giving me a very small compensation. That is not fair. He should not be a person who should represent the Government's interest in all the stages. The courts will also be appointed by the Government. Let those courts decide our civil rights so that people may have confidence; and moreover, Sir, in regard to ordinary properties excepting the Zamindari, etc., I am not fully satisfied as to how the principle of superiority of the rights of the community has precedence over the rights of the individual. After all where is the law that you should usurp the rights of the individual with a view to benefit the rest of the society excepting that individual ? The salutary rule which we have accepted for the last sixty years and more is that the present market value is the proper basis for fixing the amount of compensation and this should not be departed from, unless for scheme of agrarian reforms involving millions of people and multiplicity of litigious suits. I understand that my socialist friends come, here. Some of them are very rich themselves and do not practise what they preach and are engaged in amassing as much property as they can lay their hands upon. I just want to submit for the consideration of the House the views of the common man. The common man does not recognize your doctrines of "Property is theft". He believes in the sanctity of property. Supposing any land or house is taken away for the purpose of a railway line or some undertaking of the Government, no doubt for a public purpose, will any one be satisfied if he is not given full compensation, and is there any valid reason why he should not be fully compensated ? As a matter of fact no one will feel confident if you enact laws as you propose to enact that not the courts. but the executive officers should be the final arbiters of the civil rights of the people, and it is not politic to undermine the confidence of the people.
Dr. P. S. Deshmukh (C.P. & Berar: General): Mr. President, Sir, I move :-
"That in amendment No. 369 of List If (Seventh Week), in clause (2) of the proposed article 24, after the words 'is to be determined' the words 'and paid' be added."
Sir, I have also given notice of another amendment which is No. 434, I do not propose to move the first portion by which I sought to add 24A, but I wouldbeg leave to move the last portion, Sir, which is styled here as 24B and if it is accepted it will have to be numbered as 24A.
Sir, I move :-
"That with reference to amendment No. 369 of List VII (Seventh Week) after the proposed article 24, the following new article be added:-
'24A. Nothing in this Constitution shall prevent the Parliament from exercising jurisdiction over, and the State Legislature from acquiring any properties movable or immovable belonging to any public charitable trust without compensation and for the purpose of better utilization and management of the trust property."'
Sir, this is undoubtedly a very important provision in the Constitution and it is not therefore surprising that we have been deliberating with regard to these provisions for a very long time. In spite of our efforts, it has not been possible to evolve a formula which is acceptable to everybody. Sir, the claims to property or our outlook towards property is next only to individual liberty the very essence of all political thought and constitutions. More and more as time advanced, the outlook towards private property has been undergoing very great changes. On the one hand there has been a system of excessive capitalism; on the other we have the instance of Russia where all private property was confiscated. India has come into its own as one of the greatest nations of the world and
on this one thing as to how we regard private property is going to depend the state of politics if not the governance and fate of this country.
The formula that has been presented here in the shape of this article, in my opinion, is a half-hearted one. It neither protects private property, nor does it confiscate it. If it is necessary to respond to the cry of the people who are more and more being dominated by proletarian ideas that all land, all mines and all things belong to the people as such and there can be no preserved or separate right of any individual with respect to it. If we wanted to give effect to this or to respect the wishes of the people or act in consonance with this demand of the people, which, in spite of all our efforts to keep communism away, is getting more and more popular with our people, if we do not want to go back on the of-proclaimed promises held out under different conditions and- circumstances, it would be necessary for us to go much further than we have been able to go in this particular formula. But, Sir, I wish to advise a cautious attitude. I believe, sooner or later, there will be no private property in India. We are fast approaching that ideal, that goal, or that catastrophe if you like to describe it in that way. But, for the present, I would have liked to keep the thing in a somewhat fluid, undefined and elastic condition by accepting the amendment that has been moved by my honourable Friend, Mr. Sahaya.
I think, Sir, as I have advocated on many occasions, that we should not try to commit or fetter the powers of Parliament in such a matter and at this stage any way. This is a matter which requires very careful and thorough consideration and I feel at the present moment it is impossible for us to spare for it the time that is needed. In my opinion we have hardly had time to collect all the relevant information and if I may say so, the worthiest amongst us has not been able to decide upon a definite policy with regard to property as a whole in the whole of India. It is clear from the nature of the amendments that have been given notice of and put forward in this House that very few people including my friends the Socialists have a clear conception as to how exactly we are going to deal with these rights to private properties, whether we are going to preserve them or whether we are going to abrogate them so far as all private property is concerned. of course it is noteworthy that even Socialists have not advocated expropriation.
That being so, it is not at all easy to determine, where the limit may be set or where the line should be drawn. Especially when we are making a constitution, we have no time to investigate the various circumstances of this whole sub-continent, where the conditions vary from district to district and vary still more immensely from province to province. Each one of us has different ideas and there are every where different tenures of land, Jagirs, Zamindaris, Izardaris, Malgujaris, etc., and it is not possible for us to deal with them all in one way or to evolve a formula which would be not only acceptable to everybody, but of which we shall be able to say for certain that it is going to achieve the salvation of India, and that no other solution would be better fitted to meet the circumstances of the case.
From that point of view, I would have much rather liked that all that we say and provide is the first clause which is of course the same as in the Government of India Act : "No person shall be deprived of his property save by authority of law." If we had done this, then all the various things that we have included in the article as it has been placed before the House by the Honourable the Prime Minister would have been unnecessary. The article has perforce to be an involved one; there have got to be 'save' and 'except'; there have got to be "notwithstanding" this and that; "nothing in this will apply to that" and "subject to what is stated" etc. I do not think we are in a position to judge of the future so quickly and in such definite terms as to lay
down a certain formula which will be, without doubt, of benefit to the whole country. I would therefore urge that all that we should say is that Parliament may by law determine property rights from time to time.
There have been two interesting speeches delivered by my honourable Friends, Mr. Kamath and Professor Shah. They have described property by quoting certain definitions. Mr. Kamath said that some one had defined property as theft. My honourable Friend, Prof. Shah has gone further and quoted that it was described as "robbery, dacoity, deceit" and what riot. shudder to think what will happen to the fine sherwani which Prof. Shah is wearing or the silken upper garment that Mr. Kamath puts on on his shoulders if we were to accept any of these definitions and give effect to the purpose behind the definitions. But, we are unable to fly so high or accept the ethical and spiritual heights to which our spiritual friends, if I may be permitted to say so, have flown. We cannot in this important matter commit our future successors to any policy which will fetter their discretion, and which will probably create innumerable difficulties in their way. We are also in the midst of a financial crisis; ;t is not a crisis of this country alone; it is a crisis which the whole world has to face.
Under these circumstances also, even if we do not like it, we have got to curry favour with capitalists and those who have got large properties and in view of the results that may accrue, we cannot wholly disregard them. On the other hand, there, is the demand by the people that they want to own,' and to re-distribute the whole land. In the province of Berar, more than two-thirds of the land, I think, is owned by money-lenders. It is natural when the whole nation is thinking and becoming conscious, that they should not like any individual proprietors to monopolise such extensive properties.' Therefore, the pressure is going to be more and more that there shall be a re-distribution of property especially landed property. If we wish to resist this demand, then we will have to make up our mind solidly and plainly say that private property rights which are existing at the present moment shall continue to exist. But we cannot have a half-hearted, half-way house like the one which has been presented here, which neither takes us nearer those whom we wish to please, nor shall we be consistent with what we have declared from time to time. Under these circumstances, Sir, I think it would be better to leave the more detailed description of the rights to property to the future Parliament.
Sir, the second amendment that I have moved refers especially to religious trusts. I know, Sir, that most people are aware of the way in which these religious trusts are managed and I think it is necessary that the question of compensation cannot arise in this case. The sooner we utilise these vast properties for the benefit of the nation, the better it would be. This is something that is extremely desirable, and I hope, Sir, that this addition that I have proposed to article 24 would also be accepted.
Mr. President: Amendment No. 405: that is covered by the amendment which has just been in moved by Dr. P, S. Deshmukh. Amendment No. 406: Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: It is already one o'clock, Sir.
Mr. President: We shall then meet at four o'clock.
Shri H. V. Kamath: May I suggest, Sir, that we might meet at nine o'clock in the night, if that be convenient to you ?
Mr. President: I think it suits Members more to meet at four o'clock rather than at nine o'clock. The House stands adjourned to four o'clock.
The Assembly then adjourned till Four of the Clock in the afternoon.The Constituent Assembly re-assembled after Lunch at Four of the Clock. Mr. President (The Honourable Dr. Rajendra Prasad) in the Chair.
Mr. President: Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: Sir, I beg to move:
"That in amendment No. 369 of List VII (Seventh Week) after clause (2) of the propose(? article 24, the following proviso be added :
'Provided that when any such law provides for the acquisition by any State of the interests of the Zamindars of various degrees and other intermediaries for the purpose of abolishing the Zamindari system, it shall be sufficient if the law provides for the payment of compensation amounting to not less than twelve times the estimated average net income of the Zamindar of any degree or any intermediaries whose interests are to be acquired."'
My amendment No. 417 is already covered.
I move :
"That in amendment No. 369 of List VI (Seventh Week) for clause (5) of the proposed article 24, the following be substituted :-
'(5) Save as provided in the next succeeding clause, nothing in clause (2) of this article shall affect the provisions of any existing law or of any law which the State may hereafter make which imposes or levies any tax or penalty which seeks to promote public health or to prevent danger to life and property.'
I also move No. 425.
"That in amendment 369 of List VII (Seventh Week-) in clause (5) and in clause (6) of the proposed article 24, the words "Save as provided in the next succeeding clause" be deleted."
I also move
"That in amendment No. 369 of List VI[ (Seventh Week) in clause (6) of the proposed article 24, the words, figure and brackets 'clause (2) of this article' be deleted."
I do not move No. 439.
The proposed new article 24, to say the least in effect though not in appearance, a most revolutionary provision. It indicates a serious departure in the policy of the Government. The article is simple-looking, but as I have already indicated in effect it is extremely dangerous.
The crux of the whole problem before the House, so far as this article is concerned and which affects the various, amendments, centres round one important principle viz., the principle of compensation. Should you or should you not pay compensation for lands and properties acquired for public purposes ? Compensation, before this new article 24 was ushered into this House, had a definite meaning. Compensation meant that sufficient, fair, legal or equitable compensation must be given. Whatever be the description you must pay for what you take. That was the idea in India before article 24 was introduced and that is still the idea in all civilized countries. That was the idea in India before this article came into the scene. Sir, the payment of fair compensation seems to me to be so just, so fair and so reasonable that it would not have required any arguments to support the idea. There is the provision for payment of compensation in the new article. But in view of the context, and in view of cetrain pronouncements and in view of certain subtle provisions lying concealed within its meshes, one should proceed rather cautiously and warily in dealing with this subjects.
The situation has become much more difficult on account of certain pronouncements in this House by our honoured Prime Minister. Sir, I have the highest respect and affection-my humble respect and affection for him-but the legal proposition which he has enunciated requires respectfully to be dissented from. He has in effect said that property belongs to the public, to the people. I do not quote him verbatim, but this seems to be the effect of what he said, that "property belongs to the people, and the people want it, and therefore they must take it; compensation or adequacy of compensation does not enter into the picture". But as I was submitting, the adequacy of compensation or its fairness and the like is the most vital thing. So, far as the entire civilized world is concerned, the law is that whenever you take property for public purposes, you pay fair and adequate compensation.
It is only in Russia that property is taken without compensation or only with mere nominal compensation. We are today going to imitate the example of Russia, a singular example in the civilized world in this respect. That is the example which we are going to follow. In fact, so far as this matter is concerned, there is no difference between the authors and the
Supporters of this article, and the Communists today, except in the manner of their approach, except in the method of the execution of their policy. Sir, believe the Communists, the Socialists and the supporters of this article would kill and extirpate the middle classes and the uppper classes altogether. These three groups of persons agree amongst themselves in their ideal, they differ only in their methods of approach and in the practical way of attaining it. Whilst the Communists would kill them by use of force, and violence, while the Socialists would kill them-as apparently Prof. K. T. Shah would do by arguments and speeches and theories, the sponsors of the present article would kill them by legal means. There is essentially no difference in the ultimate effect or desire. The question now is this, We are in the middle of a road and the road bifurcates. Which way to proceed is the question, to proceed as the Communists have done or to proceed along the road that the entire civilized world has followed ?
Sir, I shall briefly state before you the law of compensation in all civilised parts of the world. The whole subject has been dealt with very elaborately in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, subject-Compensation, Vol. VI, pages 177 to 179. I do not want to go through all of it, but only mention certain points. Compensation, according to that great authority is "reparation or satisfaction made to the owner of the property which is taken away by the State for State purposes. The right of individual ownership is challenged in Russia which has abolished the the right to private property and it for alleged public purposes without compensation. But to however, the U.S.S.R. has been compelled to reverse its policy. influenced by communism and these States, in the name of has expropriated a large extent, They are now agrarian reform have expropriated private property either with inadequate compensation or without any compensation."
Sir, I go to other parts of the world, the entire civilised world. There individual ownership is recognised not only in the civil law of the entire civilised world, but also in the international laws, both in times of peace and of war. It is stated in that authoritative work that even in peace treaties following World War one principle that was respected by the Nations was the inviolability of private property. So far as the civil law is concerned, the French Civil Code says that "no one can be deprived of his property except for purposes of publicutility and for adequate compensation.,?' The Belgium law is to the same effect. The Italian Code says that in order to acquire property by the State, "previous payment of just indemnity" is necessary. The Spanish Code is to the same effect, namely, that compensation must be paid on a "just valuation". The law in the South American States is similar. The German Code in article 153 says that "adequate compensation" must be given. The law of the United Kingdom is that "full compensation" must be given. The U.S.A. law says that "just compensation" shall be given.
An Honourable Member: You are repeating.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: I am quoting from a very recognised authority and from a recent edition, and saying that this is the law in the whole civilized world. Should we follow the law which the civilised world is following or should we follow the Russian method of expropriation ? That is the question. So far as the present article is concerned, I wanted to insert certain words, such as "fair compensation" or "full compensation" or "just compensation". But an Honourable Member has already moved a similar amendment and so I did not move mine as mine suggested merely verbal variations. The substantial question is whether we should provide in our Constitution that whenever there is a law for acquisition of property by the State for public purposes, we should provide therein that the law must also provide for "fair and equitable" compensation. As I said just now, up to yesterday, the law was thus, and the point would not have required any clarification. But in
view of certain declarations in the House and the language of certain clauses and sub-clauses, I think this clarification is very necessary. In fact if we really want to expropriate private property for public purposes without compensation or with a nominal compensation, that should be stated fairly, fully and openly. Instead of that there is the provision for payment of compensation. It leaves the Provincial Governments free to expropriate land on a nominal compensation. The article provides a loophole, a linguistic loophole, through meaning in civilised countries all along has been the same.
I submit that compensation should be full, fair, just or adequate. If we do not state it, these will be serious mischief committed against private property. If we do not respect private property all talk of fundamental or constitutional rights will come to naught. We have already passed article 13 where in sub-clause (f) of clause (1) it is said "All citizens shall have the right to acquire, hold and dispose of property." If we allow right to acquire, hold or dispose of property it follows that if anybody took it full price should be given.
We hear of nationalisation. If nationalisation is to be effected free of cost, it would degenerate to a kind of cheap nationalism. It would be just adding to the practical ruination of our credit structure which we have already succeeded in achieving. If we go to the public for subscription to large limited companies for industrialisation there is no credit and no money. Our capitalists are gone. Now we have been driven to go to the foreign markets not only for loans of very big sums but also to induce them to open commercial undertakings in our country. There are the glaring examples of some clauses in the article which stare us in the face to which I shall draw the attention of the House. Will any foreigners, who are to be credited with a little shrewdness and business acumen, think of investing their money in industrialising our country whereby they stand to lose in two ways ? They will stand to lose or partly lose through expropriation their capital and capital appreciation, if their business is successful, and then by helping India to be industrialised they lose their own business at home. In such circumstances there is a double check upon flow of foreign business in India.Then there is clause (5) of article 13 which limits to a certain extent by prescribing certain restrictions. The only restriction mentioned is "reasonable restriction on the exercise of any of those rights for the general public." The only condition is that I must not "exercise' my rights over property to the detriment of the public. Rights to property are never contemplated in article 13. I submit that article 24 will go directly against article 13 in this respect. However, as I said in the course of the debate earlier, in connection with a point of order, we have a right to be inconsistent. The point of order raised was no real one. It was only a glaring piece of injustice to which the honourable Member put his finger in raising the point of order. If we adopt clause (4) of the article then serious in-justice will be perpetuated. Hence I opposed the honourable Member who raised the point of order. But I fully sympathist and agree with him and lend my feeble support to his view that this clause is a most pernicious one which will perpetuate injustice on a large scale.
Coming to the vital matter which lies concealed behind these amendments is the question of the abolition of the zamindari. Somehow or other some persons think that zamindari property is no property at all and they should be expropriated without any mercy or compensation on the absurd ground that it would be for the benefit of the public, as if the zamindars do not form part of the public at large. I might state here frankly that I am not a zamindar and I have no interest in zamindars at all.
Mr. B. Das: I think you are zamindar.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad : Mr. Das says that he thought that I was a zamindar . . .
An Honourable Member: He might
wish you the pleasure of the thought.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: Mr. Das thinks of many things which are unreal. I was a very petty zamindar but I sold away my interests 5 or 6 years ago, for I saw what.was coming. Today I am independent, free and disapassionate, a man having absolutely no interest in that question. I am safe and happy. But those poor zamindars who believe in the stability of the law of the land are today sadder, though wiser. In this business we should proceed upon constitutional principles of rights of property and so on. If it is necessary that zamindaries should be acquired, of which there is no doubt, all that I claim Is that proper compensation should be paid When the Bank of England was nationalised full compensation was given to the shareholders. In India when we nationalised the Reserve Bank the full market price was given, though at a time of depression. The question is, does zamindari property differ from other properties so as to receive this step-motherly treatment? The zamindars are small in number and are scattered. They have tenants to contend with and the Government find themselves in the happy position that they can kill them without anyone weeping for them. If we destroy civil rights the effect of it would be that it will recoil on us in no distant time.
With regard to zamindari property we should know what it means. There was nothing like a zamindar during the period of the Hindu kings. During the Muslim period they were unconsciously created as a matter of administrative necessity. On account of the exigencies of the situation military governors were despatched to distant corners of India to maintain law and order, to maintain military outposts and to maintain themselves out of the revenues of the local areas.
Shri Biswanath Das: We all know the history.
Mr. President: The honourable Member should remember that we have to finish the discussion of this article tonight. All this discussion may be interesting but let us confine ourselves to the article.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: All that I am emphasising before the House is that zamindari property is like any other property. Zamindars were unconsciously created by the Moghul emperors in order to make it easy for them to realise rents to maintain themselves out of them and many people voiunteered to collect rents. From these beginnings the zamindaries were formed. Zamindaries were transferable like any other properties and for the speedy realisation of revenue the early British administrators provided for the sale of the, zamindaries for arrears. Zamindari is like an ordinary property. The present body of zamindars have paid for them with hard money. Therefore, if we can confiscate zamindari property without sufficient compensation, we would also confiscate any business concern or limited company on the alleged ground that they will be for the 'benefit of the public.' There are many properties or business concerns which come to people like windfalls. If they have acquired any right even by a windfall, should that be any reason for confiscating such property for the benefit of the public without paying compensation? I submit not. Then why is it that in the case of zamindari property this distinction is being made? I have in amendment No. 406 put a limit to the payment of compensation. I have put it at 12 times the estimated net annual income of the zamindar. In fact, the ordinary rule of valuation of such properties is twenty times on a 5 per cent. income basis. But I would put it at 12 times the- annual net profit. That would be a via media between utter confiscation and . . . .
Shri Biswanath Das: On a point of order, Sir. We are not discussing the question of compensation; we are discussing amended article 24 wherein authority is being provided for legislation to be undertaken. There is therefore, no need for all this.
Mr. President: The honourable Member wants to limit the discretion of future legislation with regard to compensation by laying down a certain figure and I think lie is perfectly in order in doing that.
Naziruddin Ahmad: I am grateful to you, Sir, for this clarification. Mr. Biswanath Das has not followed the amendment or my speech. I want to limit the payment of a minimum compensation to 12 times. For instance, in the U.P. they desire to pay 8 times. I want to make it 12 times. The U.P. legislation has another loophole. Out of the income, the estimated agricultural income-tax is to be deducted. The estimated agricultural income-tax has been introduced recently. It comes to half or even more than half in the higher regions of income in the case of big zamindars. In that case, 8 times the annual income would actually mean something like 4 times the annual income. This 8 times is an exaggerated and illusory figure. In reality it is much less. So I wish to put a limit by means of proviso to clause (2).
The other point to which I wish to draw attention is the deletion of clause (4). If we keep it, the effect will be that any law which has been passed and receives the assent of the President will be regularised, but any law which has not been passed or may be passed hereafter will not stand in this advantageous position. So the Provinces which have passed the law before will be in a more advantageous position. They will not need to pay compensation as required in clause (2). Why should this distinction be made between Provinces who were first in the run and those who were late? The principle of compensation is binding on all There should be no discrimination between one Province and another on the mere ground that it has come earlier.With regard to another amendment to clause (5)-it amounts to certain verbal alterations to give effect to the principle I have chosen to submit.
Then there is an amendment to clause (6) which will also seriously affect the Compensation question. This clause says that laws which have been passed with-in one year would be valid notwithstanding clause (2) of this article, i.e. notwithstanding it provides for even no compensation at all. These matters centre round the payment of adequate compensation. If we really do not pay adequate compensation, it will be injustice committed on a large scale and clauses (6) and (4) are so worded as not to give obvious and necessary information. One has to guess the object of these discriminatory provisions. The real purpose has been left concealed. If the principle of compensation is binding on one Province, it should be binding on-all. If any Province has made any law which would contravene this principle, to that extent it should be ultra vires and void. We are inserting article 24 in the Fundamental Rights Chapter and in clause (2) we have provided that whenever any law is passed which contravenes wholly or partly the fundamental principles of these articles, the law would to that extent be void. Why should therefore there be any exception in the case of Provinces which have disregarded the principles of clause (2) ? These principles are immutable and must be respected in all cases, and if there has been any violation it has been a deliberate violation of a sound principle and should not be excused. I submit that the law of compensation should apply to all equally. I regret very much that I have taken a little more time than I might have, but I believe that the case goes without much attention in the House and that is my excuse for speaking at length.
Mr. President: Amendment 409-Mr. Bharathi
Shri L.Krishnaswami Bharathi (Madras: General): Not moving.
Mr. President: Amendments Nos. 416, 417 and 421 are covered by amendments which have been moved already. 423.
Shrimati Purnima Banerji (United Provinces : General): Sir, I beg to move:
"That in amendment No. 369 of List VII (Seventh Week), in sub-clause (b) of clause (5) of the proposed article 24, after the word 'property' the words 'or for ensuring full employment to all and securing a just and equitable economic and social order' be added."
Sir, the object with which I move this amendment is to give effect to some of the principles and clauses which we have already passed when laying
down the Directive Principles of State Policy. There we have stated that the State shall endeavour to secure a society in which justice, economic, political and social, shall inform all the institutions of the State. We have already said that an adequate means of livelihood to men and women shall be provided and the economic resources of the country shall be so handled as to avoid concentration in the hands of a few and to avoid its working to the detriment of the common people. At that time when these clauses were under consideration we also felt --and some of us felt very strongly-that in the Fundamental Rights the right of livelihood, the right of earning honourable bread, should be guaranteed to all people. But at that moment we realised that in order to do that a new order of society will have to come into being which possibly will take some time and therefore the right of livelihood was included in these Directive Principles of State Policy. We consider these Principles to be absolutely essential and in fact our guiding star in the future. For that reason, if provisions are not made in this article dealing with Property Rights and the economic policy of the future State is in any way fettered and made rigid, we feel that-we shall not be able to succeed in these articles which we have already passed.
Mention has been made of the U.P. legislation, the Abolition of the Zamindari Bill. Perhaps some of us recall that at that moment we had also passed a resolution saying that the U.P. Assembly stands committed to the principle of abolition of capitalism. If that resolution has to have an effective meaning and if we are to see that the 'country does develop upon such lines as will harness the resources of the State for the common benefit, it is most essential that when public good should so demand we should be able to do so. Provision should be made that compensation should be paid, as it has been proved that we are all anxious to pay compensation, but if we are not able to do so, the clause should provide the taking of property without it. We are all anxious to see that a peaceful transference of society takes place and therefore there is no fear of our expropriating anyone. As you see, the U.P. Abolition of Zamindari Bill not only gives the zamindar compensation but also gives rehabilitation grant. So it proves that it is not in a vindictive spirit that the House in the future may or will function or the new order that is to be created will be pursued in any arbitrar way. If in keeping with this spirit an occasion should arise, as it may arise, when the capitalist system prevalent in the country should be taken in hand for the common good, a provision should be here so that this Constitution may provide for all future development and thus command prop-or respect from the people and may have in it the seeds of that future development upon which the welfare of our country depends.