Constituent Assembly Of India - Volume VII
Dated: December 01, 1948
The Constituent Assembly of India met in the Constitution Hall, New Delhi at Half Past Nine of the Clock, Mr. Vice-President (Dr. H. C. Mookherjee), in the Chair.
Shri H. V. Kamath (C. P. & Berar: General): Sir, before we proceed with the business of the day, may I request you to be so good as to see that my learned friend, Shri Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar, who is frequently called upon to give us the benefit of his sage counsel is allotted a seat somewhere in the centre of the hall, neither too much to the right nor to the left so that he may be heard and appreciated in the House?
Mr. Vice-President (Dr. H. C. Mookherjee): We shall try to meet the wishes of the House.
We finished our discussion on Article 12 and Dr. Ambedkar gave his reply. I am sorry I cannot accommodate those Members who want to reopen it. I shall now put the different amendments to the vote one after the other.
Mr. Vice-President: The question is:
The motion was adopted.
Mr. Vice-President: The question is:
The motion was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President: The question is:
The motion was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President: The question is:
The motion was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President: The question is:
The motion was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President: The question is:
The motion was adopted.
Article 12, as amended, was added to the Constitution.
Mr. Vice-President: We shall now take up article 13 for consideration.
Shri Damodar Swarup Seth (United Provinces: General): Sir, I beg to move:
Sir, article 13, as at present worded, appears to have been clumsily drafted. It makes one significant omission and that is about the freedom of the press. I think, Sir, it will be argued that the freedom is implicit in clause (a), that is, in the freedom of speech and expression. But, Sir, I submit that the present is the age of the Press and the Press is getting more and more powerful today. It seems desirable and proper, therefore, that the freedom of the Press should be mentioned separately and explicitly.
Now, Sir, this article 13 guarantees freedom of speech and expression, freedom to assemble peaceably and without arms, to form association and unions, to move freely throughout the territory of India, to sojourn and settle in any territory, to acquire and hold and dispose of property, and to practise any profession or trade or business. While the article guarantees all these freedoms, the guarantee is not to affect the operation of any existing law or prevent the State from making any law in the general interests of the public. Indeed, Sir, the guarantee of freedom of speech and expression which has been given in this article, is actually not to affect the operation of any existing law or prevent the State from making any law relating to libel, slander, defamation, sedition and other matters which offend the decency or morality of the State or undermine the authority or foundation of the State. It is therefore clear. Sir, that the rights guaranteed in article 13 are cancelled by that very section and placed at the mercy or the high-handedness of the legislature. These guarantees are also cancelled, Sir, when it is stated that, to safeguard against the offences relating to decency and morality and the undermining of the authority or foundation of the State, the existing law shall operate. This is provided for in very wide terms. So, while certain kinds of freedom have been allowed on the one hand, on the other hand, they have been taken away by the same article as I have just mentioned. To safeguard against "undermining the authority or foundation of the State" is a tall order and makes the fundamental right with regard to freedom of speech and expression virtually ineffectual. It is therefore clear that under the Draft Constitution we will not have any greater freedom of the press than we enjoyed under the cursed foreign regime and citizens will have no means of getting a sedition law invalidated, however flagrantly such a law may violate their civil rights.
Then, Sir, the expression `in the interests of general public' is also very wide and will enable the legislative and the executive authority to act in their own way. Very rightly, Sir, Shri S. K. Vaze of the Servants of India Society while criticising this article has pointed out that if the mala fides of Government are not proved-and they certainly cannot be proved-then the Supreme Court will have no alternative but to uphold the restrictive legislation. The Draft Constitution further empowers the President, Sir, to issue proclamations of emergency whenever he thinks that the security of India is in danger or is threatened by an apprehension of war or domestic violence. The President under such circumstances has the power to suspend civil liberty.
Now, Sir, to suspend civil liberties is tantamount to a declaration of martial law. Even in the United States, civil liberties are never suspended. What is suspended there, in cases of invasion or rebellion, is only the habcas corpus writ. Though individual freedom is secured in this article, it is at the same time restricted by the will of the legislature and the executive which has powers to issue ordinances between the sessions of the legislature almost freely, unrestricted by any constitutional provision. Fundamental rights, therefore, ought to be placed absolutely outs de the jurisdiction, not only of the legislature but also of the executive. The Honourable Dr. Ambedkar, Sir, while justifying the limitations on civil liberties, has maintained that what the Drafting Committee has done is that, instead of formulating civil liberties in absolute terms and depending on the aid of the Supreme Court to invent the doctrine or theory of police powers, they have permitted the State to limit civil liberties directly. Now, if we carefully study the Law of Police Powers in the United States, it will be clearly seen that the limitations embodied in the Draft Constitution are far wider than those provided in the United States. Under the Draft Constitution the Law of Sedition, the Official Secrets Act and many other laws of a repressive character will remain intact just as they are. If full civil liberties subject to Police Powers, are to be allowed to the people of this country, all laws of a repressive character including the Law of Sedition will have either to go or to be altered radically and part of the Official Secrets Act will also have to go. I therefore submit that this article should be radically altered and substituted by the addenda I have suggested. I hope, Sir, the House will seriously consider this proposal of mine. If whatever fundamental rights we get from this Draft Constitution are tempered here and there and if full civil liberties are not allowed to the people, then I submit, Sir, that the boon of fundamental rights is still beyond our reach and the making of this Constitution will prove to be of little value to this country.
Mr. Vice-President: Do I understand that amendment No.441 will not be moved? I shall not allow any discuss on but I shall put it to vote. Do I understand that the mover does not intend to move this amendment.?
(Amendment 441 was not moved.)
(Amendments No. 413 and No. 414 were not moved.)
Mr. Vice-President: Amendments Nos. 415 and 418. They are the same. I will allow amendment No. 415 to be moved. It stands in the names of Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra and others, including Mr. Kamath.
Shri Mihir Lal Chattopadhyay (West Bengal: General): Sir, I beg to move:
Various provisos have been mentioned in this Section in clauses (2), (3), (4), (5) and (6). Therefore the words "subject to the other provisions of this article" are unnecessary.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad (West Bengal: Muslim): I submit that this is a drafting amendment.
Mr. Vice-President: Proceed, Mr. Chattopadhyay.
Shri Mihir Lal Chattopadhyay: Moreover, this section deals with Fundamental Rights and there should be positive enumeration of these rights and privileges at the beginning and it should not begin with provisos. Each proviso should in the natural course come afterwards. I therefore move this amendment.
(Amendment No. 419 was not moved.)
Mr. Vice-President: Then we come to amendment No. 416 standing in the name of Prof. K. T. Shah.
Prof. K. T. Shah (Bihar: General): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I beg to move:
The article, as amended, would read:
Sir, my purpose in bringing forward this amendment is to point out that, if all the freedoms enumerated in this article are to be in accordance with only the provisions of this article, or are to be guaranteed subject to the provisions of this article only, then they would amount more to a negation of freedom than the promise or assurance of freedom, because in everyone of these clauses the exceptions are much more emphasised than the positive provision. In fact, what is given by one right hand seems to be taken away by three or four or five left hands; and therefore the article is rendered nagatory in any opinion.
I am sure that was not the intention or meaning of the draftsmen who put in the other articles also. I suggest therefore that instead of making it subject to the provisions of this article, we should make it subject to the provisions of this Constitution. That is to say, in this Constitution this article will remain. Therefore if you want to insist upon these exceptions, the exceptions will also remain. But the spirit of the Constitution, the ideal under which this Constitution is based, will also come in, which I humbly submit, would not be the case, if you emphasise only this article. If you say merely subject to the provisions of this article, then you very clearly emphasise and make it necessary to read only this article by itself, which is more restrictive than necessary. I am aware it might be said that, under the rules of interpretation, the whole Constitution will have to be read together and not only one clause of it. If so, I ask where is the harm in then saying, as you have said in many other articles, "subject to the provisions of this Constitution"? and "subject also to the laws in force at any time and the laws there under"? Those laws which have not been abrogated or abolished under this article or any other article will be enforced. Those new laws which you make in accordance with this article will also be enforced, so that all the safeguards that you wish to introduce, and which you may wish to maintain against any abuse of the freedoms guaranteed or granted by this Constitution, will be available.
Why then should we draw attention and emphasize only this article, which is more full. I repeat, of exceptions and delimitations of freedom than of freedom itself? The freedoms are curtly enumerated in 5.6 or 7 items in one sub-clause of the article. The exceptions are all separately mentioned in separate sub-clauses. And their scope is so widened that I do not know what cannot be included as exception to these freedoms rather than the rule. In fact, the freedoms guaranteed or assured by this article become so elusive that are would find it necessary to have a microscope to discover where these freedoms are, whenever it suits the State or the authorities running it to deny them. I would, therefore, repeat that you should bring in the provisions of the whole Constitution, including its preamble, and including all other articles and chapters where the spirit of the Constitution should be more easily and fully gathered than merely in this article, which, in my judgment, runs counter to the spirit of the Constitution. Somebody described yesterday the Constitution as a paradise for lawyers. All written Constitutions, and even un-written ones, do admit themselves to legal chicanery of a very interesting type. Constitutions of Federal States are generally more so. But whether or not it was deliberately intended to be so, this particular Draft seems to be a very fertile ground for legal ingenuity to exercise. And that will, of course, be at the expense of the Community. Whether the State wins or loses, the public, the country in any case, will lose to one small section, that of the legal practitioners.
I also suggest that it would not be enough to enumerate these freedoms, and say the citizen shall have them. I would like to add the words also that by this Constitution these freedoms are guaranteed. That is to say, any exception which is made, unless justified by the spirit of the Constitution, the Constitution as a whole and every part of it included, would be a violation of the freedoms guaranteed hereby.
For instance, sub-clause (5) uses such a wide expression as to make anything come within the scope of the exception, and suffice to deny the practical operation of the freedoms that by one big clause you are supposed to guarantee. I, therefore, think that it is necessary to make the substitution I have suggested in this article, that the words "this Constitution and the laws there under or in accord there with at any time in force" may be substituted for the words "the other provisions of this article" and after the words "all citizens shall have" the words "and are guaranteed" be added. I hope the amendment will prove acceptable to the House.
Mr. Vice-President: Amendment Nos. 417 and 418 are of similar import. I can allow No. 417 to be moved. This amendment stands in the name of Mr. Lari.
An Honourable Member: He is not in the House.
Mr. Vice-President: Then amendment No. 418 which stands in the name of Shri Mukut Behari Lal Bhargava.
The amendment was not moved.
Mr. Vice-President: Amendment Nos. 420, 421, and 424 are of similar import and I suggest that the House should consider them together. I suggest that amendment No. 421 be moved. This stands in the name of Prof. K. T. Shah.
Prof. K. T. Shah: Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I beg to move:
so that the article as amended would read:
In submitting this amendment, I must confess to a feeling of amazement at the omission whether it is by oversight or deliberate. I do not know of these very essential and important items in what are known as Civil Liberties. The clause contents itself merely with the freedom of speech and of expression. I do not know what type of freedom of speech the draftsman had in mind when he adds to it the freedom of expression separately. I thought that speech and expression would run more or less parallel together. Perhaps "expression" may be a wider term, including also expression by pictorial or other similar artistic devices which do not consist merely in words or in speech.
Allowing that is the interpretation, or that is the justification for adding this word "expression", I still do not see why freedom of worship should have been excluded. I am not particularly a very worshipful man myself. Certainly I do not indulge in any overt acts of worship or adoration. But I think a vast majority of people feel the need and indulge in acts of worship, which may often be curtailed or be refused or in other words be denied unless the Constitution makes it expressly clear that those also will be included. All battles of religion have been fought-and it must be very well known to the draftsman that they are going on even now-in connection with the right of free worship. The United States itself owes its very origin to the denial of freedom of worship in their original home to the Fathers of the present Union some 300 odd years ago. That is why in most modern constitutions, the freedom of worship finds a very clear mention. I certainly feel therefore that this omission is very surprising, to say the least. Unless the Drafting Committee is in a position to explain rationally, is in a position to explain effectively why this is omitted, I for one would feel that our Constitution is lacking and will remain lacking in a most essential item of Civil Liberties if this item is omitted.
The same or even a more forceful logic applies to the other "freedom of the press, and freedom of publication." The freedom of the press, as is very well known, is one of the items round which the greatest, the bitterest of constitutional struggles have been waged in all constitutions and in all countries where liberal constitutions prevail. They have been attained at considerable sacrifice and suffering. They have now been achieved and enshrined in those countries. Where there is no written constitution, they are in the well established conventions or judicial decisions. In those which have written constitutions, they have been expressly included as the freedom of the press.
Speaking from memory, I am open to correction, although I think it would not be necessary, even the United Nations Charter gives good prominence and special mention of freedom of the press. Why our draftsmen have omitted that, I find beyond me even to imagine. I dare say they must have very good reasons why the freedom of the press has not found specific mention in their draft. But, unless and until they give the reasons and explain why it has been omitted, I feel that an amendment of the kind I am proposing is very necessary.
The Press may be liable to abuse; I feel there may have been instances where the press has gone, at least in the mind of the established authority, beyond its legitimate limits. But any curtailment of the liberty of the press is, as one of the present Ministers, who was then a former non-official member, called, a "black Act," in the last but one session of the legislature when there was an attempt to curtail the liberty of the press under certain circumstances. This endeared him at least so much to me that in spite of many differences with him. I felt he had done yeoman service, though singly opposing even at the third reading of the Bill.
With the presence of such men in this House, I am amazed that in this Constitution a very glaring omission has taken place in the draft by leaving out the freedom of the press. I cannot imagine, why these draftsmen, so experienced and so seasoned, should have felt it desirable to leave out the freedom of the press, and leave it to the charity of the administrators of the Constitution when occasion arose to include it by convention or implication, and not by express provision. Freedom of the press, I repeat, is apt to be misunderstood, or, at any rate, apt to be regarded as licence which you may want to curtail. There are many ways by which laws can be passed or laws can be administered whereby you can regard the liberty as verging upon licence and as such to be curtailed. To omit it altogether, I repeat, and Ire peat with all the earnestness that I can command, would be a great blemish which you may maintain by the force of the majority, but which you will never succeed in telling the world is a progressive liberal constitution, if you insist on my amendment being rejected.
Mr. Vice-President: Amendment No. 420. Is it pressed?
(Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad rose in his seat to speak.)
You need not come. I only want to know whether you intend to press this, in which case, I shall put it to the vote.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: Sir, I wish to speak on this.
Mr. Vice-President: You can speak in the course of the general discussion, provided, of course, you get a chance.
You have given me the power to rule out; take yours eat, please; it will be put to the vote.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: Without any debate, Sir?
Mr. Vice-President: Amendment No. 422.
(Shri Lakshminarayan Sahu came to the rostrum.)
You are not allowed to speak. Do you want to press it?
Shri Lakshminarayan Sahu (Orissa: General): Yes, Sir.
(Amendment No. 424 was not moved.)
Mr. Vice-President: Amendment No. 423 is disallowed.
(Amendment No. 425 was not moved.)
Mr. Vice-President: Amendment No. 426.
Giani Gurmukh Singh Musafir (East Punjab: Sikh): *[I do not wish to move my amendment, as it is covered by clause (1) of the Explanation to article 19.]*
Mr. Vice-President: I cannot follow what he is saying.
An Honourable Member: He is not moving the amendment.
(Amendment No. 427 was not moved.)
Mr. Vice-President: Amendments numbers 428, 429, 430 and 432 are of similar import and are therefore to be considered together. Amendment No. 428 may be moved.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: Sir, am I to move all the amendments and speak, on all of them?
Mr. Vice-President: On amendment No. 428 only.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: Will all the others be put to the vote?
Mr. Vice-President: Of course.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: Sir, I beg to move:
The Honourable Shri K. Santhanam (Madras: General): Sir, on a point of order, sub-clause (4) covers exactly this position in greater detail.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: I had carefully thought about this objection, Sir, and I was just going to mention the difficulty of that view. That is the only reason why I have come here to move the amendment.
Mr. Vice-President: Proceed.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: Sir, all that I wish to convey by means of this amendment is that the people's freedom of speech, freedom of forming associations or unions, and moving freely throughout the territory and residing in any place, should be subject to the condition that they do it for a lawful purpose.
So far as Mr. Santhanam is concerned, he does not quarrel with the principle. His contention is that these conditions are sufficiently expressed in the clauses (2), (3), (4), (5) and (6). I shall draw the attention of the House and particularly of Mr. Santhanam to sub-clause (b) of clause (1) of article 13. It gives the right to assemble 'peaceably and without arms'. The words `peaceably and without arms' should be objectionable from the point of view of Mr. Santhanam because it may be argued that the words are unnecessary and the condition is sufficiently provided for in clause (3). I submit that the amendments which stand in my name are merely an application of this method of draftsmanship to the other sub-clauses. I submit if we have them in the sub-clauses (b), they should also be in (a), (c), (d), (e), (f) and (g). If we introduce the words "for any lawful purpose" there, they will be beyond the scope of any legislature to interfere. But if we are satisfied with clauses (2), (3), (4), (5) and (6), they can be interfered with by the Legislature. So there is this difference that with the inclusion of the words in the sub-clauses as I suggest, they would be part of the Fundamental Right. That is, if any one speaks, he should do so for a lawful purpose; if he forms associations and unions, he should do it in a lawful manner, i.e., he should not join or form into a conspiracy or other forbidden things of the sort. Then if he wants to move throughout the territory of India, I think this should be also limited by the condition that it should be for a lawful purpose. No male person should enter a female compartment in railway carriage or enter into lady's dressing room: and then somebody might say "I shall reside in this Assembly Hall"; there must be limiting conditions. My point is if you insert them in sub-clauses (a), (c), (d), (e), (f) and (g), as you have already inserted specifically in sub-clause (b)-if you insert them in these sub-clauses, then they will be part of the Fundamental Right and clauses (2), (3), (4), (5), and (6) will not give any power to the legislatures to abrogate them. This is the reason which induced me to move this amendment. Sir, this point of view should be carefully considered.
(Amendments No. 431 and Nos. 433 to 437 were not moved.)
Mr. Vice-President: No. 438 and first part of 443. Mr. Kamath.
Shri H. V. Kamath: Mr. Vice-President, I move:
"That after sub-clause (g) of clause (1) of article 13the following new sub-clause be added:
I move this amendment, as amended by my own amendment No. 79 in List No. II, which runs thus:
Sir, I feel a little pardonable pride in moving this amendment before the House today. Considering as I do that it puts an end or brings to an end one phase of our ignominious past, the past of more than a hundred years, and in view of the importance of this matter involved in the amendment, may I appeal to you, Sir, to give me a little latitude in the matter of time, because I want to put the case in its entirety before the House? And may I also make a personal request to Dr. Ambedkar or whoever it may be that will reply on behalf of the Drafting Committee, to pay close attention to what is going out in the House? Yesterday we found at the fag end of the day Dr. Ambedkar-perhaps he was a bit fagged out and tired-I felt that he had not followed the debate on titles.
Mr. Vice-President: I will not allow you to make any reference to what happened yesterday.
Shri H. V. Kamath: Before I come to the amendment itself may I say a word as to an important omission which has been made before article 13? I find from the Report of the Fundamental Rights Sub-Committee over which the Honourable Sardar Patel presided, the rights from 13 up to 18 have been titled or designated as the Rights of Freedom. This sub-title `Rights of Freedom' has been omitted from the draft as presented to the Assembly now. In this report which I am reading-Report of the Committee-First Series from December 1946 to July 1947-the sub-title is `Rights of Freedom' just before we come to article 13.
Then, Sir, I come to the amendment itself. It is common knowledge to all of us who have lived and worked in India during the last thirty years or more that this has been a universal demand emanating from all sections of the population, firstly as a protest against the degrading and humiliating Arms Act passed by the British Government in the last century, and secondly, Sir, as a guarantee of the right of self-defence. This demand has been embodied in various Congress Resolutions during the last two decades. The most important Resolution and most historic, the most momentous was the Resolution on Fundamental Rights passed at Karachi. I read, Sir, from that Resolution the relevant extracts:
Mark these words-any constitution.
* * * which may be agreed to on its behalf, should provide or enable the Swaraj Government to provide for the following......"
and various fundamental rights are enumerated, among them being this one-
I find, Sir, from this list of Fundamental Rights, adopted at the Karachi session of the Congress, almost all of them have been incorporated in this Draft Constitution, except this one, and this is a very serious omission.
I might also make an observation about this amendment, that I am in a very good company, because amendment No. 443which is similar to my amendment has been tabled by the General Secretaries of the Congress-Shri Shankar Rao Deo and Acharya Jugal Kishore.
Mr. Vice-President: Do you suggest that it is the work of the Congress only? I thought it is the co-operative work of all the parties.
Shri H. V. Kamath: But, Sir, all will agree that the dominant party in this House is the Congress Party, and if this party is not going to stand by its past professions, if it is going to prove false to its past, and not implement its resolution of the past, what has that party come to? If the fundamental idea of this resolution passed at Karachi is to be given the go-by, I ask this House, shall we not fall in the estimation of the people of the country? Sir, this demand has not been a mere demand. I very well remember that in Nagpur in 1923 or 1924 there was a Satyagraha movement against the Arms Act and this Satyagraha movement attracted Satyagrahis from all over-India. That went on for six months, and the Congress put its seal of approval on this Satyagraha movement against the Arms Act. Today we may say that conditions have changed and we do not want this sort of thing to be incorporated in our fundamental rights. But, Sir, I will come to that argument a little later.
I can appreciate the force of the argument that this absolute right should not be conceded today. Perhaps there is a lurking fear in the minds of those in power that the right may be abused. For that reason I have given this proviso in conformity with and in line with the other provisos which have been embodied in this article. I am personally not very much in favour of these elaborate provisos. Here again, I would like to draw the attention of the Honourable Dr. Ambedkar to pages 21 and 29 of this Report of the Committees' First Series. On page 21, we have the Report of the Fundamental Rights Sub-Committee presided over by the Honourable Sardar Patel, and later on the same report was discussed in the Assembly and modifications were made in that, and the elaborate provisos which appeared in the original report of the Fundamental Rights Committee do not find a place in the resolution on the report which was adopted by the Constituent Assembly. This perhaps needs an explanation from Dr. Ambedkar.
Reverting to the subject matter of the amendment. I have already said that I do not want to make this right absolute. That is why I have tabled this proviso, imposing restrictions in the interests of public order, peace and tranquility. It may be said that saboteurs and other elements are abroad in the country and these may abuse this privilege and take advantage of this privilege conferred upon the ordinary citizen. But may I tell the House that saboteurs and other evil elements, villains and criminals have managed and will always manage to get arms, Arms Act or no Arms Act; and it is the law-abiding citizen who has always suffered in the bargain, and it is he who has to be protected against these elements. The history of the last twelve months has proved this to us most unmistakably, that those who suffer in these criminal riots and disturbances are not the violent elements or the saboteurs, but the law-abiding citizens, and these have to be protected.
Again, the argument may be put forward that we should incorporate only such rights about which there is fear that they might be denied to the citizen. But if we examine this argument a little closely, and also this article, in the light of this argument, we will find that rights like free movement throughout India; freedom to reside and settle in any part of India, and such other rights about which there is no doubt or fear that they will be denied, have been incorporated in this article. But this one right, to keep and bear arms has not found a place in this article. If this very diluted proposal of mine, if even this very abridged freedom to bear arms is not acceptable to the House, I am afraid it will create a most unfortunate impression on our countrymen that the Government does not trust the people, that the Government has no faith in the people, that the Government is afraid of the people. It is all right. Sir, for Ministers of Government to say, "We are here to protect you". But, with security guards outside their bungalows, it is very well for them to put forward this plea. But the ordinary citizen has no armed guard about him, no guards standing outside his house. If the Government wishes to convey the impression to the people that the Government has no faith in them, that it is afraid of them, if that is the attitude of the Government, then it is welcome to say so. It will prove to the people that you are not a popular government, that you are a government which has no faith in the people. If you are a popular government, this is the least that you can do today to put an end to this ignominy of the past one hundred years.
It may be argued also that the Congress and Mahatma Gandhi and our leaders have taught us to defend ourselves by Ahimsa, and not by Himsa, by non-violence and not by violence. But, Sir, may I, in all humility remind the House that Mahatma Gandhi used to say, "Resist, defend, non-violently, if possible, but violently, if necessary. What I hate is cowardice." And this doctrine, Sir, has been propagated recently by the Honourable Sardar Patel himself who has been going about the country asking the people never to run away, never to be cowards, but to resist violently if necessary, not to run away from the assassin, from the hooligan, from the criminal. Defend yourself by all means and at all costs. I find my honourable Friend Mr. Shankar Rao Deo laughing in his seat. He is welcome to smile or laugh but I may tell him that he laughs best who laughs last. He has tabled an amendment here. I do not know whether he is serious about it. In the end I will only say that if we of the Congress party who are in a majority desire to prove true to our past, if we have the desire in us to implement all the resolutions that we have adopted in the past, if we do not want to live with the lie in our soul, I appeal to the House to accept this amendment and put an end to one of the most disgraceful phases of our ignominious past of over a hundred years.
Mr. Vice-President: May I ask whether the first part of amendment No. 443 is going to be pressed?
Shri Shankarrao Deo (Bombay: General): No, Sir.
Maulana Hasrat Mohani (United Provinces: Muslim): Sir, I want to give my wholehearted support to the motion of my honourable Friend who has just moved his amendment........
Mr. Vice-President: May I suggest that instead of starting the general discussion we postpone it till all the amendments have been moved. We shall try our best to give the Maulana Sahib an opportunity to speak. Will he kindly resume his seat? (Laughter)
Order, order. The Maulana Sahib is perfectly within his rights if he wants to speak. I am sorry, Maulana Sahib, to ask you to go back to your seat. It is regrettable to greet an old Member of this House in this fashion.
Mr. Mohammed Ismail Sahib (Madras: Muslim): Sir, I move:
Shri C. Subramaniam (Madras: General): On a point of order, Sir, the House has already passed an article in the Part on directive principles that there should be a uniform civil code. Here the Honourable Member wants to move that everybody should have the liberty to follow the personal law of the group or community to which he belongs or professes to belong. This is going contrary to the article which has already been passed. We have already decided that as far as possible personal law should come under a uniform civil code and this amendment is against the principle of that article.
As regards the other part of the amendment, it should be discussed when we take up article 15.
Mr. Vice-President: It is no point of order. Mr. Mohammed Ismail Sahib may continue his speech.
Mr. Mohammed Ismail Sahib: It is really true that I made a similar proposal when the directive principles were under discussion. I made it clear that this question of personal law ought really to come under the chapter Fundamental Rights and I also said that I shall, when the opportunity came, move this amendment at the proper time.
Person law is part of the religion of a community or section of people which professes this law. Anything which interferes with personal law will be taken by that community and also by the general public, who will judge this question with some commonsense, as a matter of interference with religion. Mr. Munshi while speaking on the subject previously said that this had nothing to do with religion and he asked what this had to do with religion. He as an illustrious and eminent lawyer ought to know that this question of personal law is entirely based upon religion. It is nothing if it is not religious. But if he says that a religion should not deal with such things, then that is another matter. It is a question of difference of opinion as to what a religion should do or should not. People differ and people holding different views on this matter must tolerate the other view. There are religions which omit altogether to deal with the question of personal law and there are other religions like Hinduism and Islam which deal with personal law. Therefore I say that people ought to be given liberty of following their personal law.
It was also stated by Dr. Ambedkar on the floor of this House that the question of following personal law was not immutable. There were, as a matter of fact, sections of Muslims who do not follow the personal law prescribed by Islam, but that is a different matter. It is not reasonable to say that simply because a section of people do not want to follow a certain law of a certain religion or a certain part of that religion that other people also should not follow the law and that sections of people should be compelled not to follow that part of the religion which certain other sections of the same community are not following.
That is not really reasonable, Sir, and it is really immutable to the people who follow this law and this religion, because people, as they understand it, have not got the right to change their religion as they please. There may be people who contravene their own religion, but that is a different matter and we cannot compel others also to contravene their religion. Here the question of personal law affects only the people who follow this law. There is no compulsion exercised thereby on the general community or the general public. This House will remember that on another question, which is really a religious question-I mean the question of cow-slaughter-an obligation has been placed upon other communities than the one which considers the prohibition of cow-slaughter as a religious matter. But then, Sir, respecting the views and feelings of our friends, the minority communities who have got the right and privilege of slaughtering and eating the flesh of cows have agreed to the proposal put before the House, though that is going beyond affecting one particular community alone. Here, Sir, observance of personal law is confined only to the particular communities which are following these personal laws. There is no question of compelling any other community at all.
Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava (East Punjab: General): Is the honourable Member aware of the restrictions of cow-slaughter in Pakistan?
Mr. Vice-President: Will the honourable Member kindly address the Chair.?
Mr. Mohammed Is mail Sahib: I cannot hear him properly. I do not know what my friend is trying to say.
Mr. Vice-President: Do not pay any attention to that. Will the Honourable Member continue?
Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava: I was enquiring of the honourable Gentleman if he knows that there is a restriction on cow-slaughter in Pakistan, in Afghanistan and in many Muhammadan countries. In India also the Muhammadan kings placed such a restriction.
Mr. Mohammed Ismail Sahib: They might have or not have made a provision of that sort. My point is that this is a question which affects a particular community, but because that community wanted to prevent that slaughter the other community, which need not prohibit that slaughter has agreed to that proposal. But with regard to personal law, it concerns a particular community which is following a particular set of personal laws and there is no question of compelling other people to follow that law and it is the question of the freedom of the minority or the majority people to follow their own personal law. As a matter of fact, I know there are an innumerable number of Hindus who think that interference with the personal law is interference with their religion. I know, Sir, that they have submitted a monster petition to the authorities or to the people who can have any say in the matter. Therefore it is not only Muslims but also Hindus who think that this is a religious question and that it should not be interfered with. The personal law of one community does not affect the other communities. Therefore, Sir, what I urge is that the freedom of following the personal law ought to be given to each community and it will not interfere with the rights of any other community.
Again, Mr. Munshi stated that Muslim countries like Egypt or Turkey have not any provision of this sort. Sir, I want to remind him that Turkey is under a treaty obligation. Under that treaty it is guaranteed that the non-Muslim minorities are entitled to have questions of family law and personal status regulated in accordance with their usage. That is the obligation under which Turkey has been placed and that is obtaining in Turkey now.
Then again with regard to Egypt, no such question of personal law arose in that country. But what is to be noted is that whatever the minorities in that country wanted has been granted to them: in fact more than what they wanted has been granted. And if personal law had also been a matter in which they wanted certain privileges, that would also have been granted.
Then there are other countries. Yugoslavia has agreed to give this privilege to the Muslims in following their family law and personal law.
Therefore, what I am asking for is not a matter which is peculiar to myself or to the minority community in this country. It is a thing, Sir, well understood in other parts of the world also.
Sir, I also move:
This is consequential. The personal law is presumed to be guaranteed by the previous amendment, that is the new sub-clause (h) to clause (1) of article 13, and this clause(7) seeks to preclude any interference with the question of personal law as a result of clauses (2) to (6).
Then coming to the new clause (i), it reads thus:
This has nothing to do with the minority or the majority. It concerns itself with the right of every citizen. Personal liberty is the core of the whole freedom. It is the basis upon which the freedom of the land must be built. But here, Sir, in this bulky Constitution this question of personal liberty is left almost as an orphan. Only one mention is made of personal liberty, i.e., in article 15 and it is left there, it is left to be taken care of by `procedure established by law'. I do not here enter into the controversy whether it should be "by due process of law', or "by procedure established by law". But what I want to say is that only a mention has been made in the Constitution with regard to personal liberty. But personal liberty is the most fundamental of the fundamental rights and it ought not to be dealt with in such a cursory manner, as it has been done in the Constitution.
I request your permission to read a quotation to illustrate how the Constitutions of other countries have dealt with this all-important question of personal liberty.
Much smaller countries than India have taken a more serious and, if I may say so, a sacred view of this question. The Polish Constitution says, among other things: 'If in any case the judicial order cannot be produced immediately'-(it is only on a judicial order that a man's liberty can be curtailed)-`it must be transmitted within 48 hours of the arrest stating the reasons for the arrest. Persons who have been arrested and to whom the reasons for the arrest have not been communicated within 48 hours, in writing over the signature of judicial authorities, shall be immediately restored to liberty.'
'The laws prescribe the means of compulsion which maybe employed by the administrative authority to secure the carrying out of their order.'
Then again, the same Constitution says; "No law may deprive a citizen, who is the victim of injustice or wrong, of judicial means of redress."
Sir, another State, viz., Yugoslavia, in regard to this matter goes even further. It has provided:
Shri C. Subramaniam: Questions of personal liberty come only under article 15. They are irrelevant under this article. It is article 15 that deals with personal liberty thus: "No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law, nor shall any person be denied equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India." Therefore what is the use of discussing the question of personal liberty under article 13?
Mr. Mohammed Ismail Sahib: I have already referred to this point. Of course it is mentioned there. But to say that because it is mentioned there it is necessary that the matter should be discussed only there is not correct. I am of the view that this subject is more appropriately brought under article 13 which speaks of the various freedoms of the citizen. Of these freedoms, this is the most important. Therefore there is nothing wrong in my saying that this all-important question must be brought under article 13. With that view I have tabled this amendment and I am speaking on this amendment.
Sir, my amendment, which I have moved with your permission, says that the citizen shall be guaranteed his personal liberty. As I was saying, the Constitution of Yugoslavia has provided: "No person may be placed under arrest for any crime or offence whatever save by order of a competent authority given in writing stating the charge. This order must be communicated to the person arrested at the time of arrest or within 24 hours of the arrest. An appeal against the order for arrest may be lodged in the Competent Court within three days. If no appeal has been lodged.-(this is important)-`within this period, the police authorities must as a matter of course communicate the order to the competent court within 24 hours following. The court shall be bound to confirm or annul the arrest within 2 days of the communication of the order and its decision shall be given effect forthwith. Public officials who infringe this provision shall be punished for illegal deprivation of liberty.' "
Sir, ours is a bulky Constitution. Our friends congratulated themselves in having produced the bulkiest Constitution in the world. And this Constitution from which I read out an extract just now contains only 12 articles. It is a much smaller Constitution than ours and yet in the matter of personal liberty it has made such an elaborate provision as that I mentioned. This bulky Constitution of ours does not find more than a few words where this all important question of personal liberty is concerned.
Now, Sir, there are various Public Safety Acts enacted and enforced in the various provinces of the country. Here, personal liberty as it stands is almost a mockery of personal liberty. A man is being arrested at the will and pleasure of the executive. He is put in prison and he does not even know for what he has been imprisoned or for what charge he has been detained. Even where the law puts the obligation on the Government to reveal to him the reasons for which he has been detained, the executive takes its own time to do so. There are cases in which the persons concerned were not informed of the charge for weeks and months and when the charges were communicated, many of them were found to be of such a nature that they could not stand before a court of law for a minute. No right has been given to a detenu or a person arrested or detained to test the validity of the order before a court of law. This kind of administration of law was not known even under foreign rule, that is, under British rule.
Now, Sir, another contention is being indulged in, and that is that it was different when the Britisher, the foreigner was in the country and that now its is our own rule. True, but that does not mean that we can deal with liberty of the citizens as we please. Bureaucracy is bureaucracy, whether it is under foreign rule or self-rule. Power corrupts people not only under foreign rule, but also under self-government. Therefore, Sir, the citizen must be protected against the vagaries of the executive in a very careful manner as other self-governing countries have done. In almost every country in the world, they have made elaborate provision for protecting the personal liberty of the citizen. Why should India alone be an exception, I do not understand. Therefore, the framers of the Constitution, I hope, will reconsider this question and make suitable provisions for the protection of the liberty of the person.
Sir, in this amendment of mine I have not gone elaborately into the question of personal liberty. I only want the citizen concerned to be given the right of going to, and being tried by, a court of law, if his personal liberty is curtailed. That one precious right I want to be given to every citizen of India.
May I also, Sir, move the other consequential amendments included in amendment No 502. I have moved only the one on page 53 of the List of Amendments, namely new sub-clause (7). That relates to personal law. May I move now the other portion of the amendment relating to new clauses(8) and (9) on page 54 of the List?
Mr. Vice-President: The Honourable Member may do so, but without making a speech.
Mr. Mohammed Ismail Sahib: Sir, I move that the following new clauses be added:
These are only consequential amendments.
Mr. Vice-President: We shall now go on to amendments Nos. 442, 499, the second part of 443, 468 and 501. These are all of similar import. I hold that the only two amendments which can be moved under the new regulations are amendments Nos. 442 and 499. The others will be voted on.
Shri M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar (Madras: General): All these relate to free choice in the election of representatives. In a sense this is a new subject and may on that account be held over for consideration.
Mr. Vice-President: What about 499?
Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava: That also relates to the same subject.
Mr. Vice-President: The whole group will be held over for consideration.
(Amendment No. 444 was not moved.)
Mr. Vice-President: Amendment No. 445.
Prof. K. T. Shah: Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I beg to move:
Sir, this again is of the same species of amendments which I am trying my best to place before the House, that is to say, the enunciation and incorporation of those elementary principles of modern liberal constitutions in which it is a pity our Constitution seems deliberately to be lacking. The liberty of the person, ever since the consciousness of civil liberties, has come upon the people, has been the main battleground of the autocrats and those fighting against them. In no single instance other than this has the power of autocracy wanted to assert itself against the just claims of the individual to be respected in regard to his personal freedom. The liberty of the person to fight against any arbitrary arrest or detention, without due process of law, has been the basis of English constitutional growth, and also of the French Constitution that was born after the Revolution. The autocrat, the despot, has always wished, whenever he was bankrupt of any other argument, just to shut up those who did not agree with him. It was, therefore, that any time the slightest difference of opinion was expressed, the slightest inconvenience or embarrassment was likely to be caused by any individual, the only course open to those who wanted to exercise autocratic power was to imprison or arrest or detain such a person without charge or trial. It has been in fact in many modern constitutions among the most cardinal articles that the liberty of the person shall be sacred, shall be guaranteed by the Constitution. We are covering new ground and should not omit to incorporate in our Constitution those items which in my opinion ought to be sacrosanct, which would never lose anything by repetition, and which would also add to our moral stature.
This Constitution, Sir, was drafted at a time when people were going through extraordinary stress and strain. The tragic happenings of some twelve or fourteen months ago were no doubt responsible for influencing those who drafted this Constitution to feel that in the then prevailing goods it was necessary to restrict somehow the freedom of the individual. Therefore it is that the freedom of the individual, the sacredness and sanctity of personal liberty has been soft-pedalled in this Constitution. But now after an interval of fourteen months. I would suggest to this House that these sad memories should be left to the limbo where they deserve to remain. We have had no doubt the unfortunate experiences in which individuals moved by whatever sentiments had tried to exert violence and do injury to their fellows which no civilised State can put up with. It was therefore at the time necessary that such individuals should be apprehended immediately. In emergencies like this, in cases like this, if you wait for performing the due processes of law, if you wait for reference to a magistrate for the issue of a proper warrant, or compliance with all the other formalities of legal procedure to be fulfilled, it is possible that the ends of justice may not be served, it is possible that the maintenance of law and justice may be endangered. But, Sir, I venture to submit to this House that was an extraordinarily abnormal situation which we hope will not recur. Constitution should be framed, not for these abnormal situations, but normal situations and for reasonable people who it must be presumed will be normally law-abiding and not throw themselves entirely to the mercy of these goondas. We are making a constitution, Sir, for such types of people and not for those exceptions, the few who might have temporarily lost the possession of their senses, and who therefore maybe dealt with by extraordinary procedure.
We have in this Constitution as we have in many other Constitutions provisions relating to a state of emergency where the normal Constitution is suspended. I am not at all enamoured of these extraordinary exceptions to the working of constitutions; but even I might conceive that in moments of emergency it may be necessary, however regrettable it maybe, to suspend constitutional liberties for the time being. But we must not, when framing a constitution, always assume that this is a state of emergency, and therefore omit to mention such fundamental things as civil liberties.
I, therefore, want to mention categorically in this Constitution that the liberty of the person shall be respected, shall be guaranteed by law, and that no person shall be arrested, detained or imprisoned without due process of law. That process it is for you to provide. That process it is for laws made under this Constitution to lay down. And if and in so far as that process is fulfilled, there is no reason to fear that any abuse of such individual liberty will take place. Why then deny it, why then omit the mention of personal liberty that has all along been the mark of civilised democratic constitutions against the autocratic might of unreasoning despots? I am afraid, looking at the fate of most of my amendments, that I may perhaps be hurling myself against a blank wall. But I will not prejudice my hearers and certainly not the draftsmen by assuming that they are unreasoning until they prove that they are guilty of utterly unreasoning opposition.
Mr. Vice-President: Amendments Nos. 446, 447 and 448.These are all of similar import. Amendment No. 448 may be moved. It stands in the joint names of Shrimati Renuka Ray, Dr. Keskar, Shri Satish Chandra and Shri Mohanlal Gautam.
(Amendments Nos. 448 and 446 were not moved.)
Mahboob Ali Baig Sahib Bahadur: (Madras: Muslim): Sir, there is another amendment in my name, amendment No. 451: that is for the deletion of clauses (2), (3), (4), (5), and (6).
Mr. Vice-President: That comes under another group which will be dealt with hereafter.
Mahboob Ali Baig Sahib Bahadur: Then, alternatively, I shall move amendment No. 447. Sir, I move:
Mr. Vice-President, Sir, to me it looks as if the fundamental rights are listed in clause (1) only to be deprived of under clauses (2) to (6), for in the first place, these fundamental rights are subject to the existing laws. If in the past the laws in force, the law-less laws as I would call them, the repressive laws, laws which were enacted for depriving the citizens of their human rights, if they have deprived the citizens of these rights under the provisions under clauses (2) to (6), they will continue to do so. The laws that I might refer to as such are the Criminal Law Amendment Acts, the Press Acts and the several Security Acts that have been enacted in the Provinces. And these clauses (2) to (6) further say that if the existing laws are not rigorous, repressive and wide enough to annihilate these rights, the States as defined in article 7 which covers not only legislatures, executive Governments and also the local bodies, nay, even the local authorities can complete the havoc. I am not indulging in hyperbole or exaggeration. I shall presently show that there is not aniota of sentiment or exaggeration in making this criticism. Fundamental rights are fundamental, permanent, sacred and ought to be guaranteed against coercive powers of a State by excluding the jurisdiction of the executive and the legislature. If the jurisdiction of the executive and the legislature is not excluded, these fundamental rights will be reduced to ordinary rights and cease to be fundamental. That is the import, the significance of fundamental rights.
Then, Sir, it is said by Dr. Ambedkar in his introductory speech that fundamental rights are not absolute. Of course, they are not; they are always subject to the interests of the general public and the safety of the State, but the question is when a certain citizen oversteps the limits so as to endanger the safety of the State, who is to judge? According to me, Sir, and according to well recognised canons, it is not the executive or the legislature, but it is the independent judiciary of the State that has to judge whether a certain citizen has overstepped the limits so as to endanger the safety of the State. This distinction was recognised by the framers of the American Constitution in that famous Fourteenth Amendment which clearly laid down that no Congress can make any law to prejudice the freedom of speech, the freedom of association and the freedom of the press. This was in 1791, and if the American citizen transgressed the limits and endangered the State, the judiciary would judge him and not the legislature or the executive.
Even in the case of Britain where there is no written constitution two prominent and effective safeguards were there. They were governed by the law of the land. The law of the land is the law which gave them freedom of thought, freedom of expression and they cannot be proceeded against without due process of law. These were the two safeguards. It is only in the German Constitution that we find restrictions such as those in clauses (2) to (6). It is only in the German Constitution that the fundamental rights were subject to the provisions of the law that may be made by the legislature. That means that the citizens could enjoy only those rights which the legislature would give them, would permit them to enjoy from time to time. That cuts at the very root of fundamental rights and the fundamental rights cease to be fundamental. I dare say, Sir, you know what was the result. Hitler could make his legislature pass any law, put Germans in concentration camps without trial under the provisions of law made by the legislature of Germany. We know what the result was. It was regimentation, that every German should think alike and anybody who differed was sent to concentration camps. Totalitarianism, fascism was the result.
(Mr. Vice-President rang the time bell.)
I would request you to give me some time more. I am just developing the point.
Mr. Vice-President: Sorry, you cannot have time without my permission. At the proper time, I would request you to finish and take your seat. I hope you will respect my wishes.
Mahboob Ali Baig Sahib Bahadur: Sir, it is these wide considerations that were responsible for the deletion of such clauses by this august Assembly on the 30th April,1947, when Sardar Patel who was the Chairman of the Committee to report on Fundamental Rights, presented these Fundamental Rights. He moved for the deletion of all these provisos and in the discussion on the 30th of April 1947, many prominent men including Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru took part, and all these provisos were deleted. The proceedings can be found on pages 445 to 447. Here, the Prime Minister of India says:
Therefore, Sir, in this august Assembly on the 30th of April 1947, after discussion in which prominent men including Mr. Munshi took part, these provisos were deleted. This departure now to re-introduce these provisions, I submit, with great respect, is a departure which is retrograde and I submit, Sir, that we ought not to allow it. My submission is that the existence of these three provisos is the very negation of the Fundamental Rights. I would request you to consider this question from three or four points of view.
(Mr. Vice-President again rang the time bell.)
With your permission, Sir,...........
Mr. Vice-President: No; there are many more speakers. I must now insist upon your obeying my orders.
Mahboob Ali Baig Sahib Bahadur: A few more minutes, Sir.
Mr. Vice-President: I have given you enough time. There are other speakers. I have an obligation towards them also.
Now, we shall go to the next two amendments. One is amendment No. 449 and the other is amendment No. 453. Of these two, I think amendment No. 453 is more comprehensive and may be moved. It stands in the joint names of Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayya and others. There is also an amendment to that amendment.
Shri M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar: Sir, I submit that this amendment No. 453** which stands in our joint names maybe taken as formally moved. I find in the order sheet, in list No. IV a further amendment to this amendment. I accept that amendment, Sir. If you kindly give permission to move that amendment, I shall accept it and it is not necessary to move this amendment.
Mr. Vice-President: Mr. Munshi.
Shri H. V. Kamath: On a point of order, Sir, unless this amendment is moved, no amendment can be moved to this. This cannot be taken as moved.
Mr. Vice-President: Do you want that he should read over the amendment? I overlooked it. Mr. Munshi.
** That for clause (2) of article 13, the following be substituted:-
Shri K. M. Munshi: (Bombay: General): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I beg to move amendment No. 86 in the additional list which runs as follows: That for amendment No. 453 of the list of Amendments, the following be substituted:
Sir, before I go to the merits of the amendment, I should like to point out a verbal error which I am sure my honourable Friend Dr. Ambedkar will permit me to correct. After the words, "shall affect the operation of any existing law", I propose that the words "in so far as it relates to" should be added; because, that connects this clause with "to libel, etc." This would make the meaning clear and I am sure my Honourable Friend will accept it.
As regards the merits, the changes sought to be made are two. In the original clause, the word ‘seidtion’ occurs. The original clause reads as follows: "relating to libel, slander, defamation, sedition or any other matter". The amendment seeks to omit the word ‘sedition’. Further the amendment seeks to substitute the words "undermines the authority or foundation of the State" by the words…..
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: On appoint of order, Sir, we have not got this amendment at all. In list IV the number does not tally at all. I believe, Sir, it was circulated today and it can not be taken up. We should be given some breathing time in order to understand what is going on.
Mr. Vice-President: I think amendments to amendments can be permitted up to the time when the amendment is moved. I understand that this was placed on the table before each member.
Shri K. M. Munshi: Really speaking, the original amendments numbers 458 and 461 have been brought under a single amendment. There is nothing new in this amendment, Sir.
Mr. Vice-President: Go on, Mr. Munshi.
Pandit Hirday Nath Kunzru: (United Provinces: General): Sir, may I request Mr. Munshi to read out his amendment, once again? What is it an amendment to?
Shri K. M. Munshi: This is amendment to amendment No. 453, on page 29. In effect, it combines two amendments which are already on the list. This is how it reads:
Then comes another change.
Then comes another change.
That is exactly the wording of amendment No. 461.
The object of…
Shri Mahavir Tyagi (United Provinces: General): May I take it that the word ‘morality’ has been taken out?
Shri K. M. Munshi: I read the word ‘morality’.
Mr. Vice-President: You need be under no sort of apprehension so far as that is concerned.
Shri K. M. Munshi: The House will not permit me to do anything of the sort. Sir, the importance of this amendment is that it seeks to delete the word ‘sedition’ and uses a much better phraseology, viz. "which undermines the security of, or tends to overthrow, the State." The object is to remove the word ‘sedition’ which is of doubtful and varying import and to introduce words which are now considered to be the gist of an offence against the State.
Shri Amiyo Kumar Ghosh (Bihar: General): On a point of information, I want to know whether without moving the original amendment, as amendment, to it can be moved?
Mr. Vice-President: The amendment was moved formally.
Shri K. M. Munshi: I was pointing out that the word ‘sedition’ has been a word of varying import and has created considerable doubt in the minds of not only the members of this House but of Courts of Law all over the world. Its definition has been very simple and given so far back in 1868. It says "sedition embraces all those practices whether by word or deed or writing which are calculated to disturb the tranquility of the State and lead ignorant persons to subvert the Government". But in practice it has had a curious fortune. A hundred and fifty years ago in England, in holding a meeting or conducting a procession was considered sedition. Even holding an opinion against, which will bring ill-will towards Government, was considered sedition once. Our notorious Section 124-A of Penal Code was sometimes construed so widely that I remember in a case a criticism of a District Magistrate was urged to be covered by Section 124-A. But the public opinion has changed considerably since and now that we have a democratic Government a line must be drawn between criticism of Government which should be welcome and incitement which would undermine the security or order on which civilized life is based, or which is calculated to overthrow the State. Therefore the word ‘sedition’ has been omitted. As a matter of fact the essence of democracy is Criticism of Government. The party system which necessarily involves an advocacy of the replacement of one Government by another is its only bulwark; the advocacy of a different system of Government should be welcome because that gives vitality to a democracy. The object therefore of this amendment is to make a distinction between the two positions. Our Federal Court also in the case of Niharendu Dutt Majumdar Vs King, in III and IV Federal Court Reports, has made a distinction between what ‘Sedition’ meant when the Indian Penal Code was enacted and ‘Sedition’ as understood in 1942. A passage from the judgement of the Chief Justice of India would make the position, as to what is an offence against the State at present, clear. It says at page 50:
This amendment therefore seeks to use words which properly answer to the implication of the word ‘Sedition’ as understood by the present generation in a democracy and therefore there is no substantial change; the equivocal word ‘sedition’ only is sought to be deleted from the article. Otherwise an erroneous impression would be created that we want to perpetuate 124-A of the I. P.C. or its meaning which was considered good law in earlier days. Sir, with these words, I move this amendment.
Shri H. V. Kamath: On a point of clarification, may I ask my learned friend Mr. Munshi to examine whether the deletion of the word ‘other’ from the phrase ‘any other matter’ will not create some doubt or difficulty about the meaning of this amendment? Because if he will look up article 13 in the Draft Constitution, he will find that the phrase used is "any other matter". Here the word ‘other’ is deleted which will mean that so far as slander, defamation and libel are concerned, they can not offend against decency or morality, but only some other matter can. Is it the contention of Mr. Munshi that neither defamation, slander nor libel offends against decency and morality?
Shri K. M. Munshi: In the original clause of this article as drafted the words were- "libel, slander, defamation, sedition or any other matter which offends against decency or morality or undermines the authority or foundations of the State." Here we have omitted the word ‘sedition’. Slander and defamation need not be necessarily connected with a violation of decency or morality nor do they undermine the authority of the State: the words "any matter" indicate as independent category. One category is libel, slander and defamation. The other category is any matter which offends against the State. The word ‘other’ therefore would be in appropriate.