Constituent Assembly Of India -Volume IX
Dated: August 03, 1949
What happens is this. The President has taken over authority to himself because either he has found a grave emergency in the State or some disturbance which the Ministry is not able to quell and therefore his intervention is necessary. If that Ministry was competent, he then. restores it after the emergency-, but if he feels that it is not competent then what he does is that he orders dissolution of the legislature and holds a new election. That is probably what we are doing in West Bengal. I think we should take a lesson from that.I therefore think that even if we take these powers, we must give the provinces some democracy. So, for God's sake remove this proviso to clause which gives powers to the President to deprive that province of autonomy for three years continuously without making any provision as to what will happen afterwards. The Drafting Committee should carefully consider this question. I am not the only person, nor my Friend Mr. Kamath is, but even many of our leaders in this House are of this opinion. I find that no less a person than Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant had tabled an amendment to this article. So had Dr. H. N. Kunzru. Such men too were 'for deletion of this article. I hope they have not changed their minds since and will support me in this matter.
Col. B. H. Zaidi (Rampur-Banams States): Mr. President, Sir, I am not here to enter into any detailed controversy regarding the provisions of these articles. There is only one thing which I should like to say briefly and it is this. On the occasion of a very tragic event in the history of the world, George Bernard Shaw was reported to have said that it is a dangerous thing to be too good. Now to be good is not a bad thing but in Shaw's opinion it is a dangerous thing to be too good. I feel that similarly it may be a very dangerous thing for our country to be too democratic. Let us have a little, realism about our discussions and about our Constitution-making. We go on dissecting, analysing things purely from the point of view of a lawyer or an advocate. There is much too much of this hair-splitting as it is in our temperament, but this hair-splitting and this tendency to be too legalistic may be divorced from the realities of administration and the handling of political crisis. What has been the trouble in our country in the past ? Have we or have we not suffered from fissiparous tendencies? Have the various units not tried to break away from the Centre again and again ? The greatest danger, as I dimly look into the future, may be, not that the Centre will interfere too much, but that the units may resent the guidance of the Centre. Of the two things, I do not believe that the President, will be inclined to depose Governors, but that Provinces may have mal-administration over a long period and may come to grief over it unchecked by the Centre. The last speaker said, "suppose the President, on the basis of a report he receives from the C.I.D., decides that law and order has broken down and there is a grave, emergency in a certain Province. he can then proceed to take the Government of that Province into his own hands and be the absolute ruler of that Province." Well, Sir, if that can happen in my country, then we are not fit for democracy. Let there be a perfect human body with all the limbs intact, with everything looking perfectly all right, but if the spirit has departed, that body is no good, the hands cannot work, the feet cannot walk, the tongue cannot speak because the spirit has departed. If we have the finest constitution in the world but if the democratic spirit is not in the country, then that Constitution is bound to break down. What do we mean by saying that the President may take the powers into his own hands and may become an absolute dictator ? And will the 'thirty-two crores of Indians sit quietly and knuckle under ? If they would, then they would do that anyhow, no matter what Constitution you frame. We seem to think that our political salvation lies purely in laws, not in a, public opinion, which is wide awake, well-informed and vigilant. I feel that if we are going to pin our faith only on the written Constitution without bringing about the education of our new masters-the masses and the people, of Indiathen we are going the wrong way about it. No Constitution which exists only on paper can mean the salvation of a country. What we must work for is the proper democratic spirit, the realization that everyone of us is responsible to see that the country is governed properly along enlightened, progressive, democratic lines. If that spirit and that vigilant watching of the Government of our country is not there, then no Constitution on God's earth, even if framed by Archangel Gabriel, is going to succeed. So I feel that instead of being too critical and putting the most unwarranted suspicions at the door of our would-be Presidents of the future, we should take the historical tendencies of our country into consideration andsee what is likely to happen in the future and then in a realistic way, in a way which means political sagacity and wisdom and balance, we should proceed to the task of framing the Constitution. Take England, Sir. Does England put its trust wholly and solely in the written Constitution ? Much more than the written Constitution, they make use of conventions. But we seem to forget that there is anything like conventions or public opinion and we go the. legalistic extreme of conjuring up most weird and fantastic visions of the future and trying to provide for everything that we can possibly think of. I think, Sir that the provision is sound, healthy and necessary in the light of our historic past and in the light of the tendencies that are staring us in the face and the fears expressed this morning are unwarranted and unjustified.
Dr. P. S. Deshmukh (C.P. & Berar: General): Mr. President, Sir, I am glad the Honourable Dr. Ambedkar expected the House to have a full-dress debate on this important provision. As the House has already seen, there has been a very important change from the first draft to the present proposals and the main and fundamental change is that we have left no powers with the Governof a province to act in an emergency. We have concentrated all emergency powers in the hands of the President and the Parliament of India and have made the Governor merely a reporting authority so far as emergency and its Proclamation are concerned, Now this, I have no hesitation in saying, is a very radical change and a change which is neither in conformity with federation nor is likely to be administratively beneficial or even practicable. There are at least two arguments which have been suggested by the Honourable Dr. Ambedkar himself in his speech which support my contention. The one is that the spirit of this change is against the idea of federation, and secondly we would be over-burdened in the Parliament with responsibilities which naturally should be delegated to anotherauthority. Some of my friends will probably say that when I am in favour of a unitary government, why do I not like the-'President or the Parliament having larger and larger powers. My answer to that is that this is neither fish nor fowl; it is neither a unitary government nor a federal government. If you wish to retain the least possible vestige of a Federation, you must not deprive the head of the unit or the &ate of all authority in such matters. As has been already pointed out by two previous speakers, you are going not only to override the discretion or the power of the Governor who is your own nominee, but you are going to set at naught the Ministers, the Cabinet in the State as well as the State legislatures.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi (United Provinces : General): But, does my honourable Friend realise that the Governor is not an elected officer ? He will be a nominated one.
Dr. P. S., Deshmukh: That is all the more reason why there should be more confidence in the Governor by the President as well as the Parliament, because he is not elected on the vagaries of the electorate of the province but is a person considered to be fit and competent and qualified by the President in his discretion, and that being so, it is all the more reason why before his tact and ability are exhausted, the President should not act. Even if the powers that were originally supposed to be exercised by the Governor were to last only for a fortnight, even that was necessary because that would mean giving chance to the man on the spot for doing his best to improve the situation, of which he has a far more intimate knowledge than the President or the Parliament is likely to have.
Then, Sir, coming to the practical nature of the suggestion, we find there are likely to be insurmountable difficulties in the way of the proper administration of die province. If the Governor is not clothed with this emergency power all that he will do is that he will report to the President that an emergency his arisen and a Proclamation should be issued. After that, the responsibility falls not merelyon the President but the Parliament also and as soon as a body like the Parliament, consisting of hundreds of members, comes into play, one can imagine the state of affairs that is likely to result. So I think it is hopelessly unwise. My Friend Mr. Kamath, has used vehement language, but his speech, although it was very, slow in delivery, did contain cogent reasons and I hope that neither the vehemence of his language nor the exuberance of his gestures would detract from the weight of his speech. I have much sympathy with what he has said and I agree with a substantial portion of his speech. I think it is not fair either to the Governor or to the provincial governments or to the Ministers, for the President to jump in all at once without exhausting the talent and the ability that is possessed in the province either by the Governor or his advisers.
Then I would like to come to article 277-A. Article 277-A proposes that 'it shall be the duty of the Union to protect every State against external aggression and internal disturbance and to ensure that the government of every State is carried on in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution'. It is a very intriguing provision. We are dealing with emergency powers. I cannot see what place this article can have logically in the discussion that we are having. But it is necessary simply because we have an amended draft which is article 278 where. in part (b) of clause (I) it has been stated "declare that the powers of the legislature or the State shall be exercisable by or under the authority of Parliament' and then further in sub-clause (c)-"make such incidental and consequential provisions as appear to the President to be necessary or desirable for giving effect to, the objects of the proclamation including provisions for suspending in whole or in part the operation of any provisions of this Constitution relating to any body or authority in that State". This pious provision of 277-A has no connection whatsoever with any emergency. It is merely a pious expression on the part of the Union Government that they are going to try their best to uphold the Constitution and not interfere unduly in the Constitution which has been laid down in this Act. I not think this sort of assurance was necessary at all, if we had not provided that the President will have the power even of setting at naught the Constitution by which the existence and the continuance of the unit or the State have been guaranteed.
So,. Sir, this article 278 comes in only because we ,ire clothing the President with powers for overriding at his own sweet will the provisions of the Constitution itself. If it was not necessary to give these powers to the President, and if we were content with retaining the powers which the Governor has been enjoying in virtue of section 93 of the Act of 1935 and on which really the original article 188 was based-there would have been no necessity to make this change and to bring in article 278. I, therefore, suggest that it is far better that we retain the powers of the Governor and give him such powers as we consider necessary and as were given by section 93 of Government of India Act, 1935, although this section has now been deleted from the adaptation which governs us. I think that it absolutely essential that we should not impose this burden on the President and the Parliament and make it difficult for them to manage the affairs. Supposing more than-one State is in this condition, supposing more than half a dozen States in India are in this, condition, what will the President and the Parliament do ? will they be doing their normal duties, or dealing with these States? I do not think that it is practical politics; nor does it show any appreciation of the realities of the situation. As my Friend Mr. Zaidi said, let us be more realistic and not imagine situations which may 'not arise at all. After all, Sir, section 93 has worked well for the last so many years and it has not been found necessary for either the Central Government or the Governor-General to intervene, in spite of the fact that we have gone through a war of colossal dimensions. If we have survived on the strength of section 93 and passed through such critical times as we have done during the last decade, I do not think an emergency is likely to arise where itwould be necessary for the Parliament to interfere. On the whole, therefore, I think it would be far better to reconsider the whole matter and to leave the whole power of acting in an emergency in the first instance to the Governor. In case the situation deteriorates still further and there is no alternative left for the Parliament and the President but to interfere, then alone should the Centre i ntervene.Nobody could have any objection to that.
My learned Friend, Dr. Ambedkar, has quoted the American and Australian Constitutions in support of artilce 278. Fortunately or unfortunately, there is no mention of any emergency either in the Australian or American constitution. He quoted them probably to show that there will be no encroachment from the Centre so far as the units are concerned. That assurance exists in the Constitution itself. Every section of the Constitution is framed in such a way as to respect the autonomy of the units. If we mean this Constitution to work, the Centre will have to respect the autonomy of the provinces whether we specifically say so or not. If we at the Centre do not respect the provisions of the Constitution how could any one else be expected to do so? There was therefore hardly any point in the Honourable Doctor trying to derive support from foreign constitution. It would have been some consolation if he could have cited an appropriate parallel to the whole scheme now unfolded for the first time. That he could not do. Here we are taking away all the powers of the Provincial Governors and the Provincial Administrations; I do not think, Sir, this is wise or likely either to work well or be in the interest of sound and beneficial administration.
Shri Raj Bahadur (United State of Matsya): Mr. President, Sir, my only justification for encroaching upon a little of the valuable time of this august House is the provocation given by certain remarks that have dropped from the lips of my honourable Friend Mr. Kamath. He has waxed eloquent in certain pet phrases of his-I think the stock-in-trade-that he carries about. I shall begin by analysing the amendments that he has proposed to article 277-.A. He wants us, in the first instance, to add the word "Governor' after the word "Union". As a matter of fact. even a cursory reading of article 277-A would reveal that it simply incorporates a principle, whereas article 278-A provides for the machinery to implement that principle. I suppose, Sir, that it is the function of the entire Union, and the entire nation and not only the Government to protect every State against external aggression or against internal disturbance. So the word "Government" would be superfluous.
Secondly, he says that for the word "and" in the second line of the proposed article 277-A the word "or" should be substituted. I may assume him that it is not a question paper in which a choice may be given to an examinee to attempt one question or the other. As a matter of fact in both emergencies, whether it is external aggression or internal disturbance, it is the duty and function of the Union and the nation to protect every-State.
Lastly he wants us to replace the word 'disturbance' by the words 'insurrection and chaos'. I do not think it is easily possible to draw a line a film line of discrimination-between 'disturbance' and 'insurrection andchaos'.Insurre-ction and chaos are only the culmination of a disturbance. As matter of fact, whenever there is a danger we should take adequate and early steps then and there......
Shri. H. V. Kamath: Will my friend prescribe a surgical operation for a mere cold or catarrh?
Shri Raj Bahadur: I would have been glad if Mr. Kamath had made some constructive suggestion. I think there is none in the, House who will deny the wisdom of incorporating in the Constitution certain safeguards to be usedin case of an emergency. We can easily contemplate the possibility of a break not only on account of a disturbance or chaos, but also on; account of other reasons. Consider for a moment the state of affairs obtaining in France,where there is a change of Government almost every other day. In such situations it will be profitable to ask the President to come in and take power in his hands until the elections are held. Similarly we can also contemplate the Possibility of a financial break-down in a Province or State. The example of the then dominion of New Foundland is before us. New Found land found it difficult to carry on on account of a financial break-down with the result that she had to petition to the British Parliament to come to her aid and enable her to stand on her feet. The Parliament intervened and the ultimate result has been that on her own choice Newfoundland has now become a province of Canada. Such contingencies may arise in our country as well. Again I see no reason why we should distrust our President, who has not yet even come into being. After all who shall be the President? The President shall be our own countryman. He shall be elected by us; he will be the keeper of our democratic conscience. He shall be the guardian angel of our liberty and freedom. He shall be the first citizen of the country. I fail to understand Why Mr. Kamath should be so much suspicious about him. The time has come when we should break through the cyst of our suspicious and superstitions. Obviously enough we 'are living in the pre-1947 era. We talk of revolutionary spirit and revolutionary ideas. But it appears that we have not yet reconciled ourselves to the change that has taken place in the country. Why should we forget that we are the masters of our own house now? The President is to be elected by us and we should not distrust him. Cannot we put our trust in. him for a brief two months in the case of an emergency? Without giving any reasons for the view held by him, my friend went on saying ' that this article is merely a "subterfuge to nullify the democratic freedom." I say it is just the opposite and the antithesis of what he has said. It is to protect and safeguard democracy and freedom that such a provision has been made to meet certain emergencies. He has taken exception to the use of the word "otherwise" in the proposed article 278. The proposed article runs:
I would like to know from Mr. Kamath whether he wants to restrict the powers of the President under this article only to the case where he receives a report from the Governor and to no.other contingency. There may be other contingencies also. The President should be empowered to act under this article in those cases also where he receives information from other sources. Surely he must be allowed to act on the advice of his Cabinet or Government. I do not think that by seeking to eliminate the words "or otherwise" he would be making an apt amendment in this provision.
Mr. Kamath, in the course of his speech invoked God's mercy to give this House the wisdom to see, what he, has been pleased to call, "the stupidity the,folly, the crime" in vesting the President with the powers under this article. On my part I would say, let God grant us wisdom to see all this in the proper light. Let Him also grant us commonsense and balance enough not to criticise merely for the sake of criticism. We should see that we make certain provisions in the Constitution which may stand us in good stead when unseemly or awkward situations arise in our land. My honourable Friend seems to think that we can ran the administration of our country and defend our freedom and democracy merely by indulging 'in pious platitudes and flimsy fulminations. The House knows that one cannot do that and fore I would request honourable Members to see. that the amendments proposed by my friend are rejected, Sir, I conclude.Shri Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar (Madras: General): Mr. President, I would like to say a few words in support of the motion moved by Dr. Ambedkar in regard, to both the articles.
In the first place, I would explain the reason why the article has been put in making it the duty of the Union "to maintain the Constitution." The primary thing concerning the nation and the Union Government is 'to maintain the Constitution'. If the import of that expression is fully realised, it will be noticed that there cannot be any, intention to interfere with the provincial constitution, because the provincial constitution is a part of the Constitution of the Union Therefore, it is the duty of the Union Government to protect against external aggression, internal disturbance and domestic chaos and to see that the Constitution is worked in a proper manner both in the State-, and in the Union. If the Constitution is worked in a proper manner in the provinces or in the States, that is, if responsible government as contemplated by the Constitution functions properly, the Union will not and cannot interfere. The protagonists of provincial or State autonomy will realise that, apart from being an impediment to the growth of healthy provincial or State autonomy, this provision is a bulkwark in favour of provincial or State autonomy, because the primary obligation is cast upon the Union to, see that the Constitution is maintained. Such a provision is by no means a novel provision. Even in the typical federal constitution of the United Stateswhere,State sovereignty is recognised more than in any other federation, youwill find a provision therein to the effect that it is the duty of Union or the Central Government to see that the State is protected both as against domestic violence and external aggression. In putting in that article, we are merely following the example of the classical or model federation of America. Then again, there is a similar provision in section 60 of the Australian Commonwealth Constitution to the effect that it is the duty of the executive government to maintain the Constitution. These observations are with reference to the first article which has been introduced by my Friend Dr. Ambedkar.
Then I come to the consequential provision casting upon the Union Government the primary duty to see that the Constitution in the different 'parts of India is made to work and properly observed. If there is in any unit any difficulty with regard to the proper working of the Constitution, it would be the obvious duty of the Union Government to intervene and set matters right. It is only when there is a failure or breakdown of the constitutional machinery that the Union Government will interfere.
The salient features of the provision are that immediately the proclamation is made, the executive functions are assumed by the President. What exactly does this mean ? As Members need not be repeatedly remind on this point the President means the Central Cabinet responsible to the whole Parliament in which are represented representatives from the various Units which form the component parts of the Federal Government. Therefore, the provincial machinery having failed, the Central Cabinet assumes the responsibility instead of the provincial cabinet. That is the first point.
Then, so far as the executive government is concerned, it will be responsible to the Union Parliament for the proper working of the Government in the province. That will be the effect of the first part of the article.
The next point is, how is legislation to be carried on. The primary authority, in regard to legislative matters is vested in Parliament. But, at the same time, having regard to the multifarious work in which Parliament is engaged, and the, exigencies of Indian conditions, it will be impossible for Parliament to carry on the daily work of legislation, though the ultimate responsibility will be that of Therefore the provision enables Parliament to discharge its primary duty of legislation by delegation of any or all of its powers.This power to delegate is incidental to the plenary power of sovereignty vested in Parliament. But, in view of some doubt that has been cast in a recent decision of the Federal Court, it has been found necessary to make it quite clear that the Parliament can delegate its function to other body or bodies having regard to the exigencies of the situation. Immediately the Proclamation is made, the duty is cast on the President to place it on the table of the Home. It is to last only for a temporary period. Thereafter the Parliament is in a position to judge the situation in the particular part of the country. Parliament can exercise its control and supervision over the Cabinet which has undertaken the responsibility of the executive functions of the State. In the Parliament itself all the various Units are represented. There, is 130 correspondence whatever between the old section 93 and this except in regard to the language in some parts, Under 93 the ultimate responsibility for the working of section 93 was the Parliament of Great Britain which was not certainly representative of the people of India, whereas under the present article the responsibility is that of theParliament of India which is elected on the basis of universal franchise, and I have no doubt that not merely the conscience of the representatives of the State concernedbut also the conscience of the representatives of the other Units will be quickened and they will see to it that the provision is properly worked, Under those circumstances, except on the sentimental objection that it is just a repetition of the old section 93, there is no necessity, for taking exception to the main principle underlying this article. We are in grave and difficult times. The units are of different dimensions and responsible government has not bow at work, in some of the Units at any rate, for a very long time. Even suffrage is unknown in certain States, and we have introduced responsible government into the States not all of which are like the advanced Units of 'what might be called the old British Indian provinces. Under those circumstances, in the interest of the sound and healthy functioning of the Constitution itself, it is necessary that there should be some check from the Centre so that people might realise their responsibility and work responsible government properly. Under those circumstances there is absolutely no reason why any exception should be taken to the principle under lying the present article. It is well thought out and my friend has taken all an aspects of the matter into consideration. He has even differentiated between executive and legislative functions. On.the legislative side, plenary power is vested in Parliament. At the same time it makes room for administrative convenience. There is nothing to prevent Parliament from taking the Ministry to task if they misbehave in the matter of taking over the administration of any particular Unit or State. I have great pleasure in supporting the amendment moved by my Friend, Dr. Ambedkar.
Shri B. M. Gupte (Bombay: General): Mr. President, Sir, I support the deletion of article 188. With regard to article 278, I sympathise with the amendment of Mr. Kamath, No. 225. Also I would have supported the amendment of Professor Shibban Lal Saksena if it were necessary. But in my opinion, Professor Shibban Lal Saksena's amendment is not necessary at all, for if the President is so. minded, there is no bar to order a general election and in that event the President himself would cancel the Proclamation. In fact I expect that opportunity would be given to the electorate to set matters right before drastic action under this article is taken, and therefore in my opinion Professor Saksena's amendment is not necessary.
As far as Mr. Kamath's amendment is concerned, though I sympathise with it, I will explain later on why under the present circumstances it cannot be pressed.
Now, with regard to my support to the deletion of article 188; it might appear strange to those who remember that I was the author of the amendment whichconstitutes article 188, but I am sure it will not surprise those,who also remember my speech made at the time when I moved the amendment. My argument at that time was that there was a grave emergency in the State which threatened the peace and tranquillity of the State, and at such a time there was on the spot a man who was elected on the widest possible franchise and who there-fore ,enjoyed the fullest confidence of the people. I therefore asked why such a man should not be entrusted with the emergency powers till the Centre was seized of the situation. That was my Plea and that was accepted by the House at the time. Now, elected Governor has been substituted by a nominated Governor, and therefore the foundation of my argument is taken away. I have therefore no hesitation in supporting the deletion of article 188.
Though I support the deletion of article 188, I am not very happy about the new article 278. I am not happy because the scope of the new article is far wider. Article 188 came into operation only when the peace and tranquillity of the State was threatened, while this article 278 comes into operation even though there is no law and order emergency but there is mere failure of the constitutional machinery. I can understand drastic power being given when the very existence of the State is threatened. But I do not like extraordinary power being given for a mere constitutional failure or a constitutional evil. This is a very much less serious and non-urgent matter and in such matters I do not like that extraordinary power should be given. Of course, critics might say and it has been said that we are merely reproducing the hated section 93, but I do not agree with that criticism, because there is a very great difference between the two. Yesterday one of the honourable Members said that article 275 was a reproduction of section 93.I see no connection between the two because article 275 and 188 refer to peace and tranquillity. While section 93 referred to constitutional failure. Article 278 comes closer to old section 93, even though there, is still great difference. The obvious difference is that in the place of the irresponsible Governor and the Governor-General, the elected responsible government is substituted. But in my opinion, the more important point is that the sovereign popular legislature will be ineffective control of the situation. Parliament must be consulted in two months and thereafter it will be the Parliament that will govern the situation. This is the great difference between section 93 and the present article 278. But in spite of this defence, I cannot help observe that if it were possible, we should not disfigure our Constitution with such a provision. That was our desire, but we cannot have it our own way. Unfortunately the circumstances in the country are such; we are living in times which may perhaps prove critical to our infant democracy. In France sometimes 'gee Governments fall in two days; in a mature and old democracy they can go in for that luxury, but ours is an infant democracy; and though we do not like it, we shall have to tolerate thing, which in normal times we may have rejected. Though, of course I have given support to this article, I only hope that it may remain a dead letter and no ocassions will arise for the exercise of these extraordinary powers.
The Honourable Shri K. Santhanam (Madras: General): Mr. President, Sir, article 278 and 278-A are in some respects the most important articles of this Constitution. There is no doubt that at first sight they look rather unpleasant as they appear to be a re-entry of the old and hated section 93. My honourable Friends, Messrs. Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar and Gupte have explained that whatever the appearance may be, in substance they are vitally different from section 93 (a). Sir, I shall not repeat their arguments, but I would like to point out that the essence of section 93 was three-fold. Firstly, the powers are to the exercised by the Governor in, his discretion. Secondly, when the Governor is acting in his discretion, he was not responsible to any authority, any party or any representative from the province in question. Thirdly, he was responsible oraccountable to any authority in India at all. Therefore. if we are to confuse this with section 93, we must examine it in the light of there three tests. Is there any authority which has the right to supersede a provincial Constitution in its discretion ? In the old draft of article 188 for two weeks the Governor was given the power to supersede it in his discretion. I think it was a very wrong provision and it is very fortunate that the old article 188 is being deleted. Otherwise, an erratic Governor who is reckless of consequences may upset the Constitution before either the people of the province or the Parliament of India can come to their rescue. 'Mere are bad people in the country and it is not impossible that one, such might get into the gubernatorial gaddi and make havoc. Mr. Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar has already pointed out that the word "President" is used in the constitutional sense. The President cannot act under this article at his discretion. He has to be guided by the Central Cabinet. Therefore neither in article 278 nor in article 278-A is there any super session of democracy as such. Whether the power is exercised by a local legislature or by Parliament is a matter of convenience and the actual essence or principles of democracy are not involved. In this case, while ordinarily certain powers and functions are exercised by the provincial legislature, when the State Constitution breaks down these powers and functions come back to the Central executive and Central Legislature, which are as popular and as democratic as the State Governments and legislatures. It must also not be forgotten that in the Central Parliament the representatives of the State whose government is to be superseded, will be here. After two months every Proclamation will become null and void, unless it has been approved by resolution of both Houses of Parliament. The Upper House consists of delegates elected by the local legislatures and the Lower House includes representatives from the constituencies of the States concerned, elected on adult franchise. Therefore, the government of the State is not taken away even from the representatives of the State concerned. Only the representatives of the State concerned have to govern the State in co-operation with the representatives of other parts of India. That is the only limitation which is being placed and this limitation is necessary because the Constitution has broken down in a particular State. Therefore, it is not as an infringement of the principles of democracy that these articles can be objected to. It is rather from the scope of the article that they have to be properly scrutinised because articles 278 and 278-A come into operation when the government of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
Now, let us broadly analyse the circumstances in which these articles can come into operation. There may be a physical breakdown of the Government in the State, as for instance, when there is widespread internal disturbance or external aggression or for some reason or other, law and order cannot be maintained. In that case, it is obvious that there is no provincial authority which can function and the only authority which can function is the Central Government, and in that contingency these articles are not only unobjectionable but absolutely essential and without it the whole thing will be in chaos. Then there may be political breakdown. This is a point which requires careful analysis. A political breakdown can happen when no ministry can be formed or the ministries that can be formed are so unstable that the Government actually breaks down. Normally according to the Constitution when there is great instability of a Ministry, the proper procedure will be to dissolve the Lower House and reconstitute it. If after a dissolution also,the same factions are reproduced in the local legislatures and they make a ministry impossible, it will then be inevitable for the Centre to step in according to the provisions of 278 and 278-A. In this it is necessary to evolve proper conventions. For instance, it is necessary to evolve the convention that before these article are resorted to on account of political breakdown, there should intervene a dissolution of the Lower House of the State Legislature. Without a dissolution the Centre should not step in andthat should be one of the conventions which we shall have to evolve; but it is not wise to put it in the article itself, because there may be extraordinary circumstances in which even the local elections may have to be conducted by the Centre and temporarily the Centre may have to take charge.
Then there is the third contingency of economic breakdown. Suppose for instance in a State the Ministry is all right, but it wants to make itself popular by reducing or cancelling all taxes and running its administration on a bankrupt basis. Suppose the Government servants are not paid and the obligations are not met and the State goes on accumulating its deficits. Of course this also is a difficult case. The Centre will have to be very careful and indulgent; it will have to give the longest possible rope but at some time or other in the case of economic breakdown also the Centre will have to step in. because ultimately it is responsible for the financial solvency of the whole country and if a big province like the United Provinces goes into bankruptcy it will mean the bankruptcy of the whole country. Therefore this contingency also will have to be dealt with under articles 278 and 278-A and in this matter also we shall have to evolve proper conventions as to what will be the proper amount of deficit which each State may be allowed to incur without invoking these articles, 278 and 278-A. Therefore, the objection to articles 278 and 278-A relates really to the possibility of proper conventions not being evolved. In themselves, they are unobjectionable and they are essential. But, of course, if the Centre acts upon the strict letter of the law, anything may be deemed to constitute a breakdown of the Constitution, and it is possible that interference of the Centre may be frequent and objectionable. After all, when we are constituting the Parliament on the basis on' which it is being constituted, we may trust to the Popular House elected on adult franchise and the Second Chamber based on delegation from the legislatures to see that the State autonomy is not interfered with. of course, a difficult case may happen when some States are governed by political parties which are different from the political party which is governing at the Centre and the majority of the other States. Then, it is possible through political prejudice some unnecessary or intolerant action may be taken under articles 278 and 278-A. The only remedy is through the growth of healthy conventions. If there is peace and democracy is allowed to grow in this country, I have no doubt whatsoever that these conventions will grow and all these articles will be utilised for the legitimate purposes for which they are intended.
Pandit Hirday Nath Kunzru (United Provinces: General): Mr.President, I am really very glad that the framers of the Constitution have at last accepted the view that article 188 should not find a place in our Constitution. That article was inconsistent with the establishment of responsible Government in the provinces and the new position of the Governor. It is satisfactory that this has at last been recognised and that the Governor is not going to be invested with the power that article 188 proposed to confer on him. It is, however, now proposed o achieve the purpose of article 188 and the old article 278 by a revision of article 278. We have today to direct our attention not merely to articles 278 and 178-A, but also to article 277-A. This article lays down that it will be the duty of the Union to ensure that the government of every State is carried on in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution. It does not merely authorise the Central Government to protect the State against external aggression or internal Commotion; it goes much further and casts on it the duty of seeing that the Government of a province is carried on in accordance with the provision of this Constitution. What exactly do these words mean? This should be clearly explained since the power to ensure that the provincial constitutions are being worked in a proper way makes a considerable addition to the powers that theCentral Government will enjoy to protect a State against external aggression or internal disturbance. I think, Sir, that it will be desirable in this connection to consider articles 275 and 276, for their provisions have vital bearing on the articles that have been placed before us. Article 275 says that, when the President is satisfied that a grave emergency exists threatening the security of India or of an) part of India, then he may make a declaration to that effect. Such a declaration will cease to operate at the end of two months, unless before the expiry of this period, it has been approved by resolutions passed by both Houses of Parliament. If it is so approved, then, the declaration of emergency may remain in force indefinitely, that is, so long as the Executive desires it to remain in force, or so long as Parliament allows it to remain in force. So long as the Proclamation operates, under article 276, the Central Government will be empowered to issue directions to the government of any province as regards the manner in which its executive authority should be exercised and the Central Parliament will be empowered to make laws with regard to any matter even though it may not be included in the Union List. It will thus have the power of passing laws on subjects included in the State List. Further, the Central Legislature will be able to confer powers and impose duties on the officers and authorities of the Government of India in regard to any matter in respect of which it is competent to pass legislation. Now the effect of these two articles is to enable the Central Government to intervene when owing to external or internal causes the peace and tranquillity of India or any part of it is threatened. Further, if misgovernment in a province creates so much dissatisfaction as to endanger the public peace, the Government of India-will have sufficient power, under these articles to deal with the situation. What more is needed then in order to enable the Central Government to see that the government of a province is carried on in a proper manner 'It is obvious that the framers of the Constitution arc thinking not of the peace and tranquillity of the country, of the maintenance of law and order but of good government in provinces. They will intervene not merely to protect provinces against external aggression and internal disturbances but also to ensure good government within their limits. In other words, the Central Government will have the power to intervene to protect the electors against themselves. If there is mismanagement or inefficiency or corruption in a province, I take it that under articles 277, 278 and 278-A taken together the Central Government will have the power-I do not use the word 'President' because he will be' guided by the advice of his Ministers-to take the government of that province into its own hands. My honourable Friend, Mr. Santhanam gave some instances in order to show how a breakdown might occur in a province even when there was no external aggression, no war and no internal disturbance. He gave one very unfortunate illustration to explain his point. He asked us to suppose that a number of factions existed in a province which prevented the government of that province from being carried on in accordance with the provisions of this Act i.e., I suppose efficiently. He placed before us his view that in such a case a dissolution of the provincial legislature should take place so that it might be found out whether the electors were capable of applying a proper remedy to the situation. If, however, in the new legislature the old factions-I suppose by factions he meant parties-re-appeared, then the Central Government in his opinion would be justified in taking over the administration of the province. Sir, if there is a multiplicity of parties in any province we may not welcome it, but is that fact by itself sufficient to warrant the Central Government's Interference in provincial administration ? There are many parties in some countries making ministries unstable. Yet the Governments of those countries are carried on without any danger to their security or existence. It may be a matter of regret if too many parties exist in a province and they are not able to work together or arrive at an agreement on important matters in the interests of their province; but however regrettable this may be, it will not justfy in my opinion, the Central Government in intervening-and making itself jointly with Parliament res-ponsible for the government of the province concerned. As I have already said, if mismanagement in a province takes place to such an extent as to create a grave situation in India or in any part of it, then the Central Government will have the right to intervene under articles 275 and 276. Is it right to go further than this? We hear serious complaints against the governments of many provinces at present, but it has not been suggested so far that it will be in the ultimate interests of the country and the provinces concerned that the Central Government should set aside the provincial governments and practically administer the provinces concerned, as if they were Centrally administered area-,. It may be said, Sir, that the provincial governments at present have the right to intervene when a municipality or District Board is guilty of gross and persistent maladministration, but a municipality or a District Board is too small to be compared for a moment in any respect with a province. The very size of a province and the number of electors in it place it on a footing of its own. If responsible government is to be maintained, then the electors must be made to feel that the power to apply the proper remedy when misgovernment occurs rests with them. They should know that it depends upon them to choose new representatives who will be more capable of acting in accordance, with their best interests. If the Central Government and Parliament are given the power that articles 277, 278 and 278-A read together propose to confer on them, there is a serious danger that whenever there is dissatisfaction in a province with its government, appeals will be made to the Central Government to come to its rescue. The provincial electors will be able to throw their responsibility on the shoulders of the Central Government. Is it right that such a tendency should be encouraged? Responsible Government is the most dffficult form of government. It requires patience, and it requires the courage to take risks. If we have neither the patience nor the courage that is needed, our Constitution will virtually be still-born. I think, therefore, Sir, that the articles that we are discussing are not needed. Articles 275 and 276 give the Central Executive and Parliament all the power that can reasonably be conferred on them in order to enable them to see that law and order do not break down in the country, or that misgovernment in any part of India is not carried to such lengths as to jeopardise the maintenance of law and order. It is not necessary to go any further. The excessive caution that the framers of the Constitution seem to be desirous of exercising will, in my opinion, be inconsistent with the spirit of the Constitution, and be detrimental, gravel detrimental, to the growth of a sense of responsibility among the provincial electors.
Before concluding, Sir, I should like to draw the attention of the House to the Government of India Act, 1935 as adapted by the India (Provisional Constitution) Order, 1947. Section 93 which formed an important part of this Act as originally passed, has been omitted from the Act as adapted in 1947, and I suppose it was omitted because it was thought to be inconsistent with the new order of things. My honourable Friend Mr. Santhanam said that in the Government of India Act, 1935, the Governor who was allowed to act in his discretion would not have been responsible to any authority. That, I think, is a mistake I may point out that the Governor, in respect of all powers that he could exercise in his discretion, was subject to the authority of the Governor-General and through him and the Secretary of State for India, to the British Parliament. The only difference now is that our executive, instead of being responsible to an electorate 5,000 miles away, will be responsible to the Indian electors. This is an important fact that must be clearly recognise, but I do not think that the lapse of two years since the adapted Government of India Act, 1935, came into force, warrants the acceptance of the articles now before us. The purpose of section 93 was political. Its object was to see that the Constitution was not used in such away as to compel the British Government to part with more power than it was prepared to give to the people of India. No such antagonism between the people and the Government of India can exist in future. Whatever differences there may be, will arise in regard to administrative or financial or economic questions. Suppose a province in respect of economic problems, takes a more radical line than the Government of India would approve. I think this will be no reason for the interference of the Government of India.
Shri T. T. Krishnamachari (Madras: General): What happens if the provincial government deliberately refuses to obey the provisions of the Constitution and impedes the Central Government taking action tinder articles 275 and 276?
Pandit Hirday Nath Kunzru: No province can do it. It cannot because it would be totally illegal. But if such a situation arises the Central Government will have sufficient power under article 275 and 276 to intervene at once. It will have adequate power to take any action that it likes. It can ask its own officers to take certain duties on themselves and if those officers are impeded in the discharge, of their duties, or, if force is used against them-to take an extreme case-the Central Government will be able to meet such a challenge effectively, without our accepting the articles now before us. I should like the House to consider the point raised by my honourable Friend Mr. Krishnamachari. very carefully. I have thought over. such a situation in my own mind, over and over again, and every time I have come to the conclusion that articles 275 and 276 will enable the Government of India to meet effectively such a manifestation oil recalcitrance, such a rebellious attitude as that supposed by Mr. Krishnamachari. In such a grave situation, the Government of India will have the power to take effective action under articles 275 and 276. What need is there then for the articles that have been placed before us ?
Sir, one of the speakers said that we should not be legalistic. Nobody has discussed the articles moved by Dr. Ambedkar in a legalistic spirit. I certainly 'have not discussed it in a narrow, legal way. I am considering the question from a broad political point of view from the point of view of the best interests of the country and the realization by provincial electors of the important fact that they and they alone are responsible for the government of their province. They must understand that it rests with them to decide how it should be carried on.
Sir, even if the framers of the Constitution are not satisfied with the arguments that I have put forward and want that the Central Government should have more power than that given to it by articles 275 and 276, I should ask them to pause and consider whether there was not a better way of approaching ibis question for the time being. In view of the discussions that have taken place in this House and outside, it seems to me that there is a respectable body ,of opinion in favour of not making the Constitution rigid, that is, there, are may people who desire that for some time to come amendments to the Constitution should be allowed to be made in the same way as those of ordinary laws are. I think that the Prime Minister in a speech that he made here some months ago expressed the same view. If this idea is accepted by the House, if say for five years the Constitution can be amended in the same way as an ordinary law, then we shall have sufficient time to see how the Provinces develop and how their government is carried on. If experience shows that the position is so unfortunate as to require that the Central Government should make itself responsible not merely for the safety of every Province but also for its good government, then you can come forward with every justification for an amendment of the Constitution.But I do not see that there is any reason why the House should agree to the articles placed before us today by Dr. Ambedkar.
Sir, I oppose these articles-
Shri L. Krishnaswami Bharathi (Madras : General): Sir, I felt impelled by a sense of duty to place a certain point of view before the House, or else I would not have come before the mike. I feel the need for a brief speech. I accord my wholehearted support to the new articles moved by Dr. Ambedkar, but I am not at all convinced of the wisdom of the Drafting Committee in deleting article 188. It is this point of view which I want to emphasise.
Sir, that article has a history behind it. There was a full-dress debate on it for two days when eminent Premiers participated in it. We must understand what article 188 is for. It is not for normal conditions. It is in a state of grave emergency that a Governor was, under this article, invested with some powers. I may remind the, House of the debate where it was Mr.Munshi's amendment which ultimately formed part of article 188. In moving the amendment Dr. Ambedkar said that no useful purpose would be served by allowing the Governor to suspend the Constitution and that the President must come into the picture even earlier. Article 188 provides for such a possibility. It merely says that when the Governor is satisfied that there is such a, grave menace to peace and tranquillity, lie can suspend the-Constitution. It is totally wrong to imagine that he was given the power to suspend the Constitution for a duration of two weeks. Clause (3) provides that it is his duty to forthwith communicate his Proclamtaion to the President and the President will become seized of the matter under article 188. That is an important point which seems lost sight of. The Governor has to immediately communicate his Proclamation. The article was necessitated because it was convincingly put forward by certain Premiers. There may be a possibility that it is not at all possible to contact the President. Do you rule out the possibility of a state of inability to contact the Central Government? Time is of the essence of the matter. By the time you contact and get the permission, many things would have happened and the delay would have defeated the very Purpose before us. The, honourable Mr. Kher said that it is not necessary to keep this article because we have all sorts 'of communications available. In Bombay I know of instances where we have not been able to contact the Governor for not less than twenty-four hours What is the provision under article 278? The Governor of Madras says there is a danger to peace and tranquillity. Assuming for a moment that the communications are all right, the President cannot act. He has to convene the Cabinet; the members of the Cabinet may not be readily available; and by the time he convenes the Cabinet and gets their consent the purpose of the article would be defeated. Therefore, it was only with a view to see in such a contingency where the Governor finds,that delay will defeat the very objective, that article 188 was provided for. I see no reason why the Drafting Committee in their wisdom ruled out such a possibility. It is no, doubt true that the article was framed two years ago, but since those two years many things have happened that show that there is urgent need for the man on the spot to decide and act quickly so that a catastrophe may be prevented. Today there is an open defiance of authority everywhere and that defiance is well-organised. Before the act, they cut off the telephone wires, as they did in the Calcutta Exchange. That is what is happening in many parts of the country. Therefore, when there is a coup d'etat it is just possible they will cut off communications and difficulties may arise. It is only to provide for this possibility that the Governor is given these powers. I do not think there will be any fool of a Governor who will, if there is time, fail to inform the President. I would like to have an explanation as to why this fool-proof arrangement hasbeen changed and why we have become suspicious that the Governor will act in a wrong manner. According to the provision, he has to forthwith communicate to the President and the President may say, "Well, I am not convinced; cancel it." You must take into consideration that the Governor will be responsible, acting wisely and in order to save the country from disaster. The President comes into the picture directly, because the Governor has to communicate the matter forthwith according to clause (3) of article 188. As Mr. President said, it is sheer commonsense that the man on the spot should be given the powers to deal with the situation, so that it may not deteriorate. I am not at all convinced of the wisdom of the change. The provision as now proposed is not as fool-proof as it ought to be.
Besides, I would like to have an explanation as to why the Drafting Committee goes out of the way to delete the provision which was considered and accepted by the House previously. In my view it is improper, because the House had decided it. If we appoint a Drafting Committee, we direct them to draft on the basis of the decisions taken by us. Is this the way in which they should draft ? Their duty was to scrutinise the I decisions already arrived at and then draft on that basis. Therefore, I would like to have an explanation a convincing explanation-as to what happened within these two years which has made the members of the Drafting Committee delete this wholesome, healthy and useful provision.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: Mr. President, Sir, I think that the amendments moved by Dr. Ambedkar constitute startling and revolutionary changes in the Constitution. I submit a radical departure has been made from our own decisions. We took important decisions in this House as to the principles of the Constitution. and we adopted certain definite principles and Resolutions and the Draft Constitution was prepared in accordance with them. Now, everything has to be given up. Not only the Draft Constitution has been given up, but the official amendments which were submitted by Members of the House within She prescribed period which are printed in the official blue book have also been given up. During the last recess some additional amendments to those amendments were printed and circulated. Those have also been given up. I beg to point out that all the amendments and amendments to amendments which have been moved today are to be found for the first time only on the amendment lists for this week which have been circulated only within a day or two from today. So serious and radical changes should not have been introduced at the last minute when there is not sufficient time for slow people like us to see what is happening and whether these changes really fit in with our original decisions and with other parts of the Constitution as a whole. I submit that the Drafting Committee has been drifting from our original decisions, from the Draft Constitution and from our original amendments. It would perhaps be more fitting to call the Drafting Committee ",the Drifting Committee". I submit that the deletion of article 188 is a very important and serious departure from principles which the House solemnly accepted before. Some honourable Members who usually take the, business of the House seriously have attempted to support these changes on the ground that some emergency powers are highly necessary. I agree with them that emergency powers are necessary and I also agree that serious forces of disorder are working in a systematic manner in the country and drastic powers are necessary. But what I fail to appreciate is the attempt to take away the normal power of the Governor or the Ruler of a State to intervene and pass emergency orders. It is that which is the most serious change. In fact, originally the Governor was to beelected on adult suffrage of the province, but now we have made a serious departure that the Governor is now to be appointed by the President. This is the first blow to Provincial Autonomy. Again, we have deprived the Upper Houses in the States of real powers;. not merely have we taken away all effective powers from Upper Houses in the Provinces, but also made it impossible for them to function properly and effectively. We are now going to take away the right of the Ministers of a State and the Members of the Legislatures and especially the people at large from solving their own problems. As soon ,as we deprive the Governor or a Ruler of his right to interfere in rave emergencies, at once we deprive the elected representatives and the Ministers from having any say in the matter. As soon as the right to initiate emergency measures is vested exclusively in the President, from that moment you absolve the Ministers and Members of the local legislatures entirely from any responsibility. The effect fo this would we that their moral strength and moral responsibility will be seriously undermined. It is the aspect of the problem to which I wish to draw the attention of the House.
This aspect or the matter, I submit, has not received sufficient or adequate consideration in this House. If there is trouble in a State, the initial responsibility for quelling it must rest with the Ministers. If they fail, then the right to initiate emergency measures must lie initially'with the Governor or the Ruler. If you do not allow this, the result would be that the local legislature and the Ministers would have responsibility of maintaining law and order without any powers. That would easily and inevitably develop a kind of irresponsibility. Any outside interference with the right of a State to give and ensure their own good Government will not only receive no sympathy from the Ministers and the members, but the action of the President will be jeered at, tabooed and boycotted by the people of the State, the Members of the Legislature and the Ministers themselves.
This was exactly what happened in India some time back. During period of dyarchy in 1921-1937, responsibility was given to the Ministers in the Provinces without any power. The power was kept by the British Government and responsibility was given to popularly elected Ministers on transferred subjects. The result was that they became irresponsible. This is the verdict of competent British thinkers. The happenings of Calcutta have been brought forward as an argument for tightening the hands of the Centre. I suppose I can claim to know a little more about Calcutta than any outsider can possibly do. In Calcutta the situation is not exactly what it is supposed to be. There is no desire on the part of the citizens at large to support illegalities or law-breaking on an organised scale. The defeat of the Congress candidate, to speak very frankly, was due to the unpopularity of the Government. Besides that a variety of other minor reasons and circumstances contributed to the result, which it is not here necessary for me to go into. The majority of the people of West Bengal desire that the Government must be strong and efficient. I find that the decision of the Congress High Command to hold fresh elections has been extremely popular and is the only possible and sensible decision that could be taken. This has thrown the entire responsibility for bringing about conditions to ensure the maintenance of law and order in the Province at once upon the shoulders of the electors themselves. If the Ministers were wrong the people will get an opportunity of having an effective say in the matter. I have every reason to believe that, provided the Congress sets up competent candidates, their success is assured. In fact, there is nothing against the Congress Government, but people want men of ability and experience, and at the same time men who can exercise authority. So, the happenings of Calcutta or East Punjab, or those inSouthern India should offer no justification for departing from the normal and salutary principle that the responsibility for law and order must normally and initially be that of the Provincial, and States Ministries and that Ministries in order to function effectively should have sufficient power and responsibility in their hands. The conferment of full responsibility for law and order without giving full powers to the States will work havoc and will create considerable amount of dissatisfaction in the States and I submit this House will play into the hands of the Communists and other law-breakers if they adopt this course. I do not deny that the President should have overriding powers, but he should not have the exclusive power to initiate and incur much unnecessary unpopularity and blame in the process. While the Centre should necessarily have the power to intervene in times of emergency, it should not take the initiative in the matter. The Governor acting in consultation with the Ministers will be in a better position to make the declaration. This declaration may be ratified or changed in any way the President thinks fit. It does not derogate from the overriding power of the President. On the other hand, by placing the responsibility on the local administration the matter will be brought to a head. The evil will produce its own remedy. If they fail to discharge their functions properly it will be a good reason for dissolving the Assembly and ordering fresh elections.
Pandit Thakur Das Bhargava: I think the constitutional machinery cannot be regarded ordinarily to have failed unless the dissolution powers are exercised by the Governor under section 153.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: I can quite appreciate my honourable Friend'& apprehension. I am not happy about the drafting. It is impossible in three or four days to go through all these anomalies. I am not satisfied that the President should proceed exclusively on a Proclamation of Emergency by the Governor. That is due to faulty and hasty drafting. I submit, therefore, that article 188 should not be deleted altogether. The power of the Governor to initiate any emergency measures should remain and that will make the Ministers and the Legislature responsible and at the same time the responsibility being there, will produce its own remedy. If we interfere with the ultimate right of States to deal with emergencies it will reduce Provincial Autonomy to a farce. I think there has been enough enroachment on Provincial rights. In fact in the provincial list a great deal of enroachement has already been made. I think we are drifting, perhaps unconsciously, towards a dictatorship. Democracy will flourish only in a democratic atmosphere and under democratic conditions. Let people commit mistakes and learn by experience. Experience is a great tutor. The arguments to the contrary which we have heard today were the old discarded arguments of the British bureaucracy. The British said that they must have overriding powers, that we cannot manage our affairs and that they only knew how to manage our affairs. They said also that if we mismanaged things they will supersede the constitution and do what they thought fit. What has been our reply to this ? It was that "Unless you make us responsible for our acts, we can never learn the business of government. If we mismanage the great constitutional machinery, we must be made responsible for our acts. We must be given the opportunity to remedy the defects". This argument of ours is being forgotten. The old British argument that they must intervene in petty Provincial matters is again being revived and adopted by the very opponents of that argument. In fact, very respected Members of this House are adopting almost unconsciously the old argument of the British Government. I submit that even the hated British did not go so far as we do. I submit our reply to that will be the same as. our respected leaders gave to the British Government. I submit, therefore, that too much interference by the Centre will create unpleasant reactions in the States If you abolishprovincial autonomy altogether that would be logical. But to make them responsible while making them powerless would be not a proper thing to do.
Then, Sir. article 277-A has been described by the honourable Dr. Ambedkar as a thing which is not a pious wish. I think Dr. Ambedkar was repelling the suggestion which naturally arose in his own mind. I believe that article 277-A is a record of pious wishes. At least it lacks clarity. It says practically nothing. It says almost everything., It enables the Centre to interfere on the slighest pretexts and it may enable the Centre to refuse to interfere on the gravest occasion. So carefully guarded is its vagueness, so elusive is its draftsmanship that we cannot but admire the Drafting Committee for its vagueness and evasions. The article says:
"It shall be the duty of the Union to protect every State against external aggression."Of course it is so. But it is expressed in a pious form. It says:
Instead of that we should have expected some machinery provided and the occasions clearly stated on which that machinery should come into operation. Then again, they say in the article, "and to ensure that the Government of the State is carried on in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution". This is also equally vague. I think if an article is inserted to the effect that "the Union Government will have the power to interfere with the day-to-day administration of the Provinces to see that they are carried on properly" it would have been better. I think if an article was enacted to the effect that the Union Government should have the power to see that domestic economy of each family is carried on in accordance with certain principles it would have been equally good. This article 277-A is of the vaguest description and I submit there is want of clarity or probably deliberate avoidance of clarity in order to get an excuse for interference in Provincial and States matters. This again will create bitterness and dissatisfaction and the popularity of the Union Government which has been built up with long sacrifices and suffering, will considerably suffer. I therefore, submit that excuses should not be deliberately provided through vagueness of language to interfere with the domestic management of the Provinces. In fact, if it is the desire to interfere on certain grounds, the grounds should be stated precisely and the occasion for the exercise of those powers should be clearly defined and laid down and not kept vague. As I understand it, this will be used by the enemies of the 'Central Government as propaganda against the Central Government. This article should have been introduced to the detriment of the Central Government at the instance of their enemies, the Communists. That would have been more appropriate. For the Central Government to resort to this vagueness of language where precision is possible is highly dangerous. Then I come to article 278. Here the word 'otherwise' has been objected to. My Friend Pandit Thakur Das Bhargava rightly pointed out the difficulty of acting on anything like the provision in 278(1) where It is said that the President may act on a report or otherwise. I submit the whole thing is wrong. He should act not only on information but also on Proclamation of Emergency. I think this wording in the article should not be taken advantage of just to comer a speaker who objects to it. I object to the wording, and the conception of the article. I submit. that the word 'otherwise' in the context would make it extremely vague. The least excuse will be taken to make the act of the Union Government unpopular. If that is the intention, it may be justified. But the article will be rightly objected to on account of the phraseology in which the Idea is embedded.
Then I come to the proviso to clause (1) of article 278. It safeguards against the rights of the High Court in dealing with matters within their special jurisdic-tion. A Proclamation of emergency-will not deprive the High Court of its jurisdiction. That is the effect of this proviso. But it conveniently forgets the existence of the Supreme Court. While it takes care to guarantee the rights of the High Courts against the Proclamation, the rights of the Supreme Court are not guaranteed. I only express the hope that the absence of any mention of the Supreme Court in the proviso will not affect the powers of that Court.
Shri T. T. Krisnamachari: It is not necessary because the Central Government is subject to the jurisdiction of the Supreme-Court under all conditions.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: As the honourable Member himself has on a previous occasion said, this Constitution would be the lawyers' heaven. Speaking from experience, I think that this proviso will lead to much legal battle, and lawyers alone will be benefited by this. I wish that the interpretation put forward by Mr. T. T. Krishnamachari is right, but it is not apparent to me. When we come to clause (2) of article 278, in, this clause it is stated that any such proclamation may be revoked or varied by a subsequent proclamation.
An Honourable Member : It is already one o'clock.
Mr. President: How many minutes more are you likely to take?
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: About ten minutes more.
Mr. President,: The honourable Member may continue his speech tomorrow. The House stands adjourned till nine o'clock tomorrow morning.
The Assembly then adjourned till Nine of the Clock on Thursday, the 4th August 1949: