Constituent Assembly Of India Volume - VII
Dated: November 08, 1948
Mr. Vice-President (Dr. H. C. Mookherjee): It has been the decision of the House that we should close the general discussion today. There are about sixty names on my list and it is obviously impossible for me to give an opportunity..........
Many Honourable Members: We cannot hear you, Sir. Evidently the mike is not working.
Mr. Vice-President: It is obviously impossible for me to give an opportunity to every Member who wishes to speak. I have therefore decided to give Members of the minority communities the opportunity to speak first. Mr. Mahboob Ali Baig.
Mahboob Ali Baig Sahib Bahadur (Madras: Muslim): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, Dr. Ambedkar's analysis and review were remarkably lucid, masterly and exceedingly instructive and explanatory. One may not agree with his views but it is impossible to withhold praise for his unique performance in delivering the speech he did while introducing his motion for the consideration of this House.
I am afraid, Sir, I am unable to agree with either the form of Government or the form of constitution embodied in the Draft Constitution or the reasons that Dr. Ambedkar gave in their justification.
Firstly, let me deal with the form of Government. Dr. Ambedkar's view is that the British parliamentary executive is preferable to the American non-parliamentary executive on the ground that the former is more responsible though less stable, while the latter is more stable but less responsible. I am inclined to think, Sir, that the advantages of the parliamentary executive have been exaggerated and its defects minimised. It is common knowledge - and from experience also we have found - that the responsible executive under which we have been working for the last two decades has pointedly brought to our attention the fact that a removable parliamentary executive is at the mercy of hostile groups in their own party. Very little time is left to the executive to achieve the programme which is before it. It is so unstable. It is always in fear of being turned out by no-confidence motions. Further, Sir, it is there that the seeds of corruption are sown. A corrupt party-man cannot be turned out by the electorate under the present Constitution or under the proposed Constitution. The Minister or Ministers have always to be very careful to satisfy the various elements in their party in all their legitimate and illegitimate demands. This is the opinion also, Sir, of the Commission that was sent out to India sometime ago, called the Simon-Attlee Commission. It was clearly said that the Ministry is so much engaged in cajoling, in satisfying its Parliament that there is hardly time to look after its administration or to put into effect its schemes. That is a very serious defect. Further, I have heard several members of the party saying: "Well, we cannot vote according to our conscience. There is the Party Whip. God save us from this party system". This is what has been expressed by many honest legislators. Further, Sir, as I said, there is no stability at all.
The third point I would like to urge against this parliamentary executive is that it cannot reflect the several sections of the country. The defects are so overwhelmingly great that I should rather prefer a stable Government, a government which does not stand in fear of being turned out overnight, because it was not able to satisfy some corrupt supporters of their party. Now, it is true in a democratic Government, the executive must be responsible. Let us see whether there is any other system of Government which has both responsibility and stability. It is no doubt true that in the American system there is less responsibility and more stability. But if you look at another system of Government, namely, the Swiss form of Government, where the elected parliament again in its turn elects the executive, there the responsibility is emphasized. Having elected its executive, it leaves the executive to work out its schemes in a satisfactory way for a period of four years and the decisions of the Parliament are binding on that executive, unlike in the case of the American Presidential executive. Therefore, if we want both stability and responsibility, the Swiss system of executive is preferable.
Now, Sir, with regard to the form of constitution, I am unable to agree with the constitution that is embodied in the Draft Constitution. People seem to think that the Centre must be strong, and that unless the Centre is very strong the provinces will always be an impediment in the way of the Centre becoming strong. That is a wrong view. If provinces are made autonomous, that does not necessarily mean that the Centre will be rendered weak. What do we find here? My view is that the provinces will be nothing but glorified District Boards. Look at Article 275 where in an emergency all powers can be usurped by the Centre. Look at articles 226, 227 and 229. The Centre can legislate for the provinces in all matters; and again look at the long Union List and the Concurrent List. All these clearly show that in the hands of a Central Government which wants to over ride and convert this federal system into a unitary system, it can be easily done. Now there is a danger of this sort of Government becoming totalitarian. This is the danger in the form of the constitution that is embodied in the Draft Constitution. Now to add to this, look at the Fundamental Rights that are enunciated. Can they be called Fundamental Rights at all? Fundamental Rights are those which are fundamental in character, unchangeable except in extreme circumstances. But what do you find here? These Fundamental Rights are hedged in by provisos, by overriding exceptions. There is a little confusion also in that chapter that deals with Fundamental Rights. It is said that from experience, it is found that instead of a Supreme Court deciding whether the government cannot under certain circumstances override the Fundamental Rights, provision is made in the draft itself; and it is claimed, Sir, is the provisions for the form of constitution that it must be a flexible constitution. May I, with due respect to Dr. Ambedkar, state that the rigidity and the legalism which he says must be avoided are the very essence of a written constitution? It is not an unwritten constitution as in the case of Britain. In the case of Britain, Sir, it is a matter of history. It is an unwritten constitution and it has suited the peculiar genius of the British people to go on with their work without any written constitution and the peculiar parliamentary democracy suited the British Government. The very rigidity and the legalism which Dr. Ambedkar complained of is a necessary and unavoidable characteristic of a written constitution. We do not want to be so fiexible as to allow any Government to ride rough-shod over the fundamental rights. They are not written rights at all if they are hedged in by so many exceptions. What is stated as Fundamental Rights, in the very article they have been rendered useless. Further, with regard to these Fundamental Rights, it is stated in section 13 that nothing contained in this shall in any way affect the operation of the existing laws. You know very well how reactionary the existing laws have been. No doubt in Article 8 it is stated that all laws which are inconsistent with the Fundamental Rights must go, but in article 13 it is said that the existing laws must prevail as against the Fundamental Rights. Not only there is contradiction here but there is confusion. I could understand, Sir, if under Article 8 a list of Acts and their sections have been mentioned as well as those which have been annulled. That section does not make it clear. In these circumstances, Sir, I am afraid, there are no fundamental rights at all.
One thing with regard to minority rights I am bound to say. There is nowhere any mention of provisions which safeguard the personal law of the people. You know, Sir, in India, at least, people of several communities are governed by personal laws based on their religion. It is possible to legislate with regard to personal laws also. That would go against the claims that this government is going to be secular, which would not interfere with the religious rights of the people.
Sir, one word with regard to reservation. Some Muslim friends of mine, especially Mr. Karimuddin has stated that he does not want reservation for his community. But, when I had a talk with him, he clearly stated that when there are no separate electorates, the people who will be returned will be those put up by the majority community, and therefore, the Muslim candidates who really represent the Muslims may not be elected. That seems to be the reason why he did not want reservation. If we can find out a way by which the Muslims who are elected would truly represent their community, there should be no objection. If in case of minorities a device is found, for instance, the election being based on what is called proportional representation by the system of single transferable vote, if such a device is made by the party in power, by the persons responsible for the framing of the constitution, I think that might go along way. In the absence of such a device, in the absence of separate electorates, I do not think I will be voicing the opinion of my community if I gave up this reservation that has been agreed to in the Minorities Sub-Committee. Therefore, Sir, I feel, on the whole, that this draft has not been very satisfactory. There is almost a certainty system of Government would lead to fascism or totalitarianism and it is capable of riding rough-shod valued rights of the citizens and also of the minorities.
Mr. Z. H. Lari (United Provinces: Muslim): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, before making my submissions on the draft Constitution, I would like to lodge a protest. The Constituent Assembly refrained from taking any decision as to the language question, and had postponed its consideration to a future stage. But the Drafting Committee, of its own accord, inserted a clause laving down that Hindi and English shall be the languages for transacting the business of the House. In today's paper I saw a report that the Muslim members from the United Provinces and Bihar have agreed that Hindi with Devanagari script shall be the official language. I therefore think it necessary to repudiate that statement at the very outset, and say clearly that we stand for Hindustani written in either script as the national language of our motherland. So far as English is concerned, I think it is necessary to retain it for some years to enable those who are not acquainted with Hindustani to be able to take an effective part in the discussions in the House. An Honourable Member from Madras was right when he said that there should be no linguistic imperialism. For that reason, Hindustani written in either script along with English should be the languages used for transacting the business of the House.
Coming to the Draft Constitution, which is primarily intended to usher in a democratic secular republic, we have to see how far the contents, the form and the spirit of the provisions contained therein are calculated to promote the Objectives Resolution unanimously adopted by this House and universally acclaimed by the country. To assess the provisions of the Draft Constitution, we have to see how far the Draft Constitution ensures the inherent rights of man, rights without which life is not worth living, how far the provisions safeguard against possible prostitution of democratic forms for totalitarianism, how far the provisions ensure justice if not generosity for the minorities and lastly, how far they ensure the independent development of the various national elements in the country. In order to assess the value of the provisions, we have to bear in mind two things: firstly, certain admissions made by the honourable Mover of the Resolution, I mean the Honourable Dr. Ambedkar, and secondly our experience of the working of democracy in the last fifteen months after the attainment of independence. When the House adopted resolutions which are the basis of the Draft Constitution, we had no such experience before us; but now we have. The first admission that the honourable Mover made was, and I will use his own words:
With respect, I say he is mainly right.
An Honourable Member: He is wrong.
Mr. Z. H. Lari: I would like to point out in this connection the various Security Acts which have been passed by the various legislatures, particularly the Safety Act in one province which even excluded the right to move the High Courts under section 491 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The second admission that he made is: "Constitutional morality is not a natural sentiment. It has to be cultivated. We must realise that our people have yet to learn it."
I say not only the people but even our Governments have to learn it. To prove this I will cite only two instances. The House will remember that in Calcutta - in Bengal - the High Court was seized of a case and had appointed a full Bench to decide as to what is the effect of the word reasonable' in an enactment dealing with Government's power to arrest and detain. The Bench was to meet only next day but the Government came out with an Ordinance laying down that the word 'reasonable' shall be held to have been deleted. No doubt, as the High Court remarked in that case 'His Excellency the Governor of the Province' was fully within his rights to enact an Ordinance but it was against constitutional morality.' The second instance which I would place before the House is that the head of an autonomous institution - I mean the Aligarh University - was only the other day asked to quit and give place to another man although that head had the confidence of the University Court and of the community to which the institution appertains. I say therefore in assessing the value of the provisions we have to keep in view these two admissions made by the Honourable Minister, as well as the recent working of the democracies during the last fifteen months.
Now the first requirement of a citizen is there must be security of life and there must be safeguard of liberty. This august House when considering the Draft Fundamental Rights laid down that nobody should be deprived of life and liberty except in accordance with due process of law. Now those words have been substituted by the words 'procedure established by law'. That absolutely nullifies the intention of those of personal liberty and life "in accordance with procedure" it becomes open to the legislature to frame any legislation affecting life and liberty. That nullifies the very intention. Therefore the substitution of the original clause is absolutely essential. In the Introduction to the Draft Constitution reference is made to the Japanese and Irish Constitutions but those responsible for those constitutions had laid down the procedure itself. For instance it is laid down there that everybody arrested shall have the right to be given the cause of arrest and he will have the right to get it adjudicated by courts. Therefore so far as Japanese and Irish Constitutions are concerned, they have laid down the procedure and after laying down the procedure, the Constitution says 'Nobody can be deprived of life and liberty except in accordance with procedure as established by law'. I submit that the examples of Ire land and Japan have no relevance.
Next to individual liberty and life comes the sanctity of one's house. One's house has been said to be a citadel, and it is of sanctity for him. In all democratic constitution you will find that no searches or seizures can be made in the houses except on causes shown and on complaints specifying the reason thereof and thing to be seized. Similar articles should appear in our Constitution.
The next necessity of the individual is the right to have elementary education. That is singularly absent in the Fundamental Rights. In the Directive Principles of State Policy it is contained that it shall be the endeavour of the State to provide elementary education. My submission would be that is absolutely insufficient. What is necessary is that it should be the duty of the State to provide elementary education and such a provision should exist in the Constitution among the Fundamental articles.
Now I come to Article 13 which refers to freedom of speech, assembly or association. These are conceded but have been hedged in by such provisos and conditions that they reduce them to a nullity. I think addition of the words 'subject to reasonable requirements of public order and morality' would be enough. The Honourable Mover said that in America these rights have been circumscribed by judicial decisions, but when judicial decisions circumscribing those rights are given, they are given out of necessities of State. I think the addition of the words 'subject to reasonable requirements of public order and morality' would do. I submit that Fundamental Rights as conceded in the Draft Constitution are indefinite, insufficient and in certain particulars, vague.
The next item I would like to bring before you is this. The twin principles of democracy are that everybody has aright to representation and the majority has the right to govern. The electoral system, therefore, must be such as to ensure representation to everybody. This is the significance of adult franchise but the method adopted, viz., that of single member constituency really amounts to disenfranchisement of 49 per cent of the voters. It is possible in a single member constituency to disenfranchise even a minority extending to 49 percent. I am talking of political minority. Even political minorities are entitled to be represented in representative institutions. Therefore the system which is laid down in this Constitution needs revision. It may be said it prevails in England but this is why I drew the attention of the House to certain basic facts to which the Honourable Mover has referred and I would say it would be more advisable to follow the Irish, Swiss and now France in regard to introduction of proportional representation by single transferable or cumulative voting. It may be said that such system leads to multiplicity of parties. This has been in vogue for 25 years in Ireland and everyone is aware that one party governed the country for more than fifteen years and there had been not more than two parties. France had a plethora of parties even when there was no proportional representation. It is better for us to adopt this principle which is more progressive in instinct and which is really democratic.
I come to another feature of the Constitution, viz., the Ordinance. There was a time when we used to complain that Ordinance was the rule and legislature was hardly consulted. I may here refer to the Father of the Nation who said: "Under the British rule the Viceroy could issue Ordinance for making laws and executing them. There was a hue and cry against the combination of legislative and executive functions. Nothing has happened to warrant a change in our opinion. There should be no Ordinance rule. The Legislative Assemblies should be the only Law makers". It is said when the Assembly is not meeting, an emergency arises, and an Ordinance has to be promulgated. But there is no significance of time and space and you can get an Assembly within two days and it is not at all difficult. Even if a necessity existed, that has disappeared; and moreover what is its effect? Because of the use of Ordinance-making powers the Assembly has become a rubber-stamp. In our province I know there is hardly any legislation which is not preceded by an Ordinance and in a Parliamentary Government where the Cabinet determines really the policy of the majority, once the Cabinet has framed an Ordinance and it comes forward in the form of a legislation, it is impossible for the major party to go back and therefore it is the Cabinet which determines the legislation. I would accordingly submit that there is really no necessity of a provision requiring powers of issuing Ordinance.
Then there is the contingency of emergency. No doubt an emergency clause should be there. But such is the wide scope of the emergency as put in the Draft Constitution, that not only actual violence, not only actual invasion as in the case of America, but threat of violence is enough to warrant declaration of emergency. These features are dangerous and must be eliminated.
I will now come to that portion of the draft which deals with minority rights. In dealing with these rights the first thing that has to be seen is reservation of seats. That is the one unique feature of the Constitution - that a minority is said to be safeguarded by means of reservation of seats, without ensuring that the minority concerned has any right or voice in determining its representative. This is meaningless and even deceptive. The only means of safeguarding minorities is by adopting the system of proportional representation. A writer in the Round Table of March 1948 referring to this system and its working in Ireland said that this solved the question of reconciling justice to minorities with the necessities of a stable Government.
Then I come to the Services. What a strange contrast In the Legislature you have got statutory reservations where they are meaningless, but when you come to the Services it is merely said their claims shall be considered. This is a very pious wish. The experience of the last fifteen months in the United Provinces and in other provinces has shown that mere pious wishes are not enough. There must be statutory reservations. Take away the reservation from the Legislature and for God's sake give us reservation in the Services. Here I speak not only for the Muslims of the United Provinces but also for other minority people. You concede reservations to Anglo-Indians but you deny it to the Muslims. Why this discrimination? Take the situation in the United Provinces. If you peruse the results of the last twelve months there, hardly five per cent of the Muslims have been taken in the services. I say if you take into account their discharges and dismissals it will be 75 percent., but if you take new recruitment - it is hardly 5 per cent.
Shri Vishwambhar Dayal Tripathi (United Provinces: General): What did your leaders do in Pakistan?
Mr. Z. H. Lari: My friend wants me to follow in the footsteps of Pakistan. I am not going to do so.
Mr. Vice-President: Order, order.
Mr. Z. H. Lari: I have not mortgaged my rights to Pakistan. I stand here as a citizen of India. What Pakistan does or does not do is not my concern.
An Honourable Member: You have grown wise today!
Mr. Vice-President: Order, order.
Mr. Z. H. Lari: We never said that Muslims in these parts are going to migrate to Pakistan. We are the children of the soil and as such we claim the rights of citizens of India.
Shri Vishwambhar Dayal Tripathi: Even your U. P. leader has escaped!
Mr. Z. H. Lari: Interruptions only show how uncharitable and how undemocratic are these.........
Mr. Vice President: Order, order.
Mr. Z. H. Lari: I Submit to the order. I was saying that my time was very short.
Mr. Vice-President: It has gone already!
Mr. Z. H. Lari: Give me two minutes more please.
Now there is the question of the Cabinet. I admit there can be no statutory representation there. In a parliamentary system of Government it is inconceivable. But you have to consider whether, after introducing proportional representation, it is not proper for us to go back to the Presidential system. In that case it will be possible to have the election of the Cabinet on the Swiss system. But in the present set-up of the Constitution I admit that statutory reservation is impossible and the best that could be done has been done.
Lastly, I would beg of this House to consider that there must be some provision which should recognise the existence of an opposition in the Legislature. Of late since the Socialists seceded from the Congress, there have been utterances from responsible men indicating that the majority party - I do not say this is a confirmed opinion - are not very charitably disposed towards such an opposition. Just as it is in South Africa, or in England or in other countries, the position of the Leader of the Opposition should be accepted, and the one means of accepting is that it should be provided that he should be also granted a salary as in other countries. We know that in the system that is coming, men like myself have no chance to come back. Therefore, it is not in our interest but in the interests of democracy that there should be a proper Opposition which is constructive and charged with a duty to the country, and the motherland, and this can be assured only when you give a status to it in the Constitution itself.
I notice that in the further amendments provided by the Drafting Committee, there is a suggestion for the appointment of an Advisory Committee to advise the President and there the position of the Leader of the Opposition has been recognised. But his position should be recognised even in the Constitution for the Union and for the States.
With these few submissions I conclude. I have made references to certain admissions by Dr. Ambedkar but all the same I have faith in the goodness of my countrymen and in the catholic spirit of those who inhabit this motherland, and I hope that they will rise to the occasion, and now that the critical phase has passed, now that passions have subsided, they will be more realistic and more conciliatory so that there may be an even balance in the country between the majority and the minority, not only theoretically but actually, so that we may concentrate on making India great.
Mr. Hussain Imam (Bihar: Muslim): I wish to say a few words on the Constitution as it has been presented to us. My task has been lightened a great deal by the previous speakers who have referred to many of the questions to which I wished to refer.
I must say that I find the position of the President of the Drafting Committee unenviable. He has been attacked from the left for not having copied the Soviet Constitution, and from the right for not having gone back to the village panchayat as his unit. May I say that there is an element of confusion in some our friends' minds, when they want that the Constitution should provide for all the ills to which Indians are subject? It is not part of the Constitution that it should provide for cloth and food. A very revered Member of this Constituent Assembly regretted that this Constitution does not contain any provision for that purpose. My submission, Sir, is that the Constitution is based on the needs of a country to which it is applied. We have to see whether this Constitution does supply those essentials which are peculiar to our own circumstances.
The first lacuna which I find is that there is no mention of the sovereignty of the people. Unless you accept the principle of sovereignty of the people that all power is derived from the people and all Constitutions are based on the will of the people, the result will be confusion.
This has resulted in confusion. For instance, take what was formerly called the Indian States and the British Indian Provinces. The way in which the two have been treated is scarcely just and equitable. We find that people who mainly fought for the achievement of Swaraj or self-rule have lesser power than the people of the States, who did not participate as much in the struggle as we of the Indian provinces. The customs income of certain States has to be compensated by means of central grants. We have been told that there is one citizenship, the citizenship of India. With one-citizenship rights, can the people of the States have different rights? In the Indian States the people will be free from income-tax and income-tax can only be applied to the British Indian provinces. Corporation tax is not levied there except in so far as it might be applicable to one or two Indian States. I therefore suggest that there should be uniformity with a single kind of suzerainty. That is my first fundamental objection to the Draft Constitution.
Secondly, as Dr. Ambedkar himself has pointed out, I think there must not be any differentiation between the provinces and the States. The right to maintain an army which has been given to the Indian States is wrong. India is in a dynamic condition. Thanks to the sagacity and firmness of Sardar Patel, the question of the Indian States has been solved to a great extent and they are no longer a stumbling block in our way. I was very glad to hear yesterday the Prime Minister of the Jodhpur State and one representative gentleman from Madhya Bharat speaking, in which they themselves came forward with the idea of uniformity with the Indian provinces. There is no reason why the portals of the Supreme Court should be closed to the citizens of Indian States. If they are citizens of India, they have as much right as we have to go to this court for the adjudication of their interests and rights. I think that it is all due to the fact that we have not conceded the suzerainty of the people nor the proposition that with uniformity you get as a matter of course a system under which every one will be equal before the law in power and in responsibility.
I was also surprised that a learned pundit of constitutional law like Dr. Ambedkar should have skipped over the fact that the responsibility of the non-parliamentary executive is not less than that of the parliamentary executive. If it is examined it will be found that the committees of the House of Representatives and the Senate in U.S.A. exercise far greater control than the control exercised by the House of Commons. It is wrong to say that the Executive in the U.S.A. only comes in for a corrective after four years' term of the President. He is subject to day today control and that control is far greater in the case of the Senate Committees and the House of Representatives than it is in the case of the British Parliament. A very well-known instance is the failure of President Wilson to carry forward his move for the League of Nations, because it was the Senate Committee which did not consent to it. Even the appointment of ambassadors to other countries is subject to the control of the Senate. Therefore it is wrong to say that in the presidential non-parliamentary system there is no control and the control if at all is very remote. It is as intimate if not more intimate than in the British system of parliamentary control. I do not wish to discuss this aspect of the matter further as I shall have opportunities later when we will be discussing this subject again.
I might mention in this connection, as I said earlier, that the constitution must be framed to fit in with the needs of the country. I ask leaders to examine conditions in India. Look at the U. P., the Centre of India, where the only other political party that you have got, viz., the Socialist Party, was supposed to be the strongest. What was the result in the local board and district board elections? They were beaten. In the Parliamentary elections out of twelve seats vacated by them every one of them was lost. Is this the way in which you can maintain parliamentary democracy? In a parliamentary democracy it is necessary that we must have an effective opposition. You can never have an effective opposition if you have single seat constituencies. It is only by means of a system of proportional representation that you can avoid the danger of reducing India to a Fascist State. I make this observation in all humility that for the preservation of democracy in India it is necessary that you must have a system where by an opposition may be allowed to come in. The popularity, the prestige and the name of the Congress are so great that it is impossible for anyone to come in opposition to the Congress and the result of this is, as has been seen many times in England, that the majority of the electors are disfranchised in this way that if there is a three-cornered contest the defeated candidates might together get more than the successful one. Even conceding that there will be no three-cornered contest a large part of the electorate is disfranchised. Even if you have 60 and 40 per cent. voting,40 per cent. have no representation in the country, whereas under the system of proportional representation which is prevailing in most of the new advanced countries of Europe you will have representation in which every shade of opinion will be represented.......
Shri L. Krishnaswami Bharathi (Madras: General): What are those countries in Europe where there is proportional representation at general elections?
Mr. Hussain Imam: In the U.S.A. there is proportional representation......
Several Honourable Members: No, no.
Mr. Hussain Imam: Switzerland has got it. (Voices: No, no.) Even if nobody has got it, if it is necessary for us, we should not follow what others have done. As I said in the beginning, a constitution must be framed suitable to the needs of the country and not necessarily in line with what others have been doing.
I might explain a point which was made by the previous speaker, viz., that the personal law of the minorities should be safeguarded. The majority need not have the safeguard, because they are the majority, and nothing can be passed in the legislature without their full consent and concurrence, whereas, the minority have not got this privilege and therefore it is necessary that the personal law of the Muslims and other minorities who so desire should be preserved from interference by the legislature without the concurrence of a vast majority of the members thereof.
Adverting to the question of reservation, as Mr. Lari has said reservation in the legislature is no good when there is no method of proper representation. I therefore say that proportional representation, in addition to being a very necessary item for the preservation of an opposition in the country, would also serve the interest of the minorities. There will be no need to have reservation for minorities provided you give proportional representation insufficiently large numbers.
For instance, one or two constituencies in each district may be made multi-member constituencies with ten or twelve seats in each. And, if you have the Lists system which prevailed sometime ago in Germany, that would serve a greater purpose; because voting will be on the basis of parties and not on the basis of persons. We want representation more in groups than individually. We do not want the spectacle of France repeated in India. But we do not wish to have a one-party Government which is liable to degenerate into something anti-democratic.
Before I conclude, Sir, I wish to say few words on the language question. I am not going to say anything in opposition to the prevailing sentiment on this matter. The need for the continuance of the English language for the time being has been advocated by the South. But as far as Hindi is concerned, there is no difference of opinion, provided we know what is Hindi. I personally am prepared to adopt the language spoken by Sardar Patel and the language in which he delivered his recent address at Bombay. He does not come from the Urdu-speaking tracts. He is a Gujerati. He speaks the language which is spoken by people everywhere. I had occasion to listen to the radio-relay of his speech at Chowpathi and I found that it was nothing but Hindustani or whatever name you give it. To me the language in which he spoke at Chowpathi was Hindustani. It is a language which is far better understood by the people than the language used by the Department under him, the A. I. R.
We have been told, Sir, that in this respect too, we are following the Gandhian conception. But people forget that Mahatma Gandhi stood for Hindustani to the last moment. He stood for Hindustani, in both Devnagri and Urdu scripts. Devnagri, as far as the script is concerned has nothing to rival it. It is the best possible medium. But what about the language? Hindi (you may call Hindustani), unless you mix it up with big Sanskrit words and fill it up with all common genders, is Hindustani. As I said, the language of the Deputy Prime Minister, coming from a province not speaking Urdu, should be our criterion and guidance. If the Members of the Constituent Assembly are willing to accept it I suggest that Hindustani, written in both Devnagri and Urdu, which was the last wish of Mahatma Gandhi and the most accepted in India today, should be adopted as the national language.
Sir, the Constitution is only framed once. It is not a thing which is done every other day. So it is but right and proper that in framing it we should give the utmost consideration, cool consideration, without heat and without rancour or mental reservations. I appeal to the House that they should forget and forgive the past. It is very painful, Sir, to be reminded every day that we are responsible for bringing Pakistan into existence. In its creation the Congress was as much a party as anybody else. In that spirit I request that Muslims should not be regarded as hostages. They should be regarded as citizens of India with as much right to live and enjoy the amenities of India - the land of their birth - as anyone else. I conclude my speech.
Begum Aizaz Rasul (United Provinces: Muslim): Sir, I congratulate the Honourable Dr. Ambedkar for his lucid and illuminating exposition of the draft Constitution. He and the Drafting Committee had no ordinary task to perform and they deserve our thanks.
Sir I feel it a great privilege to be associated with the framing of the Constitution. I am aware of the solemnity of the occasion. After two centuries of slavery India has emerged from the darkness of bondage into the light of freedom, and today, on this historic occasion we are gathered here to draw up a constitution for Free India which will give shape to our future destiny and carve out the social, political and economic status of the three hundred million people living in this vast sub-continent. We should therefore be fully aware of our responsibilities and set to this task with the point of view of how best to evolve a system best suited to the needs, requirements, culture and genius of the people living here.
Much has been said about the fact that most of the provisions have been borrowed from the Constitutions of the U.S.A., England, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, etc. Sir, I for my part see nothing wrong in so borrowing as long as the higher interests of the Nation and the well-being and prosperity of the country are kept in mind. There is no doubt that the draft Constitution has been framed to fit in with the present administration. But this had to be so in the very nature of things. After all, we have all become used to a certain way of life of government and of administration. If the draft Constitution had changed the whole structure of Government, there would have been chaos. India is a new recruit to the democratic form of Government. Its people have been used to centuries of autocratic rule and, therefore, to carry on more or less on the lines they have been accustomed for some time more, with changes here and there according to changed conditions, is the best thing possible. The important thing is that power is derived from the people and it is the people who will make or mar the destiny of India.
A lot of criticism has been made about Dr. Ambedkars' remark regarding village polity. Sir, I entirely agree with him. Modern tendency is towards the right of the citizen as against any corporate body and village panchayats can be very autocratic.
Sir, coming to the Fundamental Rights, I find that what has been given with one hand has been taken away by the other. Fundamental Rights should be such that they should not be liable to reservations and to changes by Acts of legislature. It is essential that some at least of the civil liberties of the citizen should be preserved by the Constitution and it should not be easy for the legislature to take them away. Instead of this, we find the provision relating to these Rights full of provisos and exceptions. This means that what has been given today could easily be changed tomorrow by an Act of the legislature.
To my mind it is necessary that some sort of agency should be provided to see that the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles are being observed in all provinces in the letter and in the spirit. Otherwise it may be that the absence of such an agency may give rise to the formation of communal organisations with the object of watching the interests of their respective communities. It should be the function of the agency I have suggested to bring to the notice of the Government the cases where the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles are not being followed properly. I hope this point of mine will be seriously considered by this august Assembly when we come to discuss the Draft Constitution clause by clause.
Sir, as a woman, I have very great satisfaction in the fact that no discrimination will be made on account of sex. It is in the fitness of things that such a provision should have been made in the Draft Constitution, and I am sure women can look forward toe quality of opportunity under the new Constitution.
Sir, I will not go into the details of the Constitution because I shall deal with the various provisions as we discuss the Constitution clause by clause, but there are a few fundamental issues which have been raised and discussed on the floor of this House during the last two or three days to which I may refer in passing.
Sir, the question of the reservation of seats for the minorities has engaged the attention of this House. It is true, Sir, that last year on the recommendations of the Minorities Sub-Committee, this House accepted the principle of the reservation of seats for certain communities. At that time also I was opposed to this reservation of seats, and today again I repeat that in the new set-up with joint electorates it is absolutely meaningless to have reservation of seats for any minority. We have to depend upon the good-will of the majority community. Therefore speaking for the Muslims I say that to ask for reservation of seats seems to my mind quite pointless, but I do agree with Dr. Ambedkar that it is for the majority to realise its duty not to discriminate against any minority. Sir, if that principle that the majority should not discriminate against any minority is accepted, I can assure you that we will not ask for any reservation of seats as far as the Muslims are concerned. We feel that our interests are absolutely identical with those of the majority, and expect that the majority would deal justly and fairly with all minorities. At the same time, as has been pointed out by some honourable Members in their speeches, reservation of seats for minorities in the Services is a very essential thing and I hope that the members of this House will consider it when we deal with that question.
Then, Sir, another question which has been engaging the attention of this House is the question of language. Sir, the question of language in its very nature is a very important question because after all we have to devise something which is most acceptable to the people living in this country. It is quite true that the language of the country should be the language that is mostly spoken and understood by the people of the country, and I do not deny the fact that Hindi is the language which is understood and spoken by the majority of the people (hear, hear), but, Sir, the word 'Hindi' as it is being interpreted today is a very wrong interpretation. After all there is not much difference between Hindi and Hindustani. Every one will bear witness to the fact that the language spoken in the country, whether by Hindus or Muslims, is a very different language to that which is being described as Hindi and which is being advocated by the protagonists of Hindi. What is advocated is Sanskritised Hindi which is only understood by a small section of the people. If we take the villages, the language spoken there is very different to what is called Hindi here.
Then, Sir, I do not think that the forty million Muslims living in this country can immediately be asked to change their language. I agree that we will have to learn Hindi in the Devanagri script, but some time must be given to us to effect the change-over. It is very unfair of you to ask us suddenly to transact all the business of the state as well as the business in the legislatures in a language that we are not conversant with. I therefore feel that this is a matter which should be calmly and coolly considered. After all, this is not a matter which can be decided on the spur of the moment or on grounds of sentiment or passion. We have to keep in mind the requirements of the country. The Father of the Nation up to the last advocated Hindustani written in both the scripts as the only language which is most suitable and which can be acceptable to the mass of the people living in this country. I therefore recommend that, whereas Hindi in the Devanagri Script can be made the ultimate lingua franca of the country, a certain time limit, say about 15 years, must be given for the change over and until then Hindustani in both the scripts should remain the language of India.
In conclusion, Sir, I would say that whatever we put in this constitution, we must see that all our efforts are concentrated to make India strong and prosperous with equality of opportunity, happiness and prosperity for all so that India may lead the countries of the world on the path of peace and progress.
Dr. Monomohan Das (West Bengal: General): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, a few days have passed since the Draft Constitution was introduced on the floor of this House by our able Law Minister and Chairman of the Drafting Committee, Dr. Ambedkar. During these few days, the Draft Constitution has met with scorching criticism at the hands of different members of this House. With the exception of every few members who questioned the very competency and authenticity of this House to pass the Draft Constitution, all the other Members have been unanimous in their verdict. They have accepted the Draft Constitution with some alterations, additions and omissions, in some clauses and articles, as a fairly workable one to begin with. One very reassuring feature that we find in the Constitution is the single citizenship. As the Chairman of the Drafting Committee has said, unlike the American Constitution, the Draft Constitution has given us a single citizenship, the citizenship of India. In these days of provincialism, when every province likes to thrive at the cost of its neighbouring ones, when we have forfeited the sympathy and goodwill of our neighbouring provinces, it is indeed a great reassuring feature. I, as a member from West Bengal, especially find myself elated to think that henceforth when this constitution is passed, when this clause of single citizenship, with its equal rights and privileges all over India, is passed, the door of our neighbouring provinces will be open to us, so that our unfortunate brethern from the Eastern Pakistan, will find a breathing space in our neighbouring provinces.
I beg to mention another point regarding the minority problem. The safeguards that have been awarded to the minorities in the draft Constitution, have caused some amount of resentment. Nobody can deny that minorities do exist in this country. No amount of denial can efface these minorities from the face of India. You know Sir, that democracy means rule by majority. The majority is always there to rule and the minority will always be there at the mercy of the majority. The majority has no need to be afraid of these minorities. It behoves the majority, I think, to protect these minorities, and give them safeguards, if necessary, so that a sense of confidence, a sense of security may be created in their hearts. I think, what the minorities of India demand and deserve today, from the majority, is a sympathetic consideration of their problem sand not a challenging attitude.
One very pertinent question has been raised by an eminent member of this House, Sir, when he said that the Draft Constitution of India has borrowed many things from the Constitutions of other countries of the world, but it has taken nothing from the indigenous soil, from our cultural heritage, evidently meaning the Village Panchayat System. We, as a sentimental and idealist race have a natural tendency and love for everything that is old and past. Our Chairman of the Drafting Committee has been criticised by various personages of this House, for not including this Village Panchayat System into the Draft Constitution. They have taken it for granted that this Constitution has been the work of a single man, forgetting that there was a Constitution-making body, the Drafting Committee, always to guide the framing of Constitutions. I think, it is strange, Sir, that all the members of the Drafting Committee including the Chairman have forgotten to include this Village Panchayat System into our Constitution. The Village Panchayat System has been a blind spot to all of them. I personally think the Drafting Committee has wilfully left it to the provincial legislatures to frame whatever they like about this Village Panchayat System.
In fact, Sir, there are provinces in which legislation has already been undertaken in that direction, I mean, Sir, the Gram Panchayat Bill of the United Provinces. There is nothing in our Constitution that will take from the provincial legislatures the power to pass an Act in that direction. If our provincial legislatures think that this Village Panchayat system will do immense good to our country, they are quite at liberty to introduce it in their legislatures and pass it accordingly. So I think, Sir, the criticisms sometimes amounting to abuse, which have been showered upon the Chairman of the Drafting Committee, are wholly uncalled for, unjustifiable, uncharitable, and if I am permitted to say so, undignified.
I beg to utter a few words of caution to all Honourable friends who are so enthusiastic protagonists of the Village Panchayat System. Unless and until our village peoples are educated, unless and until they become politically conscious unless they become conscious of their civic rights and responsibilities, and unless they become conscious of their rights and privileges, this Village Panchayat system will do more harm than good. I know that I am inviting upon myself when I say that the Village Panchayat System has been there and was there for centuries and centuries. How much has it contributed to the welfare of our country, how much has it contributed to our social, political and economic uplift? If this system is introduced before our village people are properly educated, then I think, Sir, the local influential classes will absorb to themselves all the powers and privileges that will be given by the Panchayat System and they will utilise it for their selfish motives. This system will enable the village zamindars, the village talukdars, the Mahajans and the money-lending classes to rob, to exploit the less cultured, the less educated, poorer classes of the villages.
With these words, Sir, I endorse wholeheartedly the motion put forward by the Chairman of the Drafting Committee for consideration of the Draft Constitution. I thank you, Sir, for the opportunity you have given me to express my views on the floor of this House.
Shri V. I. Muniswamy Pillai (Madras: General): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, nobody in this august Assembly or outside can belittle the efforts and the services rendered by the Drafting Committee that has presented the Draft Constitution for the approval of this House. The future generation will feel great pride that this Drafting Committee has been able to digest the various constitutions that are obtaining in the world today and to cull from them such of the provisions as are needed for the elevation of this great sub-continent.
Sir, going through the various sections, one has to note whether the underdog, the common man, the communities that have been neglected in the past, have been well protected, and facilities for citizenship have been afforded. Reading this constitution, one finds that there are two novel things that are not obtaining in any of the constitutions of the world: first of all, the eradication of untouchability. As a member of the so-called Harijan community, I welcome it. Untouchability has eaten into the vitals of the nation, and with all the pride and privilege of the Hindu community, the outside world have been looking at India with a doubtful eye. I welcome this provision because it shows the greatness of the majority community that they found out that them is a fungus that is eating into nation's pride and they have come forward to remove this course of untouchability. There are people in India today who say that enough propaganda has been made to eradicate untouchability and there is no need for further propaganda. But I honestly feel, Sir, if you go to the village parts, untouchability is rampant still and a provision of this sort in the Constitution is a welcome thing.
The second feature is the abolition of forced lab our (begar). If there is any lab our required for common purposes in the village, this most unfortunate fellow, the Harijan, is always caught hold of to do all menial and inferior service. By the provisions in this Constitution, I am sure you are elevating a community that has been outside the pale of society. It was given to the great Father of the Nation ,Mahatma Gandhi, as a great mycologist, to find out the fungi that were eating into the national vitality. He has made certain proposals to eradicate this evil and I am glad that the Drafting Committee have made provisions to eradicate untouchability and forced lab our on this unfortunate community.
Sir, in the Draft Constitution, they have stated that the eradication of untouchability can be made by laws. I plead that mere laws are not enough. Special laws have to be made. In my own province the legislature was good enough to pass an Act to remove the civil disabilities; but in putting the Act into operation, it was not possible even for the Government to enforce the facilities that were sought to be conferred by the Act. Therefore, I plead that there ought to be special laws if you really want to do away with untouchability and forced lab our.
Coming to the Fundamental Rights that have been accorded to all in this country, and especially for the unfortunate minority communities, the Advisory Committee, the Minorities Committee and the Fundamental Rights Committee that went through the whole thing have adopted certain methods and they have been approved by this august Assembly.
There are certain sections of people who say that no reservation is required. But, all those, who have seen the unfortunate plight of these minority communities, feel that reservation must be there, as already accepted by the Minorities Committee and also approved by this august Assembly. So far as the protection of the minorities are concerned, it is the good-will of this august Assembly to confer adult franchise with joint elect rates. Of course, no one can deny that this is the best thing that could be done in the circumstances to elevate this community, that is poor in economic status and also poor in education. Any attempt to do away with adult franchise will be a great sin. In the matter of safeguard to the minorities, I think what is now provided in the Draft Constitution is a welcome thing; but there is still in the provinces a strong feeling against these safeguards. I honestly feel that they must be enforced in all ways.
Coming to the economic condition of the villagers, especially the tillers of the soil and agricultural lab our, I do not find any provision has been made in the Draft Constitution to consider the village as a unit. Of course, due to exploitation and other things, the villages are in rack and ruin. It is the highest duty of any constitution-making body to see that the village is set right. Due to the hereditary system of appointment of village officers, Maniagars and Karnams, they are the people who rule the villages. Having made a constitution for the upper strata for the management of the provinces of India, if we leave alone the village re-construction, I feel that we are doing a wrong thing. It is the wish of Mahatma Gandhi also that the village must be made a self-governing unit. I am sure this august Assembly will reconsider what has been presented to this House and see that we make proper amendments so that the village or a group of villages could come under the category of self-governing institutions. Whether in the District Boards or Municipalities, there are no real representatives of the people of the village or the taluk. Due to certain circumstances the Collectors in my province are asked to look after the District Board administration. These Collectors are loaded with so much other responsible work that they appoint a Special officer to carry on the District Board administration. This is not a popular institution as it is now constituted. I feel that the village unit must betaken into account.
In the matter of appointment of Ministers, the President is given full powers. If you read the provisions of the Government of India Act, 1935, you will find that provision has been made that the Governor or the President, in choosing his Ministers, shall take into account the claims of the minority communities. I find no such provision in this Draft Constitution, some such provision will be made to take into account claims of the minority communities for these Ministers' posts. Sir, I believe that it is political power that can give a chance of better service to these neglected communities. Even in the matter of All India services, in section 10 it is said that the backward communities are to be taken not of. But, if you persue the list of backward communities from province to province, the Scheduled Castes do not come in it. I feel that also must be rectified.
Finally, there is the controversy about the national language. Taking my own community, I do not think that even one per cent of the population have taken to Hindi or Hindustani
I feel, Sir, that this august body must deliberate properly and should not force any language on a province, or district or state where it is not welcomed.
With these few observations, I congratulate the President and members of the Drafting Committee for their great service in presenting the Draft Constitution to this Assembly and I commend the motion to this House for its acceptance.
Shrimati Dakshayani Velayudhan (Madras: General): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, now that the draft is before us for general discussion, I request you to permit me to express my views on the same. The able and eloquent Chairman of the drafting Committee has done his duty creditably within the scope of the general set-up of the new State of India. I feel that even if he wanted he could not have gone beyond the broad principles under which transfer of power took place and I therefore think that any criticism that is levelled against him is totally uncharitable and undeserved. Even if there is any blame - and I think there is - it should go only to those of us who are present here and who were sent for the purpose of framing a Constitution and on whom responsibilities were conferred by the dumb millions of this land who by virtue of their suffering for independence had great hopes when they sent us to this Assembly. But this does not mean that I have not got any criticism about the Draft. I fear that the Constituent Assembly from the very beginning of its formation showed more interest in things other than making a constitution. We hear daily speeches made by our great leaders and their ideals and principles but in the Constitution we find that it is barren of their ideas and principles. We have got leaders of national and inter-national importance but in our Constitution we find that those principles and ideals are absent and it is a great tragedy to find that such a draft has been placed before us and I do not think even the members of the Drafting Committee have completely read the Draft that is placed before us.
The general criticism is that the draft is a replica of the 1935 Act, but we cannot forget the fact that we have got a legacy of the British Imperialist ad-ministration which goes by the name of the Parliamentary system of Government. The trouble was that we were depending on it and we will have to depend on it even after the Constitution is put into operation. The trouble arose from one point, viz., just as the British administrators who wanted to keep India centrally and provincially as a single unit, we in our bewilderment and anxiety tried to bring India centrally and provincially as a strong unit and this centralisation of power has led to all the troubles. There are two ways of making India a strong unit. One is by the method of centralisation of power and the other is by decentralisation; but centralisation is possible only through parliamentary system which now goes under the safe words 'democratic methods', but in this draft we can't find anything that is democratic and decentralisation is totally absent. It is a great tragedy that in making the constitution of a great country with thirty crores of people, with a great culture behind it and the great principles and teachings of the greatest man of the world on the surface, we were only able to produce a constitution that is totally foreign to us. The arguments put forward by the Chairman of the Drafting Committee are not at all convincing. He has said that we are very late in making the Draft Constitution. But I can cite examples which will show that his arguments are not sound. The Drafting Committee recommends that the President of the Union can nominate fifteen members to the Council of States. Then another plea is that the term of the legislature should be more than four years. There is another misnomer in the Draft and that is about the selection or the election of the Governors. The Committee feels that if the Governor and the Chief Minister who is responsible to the Legislature are elected by the people then there will be friction between the two. But the remedy they have suggested is worse than the disease. There is a panel and the President is to select from the four one person as a Governor. If the Centre happens to have a Congress President and if a province is having a Socialist majority, suppose the Socialist party recommends three from their party and one from the Congress, certainly the President at the Centre will select the Congress man to be the Governor. Certainly this will lead to friction. We find that this direct recruitment to Governorship is taken from the Government of India Act and it shows that we have not left out even a comma from it.
Then, Sir, I cannot understand why there should be Centrally Administered areas under the new Constitution. The British kept these areas simply to have the military rule in the country. But I do not understand why we should have such areas under the present Constitution. It is better that these provinces are merged with the adjoining provinces and thus we will not be losing anything. We find that the draftsmen included such a clause and as a result it has come before us for discussion.
Then I want to say a few words about the Socialist demand at this stage. The Socialists are the second party which wants to come as an Opposition to the official bloc. We cannot deny the large following that they are having in the country. They have declared that they want to be a Constitutional Opposition in the future. But I must say that I do not agree with their demand that this Constituent Assembly should be buried. I have to make one suggestion. The present Constitution, when it comes into force, will be put before the public by way of the General Elections. Then this Constitution can be made an election issue either for its acceptance or rejection. If the majority of the electorates accept the Constitution, then we can take it that the whole country has accepted it. If the majority of the electorates reject it then we must take it that the whole country has rejected it, and the party that comes into power, and the Legislature that will be formed thereafter, can take up the Constitution and makes the amendments that are necessary. I think, Sir, the Congress Party that is in power today will accept such a policy and see that we are not blamed for being undemocratic in our approach to Constitution making.
Shri Deshbandhu Gupta (Delhi): *[Mr. President I am sorry I cannot congratulate Dr. Ambedkar, the Chairman of the Drafting Committee who has received congratulations from different Members of the House. I have read that part of the recommendations of the Drafting Committee which relates to the Chief Commissioners' Provinces, with great care. I would like to confine my remarks to this part only and wish that the Members of this House should go through it minutely.
Mr. President, you are aware that previously when the problem of Chief Commissioners' provinces was brought before the Constituent Assembly, the recommendations of the Drafting Committee were that the system of governance should remain the same as is now in force. Hindustan is changed, the country is free, but Delhi and other Chief Commissioners' provinces, in spite of their considerable population, did not have any say in the administration. There was no change in the system of their governance. When such a recommendation was brought before us in the Constituent Assembly, the representatives of the Chief Commissioners' provinces raised their voice and the Constituent Assembly appointed a special sub-Committee, which was entrusted with the task of framing a constitution in accord with the conditions prevailing there. Mr. President, the chairman of this special Sub-Committee was Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayya, the President-elect of our present National Congress and a senior member of this House. This special Sub-Committee had obtained the services of our constitutional "Pandit" Shri N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar. Moreover, our another Constitutional "Pandit", Shri K. Santhanam was also one of its members who always took a keen interest in it (laughter). (Do you doubt it)? Every member of the committee took interest in it and the recommendations which they submitted were unanimous. This committee held several meetings, considered the whole problem, examined all the sides of the question minutely and it also considered those difficulties of the Government, due to which they had deemed it proper to treat the Chief Commissioners' Provinces with indifference. Accordingly, taking all the matters into consideration, recommendations were submitted in which it was clearly stated that although the people of these areas demand that they should have the same rights as the people of the other provinces have already got - and there is no reason why this should not be - yet, considering that Delhi has a peculiar position of its own, they have recommended that Delhi and other similar provinces should be turned into Lieutenant-Governors' Provinces; and as regards the appointment of a Lieutenant-Governor it was conceded that the Centre should have control over him. Accordingly, it was resolved that instead of electing the Governor the President of the Republic should nominate him.
Another safeguard which has been provided is that, unlike other provinces, the constitution of the provinces should be framed differently and in such a manner that the provincial and central list should be concurrent, so that the Centre should have the full power to interfere in any legislation it likes which has been passed by the provincial Legislature. Moreover, the province should not have its exclusive jurisdiction.
It also has been provided that its budget should be brought before the Centre and that the President should have the right to interfere in it. This is not all. There is yet another safeguard, which says that should any difference arise between the Lieutenant-Governor and the Ministers on any matter it would be referred to the President whose decision on the subject would be taken as final. I fail to understand why the Drafting Committee deemed it necessary to dismiss this question in a few lines on the plea that as Delhi is the Capital town, local administration was not possible - although the committee had submitted its recommendations after mature consideration in which maximum regard was paid to the powers of the Centre. It seems to me that the Drafting Committee, instead of paying due regard to the unanimous recommendations of the special committee or trying to find any other way out, has acted according to its prejudices and thought that it was not a matter to which consideration should be given. It seems to me that these gentlemen were under the impression that the special committee was appointed merely to console the people of Delhi and other Chief Commissioners' provinces. That is why its recommendations have been thrown into the waste paper basket. I would like to ask them, why did they not realise that so many Members of the Constituent Assembly who spend considerable time in Delhi have certainly thought it proper that Delhi's population of 20 lakhs should have a say in their own administration? Does it look nice that in case there is a partial strike in Delhi, the Home Minister and the Prime Minister should run about to stop it? Is it proper that even under the new system of administration the cabinet ministers should be called upon to settle even the petty affairs of Delhi and the people of Delhi should have no voice? It is said that there being no parallel in Australia, it could not be done also here in India. I should have thought that we should try to benefit by the constitution of other countries and should not merely copy word by word. The example of Australia has been cited, but the population of its Capital town was 8000, and the estimate of its population in 1944 was 12,000. Its population is less than that of Narela, a town near Delhi. If you want to follow the example of Australia, then by all means make Narela your capital and exercise your authority there. The people of Delhi will have no objection. Another example which has been cited is that of Washington. This example can hold good to a certain extent. But I think that Delhi and Washington cannot be weighed in the same scale. Delhi is a commercial and an industrial town and it has a population of 20 lakhs whereas the population of Washington is near about 8 lakhs. Washington has been specially built to serve the purpose of a capital. Delhi has been in existence for centuries, may for thousands of years. It has a culture of its own and its population has its own requirements.
To my mind, great injustice is being done to the citizens of Delhi by dismissing the whole question in few lines by saying that, as it is not done in United States and in Australia, therefore nothing can be done likewise in Delhi. I would like to ask whether it is not a fact that Moscow has a separate province and a provincial administration of its own. If Moscow, being the Capital of U. S. S. R. can have a separate administration, why can't Delhi have one? Is it not a fact that there are four separate provinces in the Union of South Africa? And is it not a fact that even there, the capital city is also the capital of a province? Then why cannot it be done in India? Only two examples have been cited before us and of these two, one is that of a place where the population is 8000. I would like to ask with greatest respect: what comparison could there be between the capital of Australia and Delhi? Is it not an injustice that the case of Delhi be dismissed in a minute by comparing it with a town having a population of 8000?
I would like to say in all humility that if this Constituent Assembly, which is representative of the people, does not lend its ear to the voice of the people, then they will have to adopt some other method for making their voice heard by the members. Since 1927 from every nook and corner of Delhi the cry is being raised that Delhi should have a separate administration of its own; even today a resolution to the effect has been passed by the Delhi Provincial Congress Committee. A similar resolution has also been passed at a provincial political conference. Chief Commissioner's Advisory Council and the Delhi Municipal Committee have adopted similar resolutions. Similar resolutions have been passed in hundreds of meetings but the members of our Drafting Committee have completely ignored that; they have not cared to take note of that at all. I think it is a grave injustice. There can be no greater injustice that the residents of Delhi, which is the heart of India, be denied ash are in its administration. It is said that this demand is being put forth as some Delhi-wall as are hankering for Governorship and Minister ship. I ask my worthy friend that while he poses to be the standard-bearer of the minority-rights - Dr. Ambedkar's attentive eye at once catches even the minutest point, if any, concerning the minorities - how did the claim of this small province escape his notice? He should have shown some consideration to Delhi, regarding it at least as a minorities province. Even today when it concerns a religious minority, which is only 30 to 35 lakhs, the question is brought before the Constituent Assembly. It draws the attention of all of our leaders and they do their utmost to find a solution, but nobody today pays any heed to the Delhi province. Is it not an injustice to ignore the demand of twenty lakhs of people and to regard the twenty-lakh population as insignificant? Today about six lakhs of our brethren have come down to Delhi from West Punjab after losing their all. Delhi has given them shelter and made them its own. I want to know whether this Constituent Assembly wants to penalise doubly these six lakhs of people by denying them franchise? That would be a great injustice. If you think that Delhi, being the capital, needs more of protection then you can certainly give it. Delhi-wall as are prepared for that service. In there commendation, which we have placed before you, we have ourselves conceded wide powers. What do you then lose by giving to Delhi a small Legislative Council and a few ministers? You will have full freedom to suspend the whole thing whenever you like. The special Committee have themselves given all these powers to the President. Even here, instead of giving this a trial which would be a step in the right direction, we are told that there is no necessity of giving it a trial, and the President is vested with powers to take any such action, if and when he thought fit. On top of it all, it is made out that this is the only comprehensive solution of this problem. Mr. President, through you, I entreat the Honourable members of this House to ponder over this question calmly and to realise that the feeling of the people of Delhi is very strong and that their demand and their grievance is quite justified.
The same may be said about Ajmer-Merwara and Coorg; but as most probably they may amalgamate themselves with their neighbouring states they may thus acquire all the rights enjoyable by an autonomous province; but as regards Delhi it is being ordained that there would be no change in its status. Previously, Delhi's population was about six lakhs. Its present population is near about twenty lakhs, and it is estimated that within the next decade it would increase by another ten or fifteen lakhs. It is the fourth biggest town of India and its people have no voice in its administration. What is the state of affairs today? Delhi's Administrative report does not come before us. We are told that a Chief Commissioner's Advisory Council has been provided and we must be content with that. So, listen a bit about that also. It is more than a year that it was set up but not even once during all this period has the Chief Commissioner thought it necessary to consult the members of his Advisory Council on any matter of day-to-day administration so far. When riots broke out in Delhi, an emergency committee under the Chairmanship of Mr. Bhabha was set up by the Central Cabinet. But Delhi's Advisory Council had no hand in it. I want to know that if some sort of misfortune or devastation befalls Delhi today, or some sort of difficulties are created by the people of Delhi, then would it not affect us? How could it be therefore that the people of Delhi are not to be given any voice in its administration? New townships are being built around Delhi; new schemes are being planned, but nobody consults the people of Delhi. There is no place for them. For trivial matters they have to go to the Prime Minister or to the other Ministers. If Bombayites are capable of self-government, if Calcutta people are capable of running a government, and if U. P. with a population of five crores can run its government, than the same right should be given to the people of Delhi so that they may run the administration of Delhi province. The people of Delhi have never lagged behind during the hour of trial; their part in the struggle for freedom has been no less than that of others. In spite of all this, it is stated that no rights can be given to the Chief Commissioners' provinces of Delhi and Ajmer-Merwara. I want to emphasize that this question cannot be settled so easily.
Sir, I being the only member here for Delhi, my voice is feeble; I get little opportunity to make known to this House the aspirations of the people of Delhi. Today, with the great difficulty I have got this opportunity to put their case before this House; who cares for a cry in the wilderness? The most potent argument that I can place before you is that whatever safeguards you think proper, you may take. We shall have no objection to that, but the local administration should be entrusted to the people of Delhi. Delhi's status should be similar to that of other provinces. If you do not concede this right to them, it would be a grave injustice. The consequences will not be good.]*
Shri Gokulbhai Daulatram Bhatt (Bombay States): *[Mr. President, The minorities are being afforded an opportunity today to speak to the motion. I am, however, from the Native States. But these States are as yet political minors though they are gradually moving forward to attain the age of political majority. I am specially here to demand that we, who have reached this fulness of political age, should be recognised to have attained it, notwithstanding those who would like to deny us this right. The fact is that our standing those States and Unions of States are similar in character to the other provinces. I believe that I have been afforded this opportunity on this very ground and I only say that it was for this very purpose that I had agreed to it and I thank you, Sir, for affording this opportunity to me. Since the draft of the constitution reached me I have been carefully scrutinising it. I may therefore say that it is not that I have begun its scrutiny only a few days back. But from the day I began to examine it I have felt that there is nothing in it which may be said to be proper and right. I admit that it is quite proper to borrow, in a written constitution, such provisions from constitutions of other countries as may be considered obviously very good and useful. But the bold and authoritative statement of the Chairman of the Drafting Committee that the constitution we are going to accept would be the best in the world should betaken with some reservation. He says so because he is one of those who have prepared this draft - and I admit that they are entitled to gratitude on our part for the pains they have taken and the lab ours they have put in, borrowing parts from the constitutions of innumerable countries. Of course, it is not that these parts are disparate nor do I suggest that they have strung up a remarkable frame of unharmonious parts gathered from here and there. No, I would not like to make such an observation, for I do not think that the disparity within its various parts is to such an extent as would justify such a sentiment. But I would say that even in the buildings of Delhi, the city where we are meeting today and of which Shri Deshbandhuji has been telling us just no wand which I agree should be given a separate status of its own in the buildings of Delhi, for example, in a building like the Governor General's House there are to be found traces of ancient architecture just as there are those of modern architecture. Similarly I concede that good provisions of the constitutions of other countries may be included in our Constitution. But I feel pained today, as I did even before, that in our eagerness to borrow from other countries we have totally neglected those ancient principles and institutions of our country which are there even today and which we have inherited in our blood. It is a draft of the Constitution but neither its guiding principles nor its body are vitalised by the heart of India. The truth is that it does not give us the sense of being our own. This draft is no doubt beautifully decorated and decorated with flowers and other attractive articles. But the fragrance which such of constitution should give out is not there. I do not suggest that the lab ours of the Committee were a mere waste of energy and time, but I beg to be excused if I do wonder why so many months were spent on it when the constitution to be framed was to be only of this nature. I do not deny that there are some good features in it and I extend my congratulations to them for the same; but considering it as a whole I doubt seriously if it can at all be considered a constitution which is Indian in spirit and in character.
Dr. Ambedkar boldly admitted, and the members of the Drafting Committee do concede that in this constitution there is no provision for establishing Panchayat Raj, the village Panchayati system in India. When there is no such provision, it can never be the constitution of India. To forget or sprung the system of village Panchayats, which has lifted us up and which has sustained us so far and to declare boldly that it has been deliberately spurned - will in all humility I lodge my protest against it. They admit that they have spurned it and have not included it in our constitution. He has said so and that too with great emphasis. I am pained at the fact that the chairman of our Drafting Committee has used the words, "what is the village but a sink of localism and a den of ignorance..."I am glad that the Draft Constitution has discarded the village..." I was grieved to find that our great Pandit with all his knowledge of Sanskrit and politics, has opposed the system of village Panchayats in this way. If the village is to be discarded, someone can also boldly demand that this constitution be discarded. But I am a humble person and do not have much experience either. Occasionally I am led by sentiment also to make an observation. But in all circumstances an attempt should be made to include in some form, by the amendments we intend to bring forward, that democracy should be the foundation of our polity. Then alone can our Constitution be complete, then alone will it have life and then alone will we have the feeling that this constitution is our own. Otherwise we would be rearing this great building on a foundation of sand and it will surely fall down. This is what I particularly want to suggest and that was why I wanted to speak.
Another matter to which I want to draw your attention is that some of our States have joined together to form an umber of unions. It is a matter of great satisfaction that our able leader Sardar Patel has changed the very face of the States with great speed and I am proud of it. Now, the constitution will be completed, I admit by the end of December or in January next. But several States have and desire to continue to have a separate existence of their own. It must be said that if the province of Orissa can have a separate existence, several states such as Travancore. Cochin, Jaipur, Jodhpur etc., can also maintain their separate existence. But I humbly submit that if we form such small provinces, we will find ourselves in the grip of much worse provincialism than we have today and all our unity will be shattered. The result will be that we will not be as strong as we are to-day. I would say that the States and provinces should be so big and so well administered as to be able to stand on their own legs. A Revenue of six crores or seven crores or eight crores is not sufficient. No large province can pull on with this revenue. I my opinion, no such province should be formed as may have a smaller revenue than twenty fivecrores; nor in my opinion should there be formed any union States which does not have that much revenue. But this is a matter which requires consideration, special consideration, by our leaders. I come from Rajputana and from a small State. Even though I admit that the rulers have made great sacrifices and may also praise their self-surrender. Yet I wonder how long can Bhopal be permitted to maintain, as it is doing today, a separate existence from Madhya Bharat, how long Benares and Rampur can be permitted to have their separate existence and Jodhpur and Bikaner, in our parts, can be permitted to remain separate autonomous identities. When India is going to be divided into various provinces - and of course they should be big ones - I think the rulers, rulers of big States, should come forward and on the basis of the mutual understanding merge their States into sufficiently big units. If, for example, Rajputana is formed into a unit by itself the question of Ajmer and Merwara will naturally be solved for there would be no reason to continue its separate existence as it is but a small province. It is a part of Rajputana and should be naturally merged therein. Rulers may be given high officers in order to keep up their dignity. The offices of Rajpramukh and Up-Rajpramukh are already there. Besides these, there are many other offices in India which should be given to rulers because we respect them. So far as the States are concerned, we would not in any circumstances like to lag behind the provinces, nor would be proper to keep them behind the Provinces. If it be said for any reason that we have acceded only in a few subjects, I would say that this need not be so. We do say that our status should be improved because you are kind to us and want to lead us forward. We would not like to be put on any other footing than that of the other provinces. Our status should be the same as of provinces in all matters, be they relating to High Court or Supreme Court. I am sure you will help us in the matter. We shall ask our leaders to help us, to lead us forward and give us the same place that the provinces have.
I shall not speak much because many friends have already put many of these facts before you. But I do like to submit that in regard to the formation of small provinces on linguistic basis I hold a different view. It is my opinion that under that under the existing conditions in India we should not even think of this for at least the next ten years. I would submit earnestly to my friends to postpone for the present the issue of the Linguistic Provinces for the sake of the unity that we are seeking to establish and for the sake of the powerful nation we are trying to build up now. We shall think over the question after ten years when things have settled down.
This is what I wanted to say. As far as Delhi and other places are concerned. I would like to urge that we should take into consideration the fact that Delhi is the Capital and that as such it must be given a distinct status. I am one with Lala Deshbandhu Gupta on this question. But the small regions like Ajmer-Marwara, Coorg, Pantpiploda etc. should be merged in the provinces. It is no use making them centrally administered areas. This much I would like to submit to Doctor Sahib. He is a great scholar, and as such he should treat this country also as a land of wisdom. It is my appeal to him that he should give a place to the soul of India in this constitution.]*
The Honourable Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru: (United Provinces: General) (Rising amidst cheers) Mr. Vice-President. Sir, we are on the last lap of our long journey. Nearly two years ago, we met in this hall and on that solemn occasion it was my high privilege to move a Resolution which has come to be known as the Objectives Resolution. That is rather a prosaic description of that Resolution because it embodied something more than mere objectives, although objectives are big things in the life of a nation. It tried to embody, in so far as it is possible in cold print to embody, the spirit that lay behind the Indian people at the time. It is difficult to maintain the spirit of a nation or a people at a high level all the time and I do not know if we have succeeded in doing that. Nevertheless I hope that it is in that spirit that we shall consider it in detail, always using that Objectives Resolution as the yard measure with which to test every clause and phrase in this Constitution. It may be, of course, that we can improve even on that Resolution; if so, certainly we should do it, but I think that Resolution in some of its clauses laid down the fundamental and basic content of what our Constitution should be. The Constitution is after all some kind of legal body given to the ways of Governments and the life of a people. A Constitution if it is out of touch with the people's life aims and aspirations, becomes rather empty: if it falls behind those aims, it drags the people down. It should be something ahead to keep people's eyes and minds up to a certain high mark. I think that the Objectives Resolution did that. Inevitability since then in the course of numerous discussions, passions were roused about what I would beg to say are relatively unimportant matters in this larger context of giving shape to a nation's aspirations and will. Not that they were unimportant, because each thing in a nation's life is important, but still there is a question of relative importance, there is a question also of what comes first and what comes second. After all there may be many truths, but it is important to know what is the first truth. It is important to know what in a particular context of events is the first to be done, to be thought of and to be put down, and it is the test of a nation and a people to be able to distinguish between the first things and the second things. If we put the second things first, then inevitably the first and the most important things suffer a certain eclipse.