Constituent Assembly Of India - Volume VII
Dated: November 09, 1948
As regards the defects in the Draft-Constitution I would now draw your attention to the Objectives Resolution itself. Even that has been sought to be changed. The word' Independent' has been sought to be changed into 'democratic' and the word 'republic' has also been sought to be changed into 'State'. I think the Drafting Committee should not have done it. The very suggestion of such a change is repugnant to us and I hope that this thing will not be accepted by the House.
Then, coming to the Fundamental Rights, we find that while freedom of speech and freedom of association etc. have been given by one hand, they have been taken away by the other. The Clauses that follow have done away with all those rights which have been given in the first clause of Article13. Similarly, if we look at the Directive Principles of State policy, we find the same thing. You will remember that I placed before you an amendment seeking to add the word 'socialist' before the word 'republic'. I am sorry that at that time Shri Seth Damodar Swarup did not think it proper to support me. I am glad he had now come here as a champion of socialism. But at that stage, I am sorry nobody supported it and my suggestion was rejected. Anyhow, whether the word 'socialist' is used or not we must try to see that, when we incorporate political democracy, we also incorporate economic democracy in the Constitution.
So far as the Directive Principles of State Policy as given in the Draft Constitution are concerned, there are no grounds for thinking that they will at all affect the future structure of society in India.
There are certain other defects also which I shall point out when the amendments are moved and discussed.
But I would certainly like to mention some of the grave omissions in the Draft Constitution. There are three such omissions which are very grave and important, and they are: the omission of National Flag, the omission of National song and the omission of National language. I think these three omissions are very grave. The Drafting Committee ought to have seen its way to incorporate all these three subjects in our Constitution. So far as the flag is concerned, there is no controversy. This could have been easily incorporated in the Constitution.
There is some controversy about the National song between `Vandemataram' and 'Jana-Gana-Mana'. I think "Vandemataram" which has been our song during the last 50years or so and which has been the beacon-light in our struggle for independence will become the National song of our country. Then there is the question of the National language.
Mr. Vice-President: If you go on speaking I will have no time to give to other intending speakers.
Shri Vishwambar Dayal Tripathi: I shall conclude my speech after a reference to the National language, Sir.
Our country is very big, and it has not therefore been possible so far to have one language for the whole of India. But, as an independent country, we have now to evolve some language which may become the national language of India. In this connection I make the following suggestions--Firstly, in every province the work of the Government and of the people should be carried on in the language or languages of the masses. Secondly, English, although it has been imposed upon us by the foreigners, should remain for sometime for our inter-provincial relations. Thirdly, we must have Hindi as our National language written in Devnagri character. (Cheers). So, it is here and now that we should definitely decide that Hindi written in Devnagri character is to be the national language of our country; while English may remain as an alternative language for some time till we are able to develop Hindi sufficiently both in northern and in southern India. As I said, in the provinces, the language of the masses should continue to be the language of the State. These are my observations about the National language.
The last point which I have to place before you is that we should, from cultural as well as from economic point of view, make provision for cow-protection. Our Congress party had already decided that this should be done. This was probably not known to the Drafting Committee. Therefore no provision with regard to this has been incorporated in the Draft Constitution. I hope the Constituent Assembly will see its way to incorporate this also in our Constitution.
With these few words, I hope the Assembly will consider the amendments on these subjects when they come up for discussion and try to remove the defects and fill in the omissions that I have pointed out before the House, Jai Hind.
Shri Brajeshwar Prasad (Bihar: General): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I am opposed to federalism because I fear that with the setting up of semi-sovereign part-States, centrifugal tendencies will break up Indian unity. Provincial autonomy led to the vivisection of the country. Federalism will lead to the establishment of innumerable Pakistans in this sub-continent.
Our Ministers at the Centre have been at the helm of affairs since the last fifteen months. They know how difficult it is to secure the approval of provincial Ministers on any measure of reform which they like to introduce. Much time is wasted in securing their approval, which is rarely obtained.
The existence of provincial governments does not benefit the common man in any special sense. Its abolition will not jeopardise his welfare at all. On the other hand, I am convinced that his lot will improve considerably. The professional politicians will of course be deprived of their means of livelihood. The average man in the provinces has to bear the burden of a costly administration. Salaries to Governor, Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries and members of the legislatures swallow a large part of the revenue. The poor man is exploited in order to maintain the dignity of the State.
Federalism is a conservative force in politics. It checks the rise and growth of radical economic movements. It perpetuates economic inequality between one province and another and this accentuates provincial rivalries and bitterness which lead to the demand for the formation of linguistic provinces.
Federalism is entirely unsuited to the needs of a collectivist age. Vast plans of national development await immediate enforcement. It will be a crime against the people of India to set up obstacles and hurdles in the form of part-States in the path of the Central authority which has to tackle the fourfold problems of illiteracy, poverty, communalism and provincialism. Those who talk of federalism, regionalism, provincial autonomy and linguistic provinces do not fully comprehend that they are talking the language of a bygone age. These concepts were appropriate to the needs of the 19th century when industrialism was in its incipient stage. These instruments of political organisation suit the requirements of agricultural communities interspersed over a wide area. Today the picture is entirely changed. We are thinking in terms of a world State which must be vested with all powers to regulate the problems of migration of people from overpopulated zones to areas which are under populated. The world State will have all powers to regulate the entire economic wealth of humanity. The existence of Nation-States has become an anomaly and a hindrance in the path of human progress and welfare. The dominant tendency of the age is towards greater concentration of power in the hands of some sovereign international authority. To talk of sub-national groups and federalism is to put back the hands of the clock. We do not know what will happen to India if a world war breaks out. If India gets an opportunity to build up the nation for a period of ten years at least, she will be in a position to meet the onslaughts of international powers. If India proceeds on collectivist lines unhampered by any provincial or federal part-States, she may be in a position to meet the challenge of the third world war. India lags centuries behind the Great Powers of the world. We must skip over certain stages of development and compress centuries into moments if we are to survive the forces of reaction both external and internal. By adopting parliamentary federalism we shall be playing into the hands of our enemies. A divided Germany, a vivisected Korea, pre-eminently fits into the political plans of international gangsters. A divided India provides some security to those who have plans of their own. The incorporation of federal principles in that part of India which has been left to us will provide hundred percent security to those Jingoes and Junkers who survive on loot and plunder. No foreign power wants a strong Central Government in India. A strong Central Government in India will embarass all. It is suicidal to divide powers into federal, concurrent and provincial. Any such division of powers will weaken the hands of the nation on all fronts.
Shri S. Nagappa (Madras: General): Can any Honourable Member read his manuscript speech?
Mr. Vice-President: I do not see any objection. Please go on.
Shri Brajeshwar Prasad: The Collector in the district and the Commissioner of the Division must be brought directly under the authority of the Central Ministry of Home Affairs. The Governors, Ministers and the provincial legislators must be asked to quit the scene. There should be only one Government in India. All provincial and State Governments must be abolished. The Constituent Assembly should vest all executive, legislative, judicial and financial powers in the hands of its President. He should have four advisers, Rajaji, Panditji, Sardar Patel and Moulana Azad. After having set up this system of government, the Constituent Assembly should be adjourned sine die. The Assembly should be summoned only to give its verdict in case there is sharp difference of opinion on any issue between the majority of the Advisers on the one side and the president on the other. If the President or an Adviser dies, the Constituent Assembly must be summoned to elect a successor. This system of Government should last till the end of the Third World War which may break out any moment. The present Government of India Act should be abrogated.
I have advocated the rule of philosopher-kings because Plato, whom I consider to be the Father of Political Science, considered it to be the best system of government. We look back with pride to the days of Raja Ram of Ayodhya and Raja Janak of Mithila. What Plato advocated in his Republic has always been practised in India. I have advocated the rule of philosopher-kings because this is the best system of government. I have more faith in living people than in the dead clauses of a written constitution. I do not believe in a permanent constitution. We are at the end of an epoch. It is very difficult for us to sense the needs of the coming century. The Americans framed their constitution at the beginning of the epoch of capitalism. We are asked to frame our constitution at the end of this epoch. The end of the third World War will decide the broad economic and political patterns of the coming age. Today we are in a state of ferment and decay. The whole of Asia is in the melting pot. The nation stands in need of spoon-feeding. We are passing through the birth pangs of a new social order. Any constitution which we may frame today may become completely out of date tomorrow. Power placed in the hands of the electorate may prove disastrous.
The traditions of the Khalifas of Islam - Abu Baqar and Shah Omar - are worthy of emulation. Germany, Italy and Turkey rose to grand heights under Hitler, Mussolini and Kemal Ataturk. The Soviet dictator has worked miracles. The days of Chandragupta Maurya, Asoka, the Guptas, Harshavardhana and Akbar were the best periods of our history when India enjoyed peace and progress.
There is no parliamentary form of government worth mentioning in the whole of Asia. There are some deeper reasons for this. Any attempt to foist parliamentarism on India will only spell our ruin and misery.
I regard the parliamentary system of government as the direct form of democracy. The system of government set up by Hitler, Mussolini, Kemal Ataturk and Stalin represent the indirect forms of democracy. The whole of Germany, Italy and Turkey were behind the dictators. What Pandit Nehru is to us, probably that or more is Stalin to the people of the Soviet Union. How can we call the Soviet rule undemocratic? The only conclusion to which we are driven is that the basis of all governments - both parliamentary and totalitarian - is democratic.
The essense of democracy is not franchise. There presentation of the real will of the people, as distinct from actual will, is the core of democracy. One man, whether elected by the people or not, can represent the people as a whole if he stands for the real will of the community. The rule of the dictator is essentially democratic if he stands for the greatest good of the greatest number. The substance is always more important than the form.
One party rule is in perfect consonance with the ideals of democracy. This fact has to be grasped. We can have perfect democracy only in a classless society. It is only after war, and nation states and capitalism have been liquidated, that we can achieve perfect democracy. Friends may retort that one party rule will lead to Fascism. To this I would reply that parliamentary governments, as in Germany and Italy, facilitate the rise of Fascism if the people are not highly conscious of their political responsibilities. Are the people of India conscious of their political responsibilities? The vast majority of the people of India are sunk in the lowest depths of illiteracy, poverty, communalism and provincialism. Only philosopher-kings can tackle these problems. Both parliamentarism and federalism will aggravate the malady.
Critics may urge that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I do not believe in this maxim. Was Hitler corrupt? Is Stalin corrupt? The records of Mushtapha Kemal and Mussolini are as good as that of the leaders of parliamentary democracy.
In this atomic age, the problems of the modern state have become so complex and baffling that more and more people are beginning to realise that the affairs of government can only be tackled by experts. Parliamentary democracy has outlived its utility.
If we want to meet the challenge of Anglo-American imperialism in Asia, if we want to meet the demands of international trade and commerce, if we want to meet the threat of the third world war which is looming large on the horizon, if we are to meet the onslaughts of international politics, we must hand over full power into the hands of our leaders.
It is not possible for our foreign friends to meddle in the affairs of Spain or the Soviet Union because they have hung an iron curtain around their frontiers. Parliamentary democracy facilitates foreign intervention into the internal affairs of a people. If we want to be free from the machinations of our foreign friends, we should not provide any opportunity to them. Our constitution must be fool-proof and knave-proof. Parliamentary democracy must be discarded.
Dr. Ambedkar said the other day that our Constitution is both federal and unitary. It is federal during times of peace and it is possible of being converted into unitary type during times of war. The distinction between peace and war is fictitious, because we are now living in a state of cold war. If we want to meet the onslaught of foreign powers the type of democracy which we are trying to build will perhaps obstruct us. The demands of peace time are as urgent and insistent as that of war. If we have an unitary type of constitution now, we may be able to meet the demands of the third world war. I do not know whether there are more competent leaders than Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel. Then why are we wasting the time of the Government of India by all sorts of criticisms? We must build up our economy. If we are not able to meet the challenge of war, we may go down in history. I am not very sure what will be the outcome or the fate of this country if a war breaks out. The whole of Asia is in the melting pot; let us not try to weaken the hands of our leaders. They are the best people; they are the only people who can govern this country. Is it necessary that in order to keep them in control, we must be sitting in the legislature and talking all kinds of nonsense?The Assembly then adjourned for lunch till Three of the Clock.
The Assembly re-assembled after Lunch at Three of the Clock, Mr. Vice-President (Dr. H. C. Mookherjee) in the Chair.
Shri H. V. Kamath (C. P. & Berar: General): Before we proceed, Sir, with the further consideration of the Motion, may I ask for a railing from you as to whether the use of the word "nonsense" to describe the speeches of Honourable Members of this House conforms to parliamentary practice?
Mr. Vice-President (Mr. H. C. Mookherjee): I do not think it is in order.
Shri H. V. Kamath: This arises out of the speech made by Mr. Brajeshwar Prasad. He did use the word 'nonsense' to describe the speeches of Honourable Members in this House. That is why I am raising this point.
Mr. Vice-President: Is he present here?
Shri Brajeshwar Prasad: I did not know it was unparliamentary; if it is so, I withdraw it, Sir. I would replace it by any other word which the honourable Member may suggest.
Mr. Vice-President: We shall now resume further consideration of Dr. Ambedkar's motion.
Shri Moturi Satyanarayana (Madras: General): *[Sir, you will be surprised to know that a person from Madras has come here to speak in Hindustani. The general belief so far was that all the Members from Madras would like to speak in English. I am not surprised at this. It is my conviction that all the speeches in this Assembly should be delivered in Hindustani. It is, however, very unfortunate that even though people have worked for this cause for the last thirty years, Hindustani-speaking people have not secured election to this House from the south, the east and the west. It does not mean that there are no Hindustani-speaking people in these provinces. Only, Hindustani-speaking people have not been able to secure election to this Assembly. I see that even the Members from the north speak in English only. The reason may be that they want to have closer relations with the people of the South and other provinces. Whatever may be the reason, the fact is that they do speak in English.
The Constitution which is now on the anvil places before us provisions of many kinds. It appears to me from what I have been able to gather from these provisions that it is being built from above and not from below, the base. If it had been built from the base upwards, our Constitution would have first been framed in the languages of our country. The people know what that swaraj means for which we have been labouring for the last thirty years, and they are also conscious that the Constitution is being framed for them and not for anyone else. But only the international view-point, and not the national nor the swaraj, nor even the villagers' view-point, and not the national nor the swaraj, nor even the villagers' view-point is being given weight in the framing of this Constitution. We want that the Constitution for the whole country should first be framed in the language of the country, that the Constitution should be for the people of the villages so as to ensure food and cloth for them, as it was the lack of these necessities that led us to make our demand for swaraj. It would be very good for us if the Constitution is framed in the languages of the country. It may afterwards be translated into English or into the languages of the countries whose constitutions we have drawn upon, of those whose opinion we value. It would have been much better if we had seen to this matter in the very beginning. If this consideration had been kept in mind from the very beginning, we would not have had occasion to listen to all the criticisms that have been made today in this House - that this Constitution is not suited to the genius of our country, that it is not suited to the people of the villages, that it is not in the interests of the people of the cities and that it is not in the interests of the poor. We did not keep that in mind in the beginning and that is why there is all this criticism. I hold that if we have to provide food, cloth and shelter for our poor brethren, the villages and the village panchayats, should form the base of our Constitution. We should proceed with our work keeping them in mind. It is because we have not done this that we have to consider whether our provinces should be strong or weak, Whether our Centre should be strong or weak. These questions arise only because we have not given due importance to our provinces and villages in framing our Constitution. The basic idea underlying the whole constitution is as to how our country will compete with Britain, Russia or America and what relations it will have with them. There is nothing in the whole Constitution to show that our intention was to do something for the inhabitants of our country, for our villagers and for our townsfolk, and for the poor people.
So far as production is concerned, there is nothing init that would make the village people work their utmost in order to produce the maximum quantity of wealth. I think that it will be said in reply to this that later on when this Constitution would be enforced all these would be taken to be implied by its provisions and would therefore be put into practice but that these cannot be specifically included within the Articles of the Constitution. But I hold that just as the face is to a man's character so also a mere glance at the Constitution should be sufficient to reveal the direction in which it tends to move the people. Therefore, I hope that at the time when the Constitution would be considered here clause by clause every attempt will be made to include in it provisions for all that we have been promising to provide to our countrymen.
For the last four or five days a very important problem - the problem of the relations that should subsist between the State or national language and the various provincial languages - has been engaging our attention.
There has been ample discussion as to what should be the position of the national language and the position to be given to the various provincial languages. I hold that unless we decide as to what would be the place of provincial languages, how they would be used in their respective provinces, no decision can be taken about the national languages. In my opinion, our provincial languages must not have a less important place that of our national language. If a decision is not taken in regard to this matter there will be a very powerful agitation in the country and many people will say that the people of northern India who hold Hindi as national language are trying to make their own language the national language. This will have a serious consequence in the provinces and they will oppose it and as a result the country will be split up into many divisions, as of old. To prevent this, it is very essential to make it clear that in no case the state language would take away the importance of provincial languages. If this is not done, there is a possibility of a very serious danger arising for the country. It must be averted. The purpose for which a State language is needed is to establish unity within the State. Another function it fulfils is to facilitate the carrying on of international relations. In my opinion it is very essential for us to build up a composite culture, a composite language and a composite society. The assimilation of the culture and the language and the dress of all those who come to our country has been a part of our tradition for centuries. We did this and marched on the path of progress. We should adopt that practice for the future also. If we fail to do so, it is very possible we may not make such rapid progress in international matters as our Prime Minister has in view. On the contrary, it is quite likely that we may remain involved in our own internal disputes. It is better if we avoid it. Merely to hold this view is not sufficient. We must also act upon it. Therefore, I hope, Sir, that the language which is going to be made our national language, which is going to be used here, must be the link of a composite culture, must have a mixed vocabulary, a mixture of phrases and idioms and a composite script so that we may have mutual understanding within the coming ten or fifteen years, and thereafter be able to march forward together. Till that time we should not take any step to give up our composite culture. In short I would like to submit that our national language should be Hindustani and our culture should be Hindustani.
In regard to the national script I submit that until all our people have learnt to write in a common script - and today they use two separate scripts - both the scripts should be given recognition so that no one may have any occasion to complain that his script which he had been using for centuries was being suppressed after the attainment of freedom and that thereby his culture and religion was being suppressed. If we are prepared to continue to use the English language for the next fifteen or twenty years, I do not find any reason why the other current languages cannot be kept on for that period. Today some people complain that alien words are being imported into their language. But we should not only keep these words but should also extend their meaning. I, therefore, think that both from the viewpoint of justice as from that of expediency it is essential to be fully considerate in such matters.
I would like to discuss this subject much more fully and perhaps it is not difficult to speak at length on it. But there have been so many longwinded speakers since this morning - several of whom you pulled up rather sharply - that I do not wish to take any further time of the House and I now conclude my remarks. I would, if I get an opportunity, express may views at the proper time on the amendments that have been tabled.]*
Shri Suresh Chandra Majumdar (West Bengal: General): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, it is with deep humility in may heart that I rise to speak a few words on the onerous task which history has assigned to this Assembly namely, the making of a democratic Constitution for this great and ancient land whose civilization dates back to an age beyond man's memory. No nation has had such varied experience of success and failure, of happiness and which our history is replete, there is one which in my opinion should command our utmost attention as we are engaged in settling the forms of our State and Government. It is this that throughout history our finest glories in whatever field they might be, were achieved precisely during those periods when India, striving towards political cohesion was most successful and such cohesion always presupposed a strong unifying Central authority. The form of that authority was different at different times and of course we shall have to evolve one that will suit the conditions of the present age but the truth remains that India's greatness depends as it has always done on the effective strength of a unifying Centre. I therefore want the Constitution to provide for a strong Centre and am glad that the Drafting Committee had kept this point prominently in their view. The time has now come to curb the bias in favour of the so-called 'provincial Autonomy' which arose from historical causes. When Alexander attacked India we understand that India was divided into 52 autonomous units and we know what consequences it produced. It might have had some justification when the Centre was irresponsible and completely under alien domination. Even so, 'provincial autonomy' encouraged provincialism and that the curse did not assume greater proportions was due wholly to the unifying influence and control which the All-India Congress exercised over the provincial ministries. Now there is no foreign power in the land and there should be no conflict between the provinces and the Centre; and as between the provinces themselves, possibilities of conflict can be best lessened by the Centre being given power to intervene effectively whenever and wherever provincial jealousies may threaten the unity, or impede the progress of the country as a whole. I therefore want that it is not only at times of war or other grave emergency that the State should function as a unitary State but that in normal peacetime also the Centre should have certain necessary overriding powers without which planned reconstruction of the country will not be possible.
While on the subject of delimitation of powers. I should like to make a very brief reference to Dr. Ambedkar's comments on the role of the village community in India's history. It is true that at times the village community stood still when history passed by. But this happened invariably in periods of national depression when everything was in a state of stagnation and the political life itself was disintegrating and the village community was indifferent to the main course of history. But there were other times - times of healthy national life - when the village community did supply strength. I believe the village community, if it is properly revitalised and made power-conscious, can become not only a strong prop of the State but even the main source of its strength.
India has been always proud - and I also share that pride - of her achievement of cultural unity in diversity, but in matters political it is essential today that we emphasize unity and uniformity rather than diversity. I therefore want a uniform political structure for the whole country. No praise can be too high for the wonderful work of integration which the States Ministry has done and is still doing under the creative, I should rather say, inspired leadership of our Deputy Prime Minister and I hope this work will proceed further to the point where the viable States and the States' Unions will have the same political and administrative organisations as the other units - I mean the present Provinces - within the over-all political structure of the country. In view of the basic character of these units as recognised by the Chairman of the Drafting Committee himself, I do not even like them to be called "States", because that may create an impression that India is a Federation of the type of the United States of America. All units, the present Provinces as well as the integrated States, should be given the uniform nomenclature of "Province".
I am proud of the achievements not only of my own language but, as an Indian, also of those of the other major languages of India. I certainly want a lingua Indic a for the whole country, but at the same time it will be an irreparable loss if we allow the major provincial languages to languish by neglect. The lingua Indica that we may adopt should not be a kind of imposition. It will be willingly accepted by all if it is allowed to make its way gradually and naturally and without giving a rise to a feeling of imposition. The previous speaker, Shri Satyanarayana, is an outstanding example of this. Nobody imposed upon him Hindi or Hindustani, but Honourable Members have heard the fluency with which he spoke just now. As regards English we need not ignore its usefulness as a medium of international exchange, and even in the sphere of internal use I am not in favour of violently throttling it but would like to see its gradual replacement. It may not be wise to set a time limit in a matter like this.
It is unfortunate that the question of linguistic provinces has become mixed up with provincialism. The principle of linguistic provinces can be justified only on two grounds, namely, administrative and educational convenience and the development of our great major languages. It would be wrong to introduce any other consideration into this matter, which unfortunately has become a subject of violent controversy and even conflict. Possibly we are all suffering from the hang-over of our depressed condition which is only just over and under which our foreign rulers always emphasized and encouraged the spirit of division. I hope we shall be able to see things in their proper perspective after some time. It is essential that at this stage all internal conflicts should be avoided. If, therefore, the question of linguistic regrouping of provinces cannot be settled without bitterness and conflict now, I think the question should be postponed for ten years. I would only urge that the Constitution should not contain any such provision as will make a settlement of this question too difficult in the future. At the same time I would appeal to all my countrymen meanwhile to behave in a manner so as not to prejudice the rightful claims of any language Hindi or Hindustani as the lingua Indic a of India. It is due to my great love for all the major Indian languages as well as to the necessity I feel that all our countrymen should understand and follow the Constitution, that I have asked that the Constitution be made available in all the major Indian languages and approved by this Assembly before its final adoption.
One word more. I hope I will not be misunderstood in saying this in this Gandhi an era. I want to say a few words regarding the right of the people to bear arms. We are passing the Constitution today. But so far as I can see there is no mention of that. I would like that the House may provide in the Constitution that as a fundamental right, all adults, irrespective of whether they are men or women, would be allowed to bear arms for the defence of Mother India whenever she would be in peril Jai Hind.
Pandit Mukut Bihari Lal Bhargava (Ajmer-Merwara): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, the Draft Constitution has been under fire for the last several days in the House. I would not deal generally with the Draft Constitution but would confine my observations to one particular aspect of the Draft Constitution, and that is what is incorporated in Part VII of the Draft Constitution. It deals with what are known as the Chief Commissioners' provinces under the present Government of India Act of 1935. At the very outset I would respectfully draw the attention of the House that in this particular case the Drafting Committee and its Chairman have been very unjust to the Chief Commissioners' provinces. Infact, in making the recommendations which the Drafting Committee has made in Part VII of the Draft Constitution, it has exceeded its powers. It is absolutely clear; if necessary, reference may be made to the resolution adopted by the House on 29th August 1947, which brought the Drafting Committee into existence. The powers of that Committee are specified in the Resolution that was adopted by the House on the occasion. It is simply to implement the decisions that have already been taken by the House. When the question of the Chief Commissioners' provinces came up before the House, from the Union Constitution Committee Report you will be pleased to find that in part VIII Clause 1 what was recommended by the Union Constitution Committee was that the Chief Commissioners' provinces should continue to be administered by the Centre as under the Government of India Act, 1935. When this clause 1 of part VIII of the Union Constitution Committee report was moved by the Honourable Sir N. Gopalaswamy Ayyangar in the House, an amendment to it was moved by my friend Mr. Deshbandhu Gupta and that amendment was unanimously accepted by the House. That amendment sought the setting up of an ad hoc committee consisting of seven Members of this Honourable House, which committee was to go into the question of the Chief Commissioners' provinces and to make suggestions for effecting changes in the administrative systems of these provinces on democratic lines so as to fit in with the changed conditions in the country. The fact that this amendment was unanimously accepted by the House clearly implies that the House stands committed to bringing about suitable administrative changes in the set up of these provinces on democratic lines so as to fit in with the Republican Constitution of free India. In spite of this mandate from the House, one is staggered to find the recommendation of the Drafting Committee in Articles 212 to 214 of the present Draft Constitution. My respectful submission would be that these recommendations are absolutely ultra vires inasmuch as the Drafting Committee could not set at nought the recommendations of the ad-hoc Committee. The ad-hoc Committee consisted of three very distinguished Members of this House, - Sir N. Gopalaswamy Ayyangar, Mr. Santhanam and Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayya. In spite of this the unanimous recommendations of the ad hoc Committee have been set at nought by Articles 212 to 214. What Article 212 does is to provide that the Chief Commissioners' provinces shall continue to bead ministered by the President to the extent he thinks fit, through a Chief Commissioner. What the Drafting Committee has done in this Article 212 is simply to repeat the words of the Government of India Act, 1935 Section 93 (3). These were the very words, which by the acceptance of the amendment of Mr. Gupta, were set at nought by the House. Consequently, my submission is that the present Articles 212and 213 are absolutely ultra vires and the House should not give any consideration to them. The ad hoc Committee after going into the question of the Chief Commissioners' provinces has incorporated certain recommendations to make certain administrative changes in the present constitution of the Chief Commissioners' provinces. In fact, in the modern age when India has attained the goal of full independence and when we have assembled here to draft a constitution befitting a free Republican India, it is impossible to think of a recommendation of the character incorporated in Articles 212 to 214. These recommendations seek to perpetuate a regime of autocracy. The Chief Commissioners' provinces have been enclaves of bureaucratic and autocratic regimes and even today, fifteen months after having attained full independence, we find there is undiluted autocracy prevailing there. For political and strategic reasons the British Government ignored the claims of the Chief Commissioners' provinces to responsible government. The only concession they made was in 1934 when a single seat was allotted in the legislature. Beyond this, the administrative set up in these provinces continue to be that of one man's rule. The Advisory Councils to the Chief Commissioner which were set up immediately after the formation of the National Interim Government at the Centre have served no useful purpose. In spite of them, one man's rule. The Advisory Councils to the Chief Commissioner which were set up immediately after the formation of the National Interim Government at the Centre have served no useful purpose. In spite of them, one man's rule is prevailing. So far as Ajmer-Marwara is concerned, the administration there is a hot-bed of corruption, nepotism, favouritism and inefficiency. How can this deplorable state of affairs be brought to an end until and unless the accredited representatives of the people are given a voice and a hand in the administrative set-up? The demand for the establishment of responsible government in these Chief Commissioners' provinces has been repeated from every one of them. No less than three Conferences convened during he last two years in Ajmer-Merwara have separated this demand for immediate establishment of responsible government. The Provincial Congress Committees have also done so in everyplace. Notwithstanding this, the autocracy has prevailed and these three Articles - 212 to 214 of the Draft Constitution - aim at perpetuating this system of autocracy. I appeal to this august House, how on earth can this state of affairs be to erated by an Assembly which has assembled to draft a constitution for free India? Yesterday there was reference made to One-Rajputana Union. We all want territorial integration and administrative cohesion of the different Rajputana States into one single unit and every one desires that this should be an accomplished fact as soon as possible, but till that takes place, why should the present administrative set-up be allowed to remain? We do not know what is going to be the future picture of Rajputana Union. If and when it comes, Ajmer-Merwara would always welcome any such move and Ajmer will be glad to join in any such Rajputana Union provided its historical, geographical and cultural place, which has always been its own since the dawn of history, throughout the Path an, Moghul, Maharatta and the British periods, is retained in the future set-up of such Union. But because the existence of such a Union is a possibility or even a probability it does not mean that the autocratic system should be allowed to continue. To the other Chief Commissioner's province, i.e., Delhi, a reference was made about it yesterday. Regarding Coorg, its position is also identical and analogous. The Legislative Council there has only advisory functions and it has neither legislative power nor any voice in the day to day administration. There also the demand of the people has been the establishment of responsible government. I fail to understand what can possibly be the difficulty for this House to accept in to to the recommendations of the ad hoc committee. The ad hoc committee has been careful in its recommendations. It has recommended that, looking to the financial difficulties of those tracts, it will be necessary that the Centre here should have greater powers than it has in Governors' provinces. We, the representatives of the Chief Commissioners' provinces, in spite of our unwillingness, agreed to accept those restrictions only as a compromise measure. Fiscal autonomy is conceded only in name, because all the financial proposals will have to be previously approved by the President of the Union. Similarly, in the legislative sphere also what has been recommended is that every Bill before it becomes law must be assented to by the President of the Union. It has also been provided in the ad hoc committee's report that in case of any difference of opinion between the Lieutenant Governor and the Ministers, the President will have the final voice. Consequently there cannot be room for any apprehension in accepting the recommendations and granting some form of responsible government to Ajmer-Merwara and the other Chief Commissioners' provinces.
One argument that has been repeated often is that it is not a viable unit, that it is not self-sufficient and that it is a deficit province. I would respectfully ask who is to be blamed for this? Ajmer-Merwara people never wanted than they should be segregated and left as an island in the midst of the Rajputana States. It was the responsibility and the decision of the then Government at the Centre that Ajmer-Merwara should remain as a separate entity in order that it may be the citadel of the Centre to keep its clutch firmly on the neighbouring States. Therefore why should the people be subjected to any penalty now? As I said, it was for strategic and political reasons that it was left as anis land. That being so, may I ask why the Central Government was giving subventions to N. W. F.P. of about a crore of rupees and subvention also to Sind? Now if it decides to give today subventions to Assam, Orissa and also West Bengal and East Punjab, it is for strategic reasons and for protecting the frontiers. If that is the case, why should not Ajmer-Merwara also be given subvention? For the reasons placed before the House by me, Articles 212 to 214 are absolutely ultra vires of the powers of the Drafting Committee and the recommendations of the ad hoc committee appointed by this Honourable House, which already stands committed to a policy of accepting suitable administrative changes in the set-up of this province, should be accepted.
With these remarks I support the motion for the consideration of the Draft Constitution by the House.
Mr. Vice-President: There is an established convention that in the case of a Member who is not present when his name is called by the Chair to participate in the debate, he loses his right to speak. That happened to one of our colleagues at the beginning of today's sitting of this Assembly. He has explained to me that his absence was due to unavoidable reasons. If I have the permission of the House, I will give him a second chance to speak. As no one objects I give him permission to speak and call upon him to address the House.
Shri S. V. Krishnamurthy Rao (My sore): Mr. Vice-President, I thank you for giving me an opportunity to speak on the Draft Constitution. I join the various speakers who have paid a chorus of tribute to the Drafting Committee and its Chairman, Dr. Ambedkar.
An attempt has been made in this Draft Constitution to put in the best experience of the various democratic constitutions in the world, both unitary and federal. Of course no Constitution can be perfect and even our Constitution will have to undergo some modifications before it finally emerges from this House.
I shall first refer to the Directive Principles of policy. I submit that this contains the germs of a socialistic government. I submit that this Chapter should come in immediately after the Preamble. As objective principles of the Union, we will be giving it greater sanctity than to others and it will stand as the Objective Principles of the future Government. With certain modifications they can be adopted as a socialist programme for the future Parliament of India.
The next thing I wish to refer is the Fundamental Principles. I find certain conspicuous omissions here. Inmost of the democratic constitutions, the freedom of the press is guaranteed, but in our Constitution I find it is not there. Of course there is freedom of expression. But I feel in a country with 87 per cent illiteracy, our press has to play a very important role both in the political and democratic spheres in the education of the masses. I feel that a specific provision should be made in the Fundamental Principles guaranteeing freedom of the press. In fact in the Constitution of the United States of America it is enacted that the State shall not pass a law restricting the freedom of the press. Similarly, the inviolability and the sanctity of the home should be granted. Similarly again, I feel that no citizen of India should expelled from the State. Such a provision should find a place in the Chapter on Fundamental Rights.
One thing I would like to see omitted is the provision for freedom to propagate religion. This right which has been claimed by some has been the bane of our political life in this country. Probably it might have been thought proper to include it in the old set-up of things. In a secular State, such a provision, especially with the guarantee for the free exercise of religion and freedom of thought, is out of place in our Constitution and I submit to this House that provision should be omitted.
Then there is the question of the redistribution of provinces. I am not one of those who see something red in this question. If the linguistic provinces have been bastions of strength in our fight for freedom, I do not understand how they can be damned as showing fissiparous tendency when we ask for linguistic provinces. In fact, every citizen should feel that he has got freedom. I feel that the language of the Parliament of the particular region should be the language of that area. In fact there is no place for multilingual provinces like Bombay and Madras.
The provinces should be distributed on a linguistic basis. We are not going to break our heads over this question. It can be settled amicably by mutual understanding and co-operation.
Similarly about language. The southern languages of India have borrowed freely from Sanskrit. We have got both Tatsama and Tadbhava words in our Dravidian languages. I feel that Hindi with the Devanagri script would be acceptable to us, but I think that it should not be force don us all at once, especially the vast numbers of people inhabiting the Deccan peninsula. It should be gradually introduced. We are prepared to accept Hindi with the Devanagri script as the official language of India, but time should be given to us to pickup Hindi. This Constitution should reflect the cumulative wisdom of every section of this House. If you want to take us with you, we must understand your arguments, we must understand your points of view and we must hammer out this Constitution and make it acceptable to all. So also, the sections of the people who have got the Urdu script should also be given time to pick up the Devanagri script as Begum Aizaz Rasul suggested.
One other point I would like to touch upon is regarding the provisions in Part VII for the states in Part II of the First Schedule, that is, Sections 212 to 214. I think they should not be made a permanent feature of the Constitution. In fact, the policy of the Government of India has been to make the States into viable units. Sections 212 to 214 with the various amendments suggested by the Drafting Committee will simply increase the number of these uneconomic small States in the country. Provision is made for Lieut. Governors, Council of Ministers and so on. If these are allowed to remain a permanent feature of the Constitution, I am afraid they will divide the country into smaller units. Within a short time these smaller units must be induced to merge with the larger provinces or States amidst which they are situated. Take for example the province of Coorg. It has an area of only 1,500 sq. miles and the population is about 160,000. I learn that ever since the Coorg budget was separated from the Central Budget, they have not been able to undertake any development project. They have not been able to repair a bridge which would cost only about Rs.5,000.
Then about the capital of India, I agree with my Honourable friend from My sore who stated that before vast sums of money are expended over the capital for the East Punjab and also the extension of Delhi, we should consider locating the capital in a more centrally situated place.
There may be some justification for Delhi to continue as a Centrally administered area because it is the capital, but there is absolutely no justification to increase these Centrally administered areas. In fact the Central Government will be functioning in two capacities, one as the Central Government and the other as a provincial government for the Centrally administered areas. I do not see any justification for the Centre spending large sums of money on these uneconomic units.
Both Mr. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar and Professor Rang asked why there should be Constituent Assemblies for the States. I submit that this is none of our fault. As soon as we came here in July last, some of us Members representing the States tabled a resolution before this august Assembly that a committee be constituted to evolve a model constitution for the States. If the archives of the Steering Committee are searched, such a resolution will be found there, but unfortunately this Assembly did not take any steps and things so developed that we had to demand Constituent Assemblies in our States when we fought for responsible government in our States. I do not see any harm in this because no constitution drawn up by these Constituent Assemblies can be at variance with the Constitution that is going to be adopted by this House. They must fit in with the all India picture. So long as they do this, I do not see why they should not be allowed to finish their job.
Another suggestion was made that there should be uniform powers both for the States and the provinces. In this connection, I would like to submit, Sir, speaking on behalf of States like Travancore and My sore, that we are far ahead of some provinces industrially, economically and financially. In bringing about uniformity between provinces and the States, I would submit to this House that there should be no levelling down. There should be only levelling up. Mysore has co-operated in all all-India matters and is still co-operating, and I am sure it will co-operate also in bringing about uniformity, provided there is only levelling up and no levelling down. In fact, I am one of those who believe that there should be uniform powers both for the States and the provinces. I want the Supreme Court to be given appellate powers not only in constitutional matters but also in civil and criminal matters. I am glad that the Drafting Committee has made provision for this and I am sure that this provision will be taken advantage of by the States.
Another point I would like to touch upon is Section 258 as regards the financial powers of the President. Power is given to the President to terminate any agreement entered into between a State in Part III and the Union after a period of five years. I submit, Sir, that five years is too short a time. The clause itself says that such an agreement would be valid for a period of ten years. If such an agreement is terminated, after five years it may disturb the financial position of the State concerned. In fact, for long range planning, five years is too small a period. I submit that it may be altered with the consent of the State. If after the report of the Finance Commission the President feels that it is necessary to terminate such an agreement, he may do so in consultation with the State concerned. My point is it should not be one-sided, as this would work as a great financial handicap to the State concerned.
Then, Sir, as regards the power to amend the Constitution. I do not agree with my Honourable friend, Mr. Santhanam, that it should be rigid. It should be as flexible as possible because the integration of smaller units into bigger units is still going on and bringing about uniformity between the States and the provinces also is still going on. Perhaps it will take some time before there is some sort of uniformity between the various units of the Federation, and during the initial period it should be as easy as possible for the future Parliament to amend the Constitution to suit the circumstances of the time. The power to amend the Constitution should be made flexible, but even here a difference is made between the States and the provinces. I submit that this difference between the States and the provinces as regards the number of votes should be done away with. Equal rights should be given both to the States and the provinces so far as amendments to the Constitution are concerned.
With these words, I support the motion for the consideration of the Draft Constitution.
Shri N. Madhava Rau (Orissa States): Mr. Vice-President, I had not intended to join in this discussion, but in the course of the debate, several remarks were made not only on the provisions of the Draft Constitution, but on the manner in which the Drafting Committee had done their work. There was criticism made on alleged faults of commission and omission of the Committee. Mr. Alladi Krishnaswami Iyer who spoke yesterday and Mr. Saadulla who will speak on behalf of the Committee a little later have cleared or will clear the misapprehensions on which this criticism is based. I felt that as a member of the Committee who participated in many of its meetings, after I had joined the Committee I should also contribute my share in removing these misapprehensions if they exist among any large section of the House.
It is true that the Draft Constitution does not provide for all matters, or in just the way, that we would individually have liked. Honourable Members have pointed out, for instance, that cow-slaughter is not prohibited according to the Constitution, Fundamental Rights are too profusely qualified, no reference is made to the Father of the Nation, the National Flag or the National Anthem. And two of our Honourable friends have rightly observed that there is no mention even of God in the Draft Constitution. We have all our favourite ideas; but however sound or precious they may be intrinsically in other contexts, they cannot be imported into the Constitution unless they are germane to its purpose and are accepted by the Constituent Assembly.
Several speakers have criticised the Draft on the ground that it bears no impress of Gandhi an philosophy and that while borrowing some of its provisions from alien sources, including the Government of India Act, 1935, it has not woven into its fabric any of the elements of ancient Indian polity.
Would our friends with Gandhi an ideas tell us whether they are prepared to follow those ideas to their logical conclusions by dispensing, for instance, with armed forces; by doing away with legislative bodies, whose work, we have been told on good authority, Gandhiji considered a waste of time; by scrapping our judicial system and substituting for it some simple and informal methods of administering justice; by insisting that no Government servant or public worker should receive a salary exceeding Rs. 500 per month or whatever was the limit finally fixed? I know some of the Congress leaders who sincerely believe that all this should and could be done. But we are speaking now of the Constitution as it was settled by the Constituent Assembly on the last occasion. Apart from the Objectives Resolution (which is otherwise known as India's Charter of Freedom) and the enunciation of Fundamental Rights, the decisions of the Assembly dealt, sometimes in detail and sometimes in outline, with questions relating to the composition and powers of the Legislature, the executive authority and the judiciary of the Union and of the provinces, the distribution of legislative powers and administrative relations between the Union and the units, finance and borrowing powers, the amendment of the Constitution and soon. Is there any instance in which a decision of the Assembly embodying Gandhi an principles has not been faithfully reproduced in the Draft Constitution? If it is the contention of these critics that the decisions of the Assembly itself have fallen short or departed from those principles, that is of course another matter.
Then those of our friends who wanted indigenous ideas of polity to be embodied in the Constitution would have to admit that while (as has been pointed out by an honourable member today) there might have been republics in the northern India in the days of Alexander, by and large, kingship was an integral part of Indian polity. At a time when the institution of kingship is so unpopular, when even Indian rulers are barely tolerated although they have shed all power, when formal elections and ballot boxes unknown to our ancestors are regarded as the sine qua non and authentic symbols of democracy, it would be unreal to pretend to seek guidance for our immediate task in the ancient political philosophy of India. A more pertinent point is this. Why did not the exponents of these fine ideas press them on the attention of the House at the proper time and secure their acceptance when the Constitution was more or less settled during the last session? Why do they not do so even now if they have any feasible suggestions to make? Why should they blame the Drafting Committee for not incorporating in the Draft what can only be described as belated second thoughts?
There is undoubtedly a feeling among some Congress circles and others that the National Government in the Centre and the people's Government in the provinces are both departing from the principles of Gandhiji, that they are carrying on the much the same bureaucratic way as their alien predecessors and that the promised Ramrajya is nowhere near being realised. In these circumstances, "back to Gandhi" has become a sort of militant slogan and a challenge to the authorities. It might or might not be right, but it has to be addressed to the proper quarter. To apply that slogan in the context of the very restricted ask entrusted to the Drafting Committee seems to be entirely pointless. I am reminded of a couplet written about an archaeologist of the name of Thomas Hearn. This is how it runs:
"You learn what I forget" seems to be rather naive advice.
Shri B. Das (Orissa: General): On a point of order, Sir, Members of this House asked the Drafting Committee to draft the Constitution and each of us is giving out our views now. It is no use for a member of the Drafting Committee to tell the House that we use slogans. I strongly protest against such language by a member of the Drafting Committee.
Mr. Vice-President: Mr. Das, you do not propose to curtail the liberty of expression allowable to a member of the Drafting Committee? You and I may not agree with him. Surely he is entitled to give out his views. Is it not?
Shri N. Madhava Rau: It is very unfortunate that a good deal of controversy arose in regard to village panchayats. Dr. Ambedkar's strong remarks on the subject were apparently based on his own experience. But, like Mr. Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar, I wish to speak for myself in the light of my own experience. For over thirty years, the Mysore Government have put the revival of village communities and the improvement of the working of village panchayats in the forefront of their activities. A great deal of public expenditure has been incurred on this account. All officers concerned from the Dewan to the Tahsildar have, according to their lights, given personal attention to the condition of the villages. The present popular Government in My sore, are, I understand, making still more intensified efforts in the same direction. The results are, in my opinion encouraging and in some cases, quite gratifying. It is true some villages are chronically faction ridden and indulge in petty tyrannies, or remain the strongholds of untouchability. A considerable number are apathetic or even moribund. But about thirty per cent could be classed as good; that is to say, they has held regular meetings, collected panchayat taxes, undertaken some optional duties and carried out works of public utility and weekly cleaning by voluntary labour contributed by the villagers and had taken steps to ensure the vaccination of children and so on. The success that has been achieved such as it is, is largely conditioned by the initiative of a good headman or other influential land-lord. I am sure that experience in other parts of the country is more or less the same. In certain small Indian States, where the bureaucratic system of administration had not penetrated, I found remarkable self-help and organised effort in the villages. With sustained effort on the part of the provincial and State Governments, the resuscitation of village communities may well be hoped for. As the Members of the Assembly are aware, Gandhiji was very particular about constructive work in the villages. This is what he said on one occasion. "If the majority of congressmen were derived from our villages, they should be able to make our villages models of cleanliness in every sense. But they have never considered it their duty to identify themselves with the villagers in their daily lives." There is nothing in the Draft Constitution to prevent provincial Governments from developing the village panchayats system as vigorously and as rapidly as they are capable of doing. The only point which has now come into prominence is whether the electoral scheme for the legislatures should be founded on these panchayats. If the House comes to the decision that this should be done, two Articles in the Draft Constitution have to be slightly amended. But, before taking such a step, the Assembly will have very carefully to consider whether by throwing the village panchayats into the whirlpool of party politics, you will not be destroying once for all their usefulness as agencies of village administration.
In curious contrast with those Members who found fault with the Drafting Committee for not presenting to them a Constitution according to their own ideas, although they had not been approved by the Assembly, there were others who criticised the Committee for having exceeded its instructions. This is an aspect of the matter which will be dealt with by the next speaker. I have only to say, in view of the criticism of Mr. B. Das, that by accepting membership of the Drafting Committee, Members have not given up their freedom to express their views either from the committee room or the floor of this House.
The Draft Constitution is nothing more than a detailed agenda for this session, it is to serve as the basic working paper so to speak. There are other papers too, such as the Report of the Expert Committee on Finance and the Report of the Committee on Centrally Administered Areas. This is not the only paper before the House. If the Draft Constitution is viewed in this light, I am sure Members will appreciate that the charge that the Committee has, in any way exceed edits instructions is unfounded.
One of the honourable Members observed that this Constitution if adopted would become a fruitful source of litigation. So long as the Constitution is of a federal type, the possibilities of litigation cannot be excluded. It is all the more necessary, therefore, that all Articles and Clauses are closely scrutinised to ensure that litigation and consequent uncertainties of administration are minimised if they cannot be avoided.
Sir, there are one or two points which I should like to refer to in this connection. One is this: when any federal constitution is in the process of making, there are always two opposing sets of views, namely, the views of those who want to make the Centre strong, and the views of those who would plead for the utmost extent of State autonomy. The provisions of the Draft Constitution are necessarily a compromise, tentatively suggested, of these opposing views. My own feeling is that the scales have been tilted a little towards the Centre. If this feeling is shared by any large section of the House, it should be possible to adjust the balance in the direction desired. The second point, Sir, is that the provisions relating to the accession of States are meagre. There have been so many different kinds of mergers of late and the final pattern, so far as we know, has not yet emerged. The exact procedure by which the States will accede to the Union has to be determined at an early date so that the names of the acceding States may be mentioned in the appropriate Schedule and other relevant parts of the Constitution finalised.
There is a good deal of wisdom in the saying; "For forms of Government let others contest; whatever is best governed is best." However, things being what they are, unfortunately, we have to have some sort of written constitution and it has inevitably, to be a lawyer's constitution. If it is possible for any honourable Members to animate the Draft Constitution by a Promethean breath of ancient political wisdom or exalted patriotic sentiment many of us in this House would surely welcome such an effort.
Shri Biswanath Das (Orissa: General): Sir, May I have a word of elucidation from my honourable Friend, as to why the honourable Members of the Committee modified even decisions arrived at by the Constituent Assembly as also by Committees?
Shri N. Madhava Rau: I think if a specific instance is given, the next speaker will explain.
Shri T. Prakasam (Madras: General): The Honourable Mr. Madhava Rau said that the ballot box and ballot paper were not known to our ancestors. I would like to point out to him, Sir, that the ballot box and the ballet papers were described in an inscription on the walls of a temple in the villages of Uttaramerur, twenty miles from Conjeevaram. Every detail is given there. The ballot box was a pot with the mouth tied and placed on the ground with a hole made at the bottom and the ballot paper was the kadjan leaf and adult franchise was exercised. The election took place not only for that village but for the whole of India. This was just a thousand years ago. It is not known to my honourable Friend and that is why he made such a wrong statement - a grievously wrong statement and I want to correct it.
Syed Muhammad Saadulla (Assam: Muslim): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I rise with some diffidence to sum up this debate and general discussions of the Draft Constitution for I was a member of the Drafting Committee. I do not mean to cover all the grounds that have been advanced during the last four days on the floor of the House but I will speak generally on the trend of the criticism and try to show by facts why the Drafting Committee took a certain line of action. Many honourable Members have been kind enough to give us a meed of appreciation for the tremendous trouble we took in the task of preparing the Draft Constitution. Certain honourable Members were not in a position to congratulate the Drafting Committee and I welcome that also. For it is well known that in the midst of sweet dishes something briny, something salty adds to the taste. I have listened very carefully during the last three days to the criticisms that have been advanced. My task has been greatly lightened by the intervention of my friends, colleagues in the Drafting Committee - I mean Sir Alladi Krishnaswamy Ayyar and Mr. Madhava Rau - in this debate. The criticisms that were levelled against our lab ours boil down really to three only, one that we have travelled far beyond our jurisdiction, secondly that we have flouted the opinions expressed by various committees by not accepting their recommendations, and thirdly, that we had made a discrimination between the provinces and the Indian States. Sir, if human memory is short, official memory is shorter still. The Drafting Committee is not self-existent. It was created by a Resolution of this House in August 1947, if I remember aright. I personally was lying seriously ill at the time and I could not attend that session. But, Sir, I find from the proceedings that as the Drafting Committee has been asked to frame the Constitution within the four corners of the Objective Resolution, we will be met with the criticisms which we have heard now. Wise men even in those days had anticipated this and to the official Resolution an amendment was moved by the learned Premier of Bombay, Mr. Kher, wherein we are given this direction. I will read from his speech. He moved an amendment to the original Resolution for Constituting this Drafting Committee and there he said - "That the Drafting Committee should be charged with the duties of scrutinising the draft of the text of the Constitution of India prepared by the Constitutional Adviser giving effect to the decisions taken already in the Assembly and including all matters which are ancillary thereto or which have to be provided in such a Constitution, and to submit to the Assembly for consideration the text of the draft Constitution as revised by the Committee". This was his amendment. In his speech he said:
That was the amendment which was accepted by the House. Sir, after this amendment of the Honourable Mr. Kher which was accepted by the House, it does not lie in the mouth of the Members of the Constituent Assembly to say that we have gone far beyond our jurisdiction.
Shri Biswanath Das: Sir, May I know whether this direction includes the accepting of Committee's reports, modification of such reports and rejection of important recommendations of such Committees?
Syed Muhammad Saadulla: I would request the Honourable Mr. Das, ex-Premier of Orissa, not to disturb me during the course of my speech. I propose to meet his ground towards the end of my statement. I will also make the same request to other Honourable Members of the House, for otherwise I will lose the trend of my thought. I am not a seasoned orator like my friends here, and I speak from no notes. So I would appreciate their silence. If they want to ask me any questions, I will gladly reply to them if I can at the end of my speech.
The yard stick to measure the contents of the Draft Constitution is really the Objectives Resolution that was accepted by this House universally when it was moved by our learned Prime Minister. That Objectives Resolution contained only eight Articles, the last of which need not find a place in a Constitution. Let anyone here say that we have not conformed to the principles that are enunciated by that Objectives Resolution. We cannot say that those eight Articles form our Constitution: they gave us the barest skeleton. The Drafting Committee was charged with the duty of filling in the canvas and producing a complete picture of what the Constitution should be. At the time of moving that Objectives Resolution our popular Prime Minister said that this is an expression of our dream, this is the target of our aspirations and that it is nothing but a "Declaration". A declaration in such bold terms cannot form a Constitution. Therefore the Assembly, at the instance of Government - for the Resolution was moved by the then Chief Whip of the Government party - decided that the actual framing of the Constitution should be left in the hands of the Committee. I personally had no hand in my inclusion in that Committee. As a matter of fact, very strenuous attempts were made to oust me from the personnel of the Drafting Committee. I see from the proceedings that our stalwart friend Mr. Kamath raised a technical objection that I was not a Member of the Constituent Assembly at the time when my name was proposed. Probably he took that ground without knowing the facts. I was a Member of the Constituent Assembly from the very first. But he was correct that after the referendum in the districts of Sylhet, part of Sylhet was transferred to Eastern Pakistan, and the number of Members to be sent from Assam to the Constituent Assembly had to be reduced and there was a fresh election. But if I remember aright at this distance, we were electing Members of the Constituent Assembly, in the Provincial Legislative Assembly in August1947, and, if I remember aright, I was again elected a Member at the time when Mr. Kamath had raised that technical objection.
Shri H. V. Kamath: On a point of personal explanation, Sir. My point was that my Honourable friend Mr. Saadulla had not taken his seat in the Assembly; he had not taken the oath nor signed the Register, and therefore he was not a Member of the Assembly technically.
Syed Muhammad Saadulla: Sir, in spite of my request Mr. Kamath has chosen to interrupt me.
Shri M. Thirumala Rao: May I know how all this is relevant to the subject under discussion?
Mr. Vice-President: Let us proceed with the subject.
Syed Muhammad Saadulla: Sir, what I was driving at was that these people of the Drafting Committee were really elected by the unanimous vote of the Constituent Assembly, and it does not lie in the mouth of anyone now to say that they are not competent, that they did not belong to a certain party, and that barring one none of the Members had the hall-mark of jail delivery. How can I tell Honourable Members that we toiled and moiled that we did our best, that we ransacked all the known Constitutions, ancient and recent from three different continents, to produce a Draft which has been termed to be nothing but patch-work? But those who are men of art, those who love crafts, know perfectly well that even by patch-work, beautiful patterns, very lovable designs can be created. I may claim that in spite of the deficiencies in our Draft we have tried to bring a complete picture, to give this Honourable House a document as full as possible which may form the basis of discussion in this House. The Drafting Committee never claimed this to be the last word on the Constitution, that its provisions are infallible or that these Articles cannot be changed. The very fact that this Draft has been placed before this august House for final acceptance shows that we are not committed to one policy or the other. Where we had differed from the recommendations of Committees, or where we had the temerity to change a word here or a word there from the accepted principles of this august House, we have given sufficient indication in foot-notes, so that nothing can be put in surreptitiously there. The attention of the House has been drawn so that their ideas may be focussed on those items in which the Drafting Committee thought that they should deviate from the principles already accepted or from the recommendations of the Committees.
As regards the Committees, we were in a difficult position. Some Committees' recommendations were placed before the House and there they were discussed and a decision was taken, but reports of certain other Committees--notably the Financial Experts Committee or the Centrally Administered Areas Committee - were not placed before the House. They could not be discussed by the Honourable Members and no decision could be arrived at. We have taken liberty in the Drafting Committee to put our own view on some matters. If we have done it, we have done it with the best of intentions. As regards two other matters, I will elaborate a little later, but please for God's sake, do not go with the uncharitable idea that the Drafting Committee were not amenable to the vote of this House.
The main point of criticism, at least in regard to those two Committees, is firstly that the Drafting Committee did not give any consideration to the recommendation of the ad hoc Committee on the Centrally Administered Areas. We had very able exponents from those areas - Delhi and Ajmer-Merwara. We listened with the greatest respect, but we have heard the criticism on the very floor of this House that India should not multiply very small localities and convert them into units of the Union. We had the recommendations of this ad hoc Committee before us but we were perplexed what to do with them. Take Delhi, for example. It has got a population of 20 lakhs. If it is converted into a separate unit - and it cannot but be separated into a distinct unit, call it Lieutenant Governor's province or put it under the Centre - in that case, what are we to do with the other localities which are now centrally administered, Ajmer-Merwara, for instance? According to 1941 census figures, Ajmer-Merwara had only 6 lakhs population, but Mr. Mukut Bihari Bhargava was good enough to tell me now that the population has increased to 9 lakhs. Let us put the present population at 10 lakhs. In that case, if we give a separate Lieutenant Governor's province to Delhi, how can we refuse it to Ajmer-Merwara? Then what about Coorg? It is another centrally administered locality with a population of less than 2 lakhs. Then again there is the Andaman islands which also boasts of a Chief Commissioner. Therefore, we thought it best that this matter should be left to be decided by the bigger body - the Constituent Assembly. Were we wrong in adopting this course? We drew specific attention of this august Assembly to this in Part VII of the Draft Constitution. In the foot-note there you will find that we have said:
If we wanted to neglect these areas, if we wanted to give a cold shoulder to their aspirations, we would not have said that it is up to the Constituent Assembly whether they should give them a constitution on the lines recommended by the ad hoc Committee.
I now come to the greater charge - of practically refusing to accept the recommendations of the Experts Finance Committee. I can quite appreciate--nay, sympathize - with all those members from East Punjab, West Bengal, Orissa and Assam who have criticised this part of our recommendations. But I would leave it to the decision of this august House to judge whether the provisions that we have made are not far better ultimately than the recommendations made by the Expert Finance Committee. I was surprised to hear one particular criticism from an Honourable Member from Madras that we were either careless in going through those recommendations or we were incompetent to appreciate the principles underlying them. To both of these accusations I register an emphatic "No". On the other hand, we gave the closest attention to the recommendations of the Expert Committee. I will show from their report as well as by figures that if the recommendations of that Committee had been accepted, the provinces will stand to lose, especially the poorer provinces like Assam, Orissa and Bihar. Again, it is not correct to say that the Drafting Committee has not accepted the majority of the recommendations of the Expert Finance Committee. I have that Committee's report in my hands and anybody who has it in his hands will find that on 41, Appendix VI, the Committee recommended certain amendments in the Draft Constitution. I am glad to say that 95 per cent of those amendments have been accepted by the Drafting Committee and will be found in our provisions. What we did not accept is the figures that the Expert Finance Committee suggested that we should include in our recommendations.
Now, to turn to specific points, first I take there commendation of the Expert Committee regarding the share in the jute export duty which is now available to the jute-growing provinces of India. This subject is very vital for the Republic of India. Jute, as is known, is the world monopoly of these four provinces only. I am glad to see from Press reports that attempts are being made to grow jute in Madras, but taking the position as it is, the undivided Bengal used to produce 85 per cent of the world's jute, Bihar 7 per cent, Assam 6 per cent and Orissa 2 per cent but these proportions have been changed by the partition of Bengal into East and West Bengal.
East Bengal used to produce 75 per cent of the total jute produced in Bengal. Therefore the present West Bengal produces only 10 per cent or 12 per cent of world jute. This position has changed the percentages of Assam, Bihar and Orissa. Yet, what do we find in the recommendations of the Financial Experts' report? Their recommendation is that the share - which under the Government of India Act of 1935, is 621/2 per cent of the proceeds of the jute export duty which was given to this account to the provinces. But they realised that the poor provinces will be hard hit and therefore recommended that for ten years, the contribution should be made by the Government of India ex-gratia and in the following proportion:-
Now, I request this Honourable House to consider seriously whether this distribution is just or equitable for a province like Assam or a province like Orissa or Bihar. Bihar has got its production ratio increased from 7 per cent to very nearly 35 per cent of the jute grown in India now. Similarly the percentage for Assam has gone up to 30 per cent and proportionately for Orissa. Yet, the Financial Expert Committee wants to perpetuate the injustice that was done during the bureaucratic days and divide the proceeds in the same fashion, giving West Bengal which produces only 10 or 12 per cent of the total jute production as much as one crore.
One argument advanced by the Committee is that jute may be grown in the other provinces, but the mills converting the jute into finished products are situated in Bengal. It is perfectly correct that the export duty is levied not only on raw jute but also on the finished product. But consider the effect. West Bengal cannot increase its acreage. There, all the available waste lands are being requisitioned for refugees from East Pakistan. If any province can increase jute production it is Assam and Orissa. But if we do not get any return, if the share in the jute export duty is stopped, what is the incentive for Assam to increase the jute acreage? Jute is vital for India in the sense that all the jute produced in West Bengal is sold either to the continent of Europe or America by means of which we get the much-needed sterling or dollar exchange. If tomorrow the provinces of Assam and Orissa cease to produce jute, the jute mills in Bengal would not have anything to do and they will have to close down. It is on this account that the Drafting Committee thought that we should not accept those recommendations of the Expert Committee and let the status quo run.
The next recommendation of the Expert Finance Committee is that, in order to make up the loss which these province swill suffer by the stop in the share of jute export duty, the Government of India which now shares on a 50-50 basis the income-tax from the provinces should increase the divisible pool of the provinces to 60 per cent or an increase of 10 per cent. Sir, most Honourable Members here do not know how unjustly and iniquitously this provision of division of income-tax has fallen on the poor provinces of Bihar and Assam. Bihar produces the raw material; Bihar has the gigantic steel works and offices, but their head offices are all in Bombay and hence the income-tax is paid in Bombay. Bihar therefore does not get any credit for this income-tax. Bihar has been crying hoarse to get this changed, but has been unsuccessful so far. In Assam, the condition is worse. Before Partition, Assam had some 1,200 tea gardens. Even after the removal of a large part of Sylhet to East Pakistan, Assam has got a thousand tea gardens. That is the only organised industry of Assam. But out of those 1,000 tea estates, the head offices or the offices of the managing agents of as many as 800 are in Calcutta or London. Up till now, Assam has been making insistent prayers to the Central Government from the time this system was introduced to change the system. The division under this system is on the basis of collection and not of origin.
Now, do you think, Sir, that if we accept this provision of the Finance Committee, justice would be meted out to Bihar and to Assam? We wanted revision of the entire system and the Finance Committee was compelled to accept the force of our arguments. But they tried to compromise and their compromises are put down in Section 55 of their recommendation.
They say: "We recommend that the provincial share, that is 60 per cent of the net proceeds, be distributed among the provinces as follows:-
Paragraph 56 says: "The third block of 5 per cent should be utilised by the apportioning authority as a balancing factor in order to modify any hardship that may arise in the case of particular provinces as a result of the application of the other two criteria."
Sir, of the present provinces, after the merger of the native States with Orissa, Assam is the least populated provinces in India. We had a population according to the 1941 census of 102 lakhs, but now the population has dwindled to 72 lakhs. The population of Orissa has increased. Therefore if twenty per cent of the divisible pool of income-tax is divided on population basis, we get very little. Rather, Assam would get a reduced sum.
Then they say that 35 per cent should be distributed on the basis of collection. This way both Assam and Bihar will suffer, because the place of collection in the case of Assam is Calcutta and for Bihar, Bombay and naturally the major portion of the 60 per cent will go away from the provinces concerned. Only a little 5 per cent is left to mitigate any hardships that may arise in the case of particular provinces. Ours has been a cry in the wilderness; our voices are never heard at the Centre. However hoarse we may cry and however much our Premier may try, we do not get a hearing. Therefore, the Drafting Committee thought that it is not in the interests of the poorer provinces to accept this recommendation of the Expert Committee.
Again, the Committee has stated that the excise duty on tobacco should be divided amongst the provinces on the basis of estimated consumption. That would not help either Assam or Orissa for want of numbers. Although the Expert Committee made a reference about this in their main recommendations, they omitted this from the list of amendments which they have put down in Appendix VI. Therefore when they themselves have not recommended this, no blame can be attached to the Drafting Committee if they have not adopted it.
Lastly, Sir, the Expert Committee recommended that there should be a Finance Commission appointed immediately to go into the finances of the provinces and the Centre. We have not accepted that it should be appointed immediately because we felt that the appointment of such a Commission at this juncture would be fair neither to the provinces nor to the Central Government. Moreover, they will have nothing to go by. The Expert Committee themselves have stated:
An Honourable Member: For how long does the Honourable Member propose to continue? Is there no time limit for him?
Syed Muhammad Saadulla: I am finishing in a few minutes, if my friends will allow me.
Mr. Vice-President: I think he is entitled to as much time as he wants in order to answer the various criticisms that have been levelled against the Drafting Committee. Surely you should give him time to do it.
Syed Muhammad Saadulla: We find that even on the recommendation of the Expert Committee, there are no data available at the present moment. From the figures which they have published at 27 of the brochure, we find that the Central Government's budget has been a deficit one continuously since 1937-38. According to the revised estimate for 1946-47, their deficit is a small one of about 45 lakhs, but I am sure, Sir, that when the final figures are published, the deficit will increase. That is the reason why, I presume, the Central Government without consulting the provinces concerned, by a stroke of the pen, have reduced the share of the Jute Export Duty to these four provinces from 621/2 per cent. to 20 per cent. They would not have taken this extraordinary step if they were not hard-pressed for finance.
The Honourable Shri K. Santhanam (Madras: General): On a point of order, Sir, the Drafting Committee, I suggest, have nothing to do with the Government of India's financial administration. I think the Honourable Member should confine his remarks to the Constitution itself.
Syed Muhammad Saadulla: But, Sir, the Drafting Committee has been charged with neglect in this matter.
For the past ten years the Government of India themselves are having deficit budgets, and now they are incurring very huge expenditure on the rehabilitation of refugees, the war in Kashmir and the police action in Hyderabad. On account of these, they are not in a position to give sufficient help to the provinces, whereas the provinces are crying hoarse over the financial neglect from the Centre. Sir, I will just address one point about the particular position of Assam, as Assam's position is not appreciated by most Members of the House. It is not merely a frontier province of the Republic of India but it is a bulwark against aggression from the East. (Interruption).
Sir, if you do not allow me to speak I am subjecting myself to your Ruling. But I wish to say a few words as a Member coming from Assam.
Mr. Vice-President: You are speaking as a Member of the Drafting Committee.
The Honourable Shri B. G. Kher (Bombay: General): May I suggest that he may continue this subject tomorrow, so that we may have more time?
Syed Muhammad Saadulla: I bow to your ruling, Sir, I thought that I have my three functions before this House, as a member of the Drafting Committee, also as a member from the neglected and benighted province of Assam and also as coming from the Muslims. I wanted to speak just two things about Assam and the Muslims, but I will reserve it for a future occasion.
Mr. Vice-President: I understand that Mr. Kamath had some kind of amendment. Is the Honourable Member pressing it?
Shri H. V. Kamath: I am not pressing it, as it is purely of a verbal nature.
Mr. Vice-President: The question is:
The motion was adopted.
Mr. Vice-President: I have to say something about our future programme of work. Naturally we shall get two days, tomorrow and the day after, for submitting amendments. I understand that a Member had written a letter to our President, asking for ten days' time. It is impossible to grant this extension of time without seriously jeopardizing the existing programme which we have set ourselves to fulfil. So the last date will be Thursday and the time 5 P.M. on the 11th.
I further understand that already three thousand amendments have been received and I am quite certain that within the next two days further amendments will come in. I take my courage in my hands and make a suggestion for the consideration of the House. It is this: that instead of trying to go through the amendments one by one on the floor of the House, it would be much better for those who have suggested these amendments to meet the Drafting Committee as a whole or certain members of the Drafting Committee and to discuss matters. In this way it is possible to expedite the work. It is for you to reject it at once without listening to my suggestion or to come to some sort of understanding. It may be that the Drafting Committee may be persuaded to accept certain amendments; it is quite possible on the other hand that certain amendments will not need any further consideration. If this meets with your approval, then I suggest that the arrangement may come into effect from, say, Friday and the time fixed by 10-30 A.M.
Shri T. T. Krishnamachari (Madras: General): May I ask,Sir, if the Drafting Committee is in existence?
Mr. Vice-President: It may not be in existence, but the people in it are very much alive and they are prepared to take this trouble in order to reduce the work of the House.
Prof. N. G. Ranga: I dare say you are aware of the system that we have followed in the past. Anyhow so far as those people who belong to the Indian National Congress are concerned and those who are associated with it, we used to meet every day for three or four hours in order to lessen this work as you have suggested and make it easier for you to get through the allotted work. In addition to this, if we are to accept your suggestion it would mean that we would have to be sitting here with the Drafting Committee and beg them to accept this amendment or that. In addition we would have to meet again for three or four hours every day. Therefore, I wish to submit to you with all respect that this suggestion will not be very practicable and may not be quite acceptable to several of us. Therefore, we would like you to relieve us from this suggestion.
I endorse the suggestion made by Prof. Ranga. The suggestion made is certainly not practicable and it is better to leave the Members to help expediting these amendments. I therefore suggest that the usual practice may prevail and the Members should be given the right to move their amendments in this House if they do not come to an agreement with the Drafting Committee.
Mr. Vice-President: If you do not agree, then you need not accept the suggestion. Further, the Drafting Committee is not defunct.
There is something more. Friday will be a closed holiday on account of Mohurram and the Honourable the President has given us Saturday to consider for the study of amendments, so that we shall meet on Monday the 15th at 10A.M.
Shri H. V. Kamath: On a point of procedure, may I know whether the preamble will be taken first or last?
Mr. Vice-President: I am not in a position to give any decision on the matter.
The Assembly then adjourned till Ten of the Clock on Monday, the 15th November 1948.