Constituent Assembly Of India -Volume IX
Dated: August 24, 1949
There are just three points which, I think, for a reply. One point is. the one which is raised by Mr. Laskar by his amendment. His amendment is to introduce the words " save in the case of the Scheduled Castes in Assam '. I have completely failed to understand what he intends to do by the introduction of these words. If these words were introduced it would mean that the Scheduled Castes in Assam will not be entitled to get the representation which the article proposes to give them in the Lower House of the Central Parliament, because if the words stand as they are, "save in the .case of the Scheduled Castes in Assam" unaccompanied by any other provision, I cannot see what other effect it would have except to deprive the Scheduled Castes of Assam of the right to representation which has been give to them. If I understand him correctly, I think the matter, which he has raised, legitimately refers to article 67B of the Constitution which 'has already been passed. In that article it has been provided that the ratio of representation in the Legislature should have a definite relation to certain population figures. It has been laid down that the representation in the Lower House at the Centre shall be not less than one representative for every 7,50,000 people, or not more than one representative for a population of 5,00,000. According to what he was saying-and I must confess that it was utterly impossible for me to hear anything that he was saying-but if I gathered the Purport of it, he seems to be under the impression that on account of the division of Sylhet district the population of the Scheduled Castes in Assam has been considerably reduced and that there may not be any such figure as we have laid down, namely, 7,50,000 or 5,00,000, with the result that he feels that the Scheduled Castes of Assam will not get any representation. But I should like to tell him that the provision in article 67 (5) (b) does not apply to the Scheduled Castes. It applies to the constituency. What it means is that if a constituency consists of 7,50,000 people, that constituency will have one seat. it may be that within that constituency the population of the Scheduled Castes is much smaller, but that would not prevent either the Delimitation Committee or Parliament from allotting a seat for the Scheduled Castes in that particular are a. His fear, therefore, in my judgment, is utterly groundless.
Then I come to the amendment moved by Sardar Hukam Singh in which he suggests that provision ought to be made whereby the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled tribes would be entitled to contest seats which are generally riot reserved for the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled tribes. He said that the Drafting Committee has made a deliberate omission. I do not think that is correct It is accepted that the Scheduled Castes and the scheduled tribes shall be entitled to contest seats which are' not reserved seats, which are unreserved seats. That is contained in the report of the Advisory Committee which has already been accepted by the House. The reason why that particular provision has not been introduced in article 292 is because it is not germane at this place. This proposition will find its place in the law relating to election with which this Assembly or the Assembly in its legislative capacity will have to deal with. He therefore need have no fear on that ground.
With regard to the point raised by my Friend Mr. Pillai that the population according to which seats are to be reserved should be estimated by a fresh census, that matter has been agitated in this House on very many occasions. I then said that it was quite impossible for the Government to commit itself to taking a fresh census but the Government has kept its mind open. If it is feasible the Government may take a fresh census in order to estimate the population of the Scheduled Castes or the scheduled tribes in order to calculate the total representation that they would be entitled to in accordance-with the provisions of Article 292. The Government is also suggesting that if in any case it is not possible to have a fresh census, they will estimate the population of these communities on the basis of the voters strength which may be calculated from them, in which case we might be able to arrive at what might be called a rough and ready estimate of the population. I do not think it is, possible,for me to go beyond that.
All the other amendments I oppose.
Prof. N. C. Laskar: Sir, I beg to withdraw my amendment No. 24.
The amendment was, by leave of the Assembly, withdrawn.
Mr. President: The question is
The amendment was negatived.
Sardar Hukam Singh: Sir, if what I have suggested in my amendment (No, 77) is provided for elsewhere I do not press it.
The amendment was, by leave of the Assembly, withdrawn.
Shri V. I. Muniswamy Pillay: Sir, in view of this lucid explanation of Honourable, Dr. Ambedkar, I beg to withdraw my amendment No. 94.
The amendment was, by leave of the Assembly, withdrawn.
Mr. President: Amendment No. 95 is to the same effect as the one that the House has already rejected. The question is:
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. President: The question is
The amendment was negatived
Mr. President: The question is
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. President: The question is:
The motion was adopted.
Article 292, as amended, was added to the Constitution.
(Amendments Nos. 3118 to 3121 were not moved.)
Mr. Mohd. Tahir (Bihar: Muslim): Sir, I beg to move:.......
Shri T. T. Krishnamachari (Madras : General) : Sir, on a point of order; this amendment is not really germane to the article before the House; it has nothing to do with the subject matter of article 293.
Mr. Mohd. Tahir : Article 292 refers to the matter of the reservation of ,eats. Article 293 says:
These are articles where. representation is to be fixed and reservation is allowed to different communities. This is the only place where I want that minority communities which are given reservation of seats should also have a chance of getting themselves elected from the general constituencies. The amendment is quite relevant and this is the place where this subject can be introduced so that minorities might have the right to seek election in the general constituencies also.
Mr. President: I do not think this question arises under article Z93 which relates especially to the representation of the Anglo-Indian community. I do not think you can bring in the right of members of the other communities for whom seats have been reserved to seek elections from the general constituencies in this article. The amendment is not in order.
Mr. Mohd. Tahir: I submit to your ruling, Sir.
Sardar Hukam Singh: Sir, I beg to move:
Shri R.K. Sidhva (C.P. & Berar : General): I rise to a point of order. This amendment seeks that any minority community which is not adequately represented may be given nomination by the President. Sir, the question of election of minorities has been decided by this House. We have decided that there should be no representation for minority communities except the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the Anglo -Indians. Article 67 has decided that. You cannot now go back on what has been decided in article 67. If you allow that article to be again opened, it would lead to complications. If the President feels that some community has not been adequately represented, he should make the choice. You cannot mention that a particular minority shall be nominated by the President. That will go against the decision of this House and it will be a dangerous precedent if you allow this amendment after we have adopted article 67. After we have passed it you cannot allow something to be done by the backdoor. My second reason is that after the House has decided the question of the minorities it should not be re-opened.'
Mr. President: Do you wish to say anything about this point of order, Sardar Hukam Singh?
Sardar Hukam Singh: I do not think there is any force in the point of order raised by my honourable Friend. We are, under article 293, arming the President with powers that when the Anglo-Indian community is not represented adequately, to nominate two of them. My amendment is that it should not be confined to the Anglo-Indian community alone, If that community is adequately represented in the elections and there is another minority that is not adequately represented in the elections and there is another minority that is not adequately represented, it should be open to the President, in the same way as he would look to the interests of the Anglo-Indian community, to see that the other community also gets representation. I do not want to upset the provisions that have been passed. But in this article itself we are providing that the President shall have this of nomination. I do feel that all these constituencies have been demarcated. We cannot increase their number that has been fixed. But there is this provision in article 293 itself which gives the President power to have two seats in his own hands. Whenever he finds that the Anglo-Indian communities not represented adequately he can nominate two of them. My object that, instead of saying that only he Anglo-Indian community should be safeguarded in that way, if it is not that any other community which finds itself in that position might be given these nominations to the extent of two, three or four. If it is found that the Anglo-Indian community is properly represented and any other community is not properly represented, should not, in justice, that community be allowed representation by the President?
Mr. President: I am inclined to agree with Sardar Hukam Singh that this amendment seeks only to extend to other communities the privilege given under this article 293 to get nominations for their interests if they are not adequately represented. I think the amendment is in order.
Sardar Hukam Singh: Sir, I may in the beginning say that I do not grudge this concession being given to the Anglo-Indian community. I do realise that they are in very small numbers. I am also conscious of the fact that they are diffused over different parts of the country. I do feel that there is little likelihood of their being returned and I agree that they should have the first choice and the first concession. I do not even oppose instructions being given to the President that their case might be considered first of all. But what I want to submit is that when their interests are safeguarded, we cannot exclude this possibility that they might be returned according to their population-when we are aiming at a secular State where everybody could stand and could vote, there will be some possibilities where even this small community might get representation in certain cases-if some other community is not represented properly. I feel justified in saying that the President should have power to give it some representation at least. We are depending upon the vargaries of the voters. Any responsible man can see that the voters do not care whether some community gets justice or not. In these special circumstances, I want to submit that the power should be given to the President to use in whatever way he likes, though the consideration might be uppermost in his mind that this (Anglo-Indian) community should be given preference. I do not grudge them this concession. But this power should be general that any community which is not properly represented it should be open to the President to give some representation to.
Mr. President: There is then notice of an amendment by Mr. Sahu (No.104) that this article be deleted. That is not an amendment which can be moved. The honourable Member may vote against the article. Then there are two amendments in the Printed List of 10th July 1949. I understand that they are not being moved. Any Member who wishes to speak may do so now.
Shri R.K. Sidhva: Mr. President, Sir, this article deals exclusively with the Anglo-Indian community. It says that notwithstanding anything contained in article 67 the President may, if he is of opinion that the Anglo-Indian community is not adequately represented in the House of the People, nominate not more than two members of that community to the House of the People. The article relates to one community and also the number is specified. The President cannot nominate more than two. As regards the other communities, my friend says that if any community is nor properly represented, then the President shall have the right to make nominations from that community. Sir, that will be going against the very spirit of the decision that we have taken in this House. We have taken the decision that minorities voluntarily gave up their rights to special representation, and now to ask the President to nominate members from those minority communities, that too in the Constitution itself, is to negative the very spirit of the decision of this House. I feel strongly that if we allow this article to be inserted in the Constitution and if we accept this amendment, it will mean that, although the right to special representation has been voluntarily given up by the various communities, the House desires that the President may nominate persons from those communities, which is not the desire of the House. The House has rejected nominations and reservations of seats. They have allowed nomination to the Anglo-Indian community as a special case. Having decided that, if we accept this amendment now, it will go against the spirit of the decision we have already taken and I do hope that the House will reject it summarily.
There are other amendments coming. My Friend, Mr. Nagappa, is also trying to open up the question of minority communities if they are not represented properly. The Minorities Committee considered this question and came to the unanimous conclusion, the House came to the unanimous conclusion that there should be no nomination and no reservation of seats for the minority communities, and we should not go against the spirit of that decision. I submit that this amendment should be summarily rejected.
Shri M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar (Madras: General): Sir, if we accept the amendment so Sardar Hukam Singh, the whole House of the People will be dominated by members who are nominated. This article provides for an exception. The nomination of members of the Anglo-Indian community to the House of the People is an exception. I do not think it is intended to perpetuate this exception or enlarge the scope of this exception to other communities. The article says-
In regard to the others, if there is any constituency where there are five lakhs of people, that constituency is entitled to elect one member to the House of the People. The other communities, the Muslim community, the Indian Christian community or the Sikh Community of this country are not so small as would go unrepresented on this basis. It would not be so in the case of the Anglo-Indian Community. Their whole population would not be even five lakhs for the whole of India. You cannot point out to any constituency where they will be in a majority. Therefore this exception has had to be made, because they may not come in through the process of election. Article 292 originally stated that there would be reservations for the Muslim community, for Indian Christians and others. But they have voluntarily given that up and reservation is now only to be made for the Scheduled Castes, and scheduled tribes. The latter may not be able to come in normally in elections. Therefore, some reservation is made for them. I would submit that the Anglo-Indian community stands on a special footing. The Anglo-Indians are highly advanced, but they are not numerous. They were once part rulers of this country and therefore they should be shown some partiality for some time to come. Nomination has been provided for in the Upper House for certain interests but the Upper House has been made innocuous, and so far as the Lower House is concerned, there ought to be no nominations. The case of the Anglo-Indian community is an exception and there is no reason why it should be extended in favour of the other communities and why those communities should try to get by nomination why they have voluntarily given up. Not more than two is an insignificant figure in the Lower House. I oppose the amendment.
Mr. President: Dr. Ambedkar.
The Honourable Dr. B.R. Ambedkar: I do not think it is necessary to say anything.
Mr. President: The question is:
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. President: The question is:
The motion was adopted.
Article 293 was added to the Constitution.
The Honourable Dr. B.R. Ambedkar: Sir, I move
"That for article 294, the following be substituted:-
This article is exactly the same as the original article as it stood in the Draft Constitution. The only amendment is that the provision for the reservation of seats for the Muslims and the Christians has been omitted from clause (1) of article 294. That is in accordance with the decision taken by this Assembly on that matter.
(Amendment Nos. 34, 35, 36 and 39 were not moved)
Shri Brajeshwar Prasad: Mr. President, Sir, I rise to give my qualified support to the article, Sir, I am convinced in my own mind that the Scheduled Castes do not form a minority in this country. They are not distinct or separate in any way whatsoever from the rest of the people of this country. Numerically they form a considerable section of the population. Moreover, I am convinced that the problems confronting the Scheduled Castes are in no way of a political character. The problems are primarily educational and of an economic character. They are of a cultural character. We want to raise the cultural level of these down-trodden and oppressed people. I do not see how their representation in the legislatures will in any way alter the material and the moral level of these people. Representations here and there will provide opportunities for a handful of leaders but it will not in any way materially alter their economic or their educational level. Better lay down in the Constitution that a fixed percentage in the budget, both Central and Provincial, shall be exclusively devoted for their welfare. I am a lover of those people who have been suffering and my whole attempt is to somehow liquidate their backwardness. I do not want by any back-door method to suppress or to deprive them of their just rights. If you want to give them representation, by all means give them. I am not opposed to their representation as such but I feel that this will be inadequate it will not solve their problems. I want that for the tribals and for the Scheduled Castes provision must be made in the Constitution not in the directive principles. It should be laid down clearly in express terms that educational and free education shall be imparted to them. There is only one country in the world where free education is imparted up to the university stage and that is Ceylon. I hope in the future with the growth and development of our economic resources it will be possible for us to provide the same facilities to our citizens. I want that for the tribals and for the Harijans provision must be made in the Constitution that free agricultural lands should be given to them. If we cannot give any one of these, I am quite clear in my own mind that by giving them a few seats here and there, their economic condition and their education level will in no way be improved.
A friend of mine, an honourable Member of this House, has said that there are people who are opposed to the reservation of seats on the ground that it promotes fissiparous tendencies. I have very great regard and very great respect for that honourable gentleman. I know that he is a representative of the tribal people. I think he will realize that it promotes fissiparous tendencies and weakens the foundation of the State. I am a great friend of these people, I want to help them. I am prepared to incur the displeasure of those who are closely associated with me on this question. May I ask how 50 persons in a legislature where there will be 200 or 300 non-tribals, achieve anything substantial for the tribals? They will raise a terrible hue and cry but nothing substantial will be achieved. All those things that we consider to be necessary and desirable for the economic advancement and the moral uplift of the tribals should be decided here and now and laid down in the Constitution.
I would like at this stage to raise the point which I had raised a few days back. We have not decided the constitution of the tribal people. Now to say here that seats shall be reserved for the tribal people in the legislature is rather premature. It is quite possible that when we discuss the Schedules relating to the tribal areas, we evolve a Constitution entirely different from what has been proposed.
Lastly, I would say that I am opposed to the introduction of the principle of elections in the tribal areas. This will disrupt the life of the tribal people. It is a fissiparous tendency and they have got a system of society which is entirely different from ours. It is more or less a corporate society which emphasises group consciousness. The principle of elections emphasises individualism and the principle of competition. The tribal people being ignorant, being backward, being down-trodden, will be exploited by powerful groups during the times of election. I hold that the principle of election is not at all suitable to these people. With these words, I support the article.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: Mr. President, Sir, I had no desire to intervene in this debate; but a few of the remarks made by my honourable Friend who has just preceded me calls for a reply.
Mr. President: You need not worry about his remarks.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: Sir, I bow down to your wisdom.
Mr. President: You can confine yourself to the article.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: In fact, if the honourable Member's speech was relevant a reply would also be relevant: but if you think that they are absolutely irrelevant, then I have nothing to say at all. The only point I wanted to submit was that a few of the sentiments given expression to in this House should be objected to. I must make my position perfectly clear. I was a member of a minority community. I have now shaken off that minority feeling and I speak as a perfectly independent man having no axe to grand. I feel that the Scheduled Castes and the scheduled tribes some times require protection. My honourable Friend Mr. Brajeshwar Prasad remarked that a few members selected in the legislative assemblies will not improve their lot. I seriously contest this proposition. Theirs is a life of misery and exploitation. They are exploited on account of their ignorance and backwardness. If a few members are selected by them, they will ventilate their grievances, will focus public attention on their grievances and difficulties and that would lead to their redress. If a few seats given to the Scheduled Castes will not improve their lot. I ask how can a large number of members coming from the non-Scheduled classes be of any service to them? That argument should be of no avail. I believe this representation means representation of the weak. It is for their protection. My honourable Friend's contention that the benefits of democracy cannot be given the Scheduled Castes, I should think, must also be contested. Democracy is a blessing. Democracy alone can lift these unfortunate Scheduled Castes and scheduled tribes from their miserable lot.
I do not desire to say anything more. I fully support the article. But, my honourable Friend who preceded me while trying to support the article actually advanced arguments which went against it.
Shri Kishorimohan Tripathi (C.P. & Berar States): Mr. President, Sir, I have just come to seek clarification from Dr. Ambedkar.
The proposed article 294 says in clause (1):
When I look at Part III of the First Schedule, in division B, it is stated, "All other Indian State which were within the Dominion of India immediately before the commencement of this Constitution." Most of these States have now either formed into Unions or have merged into the provinces. Among the latter category come some of the States which I represent here. These States taken together and known as the Chattisgarh States, have a tribal population of roughly 50 per cent, that is, about 14 lakhs out of the total population of nearly 30 lakhs. I want to know from Dr. Ambedkar as to how reservation of seats will apply to these States which have now merged in the province of C.P. I will quote, for example, the State of Baster; it has a tribal population of 4,78,970 out of a total population of 6,33,888. The State of Udaipur which forms part of the newly formed district of Raigarh contains 72 per cent of tribals out of its total population. These States have got tribal population in contiguous areas. Each State by itself can claim reservation for itself. I would therefore like to know from Dr. Ambedkar as to how these States are to be treated in respect of reservation of seats as also other advantages accruing to tribals under this Constitution.
The Honourable Rev. J.J.M. Nichols-Roy: Mr. President, I rise to support this article as moved by Dr. Ambedkar. I had given notice of an amendment; but that amendment has been included in this amendment which has been moved by Dr. Ambedkar. I am very glad that that has been incorporated here.
I just want to make a statement in regard to the statement made by Mr. Brajeshwar Prasad regarding tribal people. There are different kinds of tribal people. In Assam, we have got tribals who are very democratic. These democratic institutions which we have here in this Constitution will suit them very well. They are used to this kind of democratic institutions. There may be some other tribals who may not be used to such democratic institutions; I do not know where they are. Wherever I have known, the tribal people are very very democratic- minded. There may be Scheduled Castes and scheduled tribes in some other parts of India where the people are very down-trodden and not looked after, and democratic institutions may not suit them. As far as the tribals are concerned, as Mr. Jaipal Singh has already stated, they are very democratic, and in Assam they are so, For that reason I believe that this right and privilege given to them of sharing in the democratic institutions in the whole of India is a very good thing indeed.
Shri H.J. Khandekar (C.P. & Berar: General):* [Mr. President, I stand to support article 294 moved by Dr. Ambedkar. This article provides for reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and scheduled tribes. As a member of Scheduled Castes, I would like to submit that the reservation which is being provided for us is no favour to us. The members of the Scheduled Castes have, for thousands of years, suffered cruelties and oppression in various forms at the hands of their brethren belonging to castes other than their own. Now reservation is being provided for us as a compensation for the atrocities we have suffered, and therefore I do not deem this provision as any great favour to us. The article that was originally drafted to provide for reservation, contained provisions for the reservation of seats to Muslims also, on the basis of their population. But for some reasons this provision has now been dropped. I think reservation ought to have been provided for Muslims as well. Though, I do not belong to the Muslim Community, I would like to say that from the political point of view............]
Mr. President:* [I think, you should not take up this question because it has already been discussed.]
Shri H.J. Khandekar:* [I would like to say only one sentence in this connection.]
Mr. President:* [Even one sentence will re-open the matter.]
Shri H.J. Khandekar:* [I hold that politically it was a mistake. However, I shall not touch that question as I do not belong to the community concerned. To resume my point, reservation is being provided to Harijans only for ten years. But from the experience that I have of the Scheduled Castes and other communities of the country, I feel certain that the condition of the Harijan cannot improve within the next ten years. Continuously from 1927 to the time of his death Mahatma Gandhi made every effort physically, mentally and financially, for the uplift of the Harijans, but even within a period of twenty or thirty years no appreciable improvement as was expected, could be brought about in their conditions. I am unable, therefore, to accept that within a period of ten years for which reservation is being provided for them, a complete reform or change can be brought about in their condition.
I therefore, think that if, along with reservation in respect of Legislatures, a similar reservation is provided in respect of Local bodies-Municipalities, and District Boards too,. it will help much to improve their lot. But no mention of such a provision has been made here. If you look at the conditions obtaining in each and every province of the country, you will find that politically their condition, even today, is very deplorable. If any Harijan stands for election to any local body and tries to secure the votes of the Caste Hindus, I have myself been witness to it, he is never able to get their votes and is unable therefore to get elected. As for the future, I am sure no candidate belonging to Scheduled Castes or scheduled tribes would ever be returned to these bodies in elections. This is the state of affairs obtaining in our country today, and it is in view of this state of affairs that you have accepted our demand for the reservation of seats. I think if you provide reservation in respect of local bodies also, Harijans will be able to benefit considerably.
Secondly, if any one thinks that the provision of reservation would cause an all-round improvement among the Harijans. I would say, he is sadly mistaken. there are many avenues in which Harijans will have to make improvement. They have to make much progress and require much help to be able to come on a part with other communities of the country. Reservation of seats alone will not do much. We were exploited in the past; and we are being exploited today and even in future, after the Constitution is passed, we should be exploited by members of the other castes. Divisions will be created amongst us. In a constituency where caste Hindu voters have a majority over Harijans if one section of the Scheduled Castes, say for example chamars have a majority over the other Scheduled Castes, our caste Hindu friends will not enter into an alliance with the chamars but they will support the minorities of the Scheduled Castes in the constituency and thus suppress the majority section of the Scheduled Castes. This will be the ultimate outcome of this provision of reservation. This is bound to happen because the Harijan voters are not in majority in any constituency.
What I mean to say is this, that this provision of reservation will be helpful to Harijans only when they are given reserved seats in constituencies where they are in a majority. Otherwise in the name of Harijans, showboys only would be returned to Legislatures as is the case today in the Central and Provincial Legislatures. So by this provision, I am afraid you are not going to do any good to Harijans; rather you would be doing them harm.
I want to tell you one thing more, and it is, that you should provide for the same type of reservation in the Cabinet as you have provided in the Provincial legislatures so as to enable to Harijans to promote their advancement. However, I have seen it and you might have also seen it, and it is a matter of regret that whenever the interest of a caste Hindu and that of a Scheduled Caste man clashes, it is the scheduled caste man who suffers. This is the situation in the country and no sensible man can deny it. To give an instance, if you look at the cabinet of a province where twenty four to twenty five per cent of the people are Harijans you will find that there is only one Harijan in the cabinet. But it is a matter of regret that in a province where the caste Hindus, that is to say the Brahmins, are in a minority and in such a small minority as two per cent of the population, ten ministers out of twelve are Brahmins. Would you consider this an injustice?]
Pandit Balkrishna Sharma (United Provinces:General): Down with the Brahmins!
Shri H.J. Khandekar: That you can say that non-Brahmins can say. Very well, they can be downed.
* [I mean to say that if you had provided for reservation for Harijans in the cabinet it would have prevented the injustice that is being perpetrated on the Harijans and scheduled tribes. It is a matter of regret that that article is no longer under discussion. Some people have remarked that barring the seats reserved for Harijans, they should not be allowed to contest the election for other general seats. But I want to tell you that if you do not allow the Harijans to contest the elections for general seats, you will never be able to bridge the gulf that has been created between the Harijans and the caste Hindus.]
Mr. President *[As you were not present in the House you could not listen to the previous debate. Had you listened to it, you would not have said such things.]
Shri H.J. Khandekar:*[I was not present and I did not listen to it. But I want to say that if we have to level the breach between us and the caste Hindus, the same treatment should be meted out to us as is asked for by us. However, the treatment that is meted out to us is one that suits people blinded with self-interest. If I cite examples where self-interest was caught to be promoted, it will take the whole of the day and even tomorrow. I do not want to threaten anybody but I want to tell the caste Hindus in this House and outside that they should remember one thing. It is that if you want to atone for the atrocities perpetrated by you on the Harijans, you should bring them up to your level by granting them whatever they ask for. If you do not do this, the Harijans will intensify the movements they have launched for their progress, which you do not desire they should make, and through these movements they shall effect an improvement in their lot though I cannot predict what may happen in the country as a result thereof. I am not holding out any threat. Members of parties seeking to exploit the situation for their own benefit move about amongst the Harijans of India and propagate such views as might go against the interests of this country. I warn you of this situation and urge you to grant to Harijans whatever facilities they ask for to come to your level.
I shall place before you one more example. Hundreds of Harijans applied recently for Indian Administrative Service and Indian Police Service and they were interviewed. But it is to be regretted that none of them was selected for the posts. The reason stated is that none of them was fit for the posts. You are responsible for our being unfit today. We were suppressed for thousands of years. You engaged us in your service to serve your own ends and suppressed us to such an extent that neither our minds nor our bodies and nor even our hearts work, nor are we able to march forward. This is the position. You have reduced us to such a position and then you say that we are not fit and that we have not secured the requisite marks. How can we secure them?
You just look at the position in which we are placed. The condition of our village boys is very bad today. They do not get the facilities enjoyed by the sons of well-placed men. How can you then expect our boys to compete with those who enjoy all sorts of facilities. You do not know under what conditions our students receive education in schools. The Government does not show any consideration to them. I know of a Harijan boy of C.P. who lives in Delhi. He studies in the Pusa Institute. He is a poor boy and his parents are dead. He is in such circumstances that for the last one month he has had no money to pay his fees. His monthly expenses amount to Rs.105/- including the sum of Rs.75/- which he has to pay towards fees etc. every month. A week back he received a notice that he should deposit his fees for being permitted to prosecute his studies. The only recourse for this poor boy, who has no money to meet the expenses of food, clothes and fees, is either to beg or to steal. He has no other remedy. The other alternative before him is to leave the school but then he would be ruined completely. Yet it did not strike the mind of any government official that either he should be exempted from paying fee or some other kind of help might be given to him. This boy submitted many applications to the government, but as yet nobody has replied to him. Under such troubles and hardships how can that boy compete with the other boys who have all facilities available to them?
You have given us privileges for ten years. After that period you will tell us that you helped us in all respects. I would then ask you, in what respect you helped us. Will you prepare some scheme for the uplift of Harijans in these ten years? Have you prepared any scheme for education of Harijans up to this day? Have provincial governments earmarked some money for the uplift of the harijans?]
Mr. President:* [A period of ten years has been provided in this article. Other things are covered by other articles. You can say these things then. At present, I shall not allow you to take up this issue.]
Shri H.J. Khandekar:* [I mean that our students do not get those facilities which other students get and hence they cannot stand in competition with others. The government has never thought of our uplift. Very often we have requested that to safeguard our interests there should be at least one Harijan minister appointed in every province and one at the Centre also who should work for the uplift of the Harijans. Had such ministers been appointed in every province and Centre, who could have thought over the difficulties of the Harijans, there would have been a lot of improvement by this time. In every province such resolutions were passed and were sent to the government by the Harijans from all the places requesting that these resolutions should be given effect to, but is is very painful to note that those persons have not as yet received a written acknowledgment of the receipt of their resolutions. This is the value and importance attached to the uplift of the Harijans. Such an attitude reveals that you want to please them with sweet words. In India there are many who talk sweetly and the Harijans are very easily taken in. They serve their selfish purpose. Except Mahatma Gandhi and ten or twenty other persons there is none to think of the uplift of the Harijans in the true sense.]
Mr. President:* [You are talking of the provinces.]
Shri H.J. Khandekar:* [I am talking of may provinces, and whatever I say is based on my personal experience. I have got an experience of about twenty or twenty-five years. I have been witnessing even up to this day that nothing good has been done for the Harijans. You have appointed Harijans ministers in the provinces but they are all your men. Then article about reservation provided by you is not going to safeguard our interests. In this way all the problems of Haijans would not be solved.]
Mr. President:* [It appears that you have been continuously absent.]
Shri H.J. Khandekar:* [I was not absent from this Assembly for a day, I was present all along even if someone marks me absent. I was here in my seat all the while]
Mr. President:*[But I would like to tell you that you can speak on the question which is under consideration. You cannot be permitted to discuss the question of all the Harijans. Nothing would be gained by that. If you are a member of any provincial assembly you can raise this question there. Others also, who get an opportunity of speaking here, should restrict themselves to this article only. It is useless to talk of other things here.]
Shri H.J. Khandekar:* [I am speaking on this article. I want to submit that I do not believe that the reservation that has been provided will do any good to the Harijans. I say that this reservation can bring no good to the Harijans. But the painful aspect of the problem is that those, who believe in the uplift of the Haijans and also know that they suffer in many ways, are in favour of this article. But I feel that this article of reservation provides no scope for the uplift of the Harijans.
There are differences amongst our sub-castes. This article provides scope for creating all kinds of differences amongst the sub-castes of the Harijans. It has got a scope for ousting the Harijans who are in majority in a province. Every community will have some percentage. You know that there is one community in majority in Bombay. None has paid any attention to it. There are ten or twelve persons who can enter the legislature of Bombay Province through reservation. Those members of the minority community who, come from that fold will be ousted. Up to this present day there are only two three men of the minority community in the Bombay Legislature. Even now there are members of such minority communities who are not even two per cent of the Harijans. I submit that when this article is implemented the Harijans would move still more backward rather than forward. I submit to you, Sir, that it would neither be beneficial to the country nor the Congress government nor even to the Harijans.
This is what I mean and after explaining it I support the article and resume my seat..
Shri Mahavir Tyagi (United Provinces:General: *[Mr. President, I rise to lend my support to this article. I would like to submit, that the question of reservation for the Scheduled Castes was raised in this land during the British regime in pursuit of a policy which was then followed by them. By raising the same question in respect of Muslims the Britishers created a division between the Hindus and Muslims of the country-a policy which ultimately culminated in the creation of Pakistan. 'Divide and rule' was the policy of the alien rulers in India in those days. It was in pursuit of this policy that in the Round Table Conference the English politicians made attempts for the first time to establish the system of separate representation for the Scheduled Castes by creating a division between them and the caste Hindus. At this, Mahatma Gandhi declared his resolve to fast unto death if attempts were made to create another part of Scheduled Castes in India. As a result this, they could not be separated from the Hindus and the system of separate electorates could not be adopted for them as was done for the Muslims. But seats were reserved for them on the basis of their population. Mahatma Gandhi settled this question with Dr. Ambedkar and gave an award which offered the Scheduled Castes more seats than what were given to them by the Round Table Conference. It was then felt that justice must be done to the Scheduled Castes.
The statement made by my Friend Mr. Khandekar that prior to this award no representative of the Scheduled Castes was ever elected, is a fact. According to the agreement reached between Mahatmaji and Dr. Ambedkar in regard to this question, representatives of the Scheduled Castes were to be elected by a common electorate but a certain number of seats were reserved for them and the number of seats so reserved was greater than what was given to them in the Round Table Conference.
Now when after fourteen years we are again going to decide that seats will be reserved for them, we must not lose sight of the experience gained in the past in this respect. I would like to draw the attention of the House to the past experience with regard to this question. The reservation of seats has benefited us in many ways. Firstly, it has created an awakening among the Scheduled Castes; it has brought among them a spirit of self-progress: it has made others to realise that the members of the Scheduled Castes are citizens, equal to them and that they too should be entitled to all the rights that a citizen should have. It has also developed amongst us a habit to sit together and decide the future of the country and to discuss the important grave problems of the country mutually. This helps a lot in our affairs.
But we have to see what will in fact be the advantage of such a reservation. My Friend Mr. Khandekar has just now complained that the majority community does not allow minority community to send its representatives. This is a fact. In this respect I too belong to a minority community. The strength of my community in my district consists of myself, my daughters and a policeman. They are all five in number. Still, whenever there is an election in my district, I am returned. But this is not the general rule. Those who are not elected on the basis of service to the country, are returned on the strength of their relations. Whoever has a large number of relations, is returned. In the district of Meerut, where the Jats are in a majority, only a Jat candidate can come our successful A Brahmin cannot be elected there. Therefore, this is not a question of Scheduled Castes only but is so in the case of other Castes also. This, of course, is very unfortunate for this country. Even if we confine our attention to the Scheduled Castes alone we find that they also suffer from the same malady. Twenty seats have been reserved for the Scheduled Castes in our province and there are perhaps eight seats for them in the Punjab. If we undertake a study of the caste composition of the members filling the seats and if Shriyut Khandekar does the same in regard to the seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes all over India it will be found that excepting two or three Mahars, including my Friend, Mr. Khandekar and Dr. Ambedkar, the majority of seats have gone to Chamars because among the Scheduled Castes they have a majority. If you look at the Ministers also, you will see that excepting Dr. Ambedkar there is no Scheduled Caste Minister who is a non-Chamar.]
Some Honourable Members: *[In Bihar, there are.]
Shri Mahavir Tyagi:* [Yes, excepting Bihar, in all other places these people alone are ministers. May I ask whether the four hundred communities are taking advantage of the Scheduled Castes seats? Out of these four hundred communities only two or three communities are taking advantage of the seats reserved for Scheduled Castes. In Bombay the Mahars are in a majority but owing to joint elections some other members of the community have been returned and this has given cause to Mr. Khandekar to complain. I am opposed to this type of mentality. The scheduled castes have been formed by combining together four to five hundred communities but if a majority section and a minority section are found among them, it would mean that the seats reserved for Scheduled Castes would go to the majority section. Even if we reserve a number of seats in India for the Chamars the result would-be the same as we have achieved by reserving seats for Scheduled Castes because in our province the Chamars are in a majority and they alone get the majority of votes. Every party too puts forward a candidate on the consideration whether he has a large number of relations, so that matters may be facilitated. Therefore all the Scheduled Caste people do not benefit by reservation. There are five hundred to six hundred Scheduled Castes and we are not familiar even with their names. Indeed, it will never be possible for them to get representation in the Assembly.
This means that we provide seats for Scheduled Castes to benefit those who have a large number of relations. The advantage of joint elections, to which my Friend Mr. Khandekar objects, would be that caste Hindus would be able to extend justice to those Scheduled Castes people who are in a majority. They would realise that the Chamars have a majority in the district and that those people who are in a minority have no chance of winning an election, although their candidates are well qualified for being returned to the Legislative Assembly. They would help these candidate and make up the deficiency of votes in their favour. What I mean to say is this, that the advantage of other caste people participating in the elections for Scheduled Caste seats would-be that besides those who are in a majority among the Scheduled Castes, even those who are in a minority among them would be able to fight elections and win them. This is my reply to the objection that has been raised. We should keep in view the interests of all the Scheduled Castes specified in the schedule and not only of those which are in a majority.
I would like to draw the attention of the House to another aspect of this problem. The reservation that has been provided for the Scheduled Castes until now, is producing, the effect; among others, of the formation of a separate kind of group of the Scheduled Castes. And if this practice is continued for some time more the leaders of the Scheduled Castes will act in the same way as the Muslim leaguers did. They can become ministers and members of the Assembly as long as the reservation of their seats is continued. Under such circumstances the separatist tendency cannot be brought to an end in this country. I, therefore, feel that there should be no kind of reservation.
In my province of U.P., the Panchayat Election has just been held. It may be a surprise to the House that the election of Sarpanch of these Panchayats was a joint one. In our eastern districts more than half of the Panchayats are such wherein the members of the Scheduled Castes have been elected as Sarpanch. This is the result of the Gram Panchayat election held through the government and the members of the Scheduled Castes were elected as Sarpanch. It is wrong to think that the minorities are not enjoying the privileges in the political spheres. Had I been a leader of a minority community I could have very easily demonstrated to you that in a House consisting of one hundred members I could form a ministry with the backing of my twenty followers in the legislature. I hold this belief because I am confident that the remaining eighty members of the House would-be divided into a number of parties and I could, therefore lend my support to one of these parties and thereby enable it to be dominant in the Legislature. By this bargain I could easily obtain the premiership for myself. The fact is that all the world over the ministers enter into such bargains and are thereby able to secure their ends. There are different groups in the majority, and the minority always secure advantages for itself by favouring one group or the other. It is therefore wrong to say that the minority groups does not secure advantage for itself. In the same way the minority pushes its candidate in general elections too and it is a clear misunderstanding that the minorities cannot take part in elections.
My own idea was that there should be no reservation. On the other hand, the provision of reservation makes me feel that there has been a little of injustice to the Sikhs. They have been living separate for many years and this right of reservation has been denied to them. Similarly Christians have also been denied this right. All the other minorities generously accepted to give up this right. I therefore fail to see why this reservation should be kept. I believe that even without reservation the members of the Scheduled Castes can gain seats in proportion to their population. You will see after ten years that they will gain seats in a greater proportion. I would like to repeat it again that in election importance should be attached to the capabilities of the candidate and not to the caste of the candidate. It should be considered as to who has served the country in a better way and who can represent the country in a better way. Unfortunately people having good knowledge of English gain success. It is a misfortune that nobody thinks for those Brahmans who are even poorer than the members of the Scheduled Castes. Similarly there are Kashtriyas, Rajputs and some persons and families among all the other castes, who do not get any opportunity to gain education and wealth. There is no provision for them in this Constitution. They are poor and illiterate and can neither become representative nor ministers. Unfortunately the conditions are such that those, who have English education and have adopted English methods, are the representatives of India. Only such persons can gain representation. It pains me greatly that there is no scope in this country for the illiterates. I say that until the rein of administration is held by non-English knowing illiterate persons and until a majority of illiterate persons comes in Government Service, India would not be able to feel the glow of freedom. The educated persons are demoralised. And in the present regime the administration of India is in the hands of those who are devoted to English culture and language and are demoralised. Just as with other castes, in Scheduled Castes also there is no opportunity for their real representatives even after the removal of the British regime. Persons like Dr. Ambedkar, who are capable in all respects, will come forward from the Scheduled Castes. To what Scheduled Castes does Dr. Ambedkar belong to, who is the Pandit of the Pandits? He only takes advantage of the Scheduled Castes. At the same time Dr. Ambedkar can come into the Legislature from any part of the country by virtue of his own merits.
I, therefore, see no advantage, as I have already stated, in reservation. The true representatives do not enter the Legislatures even through reservation. This may be attained only when we change our mentality and elect persons according to our old Indian custom based on honesty, ability, conscientiousness, service to humanity and intelligence. We have been so much entangled in the English language that one who has attained even an alphabetical knowledge of this language attains the right of being the representative of the country. Even after saying so much I feel that this provision is good. They will get opportunities for ten years more and after that period it will automatically come to an end and there would be joint elections.
Mr. President: This is one of those articles which represent the decisions arrived at at a previous session and I do not think much discussion is necessary. However, I have not stood in the way of members speaking.
The question is:
The motion was adopted.
Article 294, as amended, was added to the Constitution.
Mr. President: This is a non-controversial article.
The question is:
The motion was adopted.
Article 295 was added to the Constitution.
New Article 295-A
The Honourable Dr. B.R. Ambedkar: Sir, I move:
This is also in accordance with the decision of the House. I do not think any explanation is necessary.
Mr. President: There are certain amendments to this. Amendment No.39 has been given notice of by three Members.
Shri Yudhisthir Mishra: (Orissa States): Sir, I move:
The effect of my amendment will be that the provision of this Constitution regarding reservation of seats for the Scheduled Tribes both in the Centre and in the Provinces shall not cease to have effect even after the lapse of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution. The purpose of this new article 295-A is not to allow reservation of seats to Scheduled Castes and tribes after a period of ten years from the date of the commencement of this Constitution. My amendment seeks to provide that the reservation of seats for the tribes should not be limited to ten years only.
We decided in the last session of the Constituent Assembly, in a motion tabled by the Honourable Sardar Patel, that the system of reservation of seats for minorities other than the Scheduled Castes in the legislatures be abolished and that the reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes shall be limited to ten years only. The communities referred to in this resolution are Muslims, Sikhs, Scheduled Castes and Indian Christians. It was held that in the context of a free and independent India, and according to the present conditions, there should not be any reservation of seats for religious communities. Therefore, it did not affect the reservation of seats for the scheduled tribes. Sir, in the report of the Advisory Committee dated 11th May 1949 submitted by Sardar Patel to this House on the subject of political safe-guards for minorities, it has been specifically stated that nothing contained in the resolution passed by the Minorities Advisory Committee shall effect the recommendations made by the North-East Frontier (Assam) Tribal and Excluded Areas Sub-Committee and the Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas (other than Assam) Sub-Committee with regard to the tribals in the legislatures. It was also laid down that the resolution would not affect the special provision made for the respresentation of Anglo-Indians in the legislatures.
Now, Sir, in their report, the Advisory Committee for Tribal and Excluded Areas have suggested some protection for the tribes, and no limitation, as far as I remembers, was fixed as regards the period for which such protection should be provided. It is of course surprising to me how the Drafting Committee in its recent amendment or in its new article 295-A has put in a time limit. We have passed new article 215-B which provides for the administration and control of the tribal areas in any State, according to the provision of the Schedule V and Schedule VI of the Draft Constitution. This provision in 215-B is a permanent feature of the Constitution which will not cease to be operative even after a lapse of ten years.
Then again , in the Vth and VIth Scheduled in the Draft Constitution, a Tribal Advisory Committee has been provided to advise the Government of the States in all matters pertaining to the administration of the scheduled tribes and the welfare of the tribal people in all States. Now, three-fourth of the Tribal Advisory Committee will consist of the elected representatives of the scheduled tribes in the legislature of the States. If there is no reservation for the tribes, how are you going to give effect to the provisions of this Constitution as far as the provisions laid down in the Scheduled V of the Draft Constitution are concerned? So far as the tribal people are concerned, due to their social, educational and political backwardness, I am sure very few of them will be returned to the Assembly if reservation is abolished. I feel that even after the lapse of ten years we shall not be able to remove the backwardness of the tribes. I hold that the standards of education and material well-being of the Scheduled Tribes are lower in most cases than even those of most of the Scheduled Castes. That is clear from the representation of the scheduled tribes in this House in comparison with the representation that the Scheduled Castes have been able to secure. Even the representative character of this House, as far as the interests of the scheduled tribes are concerned has been challenged by some people. I recently received some letters and telegrams from the tribal people of the Orissa States that the representatives in this House are not entitled to make any Constitution for them and that even if a Constitution is made, they are not bound by it. This is due to the apprehension in their minds that they will receive proper justice unless we go and try to understand their feelings as far as reservation of seats are concerned. Therefore we should think twice before abolishing reservation of seats for the tribal people after the lapse of ten years. I feel that the scheduled tribes will not be able to attain the same social standard as the other people within ten years. So I submit that the time-limit should be removed. I hope this amendment will receive due consideration at the hands of the Drafting Committee.
Mr. President: We shall take up the other amendments tomorrow.
Before we part, there is one matter which I would like to mention to the House, although it is not usual to do so. I have just received a resignation letter from Dr. S. Radhakrishnan who is going as our Ambassador to Moscow. I am sure this House appreciates the work which he has done here. We shall be missing him very much in the future. But what is a loss here is going to be a gain to the country. He is going with a great reputation as a philosopher and writer of international fame and I hope and trust that his appointment to a country with which we wish to be on the best of terms will bear good fruit and will prove to be very helpful and useful to the country.
On my behalf and on behalf of this House I offer my best wishes to Dr. Radhakrishnan in his mission.
Prof. S. Radhakrishnan (United Provinces: General): Mr. President and fellow Members, I thank you very much, Sir, for the very kind sentiments which you just expressed. I regret that it has not been possible for me to attend the meetings of this Assembly and take any useful part in its discussions. It is due entirely to circumstances beyond my control. I hope the House will appreciate that fact.
We have laid down our objectives and if we implement them with speed and steadfastness, our political and economic future may be taken as assured. It all depends on the way in which we carry out those objectives. Politics are more a result than a cause. Political upheavals occur the world over because there are unsatisfactory economic conditions. Wherever standards of life are all right, political stability is assured. Where you have economic unstability, upheavals occur. I hope that our trusted leaders who are now running this Government will carry out all those obligations put down in our Draft Constitution and will not allow it to be said that we have delayed social justice and so denied social justice. We have just listened to an impassioned statement on Harijans, their rights, etc. Our aim is social democracy which transcends these distinctions of caste and outcaste, of rich and poor. We will be judged in the world by the way in which we carry out these proclamations which we have inserted in our Constitution.
Sir, you have referred to my appointment in Moscow. We are working under the great leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. If there are political conflicts, there are two ways of overcoming them. One way is to give a knockout blow to defeat, to destroy and establish your own supremacy. That is what is called power solution. There is another way. That is understanding why our opponent believes what he does, trying to appreciate his view and trying to bring about a reconciliation. That is what is called the knowledge solution. We in this country are wedded to the adoption of the knowledge solution, and in Soviet Russia it will be my purpose to interpret and understand their policies and also interpret and make them understand our policies. That will be my work towards reconciliation, and I am very much fortified by the fact that in my new assignment I carry the good wishes of you. Mr. President, and the other Members of the House.
Mr. President: The House stands adjourned till nine o'clock tomorrow morning.
The Assembly then adjourned till Nine of the Clock on Thursday: the 25th August, 1949.
*[ ] Translation of Hindustani speeches.