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Constituent Assembly Of India - Volume VII
Dated: November 09, 1948
The Constituent Assembly of India met in the Constitution Hall, New Delhi, at Ten of the Clock, Mr. Vice-President (Dr. H. C. Mookherjee) in the Chair.
Mr. Vice-President (Dr. H. C. Mookherjee): I take it as the unanimous desire of the House that the general discussion on the Honourable Dr. Ambedkar's motion should be concluded today. I have noticed endless repetitions of the same arguments and I appeal to those who will speak today that they will avoid issues which have been already dealt with.
Shri R. Sankar (Travancore): Sir, I must at the very outset congratulate the framers of the Draft Constitution on the very efficient manner in which they have executed their duty; and I must particularly congratulate Dr. Ambedkar on the very lucid and able exposition of the principles of the Draft Constitution that he gave us by his brilliant speech. I do not propose to go into the details of the Draft Constitution but will content myself with dealing with one or two aspects of it. I think the most salient features of the Draft Constitution are a very strong Centre and rather weak but homogeneous Units. Dr. Ambedkar made a fervent appeal to the representatives of the States to take up such an attitude as to make it possible for all the States and the provinces to follow the same line, and in course of time to establish homogeneous units of the Federation without any distinction between the States and the provinces. But I think there are certain things which differentiate the States among themselves, and the States as a class and the provinces. There are some which are very well advanced and others which are not only not so well advanced but are really backward. There are States in which literacy is less than 5 per cent. There are States in which literacy is more than 50 per cent. There are States which levy income-tax. There are others which do not levy income-tax at all. In fact, there is such a great difference between the States amongst themselves than between some of the States and the provinces that it is very difficult to find much in common between the States and the provinces as they are constituted at present. For an example of a State which is advanced, I might take the case of Travancore, which I have the honour to represent. Travancore is, I think, one of the most advanced States in the whole of India. In certain respects she is ahead even of the provinces. She has been able to work herself up to the present position on account of the fact that all her revenue resources had been tapped for along time and the Rulers had tried to develop the State from very early times. Today, she is one of the most highly advanced industrial areas in all India. More than 50 percent. of her people are literate. Though a small State with an extent of only 7662 square miles, she has a revenue of nearly Rs. 9 crores. She spends about Rs. 2 crores on education now, more than half a crore on medicine and public health and as much on village uplift; and in other nation-building activities she spends very large sums. But if this Draft Constitution becomes law tomorrow, what is going to be the fate of this State? That is what concerns the people of the States as a whole and the people of Travancore in particular. Our customs revenue is nearly Rs. 1 1/2 crores. Our revenue from income-tax is nearly Rs. 2 crores and other federal items will come to nearly another crore. In other words, about 45 per cent of the income of the State will be central revenue from the day this Draft Constitution becomes law. The result would be that a State like Travancore will not be able to maintain, much less improve upon her present administrative efficiency. The States people now look at this picture more or less from this angle. The Princes, who were till now the stumbling block, have most of them decided to introduce responsible government in their realms, and the Ruler of Travancore has made no reservation whatever in this respect. The people are now anxious how they will be in a position to carry on the administrative functions of the State at least as it was carried on under the old irresponsible regime. I believe the Honourable Members of this House will see that it is a very hard case for a state like Travancore. Unless there be some provision by which a sort of fiscal autonomy is allowed to a state like mine it will be simply impossible for the State to maintain the high level of development it has been maintaining till today. The people after the long struggle are looking forward to the present responsible governments in the States to find a solution for the hundreds of problems, especially economic problems, that they are faced with, and if the States, instead of being in a better position, are in a worse position from tomorrow, they will certainly find it impossible to do anything and to solve any problem that they face. This aspect has to be borne in mind when this Draft is considered by this Body.
Another thing about which I would like to speak one word is the linguistic affair. There appears to be very much enthusiasm on the part of Honourable Members from the North whose mother tongue is Hindi or Urdu to force it all of a sudden upon others who scarcely understand a syllable of it now. Though much work has been done in the field of propagating the national language, Hindi-Hindustani, in the South, if you go out to the villages you will find that not even 1 per cent of the population knows Hindi. Even if you take such an educationally advanced State as Travancore and another State which is educationally far advanced - Cochin - not even 1 per cent of the population can even today understand either Hindi or Urdu. I would therefore request the members who are very enthusiastic about this thing - this common national language to wait for a time, to give an opportunity to the people of the South and the East to get themselves sufficiently acquainted with it. Hindi, of course, is in favour everywhere. Only some time - probably a decade or two - will have to be allowed. In the meanwhile, English must continue to enjoy the position it does to-day. If that be done, I think there will be none from any part of India who will stand in the way of Hindi being recognised as the national language of India.
As my time is up, I close with these remarks.
Shri M. Thirumala Rao (Madras: General): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, as a new recruit to this Constitution-making body, I seek the indulgence of the House for the few remarks I have the privilege of making here presently.
We are now on the eve of great changes and we have been endowed with the power of shaping our future in a manner that suits our genius and tradition. Of course the past 150 years of British rule has made an indelible impression on the Constitution that has been presented to us. I do not want to go into the details of the Constitution. I want to deal only with one aspect of it, viz., whether this country should remain a part of the British Common wealth of Nations.
Sir, the Objectives Resolution has clearly laid down that the basis of our State should be a complete Sovereign Independent Republic. I feel, Sir, that in the present set-up of world affairs, it is but meet that India should from the very first make an attempt to stand on her own legs and show that we are capable of developing our own institutions on the lines best suited to us. No doubt, British statesmen and all those people who are accustomed to be imperialists are looking askance at us wondering whether we will cut ourselves away from the British Empire. It is too late in the day to think of having any constitutional ties with the word 'Empire' which smacks so much of a feeling that had been engendered in the past. But one thing necessary is that we should not excite any jealousy on the part of powers like Russia or America by permanently tying ourselves to the apron strings of British Imperialism or British Commonwealth.
Now, whatever one may say, the balance of power is yet influencing world affairs; and India, strategically situated as she is in the Indian Ocean, midway between the Pacific and the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, has a special responsibility and an important role in maintaining world peace. Though we are a young nation, with very ill-equipped defences, it must be our duty to see that we estrange nobody in the world with regard to our position in international affairs. As such, if we make it plain that complete sovereign independence is our ideal and also the practical basis on which we are building up our Constitution, we may not estrange people like the Americans in the future.
In spite of all the tall talk that has been indulged in with regard to the Anglo-American Bloc, an under current of jealousy still persists in America against the British Empire. But they have realised - even Republican papers in America have realised-that they must make a little sacrifice of their trade monopoly in order to strengthen India and build up a bulwark against the forces that are now sweeping the East from Russia. From that point of view I feel that we must have complete Republican and independent sovereignty in our Constitution and from that point of view, we may command some respect and also some assistance from countries which seek our help and co-operation in the near future.
With regard to other matters, we must borrow a lesson from the Australian and Canadian Constitutions where the provinces and Centre have evolved a sort of relationship which is still the bone of contention in their law courts. The recent instance in Australia where Nationalisation of Banking was attempted is an example: the Centre wanted to nationalise the banks but the provinces resisted. So also in our future development, the relationship between the provinces and the Centre has to be evolved in the best interests of the country. We require no doubt a strong Centre, but a strong Centre should not mean weak provinces. The provinces also should be equally strong to enable them to perform their multifarious duties and to develop schemes. They should be left with sufficient financial resources to discharge their duties and contribute to the strength of the Centre.
With regard to Defence, we have been unfortunately split up by the machinations of British diplomacy. Whether it is Pakistan or India, India is one and indivisible as far as the defence of the country is concerned; Pakistan, which is separated on the north-east and north-west by long stretches of the Indian Union territory, is much too small to defend herself and will have to co-ordinate her defences with India. Our frontiers lie much further than Pakistan; our eastern frontier lies much beyond Assam and if we are to integrate these, we will have to keep the States well-knit and to enter into a sort of alliance with Pakistan by enclosing it within a super-federation of this federation.
Sir, I visualise a day when it will be impossible for the new States to remain as separate entities for long. There was wisdom in the proposal that these two States could combine for certain purposes like international trade, currency and defence. I will not rule out the possibility of such a combination in the near future, in the next decade, if we are to develop our Constitution on proper lines.
One more point, Sir. We have been talking too much of a secular State. What is meant by a secular State? I understand that a secular State may not allow religion to play a very important part to the exclusion of other activities of the State. But we must make it clear that the ancient traditions and culture of this country will be fully protected and developed by the Constitution and through the Constitution.
Mr. Vice-President, I see that my time is up. With your permission I will conclude in another minute.
Wherever you go, to the Mother of Parliaments or to other British Institutions, you find invariably the Church associated with them, with their universities, with their Parliament, with their Courts of Law and so on. Although I do not want to impose our religion in our institutions to that extent, I do plead that we should protect our culture, our peculiar national characteristics and traditions. These should be protected by the Constitution. We should not forget, wherever we go, that we are not a hybrid nation or a disproportioned mixture of several cultures, but that we have a culture and a Government and a civilization of our own. This should be reflected in our Constitution.
Shri Raj Bahadur (United State of Matsya): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I have sought this opportunity from you to speak during the discussion of the Draft Constitution, only because I felt impelled by a sense of duty that I should draw the attention of this august Assembly to two problems which I think are really constituting a grave danger to our newly-won freedom and to the unity and integrity of the Nation. I hope and wish that this Assembly, in order to safeguard the new and the nascent blossom of our freedom would provide adequate safeguards and provisions in the constitution for the protection of the Nation and of our hard-won liberty from two great perils. These perils, indeed, are too grave to be ignored. The perils I mean are the evils of "provincialism" and "communalism" which, in spite of the "supreme sacrifice", have yet not been laid quite low. By this "supreme sacrifice" I mean the martyrdom of the Father of our Nation. For the time being it appears that the demon of communalism has been definitely laid low, but even so I was a little painfully surprised when yesterday honourable Members like Mr. Is mail and Mr. Lari........
Nawab Muhammad Ismail Khan (United Provinces: Muslim): On a point of information. I never spoke yesterday.
Shri Raj Bahadur: Some of the Members of this House referred to the provision of proportionate representation and separate electorates. I mean to say Sir that, if we went to protect our freedom, we shall have to provide in our Constitution that just as we have said that there shall be no evil of "untouchability" in our body politic, so also we shall have to see that these tendencies, these idiosyncrasies which have been responsible for the vivisection of our mother-land shall not raise their ugly heads again. If I say this, it is because even today when we are finding that the effects of partition are still troubling our body politic, when we are not yet free from the evils of partition, there are people and forces in the country which are still trying to revive and perpetuate communal politics. It is absolutely necessary for us to see when we frame our Constitution that these evil forces do not imperil our freedom.
I may also say that there is another peril from which our country may suffer and that is "feudalism" that is still rampant in some of the States of Rajputana. Owing to the sagacity of our States' Minister, the problem of the States has been squarely dealt with, but may I still submit that the people in the various States of Rajputana are still under the thumb of these feudal landlords? The Jagirdari system is still there and the poor kisans for whom we have been clamouring for freedom are still not breathing the air of freedom. The reactionary tendencies of these Jagirdars are still there and so I hope that, just as the problem of the States has been squarely dealt with, the problem of these feudal landlords will also be dealt with squarely and solved.
When I talk of feudalism, that naturally takes me to the problem of the States. In introducing the Draft Constitution which has been placed before us by the Honourable the Law Minister for discussion and consideration, he (the Law Minister) spoke of a dual polity. But in this Constitution, I find that there is a "triple polity" provided therein, in as much as the States are allowed to have constitutions different from the constitution for the provinces. We see that the States are allowed to maintain their own separate armies. We see also that their Constitutions would be devised and adopted by their own separate Constituent Assemblies. They have also been allowed to have their own separate judiciary and the people of the States will not be allowed to appeal to the Supreme Court even in defence of their Fundamental Rights. These things, separate armies, separate Constituent Assemblies and separate judiciary, are things which cause great concern to us, the people who have come from the States, and I feel that it is high time that this disparity, this incongruity between the various units of the Indian Union is done away with. I would submit, Sir, that it can be safely assumed that the Princes just as they have relinquished their powers for the sake of the nation, so also would they favour the bringing of the States on a par with the provinces for the sake of the unification of the country. I feel that it will also be possible for the provision relating to Rajpramukhs to be made analogous to that of the Governors. They may have the same powers as the Governors in the different provinces, but I would support definitely my friend Mr. Vyas in his appeal that the right of being elected to the high office of governorship may be conceded to the ordinary man in the street also. I do not see any reason why the office or the high post of a Governor should be restricted only to the Princes and depend only on their choice in the case of the States.
Then I may also respectfully refer to another factor which has lately come to light in our body politic and that is about the criticism that we see being levelled these days against our Ministers in almost all the provinces. That criticism may not have any justification behind it but still the criticism is there that our Ministers are not following the Gandhi an ideals in their life, that they are travelling by aero planes, maintaining stately houses and so on and so forth. So I feel that in the Constitution there should be a provision giving a code of conduct for our Ministers so that we may not in future find, when history gives its verdict onus, that we have failed in our duty.
Lastly, I would beg to submit, Sir, that the provision for a Council of States in the Constitution seems to me to be redundant because an upper House has always acted as a dead weight upon the progress of the people. This smacks of a slavish imitation of the West and is quite unnecessary.
I hope these suggestions of mine will be considered by the House in due course.
Prof. N. G. Ranga (Madras: General): Mr. Vice-President, I am sorry to find that the Members of the Drafting Committee have completely forgotten the very fundamental thing that was really responsible for bringing this Constituent Assembly into existence and for giving them this chance of drafting this Constitution for India. One would have thought that it would be their elementary duty to have suggested to us that this Constitution is being framed by the Constituent Assembly which has been brought into existence by the lab ours of the countless martyrs and freedom fighters in this country guided and led by Mahatma Gandhi, but not a word has been said in regard to this matter. Therefore I suggest that we should make it clear that this Constituent Assembly comes into existence after India has attained freedom under the inspiring leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of our Nation, and that we are grateful for the unremitting struggle of the countless men and women to regain the right of independence for our nation. This is the least that we can possibly say in appreciation of the services rendered by these martyrs in our freedom struggle, and I hope the House will make the necessary amendment later on in this Draft.
Next, Sir, I am most unhappy that Dr. Ambedkar should have said what he has said about the village panchayats. All the democratic tradition of our country has been lost on him. If he had only known the achievements of the village panchayats in Southern India over a period of a millennium, he would certainly not have said those things. If he had cared to study Indian history with as much care as he seems to have devoted to the history of other countries, he certainly would not have ventured those remarks. I wish to remind the House, Sir, of the necessity for providing as many political institutions as possible in order to enable our villagers to gain as much experience in democratic institutions as possible in order to be able to discharge their responsibilities through adult suffrage in the new democracy that we are going to establish. Without this foundation stone of village panchayats in our country, how would it be possible for our masses to play their rightful part in our democracy? Sir, do we want centralisation of administration or decentralisation? Mahatma Gandhi has pleaded over a period of thirty years for decentralisation. We as Congressmen are committed to decentralisation. Indeed all the world is today in favour of decentralisation. If we want on the other hand centralisation, I wish to warn this House that would only lead to Sovietisation and totalitarianism and not democracy. Therefore, Sir, I am not in favour of the so-called slogan of a strong Centre. The Centre is bound to be strong, is bound to grow more and more strong also on the lines of modern industrial development and economic conditions. Therefore, it is superfluous, indeed dangerous to proceed with this initial effort to make the Centre specially strong. In the Objectives Resolution that we passed in the beginning we wanted provinces to have the residual powers, but within a short period of two years public opinion rather has been interpreted by those drafters to have swung to the other extreme, to complete centralisation at the Centre and strengthening the Centre over-much.
I am certainly not in favour of having so many subjects as concurrent subjects. As Mr. Santhanam has rightly put it the other day, what you consider to be a concurrent subject today is likely to become an entirely federal subject in another five or ten years. Therefore, although I am quite ready to leave the residual powers to the Central Government, I certainly do not want the provinces to be weakened as this Draft Constitution seeks to do.
Sir, one of the most important consequences of over-centralisation and the strengthening of the Central Government would be handing over power not to the Central Government, but to the Central Secretariat. From the chaprassi or the duffadar at the Central secretariat to the Secretary there, each one of them will consider himself to be a much more important person than the Premier of a province and the Prime Ministers of the provinces would be obliged to go about from office to office at the Centre in order to get any sort of attention at all from the Centre. We know in parliamentary life how difficult it is for ministers to have complete control over all that is being done by these various Secretaries at the Secretariat. Under these circumstances, it is highly dangerous indeed to enslave these Provincial Governments and place them at the mercy of the Central Secretariat and the Central bureaucracy.
Sir, I am certainly in favour of redistribution of our provinces, but in view of the fact that the President of the Constituent Assembly has appointed a Linguistic Commission to enquire into the possibility of establishing these provinces, I do think that any detailed discussion in this House is not in order, when the particular matter, before they make their report, is sub-judice; whether it is the top-most leaders of our country, the Prime Minister or the Deputy Prime Minister or any humble Member of this House - it is certainly sub-judice for any one today to express any opinion for or against the redistribution of provinces on a linguistic basis until this Commission expresses its own opinion. Therefore, I do not wish to say anything more, although I have certainly very much to say in favour of these linguistic provinces.
What are to be our ideals? We have stated some of our ideals here in the Fundamental Rights chapter as well as in the directives. But is it not necessary that we should make it perfectly clear in one of these directives that it is the duty of the State to establish village panchayats in every village or for every group of villages in order to help our villagers to gain training in self-government and also to attain village autonomy in social, economic and political matters, so that they will become the foundation stone for the top structure of our Constitution?
Next, Sir, I do not want this distinction to be made between the provinces and the so-called Indian States. Why should it be that the Indian provinces should be degraded into a kind of District Board status while these India. States would be given so much special power and favours? Why should these Indian States be allowed to have their own separate Constituent Assemblies and formulate their own separate constitutions? Either we should have very powerful states including the Indian States and the provinces or we should have weak provinces and weak States just as is being proposed in this Constitution. I am certainly not in favour of weak provinces or weak States; I am in favour of strong States and therefore, I suggest that my honourable friends from the Indian States also should pool their resources with us and then agree that all the provinces as well as the Indian States should be placed on the same footing and they should be made as strong as possible.
Sir, in these objectives, nothing has been said about all those people who are living in our villages. There is something here said about the industrial workers. The industrial workers, unfortunate as they are, seem to be much less unfortunate than the rural people. It is high time, Sir, that we pay some attention to this aspect also in our villages. Certainly the Bombay Resolution of the Indian National Congress of August 1942 lays special stress upon the toilers in the fields, in factories and elsewhere. But no such mention is made here; special mention is made only of industrial workers. I suggest. therefore, that whatever we want to do must be for the benefit of all those people in the villages, in the towns, in the fields, in the factories and elsewhere.
Sir, in regard to the minorities, I am certainly not in favour of the reservations so far as the great Muslim community is concerned; they certainly cannot claim any longer to be such a helpless community as to be in need of these. One of those friends have come forward to say that they do not want to have these reservations.
I am not in favour of second Chambers, in the provinces especially. These second Chambers will only retard progress. Some people seem to think that some check like this should be put in there; it will only give a special premium to conservatism and therefore we should not have it.
Then there were some friends who said that this Constitution should be turned into a sort of rigid pole. I am not in favour of rigid poles; I am in favour of a flexible Constitution. If it had been found necessary within the last two years to swing from one side to the other, leaving the residuary powers to the provinces or keeping them with the Centre, then how much more it would be necessary in the next ten years for us to try to make the necessary constitutional changes in our own Constitution in the light of the experience that we would be gaining. So far we have not gained any experience. Our Constitutional Adviser has gone all over the world, he has consulted other statement and he has come back and suggested so many amendments. We do not know how many times we are going to amend our own constitution within the next ten years after this constitution is accepted and our new legislatures come into existence. Therefore, I welcome the suggestion made by the Honourable Prime Minister yesterday that we should try to make our constitution as flexible as possible and also to make it easier within the first ten years at least to make the necessary constitutional amendments to our own constitution.
Shri M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar (Madras: General): Sir, objections of fundamental importance have been raised to the Draft Constitution as it has emerged from the Drafting Committee. I agree that there is nothing characteristic in this Constitution reflecting our ancient culture or our traditions. It is true that it is a patch work of some of the old constitutions of the west, - not even some of the modern constitutions of the west, - with a replica of the Government of India Act, 1935. It is true that they have been brought together and put into a whole. Dr. Ambedkar is not responsible for this; we alone have been responsible for this character of the Constitution. We have not thought that we must imprint upon this a new characteristic which will bring back to our memories our ancient culture. It is more our fault than the fault of Dr. Ambedkar.
It is no doubt true that Dr. Ambedkar gave an analysis of the several provisions of the Constitution, and unfortunately emphasised certain aspects of it, and gave his own views upon village republics, village autonomy and democracy. He could have spared us and spared the Assembly a controversy over these issues. Sir, left to myself, I would like very much that this Constitution must be based upon autonomous village republics. Democracy is not worth anything if once in a blue moon individuals are brought together for one common purpose, merely electing X, Y and Z to this Assembly or that Assembly and thereafter disperse. That is the present state of India today. People in the villages have had absolutely no opportunity to train themselves for democracy. They have not shared responsibility with anybody; they are absolutely irresponsible. That was the view that was taken and that was the purpose of the British who ruled us for 150 years. They destroyed the elements of our freedom, of our decentralised economy and the village republics that we had. They wanted to centralise the Government and concentrated all power in the Governor General and ultimately in the British Parliament. It was in that view that they took steps to see that the villages did not govern themselves. We must see that the village is the unit for the social fabric that we are going to build. In the village itself, I would like that the family should be the unit, though for all-India purpose, the individual must be taken as the unit for voting. The village must be reconstructed on these lines; otherwise, it will be a conglomeration of individuals, without any common purpose, occasionally meeting and dispersing, without an opportunity to come together and rehabilitate themselves both economically and politically.
But, as we are situated today, is it at all possible immediately to base our Constitution on village republics? I agree this ought to be our objective. But where are these republics? They have to be brought into existence. As it is, we cannot have a better Constitution than the one that has been placed before us on the model of some Western Constitutions. Therefore, I would advise that in the directives, a clause must be added, which would insist upon the various Governments that may come into existence in future to establish village panchayats, give them political autonomy and also economic independence in their own way to manage their own affairs. Later on, a time will come when on the basis of these republics or autonomous panchayats a future Constitution may be built. I agree with our Leader, the Prime Minister, who spoke yesterday that this Constitution may be kept in a transitional form for a period of five years, so that in the light of whatever experience we may gather in this period, a future Assembly which may be elected on the basis of adult suffrage may re-draft our Constitution or amend or alter it. With that safeguard, I would urge upon this Assembly to accept the Constitution as it has been placed before us by the Drafting Committee and finalise it.
There is another criticism that has been levelled, - and according to me, it is a more serious one, - against this Constitution. To the man in the street, political democracy is worth nothing unless it is followed by economic democracy. In the Fundamental Rights, the right to speak, the right to address Assemblies, the right to write as one likes, all these have been guaranteed; but the right to live has not been guaranteed. Food and clothing are essentials of human existence. Where is a single word in the Constitution that a man shall be fed and clothed by the State? The State must provide the means of livelihood for every one. Russia has addressed itself to this problem and has concerned itself with the growing of food and the feeding of every citizen of the country by nationalising the means of production. In England, the Government cannot be in the saddle even for a single day if it allows even a single citizen to die of starvation. We have not yet taken any lesson from the 35 lakhs of people who died three or four years ago during the Bengal famine. Are we to perpetuate this tragedy? Is there a single word in the Constitution that imposes on the future Governments the obligation to see that nobody in India dies of starvation? What is the good of saying that every man shall have education, every man shall have political rights, and so on and so forth, unless he has the wherewithal to live? In England, either the Government must provide every citizen with employment or give him doles so that nobody will die of starvation. It is very disappointing to see that we have not introduced a similar provision in this Constitution. I would urge upon this Assembly that even now it is not too late, and that that must be our first concern; the other things may stand over if necessary.
There is another important matter to be considered and provided for. Otherwise India may be engulfed in a war or internal unrest. Now war clouds are thickening. There are two ideologies fighting for power, fighting for the supremacy of the world. On one side, there is the political democracy of the West; but there is the economic dictatorship of America. We do not want economic dictatorship at all; but we do want democracy. In Russia, there is no political democracy; but there is economic democracy. The two powers are striving for the mastery of the world; on account of this a war may come at any time. Is there anything here in this Constitution to say that we stand for economic democracy along with political democracy? There is a vague reference in the Objectives Resolution that there shall be social justice and economic justice. Economic justice may mean anything or may not mean anything. I would urge, here and now, that steps should be taken to make it impossible for any future Government to give away the means of production to private agencies. We have seen what private agencies mean. So far as cloth is concerned, within a short time of the removal of controls, prices went up. Why should we not take charge of all the mills and produce the necessary cloth? Even in the matter of food, in spite of all the exertions of this Government as well as the previous Government, are we able to grow sufficient quantity of food and distribute it in the country? I would therefore say, the time has come in this country when we must make a departure. We should not follow the economic dictatorship of the West or the political dictatorship of Russia. In between, we must have both political democracy as well as economic democracy. If we have to stand out as the protectors of Asia, or chalk out a new line and avoid all wars in the future, this alone can save us. Let us not be complacent. Communism is spreading. In the north there is communism; it has come to our very shores. China has been practically swallowed up by the communists. And likewise Indo-china. Burma is also in the grip of the communists. I do not know to whom I could attribute the sabotage of telephonic communications in Calcutta. I understand that there is a movement there to destroy the water works and destroy the power house also. There is arum our afloat that in Delhi itself, there is going to be a strike in the Water-works Department as also in the Electricity department. Unless we make up our minds to have economic democracy in this country and provide for it in the Constitution, we may not be able to prevent the on-rush of communism in our land.
The next important matter for which provision should be made is the effective consolidation of our country as early as possible. I was really surprised to hear the words of my friend Mr. Hanumanthaiya yesterday. The people in the States were anxious to fall in line with the rest of India. They wanted to get rid of the Rulers; we helped them; when once they regained freedom, they want to supersede these Rulers and become the rulers in their own States. Big States and small want to be separated from the rest of India. Why should not they adopt this Constitution which is framed for the provinces also?
Shri K. Hanumanthaiya (My sore): On a point of personal explanation, Sir, I never claimed any separate status or independence for any of the States.
Shri M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar: There is a view that so far as the States are convened, if they merge in India they will lose the peculiar privilege of having Prime Ministers in their small places. That is a disadvantage they have, I agree, but it is better to fall in line with the rest of India. Why should they not adopt the position in the rest of India and why should they reserve all the subjects for themselves and give only three or four subjects?
(At this stage Mr. Vice-President rang the bell.)
In the case of a Bill there is no question of time. Strangely enough you have imposed a time restriction.
Mr. Vice-President: You must set an example to others.
Shri M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar: I will accept what you say; there will be ample opportunities and I shall clear up this matter later.
Shri Rohini Kumar Chaudhari: (Assam: General): Sir, I am deeply grateful to you for having given me this opportunity of participating in this debate of momentous importance but before I proceed, I should like to pay my share of tribute to the Members of the Drafting Committee, its worthy President and above all, our Constitutional Adviser whose services to our poor Province, Assam, in the heyday of his youth are still remembered with affection and gratitude.
Nevertheless, I must say that this Draft does not claim perfection and there are faults of omission and commission to which I must refer in the course of my speech. The fir stand foremost question which strikes me that this House should consider is whether they want to retain the State of Assam in the first schedule of this Constitution Act. The position has become somewhat difficult now, and you must once for all decide and provide in this Constitution measures which would enable Assam to be retained in India. I refer to the lamentable neglect to make any provision for finances so far as my province is concerned. It has been stated in the report that for five years the status quo must continue, which means that Assam at the end of five years will cease to exist as any province of importance. Sir, I must just go into a little detail. At the present moment there is a deficit of one crore rupees in that province and the total revenue of the province including what is obtained from the Government of India is to the tune of four crores only and already the expenditure has gone up to five crores. If you have to maintain the minimum standard of administration of an Indian province, at least an expenditure of eight crores is necessary. From where is this amount to come? We have said and urged even in the olden days that we must get a share of the petrol and kerosene excise duty, and a share of the export duty on tea; but nothing has been so far done even though the conditions are so desperate. The Drafting Committee does not make any exception in the case of the special condition of that province. Sir, we have gone to the maximum capacity of taxation. Our rate of taxation is far more excessive than any other province and we tax ourselves at the rate of 4.3 whereas the rest of the provinces tax themselves at the rate of 4.9. We had started levying tax on agricultural income long before the rest of the provinces and we had taxed ourselves for amusement and luxuries long before others and even now our conditions are so desperate as this, and I would appeal to this House that if you really want to retain Assam in India, you must make some special financial provision for her and you must pay some special attention, otherwise that province will become bankrupt. India is one body politic and if one finger of that India is rotten, the whole India will rot in the long run. If you allow Assam to be ruined now, you will see that you will have to suffer ultimately for that.
I would like to refer to another point, and that is with regard to Article 149. Curiously enough, I find an amendment has been suggested which if given effect to will lay down a very dangerous principle, the principle of converting a general population into an absolute minority. I refer to the amendment which had been suggested by the Drafting Committee and which says:
If this is given effect to, it will mean that all communities with reserved seats will have constituency of less than 1 lakh population whereas the general population must be restricted to constituencies having only 1 lakh population. This will mean additional weight age being given to reserved seats which is not claimed or asked for by any of the communities. The proportion of the population in the province is as follows:
Hill tribes ... 18 per cent.
Muslim ... 17 per cent.
Scheduled castes ... 4 per cent.
General...34 per cent.
Where have you seen in a province where the general population is 34 per cent out of a total of 74 per cent that special weight ages have to be given to communities ranging between 18 and 17 per cent of the total population? And yet if this is accepted it will mean that the general population will have to give up some of their seats and will get less than what they are entitled to on the basis of population. This is a dangerous principle, and though it refers only to one province it will create a situation in which the general population will be converted into a minority and weight age given to other people for whom seats have been reserved. Of course the proposition which I make will not affect the tribal population at all because they will have their autonomous districts. I certainly see that there are complications in the case of reserved seats if you adopt the formula of one lakh representation; but the best thing to be done in this matter would be to make an exception in the case of Assam in regard to having a constituency for a lakh of people.
I will refer to one other act of omission. In the Draft Constitution there is no mention of women. I think the peculiar composition of the Drafting Committee which consisted of people who have no domestic relations with women made them nervous about touching on that point. In this House there has been no mention of a special constituency for women. I know there are Members here who have unbounded faith in the chivalry of men and who consider that they will be quite competent to get seats even though no special constituency is reserved for them. But outside this House that is not the feeling. Women generally have lost faith in the chivalry of men. The young men of to-day do not show respect to them even in the trams and buses.
Mr. Vice-President: The Honourable Member has reached his time limit.
Shri M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar: Sir, on a point of order, I do not find in the rules any provision for a time-limit in respect of Bills of this kind.
Mr. Vice-President: That was done with the consent of the House. First it was 10 minutes, then it was extended to15 minutes, and then to 20, and again it was brought down to10 minutes.
Shri Rohini Kumar Chaudhari: Sir, from my experience as a parliamentarian and a man of the world I think it would be wise to provide for a women's constituency. When a woman asks for something, as we know, it is easy to get it and give it to her; but when she does not ask for anything in particular it becomes very difficult to find out what she wants. If you give them a special constituency they can have their scramble and fight there among themselves without coming into the general constituency. Otherwise we may at times feel weak and yield in their favour and give them seats which they are not entitled to.
Shrimati Renuka Ray (West Bengal: General): Sir, the main features of the Draft Constitution embody the principles of a democratic federation and as such should win the approbation of all. At the same time there are certain matters which I feel are not quite explicit or in which changes are required, if this constitution is to conform to those ideals which actuated India during its many years of struggle and which are embodied in the Objectives Resolution to which our Prime Minister referred yesterday. Sir, I agree with my Honourable friend Dr. Ambedkar that it is the spirit in which we are able to work it, that will make all the difference, Again, whatever constitution we may draw up to-day, it will not be possible for us to foretell how it will fit in with our requirements in its actual working and with the inherent genius of our race. It is therefore quite essential, as the Prime Minister said yesterday, that the Constitution at present should be flexible. I think amendments of the Constitution should be by simple majority for the next ten years so that there may be opportunities for adoptions and modifications in the light of experience.
Turning to the citizenship clause, I think there should be a categorical statement in it about a single uniform citizenship with equal rights and privileges. As rights involve responsibilities, so it is necessary that the obligations of citizenship should also be enumerated in this Clause.
With regard to Fundamental Rights, equal rights have been prescribed. Quite rightly, it has been laid down that the State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds of religion, race or sex. But in view of conditions in this country and in view of some of the opinions expressed by the public - and the last speaker's chivalry touched us deeply - I think it is necessary to have an explicit provision that social laws of marriage and inheritance of the different communities shall not also have any disabilities attached to them on grounds of caste or sex. It is of course true that the right of equality includes this but there may be different interpretations and much confusion and I therefore appeal to the House to have a proviso to explain this.
I will not repeat what my Honourable friend Shri Ananthasayanam Ayyangar said but I do feel that in regard to the economic rights of the common man there is a lacuna. Although I agree that the provision "that no person shall be deprived of his property save by the authority of the law" is alright, I do not at the same time see why under justiciable rights one should have the second part of this clause which goes into details about compensations when property is taken by the State for public purposes in accordance with law. Surely if there is any need for putting this into the Constitution it should be under directives and not under rights which are justiciable and enforceable in courts of law. It is not right that we should commit the future to the economic structure of the present. Turning to education, which I consider to be one of the most fundamental of rights, I feel there is a great inadequacy. I do not want to repeat what other speakers have said, but I would appeal to the House to include a proviso whereby a definite proportion of the budget is allotted for this purpose. This is nothing very new; it is already therein the Constitution of China which says:
"Educational appropriations shall set apart not less than 15 per cent of the total amount of the budget of the Central Government and not less than 30 per cent of the total amount of the provincial, district and municipal budgets respectively." If we are to progress and prosper I suggest that in the matter of the two nation-building services of education and public health there should be some provision in the Constitution of the type that is there in the Chinese Constitution.
With regard to the reservation of seats for minorities we have not of course in a secular State provided for separate electorates, but I do not see why we should have reservation of seats for minorities. It is psychologically wrong to lay down, as it has been laid down, that after ten years the right shall lapse unless extended by amendment. I am sure that if this privilege is conceded now there will be a clam our for its extension. It is not fair to these minorities; it is not self-respecting for them. If the House wants to ensure representation for minorities I would suggest multiple constituencies which cumulative voting. Some speakers have suggested proportional representation by single transferable vote. I think that is a difficult procedure particularly for India and I would not recommend it. But I think that multiple constituencies with cumulative voting has a great deal to recommend it. In the first place, it will give much better representation not only to these minorities without creating a separatist tendency. The last speaker Sri Rohini Chaudhari the erstwhile champion and defender of women who is against removing their social disabilities spoke about special electorates for women. All along the women of India have been against reservation of seats or special electorates. Before the 1935 Act came in we were against it and put forward our views in no uncertain terms, but it was forced upon us; and today, in spite of the chivalry of the previous speaker, Indian women will not tolerate any such reservations in the Constitution. I will not repeat what others have said about village panchayats. I feel that freed from the shackles of ignorance and superstition, the panchayat of the Gandhian village will certainly be the backbone of the structure of this country's Constitution. I do not think there is anything in the Constitution that can bar it.
Coming to the allocation of powers between the units and the Centre, I think we mustrovincial autonomy as possible. At the same time, where a country has a tremendous leeway to make up, particularly in the nation-building services, the unifying force must be strong and the Centre should be given some power of a supervisory and coordinating character, in regard to both Education and Health. I do not think the provinces should be crippled by taking away from them certain financial securities. They should at least be given 60 percent of the income-tax according to the recommendations of the expert committee, 35 per cent on the basis of collection, 20 per cent on the basis of population and 5 percent for hard cases. This is a very good recommendation and I hope this House will agree to embody it in the Constitution. I also feel that a Financial Commission should be set up immediately and not after five years.
Before I conclude, I wish to say something about linguistic provinces. Unity must be our watchword to-day and it is a fatal mistake to allow realignment of provincial boundaries on a linguistic basis at this juncture of our country's history. It has already led to much bitterness and strife and will lead to more. There is no justice or logic if such a thing is allowed in one part of the country and not in others. For instance if you allow a province of Maharashtra to be formed, naturally there will be other parts which will want it. There is in Bengal a feeling of great bitterness that she who has sacrificed part of her territories so that the transfer of power could take place should be denied her rights, now. It was because of the political expediency of the British and to suit the purposes of an alien Government that Bengal was forcibly deprived of much of its territory when the movement for the freedom of India started here. I do not subscribe to the theory that we should have a reallocation on a linguistic basis at this time. If it is to be done at all it should be done after ten years when passions have subsided. In any case, for administrative purposes there is no need for a linguistic realignment. Linguistic minorities in every province should have a guarantee that they will be given education in their mother tongue. I would urge that the Linguistic Boundary Commission should stop work or in any case it should be put off for ten years. I repeat that the overriding consideration is that of unity, if we want that India should be strong and prosperous and should take its rightful place in the comity of nations.
The Honourable Shri Ghanshyam Singh Gupta (C. P. and Berar: General): Sir, it has been said that the language of the Union should be simple Hindustani, that the language of the Constitution, the language on which we shall frame our laws, should be Hindustani. I was in search of this simple Hindustani. I could not find it in C. P. I could not find it in the law books. I could not find it even in the official proceedings of this August House. The official proceedings of this House are published in three languages: English Hindi and Urdu. I read English, I read Hindi and I got read Urdu with the idea that I might be able to find what they call simple Hindustani. I could not find it. Urdu was Urdu and Hindi was Hindi. There was no such thing as simple Hindustani. I thought that I might find it in the newspapers. 'The Tej', Limited, the Jubilee of which was celebrated the other day, publishes news in two languages, one in Hindi called 'the Vijay' and the other in Urdu, called 'the Tej'. I compared the languages of these two also. I could not find simple Hindustani. I would not waste the time of the Honourable House by reading from these publications. I have got a copy of' Vijay' in my hand. It is all Hindi in 'Vijay' and all Urdu in 'Tej'. I found two books, elementary text in Delhi may have simple Hindustani. I found two books, elementary text-books in Geometry (rekhaganit). I could not find simple Hindustani in them also. I also looked at the Elementary Arithmetic books and also Elementary Geography. I could not find there what they call simple Hindustani. They were all either Urdu or Hindi. I shall give you a few illustrations. Now, Sir, in elementary arithmetic multiplication we call (gunan) in Hindi. It is called (zarab) in Urdu. Multiplicand is (gunya) in Hindi, while it is (mazarab) in Urdu. Multiplier is (gunak) in Hindi and it is (mazarbafi) in Urdu. Product is (gunanfal) in Hindi, while it is (hasil-i-zarab) in Urdu. Divisor is (bhajak) in Hindi. It is (maksum-i-lah) in Urdu. Dividend is (bhajya) in Hindi. It is (maksum) in Urdu. Quotient is (bhajanphal). It is (kharf-i-kismat) in Urdu. L. C. M. (laghuttam samapvartya) in Hindi. It is (zuazaf-i-aqual) in Urdu.
I can multiply illustrations. I now take up elementary geometry. Radius is (trijya) in Hindi. It is (nisfakutur) in Urdu. Isosceles triangle is (samadvibahu tribhuj) in Hindi.It is (musallas-musvai-ul-sakin) in Urdu. Equilateral triangle is (samatribahu tribhuj) in Hindi. It is (musallas-musavi-ul-zila) in Urdu Right-angled Isosceles triangle is (samakon samadvibahu tribhuj) in Hindi. while it is (musallas musavius-saquan quamuzzavia) in Urdu.
I can quote hundreds of such illustrations. I could not find simple Hindustani even in these elementary text-books. I felt somewhat puzzled when ladies and gentleman loudly proclaim that they can have simple Hindustani for our laws. It is only in the bazaar that I could find simple Hindustani. When we cannot have simple Hindustani even in the elementary school-books, how can our laws be made in it? I have done, Sir.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi (United Provinces: General): I thank you very much, Sir, I have been waiting for the last three days to speak on this Draft Constitution. I am glad you have permitted me to speak for a few minutes.
I must start by thanking and congratulating the Drafting Committee for the high level of legal language and phraseology which they have used in the Draft from beginning to end. I do not want to criticise the Drafting Committee. They have done their work very efficiently. They have collected together bits of the principles of Constitution that we lay before them in irregular instalments, and have given us a complete picture for our review.
Sir, when we sat for the first time to draw a picture of the Constitution of India, we had a blank canvas a face and many of us did not actually know which side to start from and what colour to fill. It is all due to the ability of these talented lawyers that we have now got a complete picture to look at. When you wish to judge an artist's work, you should take the opinion of a layman. If it appeals to the layman, it must be good. That is my criterion. The lawyers have finished their work and the complete picture is before us. I, as a layman, want to put before you my ideas about it. The circumstances have changed from what they were when this work was entrusted to the Drafting Committee. It is very unfortunate that, in the history of India, the lamp which lit our hearts with pleasures of freedom was put out suddenly and we were steeped in sorrow. Then again, populations have changed and the whole face of the country has changed. The ideology also has changed to a great extent. Now to give that old picture on the canvas will be making the picture a back number. We must keep in mind today the present environments, the present conditions and the growing ideologies. So, Sir, we must examine the picture in the light which gave us freedom. In fact, we must examine it from the point of view of Gandhiji, through his eyes. His eyes are not with us, but still there are persons in this House who have the glimpse of his eyes. We can all recollect what Gandhiji thought about Swaraj. It must not be forgotten that this Constituent Assembly is the fruit of the labour of those who worked day and night for about thirty years in their attempt to win freedom. It is their achievement. It is they who should have given us the Constitution. They alone are competent to draw up the Constitution. The Constitution should have been the work of revolutionaries alone. But since this Assembly has been constituted by the British, we cannot think of the other possibilities and it could not be purely a Gandhi an Constitution altogether. I admit this. But again, we are in the majority and we should see to it that the Gandhian outlook does not vanish from the country so soon after his death.
In this Constitution, I must confess, I am very much disappointed. I see nothing Gandhian in this Constitution. It is not the fault of the Drafting Committee. It is our own fault. When we decided upon the principles of this Constitution we gave them certain basic principles to work upon. But conditions have since changed. When we decided about the representation of communities, language and other controversial matters we had to reckon with the reaction our decisions would have in Pakistan. Now the situation has totally changed. Pakistan has been freed of its minority problems altogether; there those problems have vanished. Here also the thorny and the horny ones have migrated away from India; those who fought us under one pretence or the other have forsaken their mother-country and have gone over to the other side, and have adopted a step-mother. We have with us now only those Muslims, Sikhs and others who want a united India. India is united today and therefore the Constitution must be suitable to the present set-up of things.
So, Sir, from the Gandhian point of view when I look at this picture, I find one thing very prominently lacking. Gandhiji had always been keen on total prohibition in the country, but the Constitution does not say a word about it. Our promises to the electorate on this issue have been fulfilled only in Madras and in some other provinces. Gandhiji was anxious that in India as a whole there should be complete prohibition. I would suggest that this idea of Gandhiji should be taken in before we sign this Constitution.
Then, Sir, Gandhiji was very keen on cottage industries to be organised on the basis of self sufficiency. This item had a top priority in his 'constructive programme'. Here this is also lacking. I am an orthodox Gandhite and surely I am not a socialist and so I do not want to wipe away all the big industries. In the context of things today, the various industries in the country are very helpful, but if and when they are to be abolished, they should be abolished en masse. You cannot bring in socialism by stages, by socialising one industry after another. When socialism comes, it should cover everything, all at a time. If total socialism comes all of a sudden, there will be no loss to anybody, because the loss sustained by anybody on one count will be made upon the other count, because all property becomes absolutely a socialised property. To say in the Draft Constitution that people shall not be deprived of their property without adequate compensation means that India will ever belong to the vested interests. Today there is not even a blade of grass which does not belong to somebody or the other. There is not even one particle of sand which does not belong to somebody or the other. According to this Constitution, if the future generations want to socialise all property and all means of production, then every particle of sand and every blade of grass will have to be compensated for. I want to know, wherewith will they compensate this total wealth: it would all be in the hands of individuals who will demand compensation. So, compensation will be impossible. Gandhiji had said that the wealthy should consider themselves only as custodians of wealth. He never went to the extent to which we are going in this Draft Constitution. I therefore tell you, Sir, that before we sign this Constitution, we should see that we do not sow seeds of a bloody revolution in India. Only if revolution is meant to be avoided we should let the door remain open for coming generations, if they ever so desire, to socialise all vested interests and all means of production in the country. If we shut the door as we have done against future socialisation, by our Article24(2), I submit, the youth of India will rise and knock at the door and smash it and the result would be a bloody revolution. (cheers). Therefore, Sir, I would plead that we should scrap this sub-clause altogether and make it possible in future for the Parliament to socialise all property and all means of production without being compensated for. It is also a sort of mistake, Sir, to say that we are a sovereign body. I do not think we are a sovereign body in the sense in which a Constituent Assembly should be. The sovereignty that we enjoy is the sovereignty that the British enjoyed in India: It is a transferred sovereignty. Real sovereignty will belong only to the Parliament which comes after the introduction of adult franchise. That Parliament must therefore be more morally and constitutionally competent than us to decide issues of this nature.
I then come to the question of minorities. I am sorry that Dr. Ambedkar made the statement that minorities are an explosive force which if it erupts can blow up the whole fabric of the State. I say that these minorities can do nothing of the sort. The reason is simple--they are not factual, they are a mere fiction having no existence. I throw them a challenge. They have no right to be separately represented here. Whom will they represent? The fiction of minorities was a British creation. The Scheduled Castes are not a minority at all, simply because a few castes of the poorer classes have been enumerated together in a schedule, they have become a "scheduled minority". This minority is a mere paper minority. It is being perpetuated now because some of the opportunist families among them want to reserve their seats in the legislatures. Those people who took pleasure in calling themselves a minority have migrated away from here. It is only those who believe in one State that remain. Therefore, Sir, there is no minority now and there should not be any provision for minority representation here, because this has proved ruinous to the so called minorities themselves. Take the Muslims. I had seen in Dehra Dun personally, and I know what their reactions are. They are an absolutely demoralised people today. Even the ordinary rights of citizenship they are not morally free to enjoy. They are so cowardly today that they cannot stand erect in India because of the wrong lead they had followed in the past. Therefore, Sir, I would ask the Scheduled Castes, the Sikhs, the Muslims and the other minorities and for the matter of that even Hindus not to ask for any kind of reservations for them. We are a secular State. We cannot give any recognition or weight age to any religious group of individuals. I could understand their claims as majority or minority if they, had belonged to different races. Beliefs or creeds are a purely individual affair. I also refute Dr. Ambedkar's claim that the majority in India is "basically a communal majority". The majority party is Congress, which is purely political.
Then, Sir, a word about the villages. Dr. Ambedkar said that he was happy that the "Drafting Committee has not accommodated the village". He characterised it as "a sink of localism and a den of communalism". It is these sinks of slavery that were facing all sorts of repression in the freedom struggle. When these sinks of slavery that were being charred, burnt and tortured in Chimoor, the pyramids of freedom were applying grease on the back of the Britis hers. Unless I raise my voice against the remarks which Dr. Ambedkar has made against villages, I cannot face my village people. Dr. Ambedkar does not know what amount of sacrifice the villagers have undergone in the struggle for freedom. I submit, Sir, that villagers should be given their due share in the governance of the country. If they are not given their due share, I submit that they are bound to react to this. I thank you, Sir.
B. Pocker Sahib Bahadur (Madras: Muslim): Sir, I am very thankful to you for giving me this opportunity to speak a few words on this motion. In the first place, I would just like to refer to the question of language. When I first entered this august body, I felt myself to be under a very great disability that I was not able to follow the proceedings that were going on. Then I found that a very considerable section of this House was in the same unfortunate position as myself and the idea struck me that the Constituent Assembly, which is going to determine the destinies of millions of this country for ever, is conducting the proceedings in a manner which does not bring credit either to this Assembly or to the nation. We have been going on speaking about very important and vital subjects without every one of us understanding each other. That is really a very unfortunate position. I raised my cry against it, but I must say that I did not succeed. Even now the disability continues, even though to a lesser extent and I am glad that, at any rate, there was some abatement in the matter of the extent to which that disability is suffered by us.
Now, Sir, in the Draft Constitution, provision is made that the official language shall be Hindi and English. I submit, Sir, that this also will create an anomaly. No doubt provision is made that arrangements may be made for giving the substance of all the speeches of one language in the other language, but to what extent and what is the method to be employed for that, it is yet to be provided for. I submit, Sir, that it is very necessary that for some reasonable period, it may be ten years, it may be fifteen years, --that is a matter of detail--there should be a provision that the official language should continue to be English. We have no reason to hate the English language. As a matter of fact we ought to be grateful to the culture that we have imbibed from that language. In fact for a great deal of our agitation for freedom and the freedom that we have obtained large contribution has been made by the English language and by the culture which we imbibed from that language. Therefore, I do not think that there is anything which we should hate in that language; and particularly, when we have attained our freedom, we are entitled to adopt the best from any nation from any part of the earth. I shall also say that there is no proprietorship in language. The English language cannot be claimed by the Englishman as their own with any exclusive right for themselves nor can we claim Hindi as the exclusive language for ourselves. There are several languages in the world and therefore we are entitled to use every language. So we are entitled to use the English language and we must adopt it until we are in a position to have one national language known to the generality of the public of this country. Until that position is attained, we must continue English as the official language so that every one who assembles in the Parliament may understand each other. Of course, there maybe some stray cases in which the representatives may not be acquainted with English, but a very large majority of them will be acquainted with English and therefore, I submit, Sir, that the English language must continue to be the official language at least for fifteen years, by which time the nation may be prepared to have a national language for themselves.
Now, Sir, coming to the question as to what that national language should be, that is a matter to be decided by this august body. I must say at the very outset that I am not acquainted either with Hindi language or with Urdu language or with Hindustani. Therefore, I am taking a dispassionate view of the matter. It is very difficult to say that it is possible for the people of this country to learn Hindi overnight. No doubt we must have a national language, but we must prepare the nation for it by making provision for their learning that language. Now if Hindi is to be made compulsorily the official language, the question will arise in the elections by adult franchise that knowledge of Hindi should be the primary qualification of a candidate for election. I think it will be detrimental to the interests of the country, if that happens, and the knowledge of Hindi becomes the criterion in electing their representatives.
I do not want to dwell more on the subject as the time at my disposal is very short. I would only submit this. My suggestion is that this august body should decide in favour of Hindustani for no other reason than the fact that it is the solemn testament of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation. He was one who was well acquainted with this controversy about these languages and he knew what the nation was and it is after mature consideration that great man has suggested that Hindustani with the Devnagari script and the Perisan script should be the official language and I hope that this august body will really revere the memory of that great man by deciding on Hindustani with Devanagari and Urdu script as the official language.
Now, Sir, if we do not abide by his advice, the world might say that after all the devotion and reverence we show to Mahatmaji is a lip-reverence and a lip-respect and it is not deeper than that. Let us not give occasion to the world to say that our reverence for Gandhiji is only lip-respect. Let us not allow ourselves to be accused of the grave charge that soon after the death of Mahatmaji his views and wishes were buried nine fathoms deep. At least for the sake of his memory, I appeal to you, Sir, and to all the Members of this body to vote upon Hindustani as the official language.
Now, Sir, I would just like to deal with another question, and that question is about the freedom of person. Recently we have heard so much about the power of promulgating ordinances that is being exercised by the various Governments. Particularly I am fully aware of the circumstances under which the Ordinance rule was enforced in the Madras Presidency. The legislature was in session. All on a sudden, it is prorogued one evening and the next morning there comes this bomb of an Ordinance, even taking away the powers of the High Court to issue writ of Habeas Corpus under section 491 of the Criminal Procedure Code. I refer to this fact in order to show that if the power of making an Ordinance is preserved, there is every likelihood of the power being abused and the liberty of the subject being dealt with in a very reckless way. In pursuance of these Ordinances, hundreds and thousands of innocent people were arrested adept in custody as if they were chattel, without their even being told what the charge against them was and why they were detained even as required by the very Public Safety Act. In this connection, I would only request this House to see that the powers of the High Court are not in any way taken away with reference to saving the liberty of the subject. Neither the legislature nor the Government should be allowed to pass any law or Ordinance which takes away the power of the High Court to protect the liberty of the subject. That is a very fundamental point. We were crying hoarse when the Britishers were ruling that they were keeping in custody persons without bringing them to trial. I say this is a sacred right and it must be provided in the Fundamental Rights that no man, to whatever religion, or to whatever political creed he may belong, shall be arrested or detained except after trial by a court of law. This is a sacred right of which a citizen should not be deprived. It is said emergencies may arise; even when emergencies arise, there must be power in the High Court to see that the man is brought to trial and he must be kept in detention only after proper trial. No power should be given either to make any laws or to make any Ordinance to enable the Legislature or the Government to deprive the citizens of their personal liberty without his being brought to trial before a court of law. I would therefore request this Assembly to see that provision is made in the Fundamental Rights that the liberty of every subject is protected and no man should be incarcerated without being brought to trial before a court of law.
One word more, Sir, and that is about the salary of the High Court Judges. This morning when the memorandum submitted by the Chief Justice of the Federal Court and of the Chief Justices of the various High Courts was circulated to us, I realised on going through that memorandum that they have made out a very good case for maintaining the present salaries. The salaries were fixed about 70 years ago. After that, everything has gone only in favour of retaining it and all circumstances are against reducing the salaries. The purchasing power of the Rupee has gone down; income-tax has been increased; modern life has become more costly. In order to maintain their dignity and to keep the Judges beyond temptation, it is very necessary that the present salary of the High Court Judges should be maintained, without being reduced.
Just one minute more, Sir. I shall just mention the point. I have maintained that the only way of protecting the rights of the minorities is by giving separate electorates. I do not want to develop the point further. I know the matter has been discussed in this House before and the House was against it. I know the House will be against it even now. I am giving my honest feeling that it is the only right way of protecting the rights of minorities and I would appeal to the House to consider the question dispassionately. If for any reason that is not practicable, and if the House thinks that it cannot agree to that, reservation is absolutely necessary. I do not want to go into the reasons. In any case reservation of seats has to be retained. Election by proportional representation by the single transferable vote, or the creation of multiple constituencies with cumulative voting, may be some of the other remedies. I would only say that separate electorates is the proper remedy and the right method of giving protection to the minorities. In any case, if that is not practicable, reservation must be there, or in any case, the other methods may be tried. Election by proportional representation by single transferable vote will be a rather complicated method; otherwise, I would have preferred that.
I thank you, Sir.
Shri L. Krishnaswami Bharathi: (Madras: General): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, coming almost at the fag end of the discussions, I do not think I have anything novel or new to traverse. However, I felt I should discharge my duty by giving certain views of mine.
Dr. Ambedkar deserves the congratulations of this House for the learned and brilliant exposition of the Draft Constitution. No congratulations are due to him for the provisions in the Draft for the simple reason they are not his. Honourable Members may remember that most of the clauses in the Draft Constitution were discussed, debated and decided upon in this House. Only a very few matters were left over for incorporation by the Drafting Committee. The House, however, would tender its thanks for his lab ours inputting them in order.
I am sorry, Sir, that Dr. Ambedkar should have gone out of his way to make certain references and observations which are not in consonance with the wishes or the spirit of the House, in regard to his references to the villages, and his reference to the character of the majority and 'constitutional morality'. Honourable Members have referred to the question of villages. I only wish to add this: He says: "I am glad that the Draft has discarded the village and adopted the individual as its unit." I would like to ask him where is the individual apart from the villages. When he says that the villages have been discarded and the individual has been taken into consideration, he has conveniently forgotten that the individuals constitute the village; and they number about ninety per cent of the population, who are the voters.
There is another matter which has been referred to by him; that is in regard to the character of the majority. He says, "the minorities have loyally accepted the rule of the majority which is basically a communal majority and not apolitical majority." I do not know what he has at the back of his mind. There was only one party which functioned on the political plane and on the Governmental plane, the Indian National Congress, which was entirely a non-communal organisation and a political party. And yet Dr. Ambedkar says it is 'basically a communal majority', which is not true in fact. I must say it is wrong, mischievous and misleading. I want to touch upon four points, viz., the form of Government, the minority question, the language question and adult franchise and elections. I know with the limited time at my disposal I cannot develop those points at any length. However, I would like to touch upon certain aspects of the matter.
The Draft Constitution, Dr. Ambedkar said, is federal in composition. A careful reader of the whole Constitution would find that it is more unitary than federal. If I am to express my idea in terms of percentage, I am inclined to think it is 75 per cent unitary and 25 per cent federal. Many Honourable Members spoke strongly on the need for a strong Centre. I do not think there was any need for this kind of over-emphasis, for it is an obvious thing that the Centre ought to be strong, particularly in the peculiar context of the circumstances prevailing in the country. But I am afraid they are overdoing it. I fee a strong Cent redoes not, and need not necessarily mean a weak province. An attempt seems to be made and I find there is a tendency to over-burden the Centre and there is a tendency towards over-centralisation. I am glad Dr. Ambedkar has given a kind of warning. I am inclined to think that in actual working of the Constitution this course of taking more powers over to the Centre will be a fruitful source of friction. After all let it be remembered the strength of the chain is in its weakest link and the provinces should not be considered as a rival Governmental organization. The Centre is trying to chew more than it can digest. I find in the transitory provision there is an attempt for the first five years to take over even the provincial subjects. It is for the House to decide how far we can allow that.
Sir, coming to the minority question I am very happy to find that members belonging to the minority community are now coming round to the view that it is no good to have this kind of communal electorate even though in a diluted form in the form of a joint electorate. I am happy that Beg am Aizaz Rasul has discarded this and does not want the separate electorate. Mr. Karimuddin also said the same thing but he wanted what is known as proportional representation through single transferable voting system. I am sorry to say that it is an attempt to come by the backdoor or side windows what is denied by the front door. This is not very proper and the suggestion that it may be done by proportional representation is absolutely unworkable and impractical, particularly in general elections where large masses of men and women who happen to be illiterates are concerned. Honourable Members may know that in that system the voter has to put numbers as 1, 2, 3 etc. against the names of candidates and it is very difficult and impracticable and therefore it is no good; and as Dr. Ambedkar said the minorities must trust the majority. There is one fundamental fact to be remembered. I am glad Mr. Tyagi emphasized that. Community should not be made the basis of civic rights. That is a fundamental principle that we must remember. In a secular State the right to representation is only the right to represent a territory in which all communities live and if a member is representing in the Assembly, he has the right to speak on behalf of all those living in the territory, of all communities and classes, men or women. That should be the idea with which we must function. I must take this opportunity of expressing my great appreciation of some minority communities who have been nationalistic throughout and who have not clamoured for special provisions only on the basis of birth or community. I refer to that community to which you, Sir, Mr. Vice-president, have the honour to belong. I have had opportunities of coming in close contact with Christian friends and throughout they have not demanded any kind of separate electorate or special provisions, and I am happy over that. If some members of minority community now do not want reservation,. I may not give all credit to them as they are only making a virtue of necessity--this great Christian community have never asked for special considerations. They have all along been of the view that special electorates are no good and after all we must all live together and I am glad the Parsee community also had not wanted this special representation.
Then Sir, one Honourable Member wanted reservation in services. I should think though it is not undiluted nationalism, we must for some time to come give them reservation in services also. But one thing you must have clearly in mind. There must be a time limit for all these peace or compromise moves and you must make it clear that after the lapse of a certain specified period all these special provisions must go. I particularly support Mrs. Renuka Ray's suggestion that the last portion in Article 306 where it is stated that after 10 years this may be continued may be removed. We must give our view emphatically and definitely that it is only as a necessary evil that we are tolerating reservations on communal basis.
I want to say something on the language question. Much trouble arises on account of not properly defining what is exactly meant by national language. There is no doubt whatever that India must have a national language but you must remember that India is not entirely a country with one language existing at present, and I am glad to find that the Draft Constitution has steered clear of all these controversies. They have simply said in Article 99 that in "Parliament business shall be transacted in English or Hindi". That is all. I do not think that the House need go into this question at present, as our Prime Minister said, of deciding upon a National language here and now. If at all we must have, let us have a language for the Central Government and then it must be made clear beyond a shadow of doubt that in the provinces the provincial languages and respective regional provincial languages shall be the official language for the territories comprised in the province. If that point is made clear beyond a shadow of doubt, much of the heat and much of the controversy will disappear. Let it be definitely understood that the regional language shall be both, in the legislatures and in the High Courts of the Provinces.
Sir, I have only one point more if you will give me two more minutes. That is regarding the election under adult franchise. Much doubt and apprehension is entertained in the minds of big constitutional experts like Mr T. R. Venkatarama Sastry of Madras about the efficacy of adult suffrage; but it is decided and we cannot go back on it. But the most important point that I want to emphasize is that the elected representatives must truly reflect the will of the people. Unfortunately, Honourable Members know how elections are conducted. Today we find from the papers an Honourable Member of this Constituent Assembly went to poll to cast his vote at an election. He is told: "Your vote is already cast." That is nothing surprising. That is happening on a large scale everywhere. I stood for election in 1937and in two or three elections I was personally interested. I knew actually twice the actual number of votes were not polled correctly. Some arrangement must be devised by which this sort of corruption at elections must be stopped. I have a suggestion and I shall place it before this House for consideration and leave it at that. Every voter must be given what is known as an identity card. The identity card may contain--it is a matter of detail what the identity mark should be. I would very much like a photo of the voter to be put in a card which he might carry. In the post office we are given what is known as identity cards on a payment of Re. 1. Our photo is put there and wherever we go we can carry it. If such a system or something similar to it is done, the voter must first present this identity card and on presenting it he will be given the ballot paper and then he will exercise his vote. I am prepared to discuss the details. This arrangement will be a great boon. If this suggestion is taken up and put in the appropriate place, I have no doubt that the elected representatives would reflect the true will of the people.
Shri Kishorimohan Tripathi (C. P. and Berar States): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, there has been sufficient discussion of the Draft Constitution and I have been very carefully listening to the criticisms. There have been two types of criticisms. Some of the critics have criticized themselves rather than the Drafting Committee. They took certain decisions and all those decisions were embodied by the Drafting Committee and where the Drafting Committee wanted to make its own suggestions it underlined the Draft and has tried amply to draw the attention of the House to the suggestions and changes that it wanted to make. Critics have criticised and in doing so, they have indirectly criticised their own decision. There has been another type to criticism which has gone rather astray and critics have tried to bring in things which we need not discuss while discussing the constitution of a country. I would not now go into the details of the Constitution, into the nature of the Constitution, into the economic or other provisions of the Constitution. Much has been said on those issues. But I tried to find out the place of the Chhattisgarh States in the Draft Constitution; I looked into the Schedule enumerating the various units of administration and found their names nowhere: whereas as a matter of fact the administration of these States has been integrated with that of C. P. and administrative units,--Districts, --have been carved out of these States. I do not know why these States have not been treated as a part and parcel of the province of C. P. in the Draft Constitution. I would request for this change; and when I say so I however do not want to say that as a result of this integration the people have felt something very advantageous. In the transitory stage of integration, there have been a lot of difficulties to people. They have, in fact, suffered. Their conditions have become rather worse, but I believe, - and believe honestly - that all those are only passing phases and they will go and in the long run these small States when merged and integrated with C. P. would derive their own benefit. They are not in a position to form a Union in any way; they have not got sufficient economic and other resources to develop themselves and therefore in no case should they be treated separately. Secondly, I will draw the attention of the House to the necessity of including co-ordination of agricultural development and planning in respect of food, its procurement and distribution, in the Union list as a Central subject. When I say so, I want to draw the attention of the House to the reply the Honorable Minister for Agriculture gave while replying to questions in the House when functioning as the Assembly that for want of proper provision or power it is not possible for the Centre to deal effectively with the question of agricultural development of the country. When we think of the reconstruction of the economy of India, the first and foremost thing that should strike our attention is the agricultural economy in India. If you want a planned development in India including agricultural economy, it is essential that agriculture - its development and planning - should find a place in the Union List rather than in the Provincial List. The food problem in India is very grave. It is going to be a serious problem for years to come and we have been spending most of our dollar and other exchange in getting imports of food from foreign countries and this has withheld and will be withholding our industrial development to a large extent. It is therefore very essential that a country-wide planning to develop agriculture to an extent where we can be self-sufficient in the matter of food should be treated as essential. I would therefore request the Drafting Committee to take into consideration this suggestion of mine and place the co-ordination of agricultural development as a Central subject. I am sure that the attention of the Drafting Committee has also been drawn to this subject by the Ministry of Agriculture also.
Then, I come to the question of India and her relationship to the Commonwealth. This question has yet been left undecided although references in the papers and in the speeches of Members have been made to it. I for one would like that India must declare herself an Independent Sovereign Republic. We should make no mention of our association with the Commonwealth in any part of the Constitution itself. Having declared herself a free and independent nation, India should then go to seek her association with one bloc or the other; but jumping from the present position of a Dominion to the relationship of the Commonwealth will inevitably mean that we are going tore main still a dependent country, dependent to the Commonwealth and the King of England.
Taking next the question of election in villages, much has been said about villages. There has been very sharp criticism of the view expressed by Dr. Ambedkar when he said that "the villages are dens of ignorance". There has been ruthless criticism. I know this criticism is because of a genuine feeling on the part of the House. The House desires that the villages should come forward and play their full part in the national reconstruction. Since the desire is very genuine, I would request the House to detail out the election procedure in the Constitution itself. While giving adult franchise to every citizen of India, the eligibility for election to legislatures should be restricted to such persons as neither pay income-tax nor hold land in excess of 100 acres. That, I am sure, would bring in most of the villagers to the legislatures and they will be able to play their best role.
I now come to the question of the linguistic provinces. It is said in examining this question that there distribution of provinces is essential only on the ground of language. That is a wrong theory to my mind. A province should be formed or carved out of India, bearing in mind its economic resourcefulness, so that it could give full opportunity of growth to every citizen in it. The discussion of linguistic provinces, the appointment of a Commission to consider the question only on the basis of language, has already created a sort of wild feeling in the country and even in the political parties this tendency has taken place. I heard the other day that the States of Manipur, Tripura and a district of Cachar are demanding themselves to be a separate province in the Congress body. There are other small unions who desire to continue to be separate units. This is very harmful to the nation and must be prevented.
Then coming to the question of language, I am one who wants that Hindi should be accepted as the national language of India, but when I say so I do not mean the Hindi which we find in the translation of the Draft Constitution.
Mr. Vice-President: The Honourable Member has already exceeded his time.
Shri Kishorimohan Tripathi: Well, Sir, as I have no time, I close with these few words. I support the motion moved by Dr. Ambedkar.
Shri Vishwambhar Dayal Tripathi (United Provinces: General): Sir, it is with a certain amount of hesitation that I am going to speak before you in English. It appears that a sort of misunderstanding has been created amongst a section of our Friends, particularly those from Southern India, that we speak in Hindi because we want to shut them off from our own ideas. I must assure them that it is not a fact. The real fact is - and I want to say so quite frankly - that we can express our ideas ten times better in Hindi than in English. This is the only reason why some of us always speak in Hindi. But in deference to the wishes of those friends I am going to speak in English.
To come directly to the subject matter, it has been a formality with almost all the speakers to congratulate the Members of the Drafting Committee and its Chairman on the lab our they have put in and also on the merits of the Constitution. I would not undergo that formality. There is no doubt, of course, that they have put in a good deal of lab our and have placed before us a complete picture of a Constitution on the principles that we laid down in this Constituent Assembly. I am also aware that there is a good deal of merit in the draft Constitution. They have no doubt thoroughly studied the constitutions of different countries and have tried to make a choice out of them and to adapt those constitutions to the needs of this country. This is the chief merit of this Draft Constitution. In one word, it is an 'orthodox' Constitution.
But along with its merits we have also to see as to what are the defects or demerits and omissions in this Draft Constitution. We should then try to remove those defects and omissions.
Before I point out these glaring defects and serious omissions, I would like to draw your attention to certain observations made by the Mover of the Draft Constitution. I would not go into unnecessary details, because those points have been effectively dealt with by a number of previous speakers. But I cannot refrain from making certain observations. The one thing - and to me it appears very objectionable - which I wish to reply to is Dr. Ambedkar's remark that the Indian soil is not suited to democracy. I do not know how my friend has read the history of India. I am myself a student of history and also of politics and I can say with definiteness that democracy flourished in India much before Greece or any other country in the world. The entire western world has taken democratic ideas from Greece and it is generally regarded that Greece was the country where democracy first of all flourished. But I say and I can prove it to the hilt that democracy flourished in India much earlier than in Greece. I shall not go into the facts and figures, yet I would draw his attention to two or three points with regard to this matter. He might remember, as I know he has read history and he is also a scholar of Sanskrit, that even during the time of Buddha, democracy flourished in India. It is an oft-quoted phrase which I want to repeat here and it is this: that certain traders went from northern India to the south. The King of southern India asked them as to who was the ruler of northen India. They replied: "Deva, Kechiddesha Ganaadhinah Kechid Rajaadhina" It means: some of the countries in the north are governed as republics, while there are others which are governed by kings.
Then, coming down to the period of Alexander, we find that the historians of Alexander have praised very much the city-states of northern India which were governed on democratic lines as republics. There is no doubt that later on the course of political development was arrested for sometime on account of invasions from outside. Yet we find that the same democracy continued to function in our villages under the name of village republics. This, the Mover himself has admitted in his address. It is very unfortunate that he should have made such remarks as are not borne out by the facts of history.