Constituent Assembly Of India - Volume VII
Dated: December 13, 1948
Prof. K. T. Shah : Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I had tabled an amendment on this clause suggesting its entire deletion which obviously was out of order, and has, therefore, been ruled out. My object in submitting that amendment however, was to point out that the whole article sets up a machinery, not only very complicated and likely to give rise to serious disputes as regards the actual number of votes which a State may be entitled to, but which will fail, I submit, in the original purpose for which proportional representation by single transferable vote was devised. Proportional representation by single transferable vote is intended, I submit, to reflect in the legislative body all the shades of political philosophy, all the different interests, all the different opinions that may be found in a country, provided they can muster a given figure, say, 50,000 or 100,000, or whatever may be supposed to be the figure, which is entitled to have its voice heard in the legislative or similar large bodies. Proportional representation, therefore, is not suited, I submit, where the election is of the executive head, and where, after all a single individual is to be elected. I agree that you can work it on a proportional basis by having several candidates, and the votes of the different candidates are transferred from one to another according to the order of preference. That, however, will bring you something to this effect, that your finally elected President was the chosen representative, in the first degree, of let us say one-third: that he was the chosen representative in the second degree about one-tenth, that he was the chosen representative in the third degree-supposing there are three candidates-of one twentieth. This is a minority representative not of a majority.
I have had some experience of Proportional representation in the University of Bombay, and I have known that preferences as low as nine, ten, twelve and fifteen have actually been counted. Do you wish your President to be elected by transfers so that the fifteenth choice of a group may eventually succeed and he would eventually be elected? He would not be the representative even of a majority in the first degree-he would be the representative of a majority by a number of transfers, so that in the first degree he may actually be the representative of a minority. This is undesirable in the interests of national solidarity.
A properly organised minority may secure a sufficient number of votes for the individual or the candidate to stay on, until by transfer, re-transfer and re-retransfer he finally secures an absolute majority. That majority will be a misleading and a highly ambiguous majority, in which the major portion of the country will not be reflected.
I further feel that the machinery necessary for transfer and retransfer of anybody who gets last on the roll, so to say, of the list of candidates above will be itself causing difficulties, compared to which the difficulties urged on a previous occasion by the mere force of numbers does not appear to me to be so great. The latter difficulty seems to me to be needlessly exaggerated-that 200 million, voters voting will make the election impossible. The 200 million voters will not all be voting at one place and at one time. That is physically impossible. But 200 million voters scattered, let us say, in 20,000 centres and each centre voting its proportion of voters is not at all a difficult thing which would rise to the level of an impossibility. We can, therefore, rule out completely the question of actual popular representation in the choice of the head of the State as impossible. Nor is the administrative machinery in my mind so difficult to provide. If only you look back to the history of representative institutions in this country, at the Centre, or in the Provinces, from only about thirty or forty years ago you will find that the electorate has, at each change, jumped eight or ten or twenty times; and that those who had held that the mere size of the electorate would make it impossible to work it have proved false prophets.
Take the last rise in the electorate form a few hundred thousands rising, to about 35 millions, a rise of some 100 times. And if a suggestion like the one I had the honour to put before the House was accepted, you would raise it only be seven or eight times. That would not be a insurmountable difficulty.
In any case the difficulty created by the system of Proportional Representation, and the reflection that the President actually may not be the choice in the first degree of a majority, would undermine the very basis of respect and reverence that the Head of the State should command.
I suggest, therefore, that the system of Proportional representation, apart from the other difficulties that have been put before the House by those who have moved amendments, should itself convince the House that it is a very dangerous-not to say vicious-principle, and as such ought to be disregarded. By all means have it, if you like, in the composition of your Legislature.
By all means have it, if you like, in the composition of other similar bodies. But when you select the head of the State, or of any unit within the Union, you should avoid the principle of Proportional Representation, as it is a double-edged sword that may cut both ways. It may represent all shades of opinion; at the same time it may bring to the head of affairs a man who is a representative in the first degree, only of a minority.
On these grounds I support the amendment that the principle of proportionate representation be deleted and that the article be amended accordingly.
Shri A. V. Thakkar (United States of Kathiawar : Saurashtra). Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I do not propose to speak on the question of proportional representation but on another point regarding the 'last preceding census'. As is well known, since the census of 1941 was taken there have been very great changes in the population of the country, particularly in certain Provinces. I would refer to the Provinces of East Punjab and West Bengal. I would also refer to the small changes in the United Provinces and Bombay. There large numbers of Hindus and Sikhs and other population have come in and added largely to the general population in those four Provinces. At the same time a large number of Muslims have left these four Provinces and gone to Pakistan. Therefore the census of 1941 has been made thoroughly unrepresentative of the numbers of people residing in these four Provinces. I would suggest that the last preceding census, namely the one of 1941, has very little value, looking at it from a common sense point of view. Government may therefore arrange to have either a new census taken for the whole country specially for the purpose of this Constitution or necessary arrangements may be made early for taking the new census of these 4 Provinces. It may be suggested that the census of 1951 may be advanced by one year, say, it may be taken in the year 1950 instead of in 1951. Or a special census may be taken only for these four Provinces which I have mentioned and the number of seats representing the population of those Provinces be determined there from. Unless this is done it will be very unfair to certain communities. I will name only one instance.
I will give the instance of the Scheduled Castes of the Punjab. Large numbers of these people residing in West Punjab have come over to East Punjab and their number has inconsequence very much increased. The number of seats that the Scheduled Castes will get-specially reserved for them-will be much fewer, being nearly one-half of what they are entitled to get under the existing population of these castes. The same thing applies to the Scheduled Castes of West Bengal also, though to a smaller extent. In East Punjab the difficulty is a very serious one. Therefore this minority would not get half its due representation if the figures of the preceding census were adopted.
Shri Rohini Kumar Chaudhari (Assam : General): *[Mr. Vice-President, on this last day of the fourth session, but not at the very closing period, of this Constituent Assembly I desire to speak in Hindi in this House. I have come to entertain this desire as a result of the visit I made a few days ago to the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan which was meeting under the Presidentship of Seth Govind Das. My friend Shri Prakasam made a speech in Hindi in the Sammelan, and it was such as to make him known for his courage in every part of the country. Indeed his speech was so very sweet and fine as to cause the spread of his fame as a man of courage in all parts of the world. It made me reflect that if Shri Prakasam, a resident of the Dec can, could make such a fine speech in Hindi there was no reason why I could not do so........]
Mr. Vice-President : Are you speaking on article 44 or any other matter?
Shri Rohini Kumar Chaudhari : *[And I concluded that I could not fail in my attempt to speak in Hindi simply because I am an Assamese.] Sir, I have exhausted my Hindi.
Mr. Vice-President : You will kindly make better use of your time.
Shri Rohini Kumar Chaudhari : My honourable Friend Mr. Thakkar Bapa, in the course of his speech, referred to the United Provinces and the Punjab. Very naturally he has forgotten Assam-In Assam, in 1941 the war was almost at the door and the census was taken in a very haphazard manner. Therefore it is all the more necessary for the province of Assam to have this amendment, which will allow us to take into consideration the relevant figures which may be arrived at just before the election, adopted. If we can have a census which will show the figures of different provinces as they now stand for the purpose of preparing the electoral rolls it will be of very great advantage. Take the case of Assam. Even the actual numbers of people who have come in as refugees to Assam from East Bengal have not yet been taken. We surmise that some 3 or 4 lakhs of people have thus come to Assam already. Therefore it is necessary that these figures should be taken into consideration at the time of fixing the total number of members for the provinces. At present, the population of Assam minus the district of Sylhet has been taken; but many from Eastern Bengal and from Sylhet have come to Assam and their figures must be taken into consideration in fixing the total number of seats for the province. This should be done also for fixing the number of seats in the electorates. Therefore I commend to this House the acceptance of the suggestion that the latest census figures may be taken into consideration at the time of delimiting the constituencies.
Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra : Mr. Vice-President, Sir, article 44 with which we are dealing now provides that as far as practicable there shall be uniformity in the scale of representation based on population of the different States at the time of the election of the President. It will thus be seen that this article, innocuous as it seems, constitutes the very backbone of the working of this Constitution. This article incidentally provides for the mechanism of representation in the different legislatures constituting the units of the Indian Union. The framers of this draft Constitution have come to the conclusion that they should try to bring about a workable uniformity in the representation that is going to be given to the different States. Now, in the Explanation of this article, it has been provided that 'population' in this article means, the population as ascertained at the last preceding census. To this, Sir, an amendment has been moved by my friend Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad which runs as follows: "The latest census of which the relevant figures have been published." These words are to be put in place of the words 'the last preceding census'. I understand that this amendment is going to be accepted by the honourable Chairman of the Drafting Committee which for all practical purposes means that it will be accepted by the House. Personally speaking I do not see how this amendment at all improves the position. In my opinion it makes the position worse. Sir, anybody with commonsense can understand what 'the preceding census' means, but few can appreciate what is meant by 'the latest census of which the relevant figures have been published'.
Sir, nobody knows, after a census has taken place, when the figures thereof are going to be published. It might be one year, two years or three or four years. When an election takes place, it is quite possible, I should rather say probable-that at that particular point of time the preceding census will not give you the relevant figures because it takes a lot of time to publish them. I therefore do not see how this amendment is going to improve the position. Unless the executive government-for a census is after all the function of the executive government and is conducted under orders of the executive government-takes proper steps to see that the publication of figures follows immediately the enumeration, I believe that the safeguard that is sought to be provided by way of giving uniformity of representation is going to be in a very large measure defeated. I want this aspect to be carefully considered. It is not as simple as we think.
Let us see how it will operate to the prejudice of certain provinces, apart from the question that enumeration and publication will not follow simultaneously and there is bound to elapse an interval of a pretty long time. Sir, we had the last census in 1941. I wish that my honourable Friend, Mr. Rohini Kumar Chaudhary from Assam, who started speaking in Hindi but broke down and started again in English, could make his point clear by making a straight speech in English. He had a point to make which unfortunately he could not. There is a very important point involved in this. In provinces like Assam, undivided Bengal, undivided Punjab, Sind and the North-West Frontier Province, where there was a preponderant body of Muslim population, there was at the time of the last census of 1941, a competitive race for increasing the numbers, and in these provinces that I have mentioned, except in Assam-I am not quite sure of Assam even though in Assam also a Muslim League Government was in power-it is a fact that communities developed a pathological interest in enhancing their numbers so as to get the maximum benefit in the next succeeding Constitutional Reforms. I cannot talk of other provinces because the Muslim community there was in a minority and no Muslim League Government was in power. So far as the provinces, I have mentioned, are concerned, I can say from my personal knowledge and experience-and I think Members from these provinces will testify to the same fact-that this was the state of affairs. The Census Commissioner also made an observation to that effect. Therefore, if today the census figures of 1941 are going to be any guide for fixing the number of seats in the particular provinces I have mentioned, we will get a very misleading picture of the population of these provinces indeed. Mind you, in undivided Bengal for more than ten years before partition, the Hindu community had absolutely no voice, had nothing to do with the Government or any of its departments. In any case, they were not in any important position and the dice were heavily loaded against them. Hence we clamoured then and I do maintain even now that the figures of 1941 are in no way any index to the real population of these provinces. Now, after the 15th August 1947, some of these provinces were divided. Bengal was divided; West Bengal came within the Indian Union. East Punjab came into the Indian Union. Assam was divided and a portion was retained by Assam and a portion went to Pakistan. Sind and the Frontier in toto went over to Pakistan. Thereafter followed the terrible upheavals which everybody knows, as a result of which East Punjab came to be denuded of all Muslims and the West Punjab of all Hindus. The course of events compelled us to change the scale of representation for East Punjab and West Bengal in the present Constituent Assembly. Today the position is that you do not know if there is any Muslim soul in East Punjab or whether there is any Hindu soul in West Punjab. From Sind, I think more than seventy-five per cent. of the Hindus have already come over to the Indian Union. So far as Bengal is concerned, lakhs of people have already come over to West Bengal from East Bengal.
You might differ about the figures. Some may put it at twenty lakhs, others at thirty lakhs or at something more, but the most conservative estimate would be twenty lakhs from Eastern Pakistan due to this partition business, and the number is increasing day by day because the exodus still continues. By the time the general election under the new constitution is held, there will be a further influx and the number may swell to forty lakhs. The influx of people from East Pakistan began in 1941. When the Japanese entered the war against Great Britain, people left Eastern Bengal and came in very large numbers to West Bengal, in quest of jobs, war service, contracts and all the rest of it. Then came the disastrous Bengal famine of 1943 and again very large numbers of people moved from Eastern Pakistan to Calcutta where there was a greater chance of getting a morsel of food than in Eastern Bengal. Thus in 1943 the influx intensified-which brought in a much larger number of people than the ravages of the Japanese war. I therefore ask the Chairman of the Drafting Committee to take this fact carefully into consideration that the population of West Bengal today is not to be judged by the published and ascertained figures in the census of 1941, that it is considerably in excess of them and the excess is due to the facts I have mentioned. First, the influx commenced with the Japanese aggression. Secondly it was intensified by the famine of 1943. Thirdly it has gone beyond all proportions due to the friendly activities of our friends in Eastern Pakistan. This is continuing and will continue, I am sure, notwithstanding all that we do in the Inter-Dominion Conferences. Therefore, Sir, the net result would be that if West Bengal is to be allocated seats on the principle of uniformity based on population figures of 1941 census as envisaged in this article, it will occasion grave injustice to the province which will be hopelessly under-represented in the legislatures, both Central and provincial.
If you want to avoid this, if you want a just and fair deal to be given to the provinces of West Bengal, East Punjab, Bombay and to the City of Delhi, where vast numbers of refugees from Pakistan have come and settled and have swelled their normal population, as indicated in the census figures of 1941, the first thing that the Government should do is that, before they put into effect the Constitution in so far as it relates to the composition of legislatures, they should order an ad hoc census in these provinces. I understand that the usual census would be due in 1951 and I further understand that the Government of the day is not prepared to wait till then for General Election under the new Constitution. They want to expedite the election in accordance with the Constitution which will be adopted. If this decision of the Government to enforce the Constitution and to hold the General Election there under, before the year 1951 stands, it is of utmost importance that there should be a fresh census before that, and that census should be ordered here and now for the provinces of West Bengal, East Punjab, Delhi and Bombay. These are the Provinces which are greatly affected, and I hope this aspect of the question would engage the serious attention, in the first instance, of the Chairman of the Drafting Committee, who, I am sure, will realize the injustice that would otherwise be occasioned. And I trust that he would advise the Government, of which he forms an important limb, that this should be given effect to before the Constitution is put into operation.
Sir, I have on several occasions, here and elsewhere, brought this matter to the notice of the authorities. I have pleaded with them for mercy and for justice in this respect. I want the House to bear in mind the consequences that would otherwise follow. On the one hand, the Hindu community would be hopelessly under-represented in the legislatures and on the other, there is every likelihood of the Muslim community getting heavy excess of representation, if the census figures of 1941 are acted upon. This would be a grave political injustice and I caution the Government to take note of this.
Sir, I do not know whether I can really support this amendment with all my heart. As it is, I do not believe that this amendment improves the situation in any way. Anyway the whole matter is left to the House, and if the House thinks that the amendment of Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad will improve matters, I have nothing to say. Personally, I am of opinion that it does not improve matters.
Mr. Vice-President : I have here slips from four eminent members of our House. So far as I have been able to judge, the question centres round a particular amendment and I also believe that sufficient light has been thrown upon it. If honourable Members insist on their right to speak, I am willing to ask them one by one. On the other hand, if they are good enough to accept my suggestion, then the business of the House can be expedited. I am in their hands.
Many Honourable Members: A short discussion may be allowed.
Maulana Hasrat Mohani (United Provinces : Muslim): I want only two minutes, Sir.
Mr. Vice-President : Please come to the mike.
Maulana Hasrat Mohani: Mr. Vice-President, I have come here today simply to point out a very serious defect in this article and in all other sections relating to the election system that we have adopted in India, and that is this. The general procedure adopted in India and elsewhere also is that if there be only one candidate and there is only one seat, that candidate is automatically elected. I think this is a very serious defect in our system of election. In Soviet Russia even if there is only one candidate, still the election is held, as there is always a chance that a person may manoeuvre to remove the names of other rival candidates and in this way the electorate may be in a position to oppose him by a majority vote. Then it will not be on the basis that there is one candidate or one seat. I may say that I have not proposed any amendment in this Constitution because from the very beginning, I hold that this whole thing is absurd. I do not accept its authority. I regard this Constituent Assembly as not competent and therefore, I have not moved any amendment. I simply make a suggestion that something should be added by the Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and his Committee to remove this defect and adopt the same course that has been adopted in Soviet Russia. There, even when there is only one candidate, the election is still held to find out if it is not possible that the majority may be opposed to him. Even supposing there is not a sufficient number to oppose the man, I think, we are not justified in electing him automatically and taking him a selected.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: With your permission, Sir, can I speak a few words?
Mr. Vice-President : I cannot break a convention which has been established after very great difficulty. Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena.
Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena (United Provinces : General) : Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I want to draw the attention of the House to one fact, to which my honourable Friend Mr. Tyagi referred. Herein, we have provided for proportional representation for the election of the President. I think that there is some mistake in this clause. Proportional representation is possible by means of the single transferable vote, but here every member will have more votes than one and they will be calculated according to elaborate and complicated calculations and I do not think that proportional representation is possible in such a case. I feel that Mr. Tyagi has rightly pointed out that the only way to elect the President in the first case can be by elimination. There should be voting and the man who gets the minimum votes should be discarded.
Then among the remaining candidates, there should again be voting and the candidate with the minimum number of votes should be discarded. In this way among the remaining two candidates, the man who gets more should be elected. That is the only way in which one man can be elected with the majority of votes. Proportional representation is not a direct method especially when every single voter in the Central Parliament will have a larger number of votes attached to him than members of the Provincial Legislature. What will happen is that the voters of the Central Legislature will give their first preferences to somebody, and similarly voters of the Provincial Legislatures will give preference to some other person and the preferences, when they are carried over to other members, are very difficult to calculate, because their ways are different. I, therefore, think that the Drafting Committee should reconsider this matter and substitute the system which I have suggested, and in that way, we can be sure that the man who is elected will have a real majority of votes and not votes which are less than 50 per cent. That I think should be one change in the article.
About the census, Sir, I also feel that there has been a great change in the population figures during the last ten years, especially in the big cities. I know in Cawn pore, the population in 1941 was four lakhs; now it is about ten lakhs. I do not know what will be the number of seats allotted to it and similar big cities. As has been pointed out by my honourable Friend, in the provinces of Punjab and Bengal, there has been a large exodus. I also know that the refugees who have come from outside, about a crore, have been distributed to all the provinces. I therefore agree with the revered Thakkar Bapa that there should be a census before the election. I must also suggest one thing. We are prepared to follow the principle of adult suffrage in the elections. We can allot seats for the first term on the basis of the number of electors in the various communities. Out of a population of 33 crores, you will have fifteen crores of voters and the seats may be distributed according to the proportion of the voters in the various communities. I think that is a better method. Either we do away with proportional representation altogether: that is one method of getting over the difficulty; still there will be difficulty in giving seats to the various provinces. I think this is a general difficulty and something should be done to remove it.
The amendment given notice of by Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad will only improve matters, if there is a census before the election takes place. If that is the purpose, I think that is a proper amendment to be accepted.
I think this system of election of the President by the different States is a proper system, when we have rejected the system of direct election. Personally, I would have preferred direct election in which every voter would have voted for the election of the President by a direct vote. Although the President has no powers, still he would have great prestige. In fact, our President will be the substitute for the King in England. If the King in England has got prestige far above the Prime Minister, I think our President should have that prestige. I think this is the only method by which you can have an election in which the voters in every province will take part. I think at least this section should be reviewed by the learned Doctor to see that the system of proportional representation is replaced by the other system that I have recommended.
Shri R. K. Sidhwa (C. P. & Berar: General): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, this article relates to two important points: one relating to the election of the President in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote, and the other about the census on the population figures on which the representation of the different States has to be fixed.
Now, I consider, Sir, that the single transferable vote system is one of the best systems that has been produced. It gives the voter first choice, second choice and third choice for the election of a candidate. But, there is one factor: the single transferable vote system would work satisfactorily when there are more than one seat. Here is a question of electing one President. Therefore, I feel that while the system is very good, it would create many difficulties and complications if we adopt the method of the single transferable vote of which we have got sufficient experience. I would have preferred the elimination system in the election of the President. That would also give the right of voting to every voter and the candidate who gets the largest number of votes will be elected. For example, if there are five candidates, the man who gets the lowest number of votes is eliminated from the list. Then, all the voters again vote among the four remaining candidates, and whosoever gets the lowest number is again eliminated. Again, the same voters vote between the remaining three. At the end, all the voters exercise their vote between the remaining two. That means, each voter exercises the right for every candidate. In the election of the President, I would personally prefer the elimination system which would be really beneficial and efficient in working. I feel that the single transferable vote system would work satisfactorily where there are more than one seat and where a small minority has also the right of being returned.
Coming to the census, Sir, this is a very important matter and I should think that the point advanced by my honourable Friend Thakkar Bapa should not be lost sight of. Many honourable members have spoken on this subject and we all know that, after the partition, the 1941 census figures in certain provinces will certainly not work satisfactorily. I will give you an illustration. In Sind, there were thirteen lakhs of people. Except two lakhs who are now there, who could not be evacuated for want of transport, there are eleven lakhs of Sindhis who are scattered over the various parts of the country. There are four lakhs of them in Bombay; about two and a half lakhs in the United Provinces. I may tell you that there are many of them in Ajmere and in the various other States. I may also tell you that forty five per cent of the population of Ajmere consists of Sind his. In Rajputana States, Jaipur, Jodhpur, there are nearly two lakhs of them. How could we rely on the 1941 census figures? Again, the 1941 census figures were defective. On account of the war, actually, the behest was issued by the then Government that the census should be taken on a very moderate scale. If you refer to the 1931 and the previous census, you will find that particulars are recorded in respect of all columns so that it gives you an idea of what our population consisted of. In the 1941 census, half the number of columns have been done away with. That had a reaction on the number of the population in the various provinces. I therefore consider it a very suicidal policy if the 1941 census is to be taken into consideration, particularly for the four or five provinces where the refugees have migrated. I do not know the real meaning of Mr. Naziruddin's Amendment. The amendment says, "the latest census of which the relevant figures have been published". Assuming that the election is to take place in 1950, the latest figures would be those of the 1941 census. When it is said that Mr. Naziruddin's amendment is going to be accepted, I would like clarification on the point what is conveyed by the phrase, "latest census of which the relevant figures have been published." The latest figures are already there of the 1941 census. I feel that before the election takes place, there should be a census, particularly for the provinces to which the refugees have migrated. Otherwise, I think a great injustice would have been done to them if for no fault of theirs they should be denied the right of voting by taking into consideration the 1941 census figures. I consider, Sir, this is a very important matter.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad's amendment creates complications and that requires clarification.
Shri H. V. Kamath: (C. P. & Berar: General): Mr. Vice-President, I rise to reinforce the plea that has been made by our venerable colleague. Thakkar Bapa and ably supported by our friend Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra. It is common knowledge that the census of 1941 was taken under extraordinary circumstances. A World War of tremendous magnitude was on and hundreds of thousands of people were displaced from their homes and scattered not merely all over the country but all over the world. This was one fact which contributed to the incorrect enumeration of the last census of 1941. Since then we have had catastrophes and calamities in rapid succession; for four years thereafter that War raged, and in the middle of the war we had a famine and then soon after the war, we had vivisection of the country. These calamities have led to the uprooting of vast masses of the population, the destruction of large numbers of people and certainly to movements of large numbers of people from one part of the country to another. If we want to be fair at the next election and provide proper and just representation to the people, it is very necessary that there should be a correct enumeration before the elections are held.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: You may have a special census. How can you proceed without figures? My attention was directed to the figures-not the 1941 census.
Shri H. V. Kamath : I do not insist upon a regular census being held before the elections but we must have the figures, not merely for the purpose of this article, but as we all know the Constitution provides for and I think we adhere to the principle of reservation for certain communities like the Scheduled Castes and the Muslims. Unless we know and we have the figures of these communities for whom reservation will be made in the legislature, how can we allot the number of seats for these communities? It is hoped in some quarters that perhaps at no distant date people who have migrated from Pakistan to India and vice versa may be enabled to go back, to their countries. I think it is a vain hope and I do not think the status quo ante will be restored in the near future. I remember, Sir, in this connection last year when the Provincial constitution was discussed here in this House, my friend Mr. Khandekar raised this point about the Scheduled Castes. He said that in 1941 the enumeration of Harijans was defective and that it was an underestimate and therefore he wanted that before the next elections there should be a re-enumeration in the whole of India. In my opinion this applies not only to Harijans but to all the communities which have got to be properly represented in the Legislature under the New Constitution. Replying to Mr. Khandekar, Sardar Patel, if I remember aright, though he did not make any promise, but he assured Mr. Khandekar and others of his way of thinking that this point will be duly borne in mind and considered and that before the elections we would try our best to arrive at correct figures for the population of the various communities in this country. My friend Mr. Algu Rai Shastry the other day referred to the non-representation of Sindhi Hindus in this Assembly. It is a great anomaly that though, after the partition the East Punjab non-Muslims or Hindus and the West Bengal Hindus have been re-presented--their re-presentations have been increased after the movement of these people from West Punjab to East Punjab and from East Bengal to West Bengal,-Sind has gone by default. Sind is now represented neither in this House nor in the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. They have lost the one seat which was allotted to them, because the Hindus that have migrated from Sind to India are scattered. Some are in Bombay, some are in C.P. and I do not know where the others are scattered, and therefore it is difficult for any Provincial Assembly to elect any Sindhi as from that province because under our representation system, there must be at least 10 lakhs of people for one representative in this Assembly. But whatever that may be, we ought to have the enumeration of all these masses of people who have migrated either from Sind or West Punjab or East Bengal or the Frontier to India, prior to the next elections. Unless we have a correct record of all these movements of very large numbers of peoples, almost unparalleled in our recent history, it will be unfair and unjust to the people of our country to hold elections before the correct enumeration is made, if not by the regular census, at least by an ad hoc census as my friend suggested.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I accept the amendment No. 25 of List 1 to amendment No. 1083 moved by my friend Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad. The other amendments I am sorry, I cannot accept. Now, Sir, in the course of the general debate, two questions have been raised. One is on the amendment of Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad. It has been pointed out by various speakers that it would be very wrong to base any election on the last census viz., of 1941. I am sure there is a great deal of force in what has been said by the various speakers on this point. It is true that the 1941 census was in some areas, at any rate, a cooked census; a census was cooked by the local Government that was in existence, in favour of certain communities and operated against certain other communities. But apart from that, it is equally true that on account of the partition of India there has been a great change in the population and its communal composition in certain provinces of India, for instance, in the East Punjab, Bombay, West Bengal and to some extent in U. P. also. In view of the fact that the Constitution provides for representation to various communities in accordance with their ratio of population to the general population, it is necessary that not only the total population, of every particular province should be ascertained but that the proportion of the various communities to which we have guaranteed representation in accordance with their population should also be ascertained before the foundations of the Constitution are laid down in terms of election.
I have no doubt about it that the Government will pay attention to the various arguments that have been made in favour of having a true census of the people before the elections are undertaken. If I may say so, one of the reasons which persuaded me to accept the amendment of my friend Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad is that he used the word 'latest' in preference to the word 'last' . I thought that the word 'last' had a sort of a local colour in the sense that the last census may mean the periodical census which is taken every ten years; and the last census means the census taken before any operation of election is started.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: I did not use those words. I said the last preceding census.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : Anyhow, I did not pay much attention to what he said. But that certainly is my idea, that this clause shall not prevent the Government from having a new census before proceeding to have elections for the new legislature. I think that should satisfy most Members who have an apprehension on this point.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi : May I take it that you give an assurance that such a census will be taken ?
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : I cannot possibly give an assurance. But no government will overlook the vast changes that have taken place in the composition and the total population of the different provinces. We have guaranteed representation to a great population consisting of various minorities. There has been a great deal of debate, as honourable Members know, over the question of weight age, and we know that weightage has been disallowed. If we now have the elections and allow them to take place and the seats to be assigned on the existing basis of population, when as a matter of fact, that basis has been lost by migrations, it might result in weightage to various communities, and no representation to certain communities. Obviously in order to avoid such a kind of thing and to see that no community has any weight age, undoubtedly, government will have to see that the census is a proper census.
Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra: I want to know whether the honourable Member means that no election under the new Constitution should be held unless this census was taken.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : Well, it seems to me only a natural conclusion, because the seats for the elections cannot be assigned unless the populations of the various communities are ascertained. Therefore, that seems to me the logical conclusion, and a new census will be inevitable.
The other question that was greatly agitated by Mr. Tyagi and by Begum Aizaz Rasul and certain other members related to the election of the President. Now, there are two ways of electing the President. One way is to elect him by what is called a bare majority of the House. If a man got 51 percent., he would be elected. That is one way of electing the President and that is the simple and straightforward one. Now, with regard to that, it may just happen that the majority party would be in a position to elect the President without the minority party having any voice in the election of the President without the minority party having any voice in the election of the President. Obviously no Member of the House would like the President to be elected by a bare majority or by a system of election in which the minorities had no part to play. That being so, the election of the President by a bare majority has to be eliminated, and we have to provide a system whereby the minorities will have some voice in the election of the President. The only method of giving the minorities a voice in the election of the President is, so to say, to have separate electorates and to provide that the President must not only have a majority but he must have a substantial number of votes from each minority. But that again, seems to me, to be a proposition which we cannot accept having regard to what we have laid down in the constitution, namely, that there shall be no separate electorates. The only other method, therefore, that remained was to have a system of election in which the minorities will have some hand and some play, and that is undoubtedly the system of proportional representation, which has been laid down in the Constitution.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: There is to be transferability. How can there be proportional representation when there is only one man to be elected?
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : I really cannot go into this question in detail. To do so I will have to open a class and lecture on the subject; but I cannot undertake that task at this stage. However, it is well-known and everybody knows how the system works.
Mr. Vice-President : These interruptions show that some Members are not aware of the true nature of proportional representation. You need not pay attention to these interruptions.
Maulana Hasrat Mohani: What are you going to do if there is only one candidate?
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : If there is only one candidate, he will be elected unanimously (Laughter), and no question of majority or minority arises at all.
The other question asked by Mr. Tyagi was whether there was any procedure for eliminating candidates.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi : On a point of information, Sir.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : No I cannot yield. I am answering your point. Your point was whether there was a process of elimination in the point before me is that I want that the election of the President or the General representation involves elimination. Otherwise it has no meaning. The only thing that we have done is that instead of having several proportional representations, we have provided one single proportional representation, in which every, candidate at the bottom will be eliminated, until we reach one man who gets what is called a "quota"
Shri Mahavir Tyagi : But in the Parliament the system of alternative votes is adopted.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : Alternative is only another name for proportional.
Sir I have nothing further to say on this point.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi : Sir, I want to know........
Mr. Vice-President : Mr. Tyagi, my difficulty is I cannot compel the Chairman of the Drafting Committee to answer your questions. Neither can I compel him to clarify your doubts.
I am going to put these amendments, one by one to vote.
I put amendment No. 1075 to vote.
The question is:
That in sub-clause (c) of clause (2) of article 44, for the words "such member" the words "the elected members of both Houses of Parliament" be substituted.The amendment was adopted.
Mr. Vice-President : No. 1078. The question is:
That for clause (3) of article 44, the following be substituted:
That amendment was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President : No. 1079. The question is:That in clause (3) of article 44, the words "in accordance with the system of proportional representation" be omitted.That amendment was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President : The question is:
That for the Explanation to article 44, the following Explanation be substituted:
"Explanation.-In this article, the expression 'population' means the population as ascertained at the last preceding census of which the relevant figures have been published.The amendment was adopted.
Mr. Vice-President :- The question is:
The motion was adopted.
Article 44, as amended, was added to the Constitution.
Mr. Vice-President : The honourable Member concerned may move amendment No. 1084. I would like honourable Members to be as brief as possible, in which case we would be able to get through the article before the House concludes its deliberations today. But that does not mean that I am asking anybody not to speak or to omit important points which they might like to make.
Shri T. T. Krishnamachari : Sir, the honourable Member's amendment is substantially the same as the article, and deals only with the substantive part of the clause and not with the proviso. Is there any object in the honourable Member moving his amendment?
Mr. Mohd. Tahir: There is a difference in the meaning of the amendment and the article, and I shall explain how.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : It is not an amendment at all: it is merely a transposition of the words. There is no difference at all.
Mr. Mohd. Tahir: There is some difference...
Mr. Vice-President : I do not want to stand in the way of any honourable Member but there does not seem to be much in this amendment. However, the honourable Member may move it.
Mr. Mohd. Tahir: Sir, I beg to move:
That for the substantive part of article 45, the following be substituted:-
The point was raised now that between the article as it stands and the amendment there is no difference. First I will deal with the article as it stands. It says "The President shall hold office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office". Supposing the election of the President takes place in 1950 after the general election and the constitution of the Parliament, if there is a casual vacancy in the office of the President in 1951 or 1952, in that case the President will be holding office for five years, that is he will have the office from 1951 to 1955, whereas the Parliament which was constituted in 1950 ends in 1954. My amendment means that the term of office of the President will be for five years, which means that if there is any casual vacancy or the election of the President takes place in 1950 and then there is a casual vacancy in 1951, the office of the President who will be elected in the casual vacancy will end in 1954, that is the term of five years when the Parliament ends. This is the difference which I have made out in my amendment of the article as it stands.
The question now arises as to why I have moved this amendment. The only point before me is that I want that the election of the President or the General election should not be influenced by any authority in power. The election must always be free and democratic. For instance, if a man is elected as President in the casual vacancy and he continues in office after the term of the Parliament ends at the Centre, it follows that the man who will remain in office as President will easily influence the General election as well as the election of the President. I want, Sir, that there should be no influence on the general election or on the election of the President in any case and therefore if the article as it stands means that the President who is elected in a casual vacancy will also hold office only for the remaining term of five years, that is to say his office will run according to the term of the Parliament, then of course I am not going to press my amendment. But in case it means that the term of Parliament will end and the office of the President will continue, then surely my amendment will stand and I will press it. With these words I move and I hope the position will be made clear.(Amendment No. 1085 was not moved.)
Mr. Vice-President : Amendment No. 1086 is disallowed as it is a verbal amendment.
Amendments Nos. 1087 and 1088 are identical. Dr. Ambedkar may move No. 1087.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : Sir, I move:
That in clause (a) of the proviso to article 45, for the word "resignation" the word "writing" be substituted.
Mr. Mohd. Tahir: Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I beg to move:
That in clause (a) of the proviso to article 45, for the words "Chairman of the Council of States and the Speaker of the House of the People" the words "members of the Parliament" be substituted.
I will not be very long. I only wish to submit that if the President, who has been elected by the members of the Parliament, wants to vacate his office by resigning his post, in all fairness it is desirable that he should address his resignation to the members of the Parliament and not to anyone else. The resignation letter may be handed over to the office, namely to the Speaker or to the Chairman of the Council of States, but he must address his resignation to the members of Parliament who elected him as President and to none else.
Mr. Vice-President : The next amendment is No. 1090 standing in the name of Mr. B. M. Gupte with an amendment to it by himself (No. 26 in List I. Fourth Week).
Shri B. M. Gupte (Bombay: General): I desire to move the amendment in a slightly modified form. The modification is only formal. It is with regard to the re-arrangement of the clause. I seek your permission and that of the honourable House to move it in the revised form.
Mr. Vice-President : Does the House give permission to Mr. Gupte to move his amendment in a slightly different form? Of course it is not possible at this hour to supply copies of this to all the Members. So Mr. Gupte may read the original and the altered forms of the amendment.
Honourable Members : Yes.
Shri B. M. Gupte: Sir, I beg to move:
That for amendment No. 1090 the following be substituted:-
Sir, the clause as it stands in the Draft Constitution provides that the resignation shall be addressed to two persons, namely, the Chairman of the Council of States and the Speaker of the House of the people. This is obviously inconvenient. It is therefore better that provision should be made that one person should receive the resignation and be responsible to set the machinery in motion to fill the vacancy. And that person is most properly the Vice-President. I have therefore provided that the Vice-President should receive the resignation. But at the same time it is desirable that the Speaker of the House of the people should also know it, and therefore by a subsequent clause I have provided that the Vice-President shall forthwith communicate this fact of resignation to the Speaker of the House of the people. I therefore hope the amendment will be acceptable to Dr. Ambedkar and to the House.
Mr. Vice-President : Does Mr. Kamath wish to move his amendment to this (No. 27 of List I. Fourth week)?
Shri H.V. Kamath : No. That has been covered by the amended amendment just now moved by Mr. Gupte.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: Sir, I beg to move:
That for the words "House of the People" in paragraph (a) of the proviso to article 45 and in all the other places where these words occur, the words "National Congress" be substituted.
Sir, in the future Constitution there will be two Houses at the Centre; the popular House would be called the House of the People and the Upper House will be called the Council of States. My proposal is that the popular House should be named after the National Congress which has been largely instrumental in obtaining freedom for this country.
Shri T. T. Krishnamachari : But actually the Congress still exists.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: I want to perpetuate the name of the National Congress and want it to be assimilated in the Constitution itself.
Mr. Vice-President : I think you need not take up the time of the House.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: I shall be very very brief. The struggle for independence has been going on for the last sixty years or more and it is to culminate in the session of the Congress in Jaipur under the presidency of Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayya. I submit that the struggles and the services of the National Congress be recognized officially and the popular House be named after it.
I have the American precedent where the Legislature is called the Congress I have chosen, however, here to give that name to the popular House which really represents the will of the people. I believe it is an amendment based on sentimental grounds.
Maulana Hasrat Mohani : Are you a member of the Congress?
Shri S. Nagappa : He wants to be now.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: It does not require one to be a member of the Congress to recognize or admit facts.
Mr. Vice-President : I beg of you to remember that we have only twenty minutes left.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: Sir, I submit that on sentimental grounds alone the amendment should be accepted. In fact the culmination of today's independence represents the blood, toil, tears and the sweat of the Indian National Congress.
Mr. Vice-President : Does Mr. Kamath wish to move amendment No. 1092?
Shri H. V. Kamath : Here also I have been forestalled by Mr. Gupte and so it does not arise.
(Amendments Nos. 1093 and 1094 were not moved.)
Giani Gurmukh Musafir : (East Punjab : Sikh): *[Sir, My amendment is:
That in clause (b) of the proviso to article 45 after the words "violation of the constitution" the words "or of law" be inserted.
In relation to the President clause (b) says-"The President may for violation of the Constitution be removed from office by impeachment in the manner provided in article 50 of this Constitution".
After the words 'violation of the constitution' it is very necessary to add the words 'or of law'. The President should be impeached not only for the violation of the Constitution but he should be treated in the same manner for the violation of law too.]
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: I beg to move:
That in proviso (c) of article 45, after the word 'term' the words 'or resignation as the case may be' be inserted.
By this proviso, the President shall continue in office, notwithstanding the expiration of his normal term of his office, till his successor enters upon his office. I want to make the proviso to apply when he resigns before his normal term expires. This amendment is practically a drafting amendment worthy of consideration:
Mr. Vice-President : As no Member has desired to speak on the general discussion of this article, I propose to ask Dr. Ambedkar to reply to the debate. I have received a slip requesting for an opportunity to speak just now. It has come too late.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : Sir, the only amendment that I accept is No. 1090 as amended by Mr. Gupte's amendment. The others I am sorry I cannot accept. There has been no point raised by any Member which requires any explanation.
Mr. Vice-President : I am going to put the amendments to vote.
The question is:
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President : Now, the question is-
That in clause (a) of the proviso to article 45 for the word 'resignation' the word 'writing' be substituted.
The amendment was adopted.
Mr. Vice-President : The question is-
That in clause (a) of the proviso to article 45, for the words 'Chairman of the Council of States and the Speaker of the House of the People' the words 'members of the Parliament' be substituted.
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President : Now I shall put amendment No. 1090 as modified by amendment No. 26(A) standing in the name of Shri B. M. Gupte to the vote of the House.
The question is:
(1) Article 45 be re-numbered as clause (1) of that article.
(2) In clause (a) of the proviso to the said clause as so re-numbered for the words 'Chairman of the Council of States and the Speaker of the House of the People' the word 'Vice-President' be substituted.
(3) In the said article as re-numbered add the following clause:-
The amendment was adopted.
Mr. Vice-President : The question is:
That for the words 'House of the People' in paragraph (a) of the proviso to article 45 and in all the other places where these words occur, the words "National Congress" be substituted.
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President : The question is-
That in clause (b) of the proviso to article 45, after the words 'violation of the Constitution', the words 'or of law' be inserted.
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President : The question is-
That in proviso (c) of article 45, after the word 'term' the words 'or resignation as the case may be' be inserted.
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President : The question is-
That Article 45, as amended, stand part of the Constitution.
The motion was adopted.
Article 45, as amended, was added to the Constitution.
Mr. Vice-President : It is now a quarter past one.
Shri T. T. Krishnamachari : The next article has only one small amendment.
Mr. Vice-President : We shall now take up the next article. Article 46 is now before the House for its consideration.
As amendment No. 1097 is for the deletion of the article I disallow it.
The amendment of Professor Shibban Lal Saksena to this amendment falls as the main amendment has been ruled out.
Shri Krishna Chandra Sharma (United Province : General) : Sir, I move:
That in article 46 the words 'once' , but 'only once' be deleted.
My amendment is a very simple one. It is to the effect that if a capable and efficient man is available, why should he not be allowed to serve a second term by seeking re-election and giving the benefit of his service to the nation as long as he is efficient and capable of service.
(Amendment No. 1099 was not moved).
Shri H. V. Kamath : Mr. Vice-President, I move:
Even considering as the article as it stands, I think this amendment is to a certain extent necessary, purely for the purpose of clarifying the content of the article. But now, in view of the amendment moved by Shri Krishna Chandra Sharma, it is necessary for us to make this absolutely clear. It is likely that, in case Mr. Sharma's amendment is accepted, a person may contest the election again for the presidentship some years after his first or second term. It may be said against this amendment that the party nominating a candidate will certainly not nominate a person who has been removed from office by impeachment. But, considering that public memory is so short and even party memory is short, and there have been instances in various countries of the world where men who have been accused and impeached for corruption and other nefarious practices have been able to fill some office or other at a later date when people had forgotten the past such a provision becomes necessary. Such things have happened in many countries and it is not unlikely that such a thing may happen here also-God forbid-when party memory being short one cannot completely exclude the possibility of some person who has been guilty of corruption or other misdemeanor being put up to contest the election many years later. Therefore it is only to clarify the whole content of this article that a person who has been impeached cannot stand for election at any time say, 5,10 or 20 years later that I have moved this amendment. It is necessary to lay down that even though people may forget or overlook the fact that a person had been impeached and removed from office, he should not have the right to contest the election for the President ship of the Indian Union.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi : Sir, the amendment that I am moving is a very simple one. I move-
The article deals with the admissibility of the President holding office a second time. My point is that a Vice-President who holds or who has held such office only temporarily in an acting capacity should not be debarred from standing for election to Presidentship twice. Of course, if "officiating" by the Vice-President is not considered as holding office or some such meaning is given, then my amendment will not be necessary. Either Dr. Ambedkar may accept my amendment or he may please clarify this point in his speech.
Mr. Vice-President : Even though this article is a very small and simple one, many honourable Members want to speak. I do not want to prevent them from speaking but I would request them to withdraw their slips. If they insist on making their speeches before an already tired House, I am quite certain that what they may urge will not be taken into consideration. This is my view but I may be wrong.
Honourable Members : We will draw our request to speak.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I am prepared to accept the amendment of Mr. Sharma, i.e., No. 1098, for the deletion of the words "once, but only once".
With regard to Mr. Kamath's amendment, I think the proper time when this matter could be discussed will be when the issue as to the qualifications of the person standing for Presidentship is raised.
To Mr. Tyagi I may say that in view of the deletion of the words "once, but only once", his fears about the Vice-President are groundless.
Mr. Vice-President : I shall now put the amendments one by one to the vote. Amendment No. 1098. The question is:
The amendment was adopted.
Mr. Vice-President : Then amendment No. 1100.
Shri H. V. Kamath : In view of Dr. Ambedkar's statement, I do not want to press it.
The amendment was, by leave of the Assembly, withdrawn.
Mr. Vice-President : Then Mr. Tyagi's amendment. It does not arise after Dr. Ambedkar's speech, but some pandit of technicalities might say that I did not put it to the vote. So I want to know if Mr. Tyagi withdraws it or not.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi : Sir, I withdraw it.
The amendment was, by leave of the Assembly, withdrawn.
Mr. Vice-President : The question is:
That article 46, as amended, form part of the Constitution.The motion was adopted.
Article 46, as amended, was added to the Constitution.
Mr. Vice-President : There has been a suggestion that the House should be adjourned for a few days for reasons which must be known to you all. Under the rules as they stand at present, the presiding officer does not have the power to adjourn the House for more than three days. Now I ask the House to permit me to adjourn the House for fourteen days, i.e., till 10 A.M. on Monday the 27th December.
Shri T. T. Krishnamachari : Sir, a proper motion may be moved that the House may be adjourned for fourteen days.
Mr. Vice-President : I do not care how you bring it about. If what you suggest is the procedure, I am quite willing and a resolution may be brought forward in that form.
Shri Satyanarayan Sinha (Bihar: General): You can ask the House whether it is agreeable.
Mr. Vice-President : Is the House in favour of adjourning for fourteen days?
Honourable Members : Yes.
Mr. Vice-President : The House stands adjourned till 10 A.M. on Monday the 27th December.
The Assembly then adjourned till Ten of the Clock on Monday the 27th December 1948.