Constitution Assembly Of India - Volume VIII
Dated: May 18, 1949
Mr. President: I do not think there is any inconsistency or contradiction between the two. This question may be considered by the Drafting Committee.
Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena: Sir, I frankly confess that I am not happy over the amendment of Dr. Ambedkar. I do not think it improves the constitution. As has been pointed out there have been cases in the world where younger men than 25 years of age have occupied the highest position. The case of the younger Pitt was just cited: Shankaracharya became a world teacher when he was 22 and died when he was only 32. Alexander had become a world conqueror when less than 25 years of age and died when he was 32. Our country of 300 millions may produce precocious young men fit to occupy the highest positions at an age younger than 25 and they should not be deprived of the opportunity.
Part (2) of this amendment unnecessarily restricts young voters from becoming candidates. This clause will disqualify persons for election who state their age as being less than 35. This question of age should have no connection with the qualification of a man to become a candidate for election.
The third part is even more dangerous. A Parliament of today may impose such restrictions as might enable the party in power to defeat its opponents.
The party in power by their majority may pass laws and prescribe qualifications for candidates which might help the party against their opponents. This power which is being given to the parliament to prescribe qualifications for candidates by a simple majority is dangerous. I therefore think that the whole amendment is not very happy and I would urge Dr. Ambedkar to see whether he cannot withdraw it.
Mr. Tajamul Husain: Sir, I rise to support the amendment to the amendment moved by my honourable Friend Shrimati Durgabai. The amendment which Dr. Ambedkar has moved is that the age of a person who wants to be a candidate for a seat in the Council of State must be at least 35. The amendment to amendment is that the age should be 30. In fact I am of opinion that it should be less than 30. When a person has attained his majority he should be eligible. As there is no amendment to this effect I have no alternative but to support the amendment moved by Shrimati Durgabai.
Sir, I am reminded of a Persian couplet which says:
Bazurgi ba aql ast na ba sal. Kawangri ba dil ast na ba mal The first part means that seniority is not according to age but according to wisdom. I shall not translate the second part. If a person is a genius, why prevent him from entering the Council of State though he may be under 30? Mr. Kamath mentioned the example of the younger Pitt. There was the case of shankaracharya who died at the age of 33 but before that he had attained the position of a world teacher. There were the instances of Rama, Krishna and Buddha, who attained enlightenment when very young. There are many other instances in history. Sir, I strongly support the amendment moved by Shrimati Durgabai.
As regards the amendment of Dr. Ambedkar I do not see eye to eye with it. There are three qualifications mentioned. I am of opinion that the qualification of a person to fill a seat in the Parliament is that he should be a voter on the list. The moment a man's name is on the voters' list you cannot prevent him from either standing for election or voting. The election Officer will be there and after the identification is completed nobody can prevent him from voting. If he is not 35 but 25 why prevent him from standing as a candidate? The ordinary principle of law is that if a person can vote he can also stand for election. This amendment will go against a well recognised principle as it will mean that a voter cannot stand for election. This should be withdrawn by Dr. Ambedkar. Once a man is a voter he should be eligible for election and therefore Sir, I oppose the amendment of Dr. Ambedkar with the request that he should make a suitable change in it.
Mahboob Ali Baig Sahib Bahadur (Madras: Muslim): Sir, the amendment moved by my Friend Dr. Ambedkar is not an innocent one. It is a dangerous one and is opposed to democratic principles.
In the previous article, No. 67, clause (6), the qualifications for a person to become a voter are mentioned. It is definitely stated there under what circumstances he cannot be a voter. You have clearly stated that he must be a man of 21 years of age. Such a person not otherwise disqualified under what this constitution or any Act of Parliament on the ground of non-residence, unsoundness of mind, crime or corrupt or illegal practices shall be entitled to be registered as a voter at such election. So, Sir, in this clause you have definitely laid down the principles on which this Constitution or any Act of Parliament might disqualify a person from becoming a voter. But what do we find in this amendment now? In this amendment, clause (3) is an omnibus clause which gives power to the future Parliament to disqualify a person from becoming a member of Parliament for any reason whatsoever. You have nor circumscribed the circumstances with regard to which a disqualification may be legislated for, as we have don in the case of a voter. So, a reactionary Parliament, a capitalist Parliament might legislate saying that in order that a person may be enabled to stand for election he must own 5,000 acres of land or pay one lakh of rupees as income-tax. You can imagine, Sir, how a reactionary Parliament in future might restrict the membership of Parliament to such persons as they consider fit in their own view. Sir, what we have provided for in this Parliament, that is adult suffrage, might be taken away later. What is given by one hand might be taken away by the other by prescribing impossible proprietary qualifications, for instance. Thus a citizen may be deprived of his right to stand for election in these circumstances.
Further it is a recognised principle that when you are making a Constitution you should leave the future legislature to lay down the qualifications of persons who want to stand for election. It is surprising that while unnecessary provisions have been introduced in the Constitution, the most important provision which qualifies or disqualifies a man from becoming a member of this Parliament is sought to be left to the future Parliament. That is against principle; as Dr. Ambedkar himself has said, you are now preparing a machinery for qualifying a person to be a citizen and who, under certain circumstances, becomes a voter and a member of Parliament or a Minister or President or Vice-President. While you prescribed qualifications for a voter, while you prescribed qualifications for a man to become a President or vice-President and so on and so forth, there is no reason why you should, in the case of a person who should be made eligible to stand for election, leave the matter to a future Parliament. It is dangerous and it is opposed to principle. That is the most important and dangerous provision in the first part of this amendment. As for clause (b) I am one with those who consider that when once you have been declared as a voter you must be entitled to stand for election. The very fact that you are broad-basing representation to Parliament by giving suffrage to persons of a certain age with certain qualifications must enable every voter to stand for election. I know there are Constitutions which provide different qualifications for persons to become members of Parliament. That is true. It is true more in the case of the Council of States than in the case of the House of the People. Whatever that might be, I might even consent to raising the age-limit for a member who seeks election, but I am opposed to the future Parliament being given the right to legislate with regard to the qualifications or disqualifications for a man becoming a Member of Parliament. I humbly submit that Dr. Ambedkar will take into consideration this serious objection and withdraw his amendment and bring it forward if necessary with suitable amendments.
Shri T.T.Krishnamachari: Mr. President, Sir, I have only to say a few words, about the amendment of Shrimati Durgabai to the amendment moved by Dr. Ambedkar. Objection has been taken to this amendment by my honourable friend Shri Kamath on the ground that while the qualifying age for a Vice-President who is Chairman of the Council of State happens to be 35, there is no point in reducing the age of the members of that body. I am afraid my honourable Friend has found an inconsistency in this particular amendment without really examining why the age of the Vice-President has been fixed 35. I would ask him to look into article 47 which fixes the age of the President at 35. Naturally, since the Vice-President is expected to take the place of the President when their is a vacancy, article 55 has fixed the age of Vice-President also at 35. This has no relation at all to the age of the members of the Council of States. So there is no anomaly at all, I would point out, in fixing a definite age as qualifying age for membership of the Council of State which is lower than the age fixed for its Chairman. I hope the House will appreciate that there is no anomaly and that the age of the Vice-President has been fixed at 35 for altogether different reasons. It has nothing to do with the qualifying age of the members of the Council of State. So far as the other points raised against Dr. Ambedkar's amendment are concerned, I think Dr. Ambedkar will adequately answer them, though I feel that the objections are trifling and beside the mark, for the reason that it does not necessarily mean that the qualifications of a candidate should also be the qualifications of the voter. They have in the past even in our own legislature been different and it is so in very many other countries. So there is no very great sin in having one set of qualifications for candidates and another set of qualifications less rigid for the voters. Much has been made about this rather trifling point by saying that the amendment of Dr. Ambedkar is mischievous and iniquitous. I do hope that the House would realise that these remarks really exaggerate the position and have really no bearing on the problem. I support the amendment of Dr. Ambedkar as amendment by Shrimati Durgabai's amendment.
The Honourable Dr. B.R. Ambedkar: I am prepared to accept the amendment of Shrimati Durgabai. I cannot accept any other amendment.
Mr. President: Do you wish to reply?
The Honourable Dr. B.R.Ambedkar: I do not think it is necessary for me to reply except to say that if I accept the amendment of Shrimati Durgabai, it would in certain respects be inconsistent with article 152 and 55, because in the case of the provincial Upper House we have fixed the limit at thirty five and also for the Vice-President we have the age limit at thirty-five. It seems to me that even if this distinction remains, it would not matter very much. Further it is still open to the House, if the House so wishes, to prescribe a uniform age limit.
Mr. President: I will now put the amendment to vote, and also the article if the amendment is accepted as amended. Before doing so, I desire to make an observation but not with a view to influencing the vote of the House. In this country we require very high qualifications for anyone who is appointed as a Judge to interpret the law which is passed by the legislature. We know also that those who are expected to assist Judges are required to possess very high qualifications, for helping the Judge in interpreting the law. But it seems that members are of opinion that a man who has to make the law needs no qualifications at all, and legislature, if we take the extreme case, consisting of persons with no qualifications at all may pass something which is nonsensical and the wisdom of all the lawyers and all the Judges will required to interpret that law. That is an anomaly but it seems to me that in this age we have to put up with that kind of anomaly and I for one, although I do not like it, would have to put up with it.
The question is:
The amendment was adopted.
Mr.President: The question is:
The motion was adopted.
Article 68-A, as amended, was added to the Constitution.
* Article 69
Mr. President: There are certain amendments. No. 1469 by Shri Brajeshwar Prasad.
Prof. K.T.Shah: Mr. President, Sir, I beg to move:
With this change, the amended article would read :-
May I point our, Sir, before commending this motion to the House, that there is a later amendment of mine which is complementary to this, and, if read together, might save the time of the House, and also make the point I am going to make more intelligible. So, if you will permit me to move the later one now (No. 1474), it would be better.
Mr. President: yes.
Prof. K.T.Shah: Sir, I move:
Sir, this clause seems to me to have been provided in conformity with the prevailing practice under which the legislature sits at two sessions during the year, the budget, session, and the legislative session usually held in the autumn. Now, to my mind, this practice has arisen out of the convenience of the then Government, and also because the functions of the Parliament in those days were very limited. The powers and authority, and therefore, the work coming to the share of the then Legislature was of an extremely limited nature, and therefore limited sittings were naturally deemed to be sufficient to cope with the work then coming before Parliament. With the increase in the work of Parliament, and with the greater responsibility following upon that work, with the increase also in the number of members, from about 150 to 500 at least under this Constitution when it comes into operation, it seems to me that the sittings cannot be and should not be interrupted in the manner in which they used to be interrupted by something like six months; and the business of the House should not be allowed to be broken up in the manner that was customary in the past.
It is the practice in England, also, to regard the Parliament's sessions as a continuous one for the whole Parliamentary year, not withstanding holidays for Christmas, Easter and other occasions. The British Parliament works for work by our Legislature. Our Parliament does, if I may say so without any disrespect, a very limited amount of work, at least as measured by the hours we put in . We work five days a week of 4 3/4 hours each or less than 24 hours per week, half a normal worker's week. Naturally, therefore, the work of the Parliament, whether in regard to the supervision of administration or in regard to acting as the financial watch-dog, or any matters of policy, let alone cannot be done within the limited time, and the very short hours during hours during which the Indian Legislation, has to be very hurriedly any sketchily done. It cannot be done within the limited time, and the very short hours during which the Indian legislature had been accustomed to sit all this time.
As illustration of my argument, may I mention, that is within the experience of most of us, for instance, that during question time, a majority of the questions put down for the day remain unanswered on the floor of the House. This is the one method for criticising, scrutinising supervising, controlling and checking the acts of the administration. But under the limited time available to do other business, this duty cannot really be discharged in the manner that it should be discharged. There are numerous restrictions or conditions to guard against the right of interpellation being abused, about notice, the form of the question, and the manner in which supplementaries can be put. The entire province of keeping the general administration of the country under check cannot, by this means of questions, be satisfactorily carried out, simply because the time at our disposal is so limited to get through all the work that comes before the House.
There are other aspects of Parliamentary duties, which suffer similarly and for the same reason. Consider, for instance the Budget. We have now a Budget of some 350 crores ; votes for crores upon crores are passed with hardly more than two or three hours discussion, of which the Minister proposing the demand for grant takes away more than half the time, in either proposing the demand for grant takes away more than half the time, in either proposing of replying. For a total Defence Budget of Rs. 160 crores in round terms we could give only 3 3/4 hours, so that the actual suggestions made by the House have to be limited to a very, very small fraction of the time available. Our discussion can hardly get time for constructive, helpful suggestion. I consider this incompatible with the full discharge of parliamentary duties, and with the full working of the democratic machine, if the popular sentiment is to be properly and fully expressed in Parliament on matters of such momentous importance.
When the present practice was laid down, it was quite possible, because more than half the budget of the country was outside our competence to discuss. A good portion of the administrative activities was also barred from discussion or review by the Assembly. The limited time, therefore, may have sufficed at that time. But with the new Constitution, with the increased membership, I think the restriction of the House by the Constitution to something like 100 days session in the year at most, is , to say the least, not allowing sufficient scope for the discharge of parliamentary responsibility.
I am aware that the word "at least" is there. I realise, therefore, that there is nothing to bar parliamentary being called into session for a longer period, and its remaining in session for a longer period. But the very fact that such a term has to be introduced in the Constitution, that such a provision has to be made in so many words, that the maximum permissible interval is six months, and that it is not left to Parliament to regulate its own procedure, its own sittings, its own timings, seem to me indicative that the mind of the draftsman is still obsessed with the practice we have been hitherto following. I consider it objectionable; and if we are to get away from that practice, it is important that an amendment of the kind that I am suggesting should be accepted.
It is all the more important because large issues of policy, large matters, not only of voting funds, but determining the country's future growth, that is, to shape the future of this country for years to come, have to be very scantily treated; and the Parliament's response to it, the discussion in Parliament about it, becomes, to say the least, perfunctory. Time is an important element in allowing a proper consideration. I am, therefore, suggesting that between any two sessions of Parliament in a year not more than three months should elapse; and that the year's session should be regarded as a continuous single annual session, during which the work of Parliament should be performed, should be carried out with the utmost possible sense of responsibility that the representatives of the people feel they owe to the electors.
The details of the sittings, the details of procedure, etc., should naturally be left to the House, as they are provided for in this Constitution. I have nothing more to say about that. I do think that judging from the experience we have had so far, and judging from the fact that provision has had to be expressly inserted regarding the number of sittings that the Parliament should make in a year, or the frequency with which Parliament should be called into session during the year, it is imperative that we must amend the provisions by some such manner as I am suggesting. I do hope that the reason I have adduced would commend itself to the House and that my amendments will be accepted.
(Amendment No. 7 in the names of Shri Lakshminarayan Sahu and Sardar Hukum Singh was not moved.)
Shri H.V.Kamath: Sir, I move:
I am afraid that when this article 69 was framed by the Drafting Committee, they were not able to shake off the incubus of the Government of India Act. Dr. Ambedkar when he moved the resolution for the consideration of the Draft Constitution admitted that much of this Constitution has been influenced by the Government of India Act, and wisely, too, but here I thing that this provision about summoning the Parliament at least twice during the year was more or less copied bodily, copied verbatim from the Government of India Act without any consideration as to what additional duties and responsibilities have devolved or are going to develop upon the Parliament of Free India. It is well-known that the American Congress and the British Parliament meet for nearly 8 to 9 months every year. The business of the State in modern times has becomes so intricate and elaborate of course, I am talking of Parliament in a democracy in this country and not under dictatorship and I hope we are going to have democracy in this country and not dictatorship- that no parliament in a democracy can fulfill its obligations to the people and fulfill its duties and responsibilities unless the Parliament sat every year for over six months to say the least. During the last Budget session of the session of the Assembly there was a flagrant instance of a Minister of Government confessing to the Assembly that certain expenditure was incurred in a supplementary manner in anticipation of the approval of sanction of the Assembly. Dr. Matthai, the Finance Minister for the Government, when he presented his supplementary demands got them passed through I would have said rushed through, but after all we are all members trusting one another, having full confidence in one another-in half a day or perhaps less than two hours. He was constrained to admit to the House "I have no explanation to offer why sufficient time was not given to the Assembly to discuss or why so much expenditure was incurred without the sanction of the House." My honourable Friend Prof. K.T. Shah said that the figure ran into crores of rupees and such a huge amount of expenditure was incurred without the approval or sanction of the Parliament. Dr. Matthai contented himself with saying that it was incurred in anticipation of the approval or the sanction of the House, and the House just tittered, laughed and passed the supplementary demands. This irregularity, Sir, would have been obviated if Parliament had sat and assembled during the year from time to time, not merely during those prescribed period, prescribed during the British regime Summer session and Autumn session had Parliament met more often, and various items of expenditure had been presented to the Assembly on various, occasions, then this sort of confession by a Minister of a Government, which is to say the least, not very happy, would not have been made and there would have been no cause for Minister of Government to make such a confession. The honourable the Speaker of the Assembly Mr. Mavalankar in an informal talk with some of us during the last session said:
I hope Dr. Ambedkar, on behalf of the Government, visualises such a position and is convinced of the necessity for Parliament meeting more often and for longer periods than it does at present. I would not have pressed this amendment but the fact that in human affairs the minimum prescribed tends to become the maximum. In economic matters we have the classic instance of the minimum wage; the minimum wage tends in most industries to become the maximum wage. Here, in a similar manner, I am afraid the minimum prescribed will tend to become maximum. We have had the experience during the British regime. The Government of India Act laid down that Parliament shall assemble at least twice every year; there has hardly been any year in which Parliament met more than twice a year. Therefore, I move that the Constitution should lay down that Parliament should meet at least thrice a year: the budget session which is a long session, a session in the middle of the year, say July or August for two months, and again in the autumn or winter, October or November. then only, we shall be able to discharge our responsibility to the people and to the country. I move, Sir.
Mr. President: Amendment No. 1472 is more or less of a drafting nature.
(Amendment No. 1473 was not moved.)
Amendment No. 1475 is also of a drafting nature. Amendment No. 1476 is also of a drafting nature. Prof. Shah, amendment No. 1477 also appears to me to be of a drafting nature. If you agree, we may leave it there.
Prof. K.T.Shah: I think there is a question of substance in it.
Sir, I beg to move:
The amended clause would read:
That is to say, the authority of the President is not required for summoning either House as I conceive it here. Normally, the Upper House is, according to the theory of this Constitution, a continuous body, not liable to dissolution. Therefore, it is always there: If this provision ever should apply, it would apply only to the House of the People, so far as summoning is concerned.
I am not quite clear myself whether, at the beginning of any year, the Upper House also would have to be summoned; or whether, in continuous existence, it may be taken to be sitting; or its own procedure may regulate its being called into session.
In order to get round that difficulty, I have simply suggested the omission of these words, particularising either House of Parliament, and confining the wording only to the summoning of Parliament. There is a difference, I submit, in using the term Parliament, and particularising either House of Parliament, as it suggests the authority of the President even for the other body which is continuously in session. If it is considered that not withstanding the Upper House being continuously in session, at each occasion it has to be summoned, at least each year it has to be summoned, apart from a joint session, of course, I think that is a way of looking at this provision which seems to me be somewhat anomalous. I am therefore suggesting that that purpose, whatever that purpose may be, would be served by keeping the term Parliament instead of particularising `either House of Parliament.' I therefore commend this amendment to the House.
Mr. President: No. 1478.
Prof. K.T.Shah: Sir, I beg to move:
"That at the end of sub-clause (a) of clause (2) of article 69 the following be added:-
This, Sir, is a serious matter, implying that in case of the President does not summon the House of Parliament for a period longer than permitted under the constitution, we must have some machinery to counteract such an eventuality. Power is, therefore, given, under this amendment, to the Speaker or the Chairman of the Upper House to convene each his own respective House, without waiting for the authority of the President to do, and without the President doing so himself.
It may be suggested that this is an attitude of suspicion; or lack of confidence in the President: and therefore it is a point which ought not to be provided for in this Constitution. Written Constitutions, particularly of the kind that we are drafting for India ought to provide against such contingencies as have either occurred in our own history, or have occurred elsewhere. We must learn from our own as well as from other people's experience. It is necessary for us to guard against their recurrence if you consider such developments undesirable. presidents there have been in the history of other countries, if not our own, who have taken the law into their own hands; and have by the very power of the Constitution so to say subverted utterly, and undone the intent and purpose of the Constitution. In case such a contingency should occur there must be provision in the Constitution itself to remedy it; and we should not wait for an amendment of the Constitution when such difficulty actually occur to help us to guard against the consequences of such difficulties.
I am therefore suggesting that if at any time, for any reason, the President does not convene, it may never happen, but it is a possibility which is worth while guarding against either House of Parliament, does not convene the House of the People for more than 90 days after its last adjournment, power must be available to the presiding authority of either House to take action, to call the House into session and continue the work of that House. The feeling of suspicion, if it is so alleged, is an outcome of the knowledge of past history of other countries. There is besides no guarantee that such a thing will not happen at all in this country. If you really are of opinion that there is no reason for us either to anticipate or fear that such a thing should ever occur on this soil, why have any written constitution at all? A few minutes ago, an amendment was moved by the Chairman of the Drafting Committee himself to a previous article which transfer power originally vested in the President, from the President to Parliament itself for extending the life of Parliament in the case of emergency.
Now, if yourself are aware that such a power may be liable to be abused, and if you want to guard against such an abuse by providing that action may be taken by Parliament only, I see nothing wrong in my suggesting that, in the event of contingencies of the kind I am apprehending occurring, there must be machinery available in the Constitution itself to meet the situation. We should not wait for a later change or amendment of the Constitution whereby automatically and with the minimum of friction, we may be able to achieve our objective.
As I said before the history of the world is full of incident of that character by which Constitutions have been subverted. It is, therefore, only a mark of prudence that we should at this time take heed of such a contingency or possibility and make provision accordingly. I accordingly commend this amendment also to the House.
Mr. President: The next is also yours. 1479.
Prof. K.T.Shah: Sir, I move:
This I think is consequential on my previous suggestions and therefore if the previous one is accepted, I hope this also will be accepted.
(Amendment Nos. 1480 and 1481 were not moved.)
Prof. K.T.Shah: Sir, I beg to move:
I also move:
Sir, this amendment follows the same logic that I tried to put before the House a little while ago. In the first of these amendments I am trying to say, that, in the event of Parliament having to be dissolved earlier than its normal period, i.e. before five years, there must be some special reasons why such a dissolution is deemed necessary. My amendment does not seek to place any bar upon such dissolution being made. I only suggest that it shall be on the advice of the Prime Minister, as it will of course be in the normal course; and not on the authority of the President. I only require that the Prime Minister shall record his reasons in writing. For those reasons may constitute, in my opinion, valuable Constitutional, precedents for future, and may be of immense value in subsequent generations.
On the basis, therefore, the first amendment is, I hope, utterly innocuous, and would be acceptable to the House. It is doing no more than giving constitutional authority and mandate for reasons to be recorded by the Prime Minister every earlier than its normal term.
In regard to the second amendment the matter is a little more serious. It contemplates the possibility of the President being unable or unwilling to call Parliament together. That is a contingency that cannot be utterly ignored at all. It may not happen frequently-let us hope it will not happen at all. In that contingency I suggest that the Prime Minister should be entitled to request the presiding authority of either House to convene each its own House, and to continue with such business of Parliament as may be impending or may be necessary. In the second provision I further contemplate the possibility of the Prime Minister refusing or unwilling to make such a request, and the President being also unable or unwilling to convene Parliament together. In that case, on the assumption that the two principal authorities, the two Chief Executive authorities of the country, are either unable or unwilling to make such a request, or to carry out their own constitutional duty, power should be reserved to the presiding authority of the House-of either House-to convene its own body into session, and continue the business of the country as in normal course.
Mr. President: Will you please say how No. 1483 differs from No. 1478?
Prof. K. T. Shah: In the case of No. 1478 it is only the President that is thought of, and the Prime Minister is not interposed with a request to summon either, House. The proviso makes it clear further that if the President and the Prime Minister be both unwilling to do so, then the presiding authority of either House should call the meeting. In No. 1483 power is given to the presiding authority of either House to do so, irrespective of those two conditions which are inserted later on in No. 1483. That I think is the difference between the two amendments.
Mr. President: I thought one was covered by the other.
Prof. K.T. Shah: To some extent. The later one is more specific. The Prime Minister is the moving in the first case. But if he is not willing to move, then the power operates. But the power can operate also independently of any question of the ability or willingness of the executive.
Mr. President: Supposing No. 1478 is carried, do you think No. 1483 is necessary?
Prof. K.T. Shah: No. That is the difficulty of moving these together before vote is taken on any. If No. 1478 is carried, then I myself would say it is unnecessary to move these. But I am putting the various things in my name, as I have thought of several contingencies, and if one is not carried another might be acceptable. With my experience of these amendments, I thought perhaps it might be as well to guard against such possibilities. That is why I am commending these motions to the House. I hope they will be accepted.
Mr. President: The article and the amendments are open for discussion.
Shri R.K. Sidhva: Mr. President, Sir, article 69 relates to the summoning of the sessions of the Houses of Parliament. It says that the Houses of Parliament shall meet compulsory twice a year, and leaves it to the choice of the President, if he feels it necessary, to summon it from time to time. That proviso exists in the 1935 Act also. I think in the 1935 Act, instead of "twice" it is only "once". From experience I have seen that generally Minister are reluctant to face the legislature and therefore, they avoid calling the sessions of the legislature, except in some cases when the session is to be held under the law. Under the new set-up, when we are framing our Constitution on the British Parliamentary system. I fail to understand why for the purpose of procedure of our business, we shall also not follow the same procedure. I have seen from my experience of the last two years that important official business even has been held over for want of time. Several Ministers have got according to them, other important work to perform and they have no time for legislative business. As an illustration, I may mention that during the last session of the Parliament, eleven important official Bills had to be held over, not to speak of many important nonofficial Bills and Resolutions. Now, these important Bills could have been disposed of if we had continued sitting, until the beginning of this session of the Constitution making body and thus we would have saved from waste of one full month in between. But the Ministers were busy with their ordinary routine work. I therefore, say that some new procedure has to be found out, as is done in Parliament in England where they do not require their Ministers to come up every time to pilot the business, but entrust the work to their deputies. It cannot be advanced as an excuse by the Minister that they had not the necessary time, and therefore they could not complete the work. There should be a rule, as in England that Parliament should sit continuously throughout the year. Under the rules we have a question-hour and it is a very crucial hour for the honourable Ministers, because that is the hour when the Members are supposed to get information from the Government, and I know in some cases the Ministers wanted to do away with this question-hour on certain days in order to cope with the accumulation of other work. It did actually happen so, although it is compulsory under rules. In the British Parliament also this question-hour is considered very important. There they have night sittings also. Some of our Members here, I know are averse to sitting longer hours. But I humbly submit that the Members themselves, should feel that under the new conditions they will have to give more time to this work. If we cannot devote more time, we certainly will not be discharging our duty towards our constituencies, and we will have no place in the new set-up. In the new set-up, when there will be six hundred members in our Parliament, I want to know how the work will be disposed of if there is going to be only two sittings in a year : I feel more sittings will have to be called, by law. Sir, the argument is advanced that when legislative business has got to be brought before Parliament, the Parliament will be summoned. But I have given you an illustration of important official business being held over, for want of time. It has been held over to the autumn session. I am sure it will not be finished in that session also, and will have to go to the next year's Budget Session. And in the Budget Session, we know crores and crores of rupees and Supplementary Demands up to about Rs. 80 crores were disposed of in three hours, despite protests from members. No more time was given, and the excuse was that we have we have no other time available. This method we have to change, if we really want to represent the people, and if we really want to scrutinise important items of the budget affecting our finances. And therefore, I contend that the four days that had been allowed to the Budget discussion, which of course by our agitation was increased to five days, is quite insufficient to dispose of a budget of about three hundred crores and also the Railway Budget. In all we took only three weeks as against three to four months in the British Parliament. Of course, under the rules, before 31st March, we have to pass the expenditure. But why not adopt the procedure of the British Parliament where payment to the services is made by a particular date? After that the discussion on various items of the budget can continue. If in the new People's Parliament of ours, we are not allowed full time for discussion of the budget, then. I submit in all humility, that it will be a mockery of democracy. We are told that we follow no other system of government except the British Parliament. But why do not you follow it in all respects, and not merely mistake it up when it suits you and leave it out when it does not? I am very strongly of the opinion that a House of six hundred members, the real representatives of the people, will have no opportunity to serve the people if you have only two sessions. At present budget session lasts from February to about tenth of April, it is only 53 days, deducting Saturdays and Sundays. The Autumn session is only three weeks, which minus Saturdays and Sundays comes to only about 16 or 17 days. My point, therefore, is that the session should last continuously for the year, except for a month or two months' intervening for recess, as it exists in Parliament. I hope Dr. Ambedkar will examine my arguments and, if he finds they are just, and reasonable see that the necessary provisions are made in the Act. It will smoothen the procedure and disposal will be much quicker. We are complaining of delays in correspondence etc. in the offices. But are we ourselves quick enough in the disposal of legislative business? It is disgraceful for us that during the last few months for want of time important official business had to be held over to the next session. If the Ministers feel that legislative business requires more sittings, then the Members have no business to say "no." But members also have become lukewarm and when they find Ministers unwilling to continue they also agree to the adjournment of the House. I therefore think that for the better disposal of business in future a suitable amendment should be made.
Mr. President: I desire to point out to honourable Members that at the rate at which we are going we may have to follow Mr. Sidhwa's advice and sit throughout the year; and I hope Members will consent not only to longer sessions but to longer sittings every day if necessary. Personally I have no objection to that, because I want the Constitution to be finished as soon as possible. I hope honourable Members will bear Mr. Sidhwa's remarks in mind whenever the question comes up of increasing the number of sittings or the number of hours.
Mr. Tajamul Husain: Sir, I will first deal with the amendment of Mr. Kamath which wants there should be three sessions of Parliament instead of two as in mentioned in the Draft Constitution. I support this amendment, because it is common experience that in the budget session which is generally for two months we are not able to do anything except pass the budget and a few Bills. Therefore I support the proposal for three sessions viz., the budget session the summer session and the autumn session. There is a similar amendment by Prof. Shah (No. 1470) which wants that Parliament should be called at the beginning of the year and should continue throughout the year with intervals in between. This also appears to be reasonable, and it does not matter to me which one of these two is accepted.
Another amendment has been moved by Prof. Shah with which I agree, that if the President of the Republic is unable to summon the legislature either the Chairman of the Council of States or the Speaker of the lower House should have power to summon it. If they also do not do that the Prime Minister should in writing make a request to these two gentlemen to summon it. But supposing they refuse what will happen? In such case I think the Prime Minister himself should have power to call the Houses of Parliament. This is only to provide for an emergency and the Prime Minister is surely more important than anybody else. If he thinks there is an emergency to justify calling the Parliament, he should have power to do so. Sir, I support this amendment also.
Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena : Sir, this article has been criticised from two points of view, -viz., that the sittings of Parliament should be continuous and the President should not have the power to stultify the legislature by refusing to summon it. On the first point, I agree with Mr. Kamath and Mr. Sidhwa. The meetings of our present Parliament are too few and even Ministers complain that they have no time to be able to give an account of their actions throughout the year during the budget discussions. In fact they have resented only one or two hours being given to them for this purpose. I am sure my honourable Friend Dr. Ambedkar himself must have felt that the House has not been sitting long enough. We should follow the House of Commons in this respect and I hope the example left by the foreign ruler, and our Parliament will be a Parliament in the real sense of the term. It will have the opportunity to scrutinise every pie of expenditure and taxation. We should have very much longer sittings of the Parliament to enable it to discharge its duties properly. As regards the amendment of Prof. Shah about the summoning of Parliament by the Speaker etc., I think under our constitution which is modelled on the British systems, the President is only a substitute for the Kings and as such he has not much power. Therefore I do not think Prof. Shah's fears are justified and therefore these provisions are unnecessary. It would have been proper under the American type of constitution because there the President has very great powers and can defeat the purpose of the legislature, but in our constitution where he is merely a symbolic head he can do no harm. After all there are provisions to remove him by impeachment, though I hope such occasion will not arise. I therefore think Prof. Shah's amendment is not proper. But at regards the sittings of Parliament I agree we should have continuous sessions of the Parliament.
The Honourable Dr. B.R. Ambedkar: Sir, I regret that I cannot accept any of the amendments which have been moved to this article. I do not think that any of the amendments except the one which I have chosen now for my reply calls for any comment. The amendments moved by Prof. Shah raise certain points. His first amendment (No. 1470) and his second amendment (No. 1479) refer more or less to the same subject and consequently I propose to take them together to dispose of the arguments that he has urged In those two amendments Prof. Shah insists that the interval between any two sessions of the Parliament shall not exceed three months. That is the sum and substance of the two amendments.
I might also take along with these two amendments of Prof. Shah the amendment of Mr. Kamath (No. 1471) because it also raises the same question. It seems to me that neither Prof. Shah nor Mr. Kamath has understood the reasons why these clauses were originally introduced in the Government of India Act, 1935. I think Prof. Shah and Mr. Kamath will realise that the political atmosphere at the time of the passing of the Act of 1935 was totally different from the atmosphere which prevails now. The atmosphere which was then prevalent in 1935 was for the executive to shun the legislature. In fact before that time the legislature was summoned primarily for the purpose of collecting revenue. It only met for the purpose of the budget and after the executive had succeeded in obtaining the sanction of the legislature for its financial proposals both relating to taxation as well as to appropriation of revenue, the executive was not very keen to meet the legislature in order to permit the legislature either to question the day-to-day administration by exercising its right of interpellation or of moving legislation to remove social grievances. In fact, I myself have been very keenly observing the conduct of some of the provincial legislatures in India which function under the Act of 1935, and I know of one particular province (I do not wish to mention the name) when the legislature never met for more than 18 days in the whole year and the was for the purpose of the legislature's sanction to the proposals for collecting revenue.
Mr. Tajamul Husain: Who was responsible for that?
The Honourable Dr. B.R. Ambedkar: As I was going to explain the same, mentality which prevailed in the past of the executed not wishing to meet the legislature and submitting itself and its administration to the scrutiny of the legislature was responsible for this kind of conduct.
Pandit Hirday Nath Kunzru : Which province was it?
The Honourable Dr. B.R. Ambedkar: You better let that lie. I can tell my honourable Friend privately which province it was. It was felt that if such a thing happened as did happen before 1935, it would be a travesty of popular government. To summon the legislature merely for the purpose of getting the revenue and then to dismiss it summarily and thus deprive it of all the legitimate opportunities which the law had given it to improve the administration either by question or by legislation was, as I said, a travesty of democracy. In order to prevent that sort of thing happening this clause was introduced in the Government of India Act, 1935. We thought and personally I also think that the atmosphere has completely changed and I do not think any executive would hereafter be capable of showing this kind of callous conduct towards the legislature. Hence we thought it might be desirable as a measure of extra caution to continue the same clause in our present Constitution. My Friends Mr. Kamath and Prof. Shah feel that is not sufficient. They want more frequent sessions. The clause as it stands does not prevent the legislature from being summoned more often than what has been provided for in the clause itself. In fact, my fear is, if I may say so, that the sessions of Parliament would be so frequent and so lengthy that the members of the legislature would probably themselves get tired of the sessions. The reason for this is that the Government is responsible to the people. It is not responsible merely for the purpose of carrying on a good administration : it is also responsible to the people for giving effect to such legislative measures as might be necessary for implementing their party programme.
Similarly there will be many private members who might also wish to pilot private legislation in order to give effect to either their fads or their petty fancies. Again, there may be a further reason which may compel the executive to summon the legislature more often. I think the question of getting through in time the taxation measures, demands for grants and supplementary grants is another very powerful factor which is going to play a great part in deciding this issue as to how many times the legislature is to be summoned.
Therefore my submission to the House is that what we have provided is sufficient by way of a minimum. So far as the maximum is concerned the matter is left open and for the reasons which I have mentioned there is no fear of any sort of the executive remaining content with performing the minimum obligation imposed upon them by this particular clause.
I come to the amendment of Prof. Shah (No. 1477). By this particular amendment Prof. Shah wants to omit the words "either House" from clause 67(2) (a). I could not understand his argument. He seemed to convey the impression-he will correct me if I am wrong-that because the upper chamber is not subject to dissolution it is not necessary for the President to summon it for the transaction of business. It seems to me that there is a complete difference between the two situations. A House may not be required to be dissolved at any stated period such as the Lower House is required to be dissolved at the end of five years : but the summoning of that House for transacting business is a matter that still remains. The House is not going to sit here in Delhi every day for 24 hours and all the twelve months of the year. It will be called and the members will appear when they are summoned. Therefore it seems to me that the power of summoning even the Upper House must be provided for as it is provided for in the case of the lower Chamber.
Then I take the two other amendments of Prof. Shah (Nos. 1473 and 1478). The amendments as they are worded are rather complicated. The gist of the amendments is this. Prof. Shah seems to think that the President may fail to summon the Parliament either in ordinary times in accordance with the article or that he may not even summon the legislature when there is an emergency. Therefore he says that the power to summon the legislature where the President has failed to perform his duty must be vested either in the Speaker of the lower House or in the Chairman or the Deputy Chairman of the Upper House. That is, if I have understood it correctly, the proposition of Prof. K.T. Shah. It seems to me that here again Prof. Shah has entirely misunderstood the whole position. First of all, I do not understand why the President should fail to perform an obligation which has been imposed upon him by law. If the Prime Minister proposes to the President that the Legislature be summoned and the President, for no reason, purely out of wantonness or cussedness, refuses to summon it, I think we have already got very good remedy in our own Constitution to displace such a President. We have the right to impeach him, because such a refusal on the part of the President to perform obligations which have been imposed upon him would be undoubtedly violation of the Constitution. There is therefore ample remedy contained in that particular clause.
But, another difficulty arises if we are to accept the suggestion of Professor K.T. Shah. Suppose for instance the President for good reasons does not summon the Legislature and the Speaker and the Chairman do summon the Legislature. What is going to happen? If the President does not summon the Legislature it means that the Executive Government has no business which it can place before the House for transaction. Because that is the only ground on which the President, on the advice of the Prime Minister, may not call the Assembly in session. Now, the Speaker cannot provide business for the Assembly, nor can the Chairman provide it. The business has to be provided by the Executive, that is to say, by the Prime Minister who is going to advise the President to summon the Legislature. Therefore, merely to give the power to the Speaker or the Chairman to summon the Legislature without making proper provisions for the placing of business to be transacted by such an Assembly called for in a session by the Speaker or the Chairman would to my mind be a futile operation and therefore no purpose will be served by accepting that amendment.
With regard to the last amendment, No. 1482 moved by Prof. K.T. Shah, the purpose is that the President should not grant the dissolution of the House unless the Prime Minister has stated his reasons in writing for dissolution. Well, I do not know what difference there can be between a case where a Prime Minister goes and tells the President that he thinks that the House should be dissolved and a case where the Prime Minister writes a letter stating that the House should be dissolved. Professor K.T. Shah, in the course of his speech, has not stated what purpose is going to be served by this written document which he proposes to be obtained from the Prime Minister before dissolution is sanctioned. I am therefore unable to make any comment. If the object of Prof. K.T. Shah is that the Prime Minister should not arbitrarily ask for dissolution, I think that object would be served if the convention regarding dissolution was properly observed. So far as I have understood it, the King has a right to dissolve Parliament. He generally dissolves it on the advice of the Prime Minister, but at one time, certainly at the time when Macaulay wrote English History where he has propounded this doctrine of the right of dissolution of Parliament, the position was this : it was agreed by all politicians that, according to the convention then understood, the King was not necessarily bound to accept the advice of the Prime Minister who wanted a dissolution of Parliament. The King could, if he wanted, ask the leader of the Opposition if he was prepared to come and form a Government so that the Prime Minister who wanted to dissolve the House may be dismissed and the leader of the Opposition could take charge of the affairs of Government and carry on the work with the same Parliament without being dissolved. The King also had the right to find some other Member from the House if he has prepared to take the responsibility of carrying on the administration without the dissolution of the House. If the King failed either to induce the leader of the Opposition or any other Member of Parliament to accept responsibility for governing and carry on the administration he was bound to dissolve the House. In the same way, the President of the Indian Union will test the feelings of the House whether the House agrees that there should be dissolution or whether the House agrees that the affairs should be carried on with some other leader without dissolution. If he finds that the feeling was that there was no other alternative except the advice of the Prime Minister to dissolve the House. Therefore it seems to me that the insistence upon having a document in writing stating the reasons why the Prime Minister wanted a dissolution of the House seems to be unless and not worth the paper on which it is written. There are other ways for the President to test the feeling of the House and to find out whether the Prime Minister was asking for dissolution of the House for bona fide reason or for purely party purpose. I think we could trust the President to make a correct decision between the party leaders and the House as a whole. Therefore I do not think that this amendment should be accepted.
Mr. President: I shall now put the amendments to vote one by one.
The question is:
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. President: The question is :
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. President: The question is :
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. President: The question is :
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. President: The question is :
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. President:The question is :
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. President: The question is:
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. President: The question is :
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. President: All the amendments have been rejected.
The question is:
The motion was adopted.
Article 69 was added to the Constitution.
* New Article 69-A
Mr. President: There is notice of a fresh article given by several Members. No. 1484 Mr. Ramalingam Chettiar.
Shri T.A. Ramalingam Chettiar : (Madras : General) : Sir, I will move it at a more convenient stage. It is not necessary at this stage to move it.
* Article 70
Mr. President: Then we come to article 70. There are two amendments of a drafting nature by Mr. Kamath, Nos. 1485 and 1486.
Shri H.V. Kamath: They are not of a drafting nature. If however you hold they are, I shall not insist on moving them.
Mr. President: There is no other amendment.
The question is:
The motion was adopted.
Article 70 was added to the Constitution.
* Article 71
Mr. President: There is one amendment No. 1487 of which notice has been given. It is negative in character and so I do not allow it to be moved.
Amendment No. 1488 by Prof. Shah. This is covered by article 70 which we have already adopted.
Prof. K.T. Shah: I am not moving it, Sir.
(Amendment No. 1489 was not moved.)
Mr. President: Amendment No. 1490 by Prof. Shah.
Prof. K.T. Shah: Mr. President, Sir, I move :
The amended article would read:
There is a difference in the wording here and the way I have suggested. I should like the President's address to concern itself mainly with the general issues of policy, or the prospects before the country, rather than with the specific causes of the summons. It is the practice in the British Parliament for the King, at the opening of the Parliament, to deliver the Address from the Throne. In that, generally, the issues are mentioned. The main proposals for legislation that the Government proposes the bring forward are mentioned, and specific mention is also made of the demands and the supplies that may be expected. Now, if you say merely the "causes of the summons", it will mean the immediate necessity of the day; whereas if freedom is left to the President to review the general state of affairs, and also to indicate the broad lines of proposed legislation and the policy that may be placed before the House, I think the latitude would be much greater. The officials review, so to say, of the country's situation would go a long way to help the people to realise the way their Government is functioning; and also to be aware from time to time of the tasks that their Government is undertaking, and how far these tasks are being discharged.
I think that, as a non-party head of the State, for the time at any rate, representing the Republic, the President should give a general review, and not merely confine himself to the causes for which the House is being summoned and hence this amendment. I place it before the House.
Mr. President: The other three amendments Nos. 1491, 1492 and 1493 are of a drafting nature and are disallowed. The article and the amendment moved are now open to discussion.
Dr. P.S. Deshmukh (C.P. & Berar: General): You have ruled, Sir, that amendment No. 1487 is not admissible since it is purely a negation of the clause. I submit, Sir, that I do not feel convinced as to the necessity of the clause itself, much less of the amendment that has been moved by Professor K.T. Shah. Sir, we have already passed a clause by which it shall be open to the President to address either House of Parliament. Now by this clause we are trying to make it absolutely binding on the President that at the commencement of every session he shall address both the Houses of Parliament assembled together and the purpose also has been stated. We have also just had a lengthy debate on the necessity of calling Parliament frequently and some of the honourable Members were insistent that it would be desirable if the Parliament were to meet all the year round, excepting during certain recesses that it may enjoy. I feel, Sir, that nowhere, not even in the British Constitution, it is compulsory upon the King to send an address every time the Parliament meets. So I am really at pains to understand a deliberate provision for compelling our President, whose place and office is more akin to that of King of England. He is the Constitutional Head of India and to compel him that he must give an address and he must also inform the causes which have led him to call the Parliament does not appeal to me. I feel, Sir, that there is no necessity, nor any very useful purpose will be served by having this compelling clause, nor any very useful purpose will be served by having this compelling clause passed by the House. Of course Prof. K.T. Shah's amendment goes much too far. He also wants that the clause should include the subjects on which he will deliver his address. This will be binding the President's discretion too much. There is also no necessity for a provision in the Constitution by which time for discussion of the President's speech would have compulsorily to be allotted. I think, Sir, what we have provided for is more than enough and there is no necessity for compelling him that he must address every session and that he must address the session on a particular list of subjects. I think there is no necessity for this clause and I would be glad if Dr. Ambedkar could agree to the omission of it.
The Honourable Dr. B.R. Ambedkar: Prof. K. T. Shah simply wants, in the terms in which he has used, stated explicitly, what in my judgment is implicit in the phrase 'causes of its summons'. I think this phrase is wide enough to include everything that Prof. K.T. Shah wants and if I may say so, this phraseology, namely "shall address and inform Parliament of the causes of its summons" is a phrase which we find used in British Parliament. If Prof. Shah were to refer to Campion's book on the rules of the House of Commons, he will find that this phraseology is used there and after a long and great deal of search for a proper phraseology, we are fortunate enough in finding these words in Campion and I think it is a good phrase and ought to be retained since it covers all that Prof. K.T. Shah wants. Prof. K.T. Shah said that there ought to be a provision for the President also to send messages and to otherwise address the House. I thought that there was definite provision in article 70 which we just now passed, which enables the President to address both Houses of Parliament, also to send messages and the messages may be in relation to a particular Bill or may be any other proceedings before Parliament. I do not think that anything more is required than what is contained in Article 70 so far as the independent right of the President addressing the House is concerned and that is amply provided for in article 70. I therefore think that there is no necessity for this amendment at all.
Mr. President: The question is :
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. President: The question is :
The motion was adopted.
Article 71 was added to the Constitution.
* Article 72
Mr. President: The motion is :
(Amendment No. 1494 was not moved.)
Prof. K.T. Shah: Sir, I beg to move :
and the amended article would read as follows :-
My amendment, Sir, seeks to make only such ministers as are elected members of parliament to have this right. I think it is a part of the theory on which this Constitution seems to be based that ministers should be responsible to the legislature. That responsibility could be exercised only if they are able to answer for themselves, so to say, as members of parliament and sitting in parliament.
The right extended to those who are not members of parliament, and yet are allowed to speak or take part in the proceedings in either Houses of Parliament, or of any committee thereof, of which such a person may be named a member, appears to me to be an anomaly, if after allowing the right to speak, you do not grant him the right to vote. It is at the same time true that a person who is not a member of a body can have no right to vote in that body. The idea is that the Minister or the Attorney-General, who is in possession of material information and reasoning that may very well influence the judgment of the House, necessitates that such a party should be in a position to place his point of view before the body of which he is a member and where he is speaking. But if he is not a member of that body, the position becomes very difficult, in as much as those who are there are also aware that he has no right to vote and has no place, therefore, as one of them in the House.
The doctrine of ministerial responsibility requires in my opinion that all the principal Ministers should also be members of the legislature; and if they are members of the Legislature, then, as a matter of right they will be entitled to speak as well as vote in the House of which they are members. If you wish to extend this facility to Ministers to 'either House', even if one is not a member of that 'either House', then I think it would be better to word this a little differently. I suggest that if you are an elected member of either House, you may nevertheless be entitled to speak in the other House, just to make known your point of view and explain any particular problem that may be before the other House of which you are not a member when that other House comes to discuss it. But the position in this article as I see is this;
A minister who is entitled to speak and take part in the proceedings, or be member of a committee, and who has the right to speak but has not the right to vote, is liable to feel the sense of responsibility much less. Apart from being an anomaly in the Constitution itself, of a Minister being allowed to speak, but not to vote, it would undermine the sense of Ministerial responsibility that is essential.
I therefore suggest that the right of speaking and taking part in the proceedings, as well as becoming members of any committee, should also go with the right to vote; provided that the party is an elected member of the House. I say definitely "elected member" because these experts, for instance, who are, under the provisions of the article adopted earlier by this House, permitted to be nominated by the President for any specific purpose as experts to advise and assist in the passage of any Bill or any other measure, they naturally not being elected, are not representatives of the people; and as such may rightly be confined to giving their expert opinion on the matters before the House, and advising on which they are specifically nominated, but not voting on the question. I can understand therefore that such people may be excluded from the right of voting. But, Ministers in a Constitution based on the principle of Ministerial responsibility should, I think, be not only entitled to take part in the proceedings of any House, but should be members of that House with right of voting as well. Accordingly I commend this amendment to the House.
(Amendment No. 1496 was not moved.)
Mr. President: Amendment No. 1497 is of a drafting nature.
The article and the amendment are now for consideration.
Shri H.V. Kamath: Mr. President, I regret I have not been able to follow the import of Professor K.T. Shah's amendment and therefore I rise to oppose it.
The article as it stands is to my mind quite clear. The article conveys the meaning that any Minister or Attorney-General shall have the right to participate in the debate, but by virtue of this article itself will not be entitled to vote. My friend Professor Shah wants to insert a provision that a Minister or Attorney-General if an elected member of Parliament shall have the right to speak etc., but shall not be, virtue of this article, entitled to vote. Does he wish to tell the House that a Minister or the Attorney-General even after being an elected member of Parliament shall not have the right to vote? It comes to this : that he wants to provide that a Minister or the Attorney General even after being an elected member of Parliament shall have the right to speak in, or otherwise participate in the proceedings of the House, but shall not be entitled to vote. Then, I ask my learned Friend Professor Shah, who is entitled to vote? If you want to debar even elected members of Parliament from exercising their vote in Parliament, I fail to see to whom he wants to give the right of voting. Does he wants to confer this right on those members of Parliament who are nominated. Who are not elected? I really fail to see what purpose is being served by the amendment which he has moved. The article as a matter of fact provides for two distinctive categories, as it stands, so far as I have been able to understand it. One is, Minister pending their election and the Attorney-General who may be nominated. Because a Minister under article 61 (5) may hold his office for six months without being an elected member of the House and under article 63 the Attorney-General need not be an elected member of the House. The President can appoint any person who is qualified to be appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court to be the Attorney-General. For either contingency we have to provide for. This, to my mind, is what this article does. Therefore, clear as I am in my mind that this article 72 debars only nominated members of Parliament from necessarily exercising their vote and does not take away that right of voting from elected members of the House whether a Minister or otherwise, I fail to see with what purpose Professor Shah has moved his amendment and I therefore appeal to the House to reject his amendment.
Mr. Tajamul Hussain: Sir, there are only five minutes at my disposal and I propose to finish my speech in those five minutes.
Now, Professor Shah has moved two amendments. His first amendment is to delete the words "Every Minister and". Therefore, he does not want a Minister to participate in the debate. The result would be this. Supposing in a Province or the Indian Union, there are....
Mr. President: That amendment has not been moved. You are referring to amendment No. 1494. Only amendment No. 1495 has been moved.
Mr. Tajamul Hussain: I am sorry I made a mistake. I am now dealing with amendment No. 1495 that has been moved by Professor Shah in which he says that the words "if elected member of Parliament" be inserted after the words "Attorney-General of India". He means that the Attorney-General of India shall be an elected member of Parliament. My objection to this is this. Suppose there is no qualified member of the Bar elected, you cannot guarantee that of the person elected, one must be a qualified member from the Bar-how are you going to have an elected member as the Attorney-General? My Friend Mr. Kamath has already dealt with article 63 which provides that the President can appoint as the Attorney-General for India from amongst the Judges of the Supreme Court. Therefore, I submit that the amendment moved by Professor Shah that the Attorney-General must be an elected member has no sense at all. I do not understand why he has moved that amendment. With these words, I oppose the amendment.
The Honourable Dr. B.R. Ambedkar: Sir, I do not think Professor Shah has really understood the underlying purpose of article 72. In order that the matter may be quite clear, I might begin by stating some simple fundamental propositions. Every House is an autonomous House; that is to say, that it will not allow anybody who is not a member of that House either to participate in its proceedings or to vote at the conclusion of the proceedings. The only persons who are entitled to take part in the proceedings and to vote are the persons who are members of that House. Now, we have got an anomalous situation and it is this. We have got two Houses so far as the Centre is concerned, the Upper House and the Lower House. It is quite possible that a person who is appointed a Minister is a member of the Lower House. If he is in charge of a particular Bill, and the Bill by the Constitution requires the sanction of both the Houses, obviously, the Bill has not only to be piloted in the Lower House, but it has also to be piloted in the Upper House. Consequently, if a person in charge of the Bill is a member of the Lower House, he would not ordinarily be in a position to appear in the Upper House and to pilot the Bill unless some special provision was made. It is to enable a person who is a member of the Lower House and who happens to be the Minister in charge of a Bill to enable him to enter the Upper House, to address it, to take part in its proceedings that article 72 is being enacted. Article 72 is really an exception to the general rule that no person can take part in the proceedings of a House unless that person is a Member of that House. It is essential that the Minister who happens to be a member of the Upper House must have theright to go to the Lower House and address it in order to get the measure through. Similarly if he is a member of the Lower House, he must have the liberty to appear in the Upper House, address it and get the measure through. It is for this sort of thing that article 72 is being enacted. The same applied to the Attorney-General. The Attorney-General may be a member of the Lower House. He may have to go to the Upper House but being a member of the Lower House he may not have the legal right to appear in the Upper House. Consequently the provision has been made. Similarly if he is a member of the Upper House, he may not be having a legal right to enter the Lower House and address it. It is therefore for this purpose that this is enacted. We have limited this right to take part in the proceedings only. We do not thereby give the right to vote to any Minister who is taking part in the proceedings of the other House. Because we do not think that voting power is necessary to enable him to carry out the proceedings with regard to any particular Bill. I thought my friend also said that the word 'Minister' ought to be omitted, and the word 'elected person' ought to be introduced; but that again would create difficulty because we have stated in some part of our Constitution that it should be open for a person who is not an elected member of the House to be appointed a Minister for a certain period. In order to enable even such a person it is necessary to introduce the word 'Minister' and not 'person'. That is the person why the word 'Minister' is so essential in this context. I oppose the amendment.
Mr. President: I now put the amendment to vote.
The question is:
The motion was negatived.
Mr. President: I put the article to vote.
The question is :
The motion was adopted.
Article 72 was added to the Constitution.
Mr. President: The House stands adjourned till Eight O'clock to-morrow morning.
The House then adjourned till Eight of the Clock on Thursday the 19th May, 1949.