Constituent Assembly Of India - Volume VII
Dated: December 27, 1948
The Constituent Assembly of India met in the Constitution Hall, New Delhi, at Ten of the Clock, Mr. Vice-President (Dr. H.C. Mookherjee) in the Chair.
Mr. Vice-President (Dr. H. C. Mookherjee): I have just received a letter from our President informing me that he has improved greatly, but there has been a slight relapse,which has compelled him to take a few days' rest. He,however, hopes to be here by the beginning of next year and to conduct the proceedings of the House on and from the 3rd of January next. I am sure the House will allow me to convey to him the greetings of the Season and along with that to assure him that we shall do our best to make as much progress as possible, so as to lighten his work. Is that the wish of the House?
Honourable Members: Yes, yes.
Mr. Vice-President: We shall now resume our discussion and start with article 47.
(Amendments Nos. 1102 and 1103 were not moved.)
Amendments Nos. 1104, 1105 and 1106 are of similar import; Amendment No. 1104 may be moved.
(Amendments Nos. 1104, 1105, 1106 and 1107 were not moved.)
Amendment No. 1108 is by Prof. K. T. Shah. I shall draw his attention to the last sentence of the new sub-clause,i.e., sub-clause (d) proposed to be added by this amendment.He may please compare it with clause (1) of article 47. it is for him to decide.
Prof. K. T. Shah (Bihar: General): Clause (1) ofarticle 47 gives some positive qualifications. What I propose to move is some what of a negative character, and therefore I thought that the two can go together.
Mr. Vice-President: All right.
Prof. K. T. Shah: Sir, May I move?
Shri T. T. Krishnamachari (Madras: General): May I point out that the latter part of this amendment is already barred. We have already accepted article 46 in an amended form, by which the President can be elected ad infinitum,any number of times. So the latter part of his amendment is barred and cannot be moved.
Mr. Vice-President: Have you heard what the honourable Member has said?
Prof. K. T. Shah: I have heard that, Sir. If I may again make a submission, that reaffirms the same thing. I donot see how it is finally passed.
Mr. Vice-President: I do not want to put any kind of stop to what you want to say, but it does seem to me that it is not needed. But I do not want to impose my will on you.
Prof. K. T. Shah: Sir, I quite realize that this new change in article 46 affects the latter portion and therefore, I will not move that portion. The other portion still remains and if you will permit me, I will move the other part.
Mr. Vice-President: Yes.
Prof. K. T. Shah: Sir, I move:
The amended clause would then read:
As I just now mentioned, these amendments that I would like to introduce put emphasis on the negative side, or disqualifications, as against the positive side of qualification referred to in clauses (a), (b) and (c). I submit, of course, to the judgement of the House in having deleted the restriction included in the original draft of article 46, namely that no one should hold office as President once again. I regret, of course, that should have commended itself to the good sense of the House, for I fear that the possibility of holding in unlimited succession the office of the President is apt to lead to undersirable consequences, on which one need not now dilate. Sir, you remember that the foundation or rather the destruction of the Republic of Rome was inaugurated by the life consulship of Caesar, which afterwards ended in a hereditary empire.But, as I started by saying, now that the House has in its wisdom, found that it is undesirable to introduce this restriction, I will submit to the good sense of the House,and not insist on the latter part of my amendment.
Even so, the qualifications that I have introduced in my amendment need, I think, to be positively or specifically stated. It is no use saying that all this is understood; and that no one with commonsense would like to have any one as President who has been guilty of treason, or who has violated the Constitution. Many things, Sir, are matters of commonsense which, under unknown conditions of the future or party passions, and in the heat of the election fever, may be found to be so completely ignored or extenuated that all those disqualifications may be forgotten.
The inclusion, therefore, of this categoric disqualification is a safe guard for the free and honest working of the Constitution, which, I think, should be acceptable to this House.
The disqualification in regard to treason is particularly important, because now that precedents have taken place in such matters, even as trial of defeated enemies for the so-called war crimes, you might begin to feel that whatever you may have done in perfect good conscience may nevertheless be found to be a penalty of your defeat under the influence of party passions, and as such may be liable to charges or accusations against which, in the prevailing atmosphere, there may be no defence, or nopossibility of effective safeguard.
Fearing this I desire to leave no room for any doubt atall on the subject. Let the Constitution itself from the start make this particular point clear, that any one convicted of treason must be disqualified for being elected President. To me it seems that there could be no objection to this amendment being accepted; and though perhaps this is in a milder form, I personally hold the sin of violating the Constitution equally serious, and certainly consider that also ought to be made a disqualification for any future candidature in regard to Presidentship.
The later clauses will show that you have provided very effective safeguards for convicting any one as regards violation of the Constitution. If under those safeguards,with due process of law and fair administration of justice,a party has been properly convicted of violating the Constitution in any serious particular, then I think that in itself ought to be a bar against the candidature of any such party. On those grounds I think the drafter of the Constitution should accept this amendment, and that it ought to be included in the Draft in order that anybody who isguilty of treason, or who has been guilty of violating the Constitution, should be excluded.
I commend this to the acceptance of the House.
Mr. Vice-President: Amendment No. 1109. Verbal;disallowed. Amendments numbers 1110 to 1112 are of similar import. The first of these may be moved. It stands in thename of Dr. Ambedkar.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar (Bombay: General): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I move:
Sir, this amendment is merely intended to improve the language of the draft.
Mr. Vice-President: Amendment No. 1111. Should that beput to the vote?
Shri H. V. Kamath (C.P. & Berar: General): Dr. Ambedkar has stolen a march over me; this does not arise.
Mr. Vice-President: Amendment No. 1112.
Shri Mihir Lal Chattopadhyay (West Bengal: General): That is already covered, Sir.
(Amendment No. 1113 was not moved.)
Mr. Vice-President: Amendments numbers 1114, 1115 and 1116 are verbal and are disallowed.
Amendment No. 1117, Dr. Ambedkar.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: Sir, I move:
The object of this amendment is to remove a disqualification that might arise on account of the fact that a Governor of a State or a Minister is holding an office of profit under the Crown. It is desirable that theGovernor of a State as well as a Minister both at the Centreand in the States should be permitted to stand for election and the rule of office of profit under the Crown should not stand in their way.
(Amendment No. 1118 was not moved.)
Mr. Vice-President: Amendments numbers 1119 to 1122 are verbal and are disallowed.
(Amendment No. 1123 was not moved.)
Amendment No. 1124.
Prof. K. T. Shah: Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I beg tomove.
Sir, I am sure it could not have been intended by thedraftsmen that a person in the position of a Minister should continue to be a Minister, and yet offer himself as a candidate. This is one of the items which to me appear to bea matter of commonsense and as such should be accepted; but,of course, where an extraordinary sense prevails, commonsense may not get a chance. I would therefore, like to point out that there is a great danger in a Minister holding theMinistership, and yet offering himself as a candidate, and resorting to, or his workers and canvassers resorting topractices, which cannot but be condemned under any same system of constitutional Government. Accordingly, that ought to be prohibited by the fundamental constitution. It is in order to guard against this danger that I would provide, in the Constitution itself, that any Minister, if he chooses to be a candidate for any such office, should first resign his post and offer himself like any other ordinary citizen, for this honour. Whatever he has gained by way of influence, whatever he has previously acquired by way of prestige, connection, etc., will stillremain to him; they would not be lost to him. They may be an asset to him. But, let him not be at all liable to the suspicion that continuing in office, he is able to, even if he does not actually do so, utilise his office and position of influence in order to get elected or get more votes.That, I repeat, is a matter of serious import to the Constitutional freedom and good government of the country,and as such, this amendment should be accepted without any opposition. I commend it to the House.
Mr. Vice-President: There is an amendment to this amendment. It is number 27 in List I, fifth week, standing in the name of Pandit Thakurdas Bhargava.
(The amendment was not moved.
Amendment No. 1125.
Prof. K. T. Shah: Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I beg to move:
I regard this, Sir, as amongst the most cardinal amendments that I have had the honour to put before this House. This theme will recur from different angles as amendments to different articles here after. I would like to make it clear, however, that I have deliberately worded in the different cases the same idea in a different manner, not only because the verbal objection may apply that it has been already disposed of, but also because the angle of approachin the different articles is slightly different.Accordingly, whereas, one might be rejected, it does not necessarily become impossible for another to be accepted.
That, Sir, however, is a matter for you at the time when the other amendments come up for decision. But, I would like to say that the principle contained in this amendmentis of the highest importance for an honourable an didealistic Government of the State.
Ideals, Sir, seem to be very much at a discount,except, of course, for declamation from public platforms.From the public platform we declare day in and day out the high ideals which we all profess to follow, and which we call upon our friends and admirers to follow, always thinking that they apply to the other fellows and not to ourselves, assuming that our conduct is beyond reproach. I feel, however, that even in a regime of saints entirely, it is by no means superfluous to offer a suggestion of this kind that, at any rate, the Head of the State should be,even more than Caesar's wife, above any suspicion what-so ever.
If he has any holding, if he has any interest, if he has any property to which he could seek or obtain advantage by any act of his policy or his Government's policy, which in the least he is in a position to influence, then, I submit to the House, he would be liable as head of the State, and the entire Government would be liable, to suspicion and discredit, and it ought not to be permitted.
Sir, it must be within the knowledge of many Members of this House, who are at all interested in contemporary history of the world, that one of the matters that affected the otherwise heriocally worshipped President of the German Reich, in the days before the Nazis came to power, was that President Hindenberg allowed himself to be persuaded to help in the so-called assistance to Eastern Prussian landlords which paved the way for his discredit, and which led, in my opinion at any rate, to the establishment of the Nazi power.
That I hope all will agree was an undesirable thing for Germany, and its consequences have already been realised.This, therefore, is a counsel of perfection, or at any rate,a caution which we will do well to adopt, and to implementin our Constitution.
That the President should be free from any entanglements, that the President should be free from any interest other than that of the State as a whole, that he should be open to no temptation except the desire to servehis country to the best of his ability, even in the ornamental post that he may be given in the Constitution, is of such supreme importance that I think we cannot be too strong, and too definite about removing from his path everypossible, every imaginable, every conceivable temptation. Accordingly, here is a constructive, a positive requirement that, before the President enters upon the functions of his office, before he can be inducted in his office, he mustmake a clear declaration of all his title, right or interestin any property, industry or business in any of the sethings he may have held as a private citizen before he became President. Further, he must divest himself of it, and Government should take over that right or buy it from him.
This means that not withstanding this provision, the holder of the Presidential office is not punished, he is not penalised, he is not impoverished, by the mere acceptance of or election to the Presidency. In his position, there would be, financially speaking, no change, no reduction. Morally speaking, however, his stature would grow far more; if you at all consider moral values, if you at all have any ideal that the Head of your State shall be free from any temptation, that the Head of the State shall be free evenfrom any suspicion, then I put it to you that you cannotpossibly, in decency, reject this amendment of mine.
By this, I am calling upon you to be true to those ideals which you are proclaiming everyday ad nauseam and which nevertheless, many of you at least, are openly breaking everyday in their lives. That being so, I have no hesitation in asking the House that this proposition, for the reason that I have stated, should be accepted, on pain of our being regarded as only preaching ideals for the purposes of humbugging others, enunciating maxims which youdo not believe yourselves. I make no apology in putting forward this amendment, and I trust without dissent this amendment will be accepted.
Mr. Vice-President: We shall proceed to put theamendments to vote.
Shri H. V. Kamath: We want discussion, Sir.
Mr. Vice-President: If you insist on it, I am prepared to allow it.
Shri H. V. Kamath: Mr. Vice-President, by your leave Irise to lend my support to the amendment of Professor K. T.Shah, No. 1108, moved by him just a short while ago-the first part. The first part of No. 1108 lays down certain disqualifications for the office of the President of the Indian Republic. On the last day of the last Session before we adjourned for recess, when I moved amendment No. 1100 providing for laying down certain disqualifications for the office of President, viz., that if he has been impeached for violation of the Constitution, that will act as a bar to his contesting an election for the Presidentship again, when I moved that amendment, Dr. Ambedkar told the House that that amendment was not in its proper place but should comeup at a later stage, i.e., in article 47 which lays down certain qualifications or disqualifications for the office of Presidentship. I am glad to find that my Friend and scholar Prof. Shah has brought in this particular provision for violation of the Constitution and consequent impeachment as a part of this amendment just moved by him. I realise that article 83 of the Constitution provides-article 83 reads-
It is conceivable that the future ParlI ament of Free India will make certain provisions to this effect as to who will be qualified and who will be disqualified. But to my mind this is far too important a matter to be left to the decision of ParlI ament. This goes to the root of the matter,the disqualifications an the score of treason or on thescore of offence against the State or on account of impeachment because of violation of the Constitution-it ispossible that when we come to article 83 we might incorporate certain of these disqualifications or all of them as disqualifications for being a member of the House of ParlI ament but we must be clear on this point, as to whetherwe shall leave them to a future ParlI ament to decide or whether we will incorporate these things in the body of the Constitution. [I therefore would request Dr. Ambedkar whenhe rises to reply to this debate, to tell us clearly whether he will leave it to the ParlI ament of future India or whether he will embody these disqualifications clearly andplainly-plain as a pikestaff-without any equivocation] in this article 83. That much Sir, for the amendment No. 1108 of Prof. Shah.
Coming to amendment 1125 just moved by him, I aminclined to think that the principle embodied in thisamendment is a very sound one. I would certainly welcome theproposition that a person on being elected President of theIndian Union must at least declare to ParlI ament, or to thepeople and the nation, what interests, and what shares heholds in any enterprise, business or trade in the country.In the last Budget Session of the Legislative Assembly, if Iremember aright, this Assembly adopted the Factory Act, andone of the clauses or sections in that Act was to the effectthat even the medical officer of a factory, when he isappointed to his post, must declare to the board ofdirectors or the management or the government, whatinterests, shares or other similar interests he holds in thefactory or in any of the allied concerns of that particularundertaking. If we are going to enforce such a thing in thecase of a mere petty officer in a factory, it stands toreason that the President of the Indian Union must declareto the nation and to ParlI ament what interests he holds inany business or trade or enterprise in the country. Irecognise and I do admit that the President is not investedwith considerable power. But nobody would deny the fact that the President has been invested with considerable influence,and that influence can be abused by a President if he is notof the proper or right type. We have just come from theJaipur Session of the Congress-at least some of us-whereonly a few days ago, the Congress passed a resolution on thestandards of public conduct. Are we, Sir, here, seriousabout implementing that resolution or not? In spite of thesubsequent deletion at the instance of Pandit Nehru at theJaipur Session, it applies to all Congressmen, from top tobottom. And if it applies to all Congressmen, certainly, thecode of public conduct that we are going to lay down forFree India, should apply to all, congressmen or non-Congressmen whenever they hold a post, high or low in thecountry. Certainly, Sir, the President's post, thePresident's position, is very important and if we areearnest about this resolution about public conduct. I wouldcertainly plead before this House that the President of theIndian Union must publicly before entering his office, tellus, tell ParlI ament, what interests and what shares he has in any businessor other enterprise in the country, lest on any occasion, onany tempting occasion, he might abuse his position for thefurtherance of any particular undertaking in which he ismore interested.
Sir, I will not go so far as Prof. K. T. Shah and saythat such rights or interests must be bought up by theGovernment of India. I would suggest that once he hasdeclared what his interests and shares are, in anyparticular business or undertaking, then the matter must beleft to the ParlI ament to decide in what way those rights orinterests are to be dealt with, or administered or disposedof. If this much is admitted or conceded, that the Presidentshall be obliged to declare and disclose his interests, thenwe can leave it to the ParlI ament of India to deal with this matter and decide how to dispose of or deal with theparticular matter brought before it.
Mr. Vice-President: Dr. Ambedkar.
Shri Syamanandan Sahaya (Bihar: General): Sir, I have.....
Mr. Vice-President: I have called Dr. Ambedkar, I amsorry. But have you any amendment?
Shri Syamanandan Sahaya: No, I have no amendment,but...
Mr. Vice-President: If you had come to the front, youcould have caught my eyes, because in that direction thereis a bad glare.
Shri R. K. Sidhva (C. P. & Berar: General): But, Sir,we have not had adequate discussion of this article. Onlyone member has spoken.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: If they want furtherdiscussion, I have no objection.
Mr. Vice-President: Dr. Ambedkar has been good enoughto say he does not mind if other Members also speak. WillShri Syamanandan Sahaya please come to the mike?
Shri R. K. Sidhwa: Sir ....
Mr. Vice-President: Mr. Sidhwa will always have thelast word. I shall give him the last word.
Shri Syamanandan Sahaya: Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I amhere to support the amendment which has been moved by Prof.K. T. Shah.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: Which amendment ofProf. Shah?
Shri Syamanandan Sahaya: Amendment No. 1124 which readslike this:
Sir, it is not always that I have the good fortune toagree with Prof. K. T. Shah but I do feel that in thisparticular amendment which he has proposed, he has raised avery vital point, and I do think that in a matter like this,even through there may have been different decisionelsewhere, this House must remain firm because Prof. K. T.Shah, in his amendment, desires to lay down a principlewhich has been accepted all over the world (Cries of No,No.) Yes, Yes. Everybody has the right to place hisinformation and his knowledge. Even in the present CongressCommittees, a person who desires to stand as President of the Provincial or District Congress Committee has to resignhis seat, not merely as a Minister, but even as a member of the Legislative Assembly.
Pandit Balkrishna Sharma (United Provinces: General): No, No. You do not know. Do not go on generalising likethat.
Shri Syamanandan Sahava: I come from a Province wherethis rule obtains; this is a very good rule. If otherprovinces are not following it, they are doing it to theirown disaster.
Mr. Vice-President: You need not reply to theseinterruptions.
Shri Syamanandan Sahaya: I shall accept your advice,Sir. It is a very good advice.
Now, the position is, that the place which thePresident will occupy in our Constitution is a very high andimportant one, indeed, and it would be very unwise andunsafe if a person who is already a Minister, working assuch, stands for election as President. Even though such aperson may not himself desire it, the fact remains that aMinister in power is likely to gather more support, directlyand indirectly, than another person. It is therefore onlyfair and reasonable that the election of a President must becarried on in such a manner that no individual person mayhave any additional advantage over his opponents.
Considering the position that obtains in this countryat present, it is hoped that there may not be muchdifficulty among the persons who happen to occupy this highposition. They also have a high standard of morality and I have no doubt that they will themselves resign before theystand for Presidentship. But we are laying down in thisConstitution a rule by which, if a Minister desires orchooses to stand as a candidate for election, he can do soand contest the whole of the election, occupying all thetime the position of a Minister. That, Sir, in my opinion,would not be the right course to adopt, and considering thedifficulties that one can foresee, it would only be properthat it should be laid down that no person who occupies theposition of a Minister should stand as a candidate as longas he occupies that position. He should first be asked toresign and then he can stand and contest the presidentshiplike anybody else.
Before I close I would like the House to visualize asituation that will arise when a minister is a candidate forelection as a President. (It will be like this. Who is thecandidate? A minister. Who are the voters? Members of thedifferent Assemblies. Who are the Polling officers? Servantsof the Government, some of them may be under the ministryconcerned. How does this look?) Even assuming that therewill be everything fair, I ask: Does it look fair to frame aconstitution which not only sanctions but encourages such asituation?
Shri Algu Rai Shastri (United Provinces: General):* [Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I rise to oppose the amendmentsmoved by Prof. K. T. Shah, more specially his last one, No.1125 on the list. I may repeat what has been said severaltimes previously and it is that the type of constitutionProf. K. T. Shah has in view can either be accepted in itsentirety or cannot be accepted at all. At times suchamendments as the present one, are moved by Prof. K. T. Shahwhich seek to make some changes in the constitution or in the basic concept on which it is founded. If a singleamendment of Prof. Shah is accepted in any part of the Constitution, the entire structure of the constitution wouldbe changed. His idea in moving this amendment is that ourPresident-the President of our Republic-should be a personwho has no private financial interests of his own at all.(He wants that the President of our Republic should have nofiancial interest at all but at the same time in course ofhis speech he has said that if the President has any sharesin any property the same should be purchased by theGovernment so that he may not become a pauper. The dread ofprivate property seems to have influenced him in making thisproposal even though he does not seem to desire theabolition of private property itself.) He does not proposeto expropriate the person, who is to be elected President,of his entire property. It is thus plain that he does not stand for the abolition of private property. His onlyobjective is that any person, after being elected President,should sell away all his financial interests or they may beacquired by the Government, and that such a person shouldmake a specific declaration that he has no financialinterest anywhere. It appears to me that these two ideas arecontradictory to each other. On the one hand the institutionof private property would remain when we allow him to ownthe monied wealth he receives on sale of his property andsuch an ownership is permitted by Prof. Shah because heapprehends that otherwise such a person will become apauper. On the other hand (he seems in my opinion, to havein view Plato's idealistic and Utopian communism under whichrulers shall have no property, no financial interest and nomoney of their own and there would be a common kitchen and the rules would be leading an ideal life like saints andhermits having no personal financial interests.) We can verywell lay down in the Constitution that a person who owns aproperty or has any shares in any enterprise shall not beeligible for Presidentship. The object behind the amendmentmoved by Professor K. T. Shah is that after a person iselected President he should hold no share in any propertybut he can hold the same before being elected. In my opinionProfessor Shah should aim at the abolition of individualownership of property and nationalisation of the same sothat no individual may possess any property. But we havealready accepted and given a place to individual ownershipof property in the articles we have passed earlier. Now atthis stage it does not appear necessary to me to pass aprovision enjoining upon a person to make a particulardeclaration and relinquish all his financial interests inorder that he may honestly discharge the duties of hisoffice. Of course, I do visualise a society in which theindividual ownership of property is gradually abolished andcommodity be broght under social ownership. I would prefersuch a society. (We can not accept the ideal of Plato's orsuch a communism which reduces our life to a mere hotellife. Such a society cannot be stable.) It is possible toestablish such a society in small communes. But it isdifficult to run even a small municipal board on theselines. I have seen that the financial questions bedevils theworking of even small bodies. Even in the `Maths' of Sadhusdisputes arise for succession to the Gadi. We must keep thereality in view and from the point of view of reality theproposed restriction is unnecessary. I, therefore, opposethe amendment moved by Mr. Shah.
The other amendment moved by Mr. Shah, which lays downthat if any minister seeks election as President, he shouldresign from the ministerial office before doing so, cannotbe accepted. It is evident that a minister who seekselection as President would not be in a position to securevotes of this vast population either by purchase or by undueinfluence exercised under the powers he possesses asminister. The people or the prospective voters in thePresidential election cannot be beguiled or coerced to selltheir votes. This amendment too seems unnecessary and therefore in my opinion it ought to be rejected and theoriginal article as standing in the Draft Constitutionshould be accepted.] (Interruption)
Mr. Vice-President: It is not proper for experiencedparlI amentarians to heckle a speaker in that way.
Mr. Tajamul Husain (Bihar: Muslim): Mr. Vice-President,I am, and in fact the whole House is, very grateful to youand also particularly, I would say, to the Honourable Dr.Ambedkar, for allowing us to speak. We know your powers. Youcan stop us at any time you like. But I would always requestyou to allow us even at this stage to speak as we are for the first and the last time drawing up a constitution for the whole of India. You will pardon me for using the word"gagging" officially. But do not gag us. Let us speak. The Constitution is not going to be framed within a year as the Government of India are expecting. They are mistaken. Itdoes not matter if it finishes in two or three years, butgive us time to speak.
Coming to the amendment I wish to point out that, asfar as I understand it, the amendment of my honourableFriend, Prof. K. T. Shah implies that a person who wishes tostand for the presidentship of the Indian Republic shouldresign his seat if he happens to be a Minister, or resignhis seat if he happens to be a Member of the Legislature. Anhonourable Member from my province of Bihar has just spokenand he has stated that the law in his province is that aMember of a Legislature who wishes to become the Presidentof the Provincial Congress Committee has to resign hisoffice. There was vehement opposition to this. I entirelyagree with the opposition that is not the law. We find herethat the last President of the Congress, Mr. Kripalani, wasalso a Member of this House and a Member of the DominionParlI ament. Here we find that the Honourable the Speaker of the U. P. is a member of this House. This is not the kind ofthing in Bihar. Since the Congress started its activitiesunder the guidance of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Rajendra Prasad,the President of this House, was the President of theProvincial Congress Committee for a number of years. It isunfortunate that he had to leave our Province and come overto Delhi. When he came to Delhi and left Bihar somebody whowas not a member of the legislature was elected as Presidentand he died. Then we elected a member of the ProvincialAssembly and he had to resign his seat in the Assembly. Wewanted him to resign and he resigned. Afterwards anothermember of the provincial assembly was elected and he alsohad to resign his seat in the Assembly. So we in Bihar havethis convention, though not as a law or rule, that a memberof the legislature when he wants to become President, beforehe seeks election he must resign. It is a very good andhealthy convention. After all the first President of theIndian Republic will be the first gentleman of this land andequal to any monarch in the world. We want that before hebecomes President he should cease to have any connectionwith any legislature. Before his election as President aMinister, whether at the Centre or in the Provinces, mustcease to be a minister: he must come in as a simple man, anon-member of any legislature, stand for election and getelected. That is what people want. This is a very simpleamendment and it should be accepted by the House and by Dr.Ambedkar. That is all I have to submit to the House and Ithank you, Sir, for permitting me to speak.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: Mr. Vice-President,I regret that I am unable to accept any of the amendmentswhich have been moved by my honourable Friend, Prof. K. T.Shah. There are three amendments which have been moved byProf. K. T. Shah. One of them relates to the Minister as acandidate for the Presidency and the other two amendmentsrelate to the President. I propose to divide my observationsin reply to his speeches on the three amendments into twoparts. In the first part I propose to devote myself to hisamendment relating to the Minister.
Prof. K. T. Shah's amendment requires that if a personis holding the office of a Minister and wishes to contest anelection, the first condition must be that he shall resignhis office as a Minister. In other words, ministership byitself would be a disqualification for election. It seems tome that Prof. K. T. Shah has not devoted sufficientattention to his amendment. In the first place, if aMinister resigns then this amendment is unnecessary. Thesecond point which I think Prof. Shah has not considered andwhich seems to me to be very crucial is this. Supposing weaccept his amendment that a Minister shall resign before hestands as a candidate for Presidentship it is quite clearthat between the period of the dissolution of the oldParlI ament and the time when the new ParlI ament assembles there can be no Ministers at all in charge of the administration. And the question that we have toconsider is this. What is to happen to the administrationduring the period which is involved between the dissolutionof the old ParlI ament and the assembly of the newParlI ament? Are we to hand over the administration to thebureaucrats or the heads of the administrative departmentsto carry on until the new ParlI ament is elected? Or is thereto be some kind of expedient whereby we are to go about andfind a set of temporary Ministers who would take charge ofGovernment during this short period of two or three monthsand thus forego the opportunity of contesting elections andbecoming Ministers themselves in a new ParlI ament for thefull period of their term? It seems to me that the amendmentof Prof. K. T. Shah, if accepted, would create completeadministrative chaos in the Government of the country and therefore I submit.....
Shri L. Krishnaswami Bharathi (Madras: General): It does not refer to all Ministers: it only refers to oneminister.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi (United Provinces: General). And todeputy Minister also.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: Supposing everyMinister wants to contest the election and therefore everyMinister will have to resign.
Prof. K. T. Shah referred to the fact that the Ministers generally monkeyed with the election or maymanipulate or exercise their influence over theadministration. That of course, to some extent, is probablytrue. But in order to eliminate the influence whichMinisters exercise or might exercise on the elections theDraft Constitution has provided under certain articles(articles 289 to 292) for a special machinery to be incharge of what are called Election Commissions both in theCentre as well as in the Provinces, which would take chargeof the elections to ParlI ament as well as to the Statelegislatures. They are to have complete superintendence,control and management of elections, so that whateverpossibility that there exists of Ministers exercising theirinfluence over elections has been sought to be eliminatedand consequently the fear which Prof. K. T. Shah entertainshas really no place at all. I am therefore, for thesereasons, unable to accept his amendment.
Coming to his amendments which deal with the President,his first amendment No. 1108 sets out certaindisqualifications such as conviction for treason, anyoffence against the State or any violation of the Constitution, etc. [The reason why, for instance, we havenot specifically mentioned in this particular article underdiscussion these disqualifications, will be obvious if theMembers recall that we have made other provisions whichwould have the same object which Prof. Shah has in his mind.(In this connection I would like to draw the attention of the House to sub-clause (c) of article 48 which requiresthat "the President shall be a person who shall be qualifiedfor election to ParlI ament". Now the qualification forelection to ParlI ament are laid down in article 83. Sub-clause (e) of article 83 leaves it to the ParlI ament to addany disqualifications which ParlI ament may think itnecessary or desirable to add. It is therefore possible that the ParlI ament when it exercises the powers which are givento it under sub-clause (e) of article 83 may think itdesirable to include in the list of disqualifications (it isempowered to add to those already enumerated under article83) some of the propositions which Prof. K. T. Shah hasenunciated in his amendment.) I therefore submit that,although this particular clause does not refer to thedisqualifications mentioned by Professor Shah, it is quitepossible and open to Part lI ament to add them by any law that it may make in sub-clause (e) of 83.]
Shri H. V. Kamath: On a point of clarification. Mr.Vice-President, if matters like `unsound mind' and`undischarged insolvent' are found important enough to beembodied in the article itself, what is the point in leavingthis more vital and fundamental thing to ParlI ament and notgiving it a place in the Constitution itself?
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: I do not know. It isa mere matter of logic. It is perfectly possible to say thatevery disqualification should be laid down here. It isperfectly possible to say that some essential things may belaid down here and the others left to the ParlI ament. Icannot see any inconsistency in that at all.
Now coming to the last amendment of Professor Shah, No.1125, I think a careful perusal of the language he has usedis very essential. What the Professor wants is that everyperson who has to be a President shall, before assumingoffice, divest himself of his interest, rights, title, etc.in any business or concern which is being sponsored byGovernment or carried on by Government either itself orthrough any agency, and secondly that the Government shouldbuy that interest from the President. In regard to this, thefirst thing that strikes me is that [this is one of the mostnovel propositions that I have ever seen. I do not rememberthat there is any Constitution anywhere in the world whichlays down any such condition. I should have thought that ifany such condition was necessary it is in the Constitutionof the United States where the President has got anopportunity of exercising administrative control, andadministrative discretion and therefore the greatestopportunity of personal aggrandisement exists there.] Andyet, the Constitution of the United States is absolutelysilent about any such condition at all. Professor Shah nodoubt has tabled his amendment because he looks upon it as amerely consequential amendment to the original propositionwhich he had enunciated in the form of his amendment,namely, that the President should have the same position asthat of the President of the United States. But our Constitution has completely departed from the position whichhas been assigned to the President of the United States. As I have stated over and over again, our President is merely anominal figurehead. He has no discretion; he has no powers of administration at all. Therefore, so far as our President is concerned, this provision is absolutely unnecessary. If at all it is necessary it should be with regard to and the other Ministers of State, because it is they who are in complete control of the administration of the State. If any person under the Government of India has any opportunity of aggrandizing himself, it is either the Prime Minister or the Ministers of State and such a provision ought to have been imposed upon them during their tenure and not on the President.
The third question that arises-I think it is a very concrete question-is this. Supposing we laid down any such condition; is it possible in the circumstances hi which we are living, to obtain any-candidate who would offer himself for the Presidentship and subject himself to the conditions which have been laid down by Professor Shah? I doubt very much whether even Professor Shah would offer himself to be President of the Indian Union if these conditions are laid down.
Prof. K. T. Shah: It is not my custom to interrupt speakers at all. But may I give him this categorical assurance that as far I myself am concerned, he can rest assured that there will be complete fulfillment of these conditions. (Laughter).
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: I am glad. But this country could not carry on under the assumption that Professor Shah would be the only candidate who would offer himself for Presidentship. (Laughter). Safety lies in multiplicity of candidates. Therefore we have to consider whether, from a practical point of view, we should have a sufficient number of candidates offering themselves for this particular post. And I have not the least doubt about it that, notwithstanding the very virtuous character of this amendment we should practically be suspending this particular provision from the Constitution if we accept this amendment.
For these reasons I do not accept any of the amendments.
Shri H. V. Kamath: Is Dr. Ambedkar opposed even to the disclosure of the candidate's interest or share? Is he opposed even to a declaration like that?
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: But that is not the amendment.
Shri H. V. Kamath: That is part of the amendment.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar:But that is not the amendment
Mr. Vice-President: I will now put the amendments to vote one by one,
The question is :
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President: The question is :
The amendment was adopted.
Mr. Vice President: The question is:
The amendment was adopted.
Mr. Vice-President: The question is:
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President: The question is:
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President:I shall now put the article as amended to vote. The question is :
The motion was adopted.
Article 47, as amended, was added to the Constitution.
New Article 47-A
Mr. Vice-President: Amendment No. 1126 is almost the same, though not ite the same, as amendment No. 1125. Professor Shah may move it.
Prof. K. T. Shah:I beg to move:
As you have been kind enough to point out, this is not quite identical with the previous amendment that I had the honour to submit to this House. Whereas in the previous amendment I had suggested that the interest of the President be bought over by the State, here it is to be held in a trust for him. He remains the owner, and only is saved any kind of temptation, any kind of manipulation that may be possible in the business, trade or interest that may be in any way supported or aided by the State. Sir, I have been surprised at the lack of argument which has characterised the opposition to the previous amendment. If in answer to one's serious points, one is to be faced with such assumptions as that all the Ministers, for Instance, might like at one and the same time to stand for the Presidency, and if that is permitted, there would be chaos, then I think it is equally open to hold that every Minister might become ill at one and the same moment and unable to discharge the functions of his office, thus leaving it to the bureaucracy to carry on the administration. This is no argument of an earthly or reasonable character. Any such cataclysmic event may happen, but in such a case of course, inert human ingenuity may be powerless to cope with it. But if you wish to object to my amendments on reasonable level grounds, and not take flights of fancy into tl>e unreal, then I submit that in this matter there is no contradiction or impossibility that I am asking you to agree to.
The idea that you will have no candidate for the Presidency, merely because the constitution calls upon him to declare his interests and divest himself of all his right, title, share, property and interest, in any industry, trade, or business, which is in any way aided or supported by the State of which he is the head is to my mind reducing the matter to an absurdity. After all, with all due respect to the Honourable Dr. Ambedkar, I think there are not in this country a majority of people who have any such right, or tide, or property. The overwhelming majority of this country's people are without such interests. The possibility, therefore, of finding a candidate who has no interest in such matters will not certainly be so catastrophically small as Dr. Ambedkar in his opposition mood might fear.
If Dr. Ambedkar is 'thinking of only that class to be eligible to the Presidency who have such rights, who have such interests and shares, while I would point out that such a course would be unfair, I hope he will realise that it is desirable to safeguard them against any temptation of the kind that this amendment tries to guard against.
The fact, moreover, that no other Constitution contains any such provision is no reason, in my opinion, why, under the guidance of such a "genius as Dr. Ambedkar, we should not break new ground. We might as well make our own precedents which Americans may copy as we have copied this from the English or Anglo-Saxon races. Why should Dr. Ambedkar and his colleagues be so afraid of taking a new step, even though the new step may be one in the right direction ?
In all his arguments I did not hear anything to show that the proposition that I am advancing is in itself wrong.
Mr. Vice-President:Professor Shah, may I request you not to reply to Dr. Ambedkar.
Prof. K. T. Shah: Dr. Ambedkar went out of his way. It is against my practice.....
Mr. Vice-President:May I suggest that as both of us belong to the same profession, we should prove superior to this weakness.
Prof. K. T. Shah:I bow to your order; but I do feel, Sir, that argument to be absent, and prejudice seems to predominate in a discussion of this If that is so, then I in my determination would go on moving every of my amendments, whatever the result may be. I am also equally clear, before the eyes of the world, before those who have no prejudices of their r we will not be holding ourselves as model legislators if we insist on reject-such amendments for future generations. That is all I have to say, Sir.
Coming to the amendment proper, may I point out that in this I have deliberately to guard against being over-ruled, merely for repeating myself by changing the wording. It was urged, and urged quite unfairly, that would cover enterprises "carried on" by the State. Nothing of the kind. I am speaking only of any trade, industry or business, which 15 aided or supported by the State. That is a totally different thing from an industry business being carried on by the State, I should have thought that those o have drafted this Constitution knew the difference between 'being carried on' by the State, and 'being aided or supported' by the State. If they do not understand this difference, I am sorry the drafting should have been done by people who cannot distinguish between simple propositions of this nature.
They might equally misunderstand or misread the difference between "buying over" and "holding in trust", which again in my opinion are totally different propositions. The English Constitution, Sir, is founded on conventions, not on any written document. That, I trust, even Dr. Ambedkar will admit. That being so, may I give him one illustration of the kind of rectitude that is expected from high officers of State. There was the case, Sir, some forty years ago, when the English Navy was thinking of going over to oil-rburning instead of coal-burning. Oil was produced by Joint Stock Companies holding interests abroad while coal was produced at home. Admiral Fisher, who was then the First Sea Lord of the Admiralty, was to preside over the Committee which was appointed to investigate into the matter of changing over from coal to oil. There were three members of the Committee and they were all of the same view. Their recommendations were, therefore a foregone conclusion. Admiral Fisher, who had some oil shares in the Anglo-Persian and Iranian Oil Company, and who knew what the results of his recommendation |would be, went over to the then King Edward VII, and asked for his advice. He knew the prospects of those shares once the report was published. The King advised, and the Admiral accepted his advice, that he must divest himself immediately of those shares if he was an honourable man, as he stood to gain considerable advantage from the change over from coal to oil. Admiral Fishher may not have a prototype here; but I for one hope that in this country, fed and brought to this stage by Gandhiji, tfiere are people who will be willing, only too willing, if elected to such exalted office as head of the State, to divest themselves of such rights and interests as might expose them to the slightest shade of suspicion. Even in the municipality of Bombay we have a convention piat any member, who is interested in any enterprise carried on by the corporaion, shall not vote when that matter comes up for consideration before the Corporation. If that ideal is not suitable for you to copy, if that is a proposition which is not acceptable to you, I am very sorry that this House should using the name in vain of people like Gandhiji, when we are not carrying their ideals in this Constitution.
Mr. Tajamul Husain: May I speak, Sir?
Mr. Vice-President:If you insist.
Mr. Tajamul Husain: Mr. Vice-President Sir, I am again thankful to you ause you are exercising your powers in my favour. I have come to support amendment of my honourable Friend, Professor K. T. Shah, in its entirety, amendment is a very fair one. He wants that the person elected as President of the Republic should declare and divest himself of all his rights, shares, property, etc. in any enterprise, business or trade which is in any way aided or supported by the Union Government and should make over rights, etc. to the Government, to be held in trust during the period he is occupying his exalted office as President of the Indian Republic. Now, Sir, in my opinion, this is a fair amendment but I am afraid that this amendment will not be accepted by the Honourable Dr. Ambedkar. Professor Shah comes forward with beautiful amendments but they are all lost because the honourable Member in charge of the Draft Constitution is not in favour of them. Therefore, with your permission, I want to move a verbal amendment to this.
Mr. Vice-President:I cannot allow you to do that. In that case other; people would also come forward with verbal amendments. You may make a suggestion for the acceptance of Dr. Ambedkar.
Mr. Tajamul Husain: My suggestion is this: Mr. Shah's amendment does! npt say that when a person is elected President he should declare and divest f himself of all his personal property. He only says that he should divest him-self of his rights, shares or interests in any concern aided or supported by government and that such rights, etc. should be taken over and held in trust for him by the Government of India. I say that as it would come to the Government of India, I thought that Dr. Ambedkar would accept it. If, Dr. Ambedkar as the Law Minister of the Government of India is not going to accept it, then instead of the 'Government of India', let it go to the President's wife and children. That is a very simple matter. The article as amended would read thus :
With these words, I support the amendment and I move my oral amendment.
Mr. Vice-President:There is no amendment to be moved.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: Sir, I have nothing to say.
Mr. Vice-Prestdent: The question is :
The motion was negatived.
Mr.Vice-President: On going through the amendments one by onp. I find that amendments Nos. 1127, 1128 and 1130 are of similar import. Amendment No. 1130 seems to be the most comprehensive and may be moved.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I move: 'That in clause (1) of article 48 :-
There was some defect in the original language and we have tried to imprrove it.
Mr. Naziniddm Ahmad (Wessst Bengal : Muslim): Mr. Vice-Preddent, we have already decided by accepting certain rules that amendments which are mded to beautify the language of an article will not be allowed. Improving language is not now one of the objectives of an amendment. Before the amendment was moved, it looked like an imposing amendment, but Dr. |Ambedkar has clearly admitted that it was intended merely to improve the language, of the article. In that view, although it has been moved, it need Iriot be put to the vote.
Mr. Vice-President: Certain powers have been given to the Chair and the Chair is going to exercise them in the way which seems best.
I understand that there is an amendment to this amendment-Aniendn No. 28 of List 1 (fifth week) standing hi the name of Mr. V. S. Sarwate,
Shri V. S. Sarwate[United State of Gwalior-Indore-Malwa (Madhya Bharat)]: Sir, I move:
The amendment purports to say that if a member of the ruling family of an Indian State is elected President, he would have to divest himself of the allowance or the privy purse which he may be receiving.
My object is that the President ot this Republic should be of such convictions and wedded to such an ideology as would be republican and democratic. Obviously a person who was lately a ruler of an Indian State and is in receipt of a privy purse or allowance is not expected to fullfill this requirement. It has been said that the President is more or less a nominal figure-head. AH the same I would point out that the President is expected in times of emergency to discharge certain very grave and important functions and duties. Further, from his status and position he is expected to give a certain incentive and certain directive in the best interests of the democratic republic, which we trying to establish in India. Now all these requirements cannot be ex to be fulfilled by one who has been brought up and who belongs to a family which must be holding and must have held traditions which are entirely different from those ideas which we, call republican or democratic. JTherefore, what is required by this amendment is that a late ruler of an Indian State should not be allowed to become President. That, however, does not debar him from standing for election, but debars him to this extent that if he is elected, he may not continue to receive the allowance. The amendment, if further read carefully, will show that the junior members of the ruling families are not debarred from standing or for hoUding the position of the President, since such juaor members would not be in receipt of any allowance on account of privy purse. I need not point out that the Governors and the Governor-General, and especially the new President is expected, from conviction and from his bringing up and from his whole psychological set up, to be a person who would be so entirely devoted to democracy and republic, that there, may not be the least shadow of doubt regarding his opinions, his democratic and republican opinions; but this is not likely to be expected in the case of a late ruter. Therefore, my submission is that this amendment may be accepted by the Mover of the original amendment.
Mr. Vice-President:Amendment No. 1127 stands in the name of Glani Gurmukh Singh Musafir. Does he want me to put it to the vote ?
Giani Gurmukh Singh Musafir (East Punjab : Sikh) : No, Sir.
Mr. Vice-President:Amendment No. 1128. Do you want me to put it to the vote?
Mr. Nanntddm Ahmad: Yes, Sir.
Mr. Vice-President:Amendment No. 1129. Verbal; disallowed.
Amendment No. 1131. Verbal; disallowed.
Amendment No. 1132. This may be moved.
(The amendment was not moved.)
Mr. Vice-President:Amendments numbers 1133 and 1134 are practically thfc same. Amendment No. 1133 may be moved.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: On a point of order, Sir, this is merely a verbal amendment.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar:Sir, I move:
Sir, this amendment is just for the sake of uniformity.
Mr. Vice-President: Amendment No. 1134. Do you want me to put this ta the vote?
Shri H.V. Kamath: I have been forestalled by Dr. Ambedkar; but I would like to move amendment No. 1135.
Mr. Vice-President: We have now only come up to amendment No. 1134. Amendment No. 1135. You can move it.
Shri H. V. Kamath: I move, Sir,
That in clause (3) of article 48, the words 'the President shall have an official residence and' be deleted."
That is to say, the clause will read thus, if the amendment is accepted.
There shall be paid to the President such emoluments and allowances, etc. etc.........."
In moving this amendment, Sir, I seek a little light from Dr. Ambedkgr. The Honourable Dr- B. R. Ambedkar: Which amendment?
Shri H. V. Kamath:Amendment No. 1135. My purpose in moving this, amendment before the House is to request Dr. Ambedkar to throw a little light upon the necessity for incorporating such an insignificant, such a minor detail in our Constitution. 1 recognise, I admit freely that this Constitution, perhaps we are proud of the fact, is the bulkiest in the whole world. The emblem and crest that we have selected for our Assembly is an elephant. It is perhaps in conspnancc with that that our Constitution too is the bulkiest that the world has produced. Sir, May I ask in all humility whether there is any sense or any p&int in cumbering the Constitution with details, like the President having a residence? If this be accepted, will it not be equally appropriate to say that the President shall have so many servants, the President shall have so many peons, chaprasis, the President shall have an A.D.C., the President shall have a Private Secretary, and what not? It may be argued, I see, Sir, that the President's residence is a symbol and therefore it must be mentioned in the Constitution. I do not know how many precedents there are for a thing like this to be embodied in the Constitution.
An Honourable Member:The Irish Constitution.
Shri H. V. Kamath: I am coming to that. In the American Constitution I do not know whether the White House is mentioned in the Constitution. White House is universally recognised as the President's official residence. Owning to England, I suppose 10, Downing Street is more universally known Hum Buckingham Palace among students of politics or present day affairs. 10, Downing Street which is the Prime Minister's residence is more widely knowit than Buckingham Palace. In our Constitution there is no reference to the Ptfime Minister's residence; we Have mentioned only the President's residence. In our Constitution, the President is, more or less, as Dr. Ambedkar has just now said, a figure-head and the Prime Minister is a far more powerful individual than the President. In the fitness of things, I personally feel that the Prime Minister's official residence should be mentioned rather than the President's residence.
Another little point is this. Suppose, the President has two residences-formerly I suppose the Governor in most of the provinces and even at the Centre the Governor-General had two residences, one for summer and one for the other seasons-suppose there are two residences, will this article debar the State from granting or sanctioning two residences for the President, one of summer and one for non-summer seasons? Will this come in the way? Therefore, the point is, why bother about this little thing like a residence for the President? After all, the President will not live under a tree or on a maidan; he will have a roof over his head; he will have a house; that goes without saying. After all, we are now aspiring to provide a roof over the head of everybody in our country. Does the House mean to say, does Dr. Ambedkar mean to say that the President will have no roof over his head? He may have one, two or three residences. Who knows how many who will have? Why restrict by means of this article the right of the Government or the nation to provide more than one residence to the President? Therefore, I feel, Sir, that this is -I do not know how this has crept into the Constitution-too paltry, too trifling a detail to be incorporated in the Constitution, and tends to burden our Constitution with unnecessary, irrelevant and superfluous detail.
I therefore move that this portion of the article regarding the provision of official residence for the President be deleted.
(Amendments Numbers 1136 and 1137 were not moved.)
Mr. Vice-President: Amendment No. 1138 standing in the name of Professor K.T.Shah.
Prof. K.T. Shah: Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I beg to move:
Sir, this is one of the few inoffensive amendments which I have dared to put me forward. It seems to be so self-evident that, except in extraordinary flights of fancy imagination and impossibility, no one should question this. Accordingly I will not waste the time of the House by putting forward specific arguments in support of that. I trust the good sense of the House will lead it to accept the amendment.
Mr. Vice-President: Amendment No. 1139: Verbal; disallowed.
Amendment No. 1140, standing in the name of Professor K.T. Shah.