Constituent Assembly OF INDIA Debates (Proceedings) - VOLUME IX
Wednesday, the 24th August 1949
The Constituent Assembly of India met in the Constitution Hall, New Delhi, at Nine of the Clock, Mr. President (The Honourable Dr. Rajendra Prasad) in the Chair.
DRAFT CONSTITUTION- (Contd.)
Article 292- (Contd.)
Mr. President: Prof. Laskar will continue his speech.
Prof. N. C. Laskar (Assam: General): Mr. President, Sir, yesterday I was speaking about the gradual decrease of the Scheduled Castes since 1921. I would like to draw the attention of the House today to the Census Report of 1921, Vol. III, Part I ; and in page 154 of that report a table was given with the variation in caste, tribe, etc., since 1881 and from this table I shall give certain instances of gradual decrease of the depressed classes. Patni population in 1911 was 1,11,000.
Now I would like to draw the attention of the House to the Census Report of 1931, Vol. III, Part 1, page 219, wherein it is stated :--
The Census Superintendent made certain remarks also with regard to the Patni community in that page of that Report. He said "the Census figures give 9,000 only in the District of Cachar and the correct figures are at least 40,000. In Sylhet the figure for the Patni community is given as 43,000 only and there are at least 70,000. The total population for the depressed classes for the whole Province is 6,57,000."
In 1921, the strength of the Scheduled Castes was 12 lakhs. Then, there is a big gap in 1931. Because the garden labourers were considered as depressed classes in 1921 but in 1931 they were separated from the depressed classes and considered as a single caste, that is the garden cooly caste. That is why, in the census of 1931, their strength came down from twelve lakhs to six and a half lakhs. In article 155 of that Report dealing with the difficulties of return of caste, the Census Superintendent said : "When it comes to castes like the Kayasths, Mahisyas, and Patnis, I confess that the figures appear to me to be worthless and not worth the trouble of collecting." In the same page, he again said : "When we came to castes like the Patnis in the Surma Valley, we find that at each successive census their numbers have been melting away in a most mysterious fashion." That shows that the 1931 census could not give the accurate or correct figures of the Scheduled Castes people, and also indicated a gradual decrease in the number of the Scheduled Castes.
Now, Sir, what were the causes of this decrease ? There were two causes. The first is that, between 1911 and 1931, the Scheduled Castes could not get scent of the divide and rule policy of the British Government, the award of the Simon Commission and the provisions of the Government of India Act, 1935. Therefore' there was a tendency to raise the social status by removing the caste designation. The second reason is, that there was a tendency to raise their social status by changing their caste names and the Scheduled Castes took the help of certain leaders who did not belong to their own Communities or of the Puranas or the Shastras. These leaders made them Caste Hindus only in name; but they could not make them free from untouchability. This accounts for the gradual decrease in the Scheduled Castes people.
Then, I would like to draw the attention of the House to the position of the garden labourers. The 1911 census figures show that the strength of the garden labourers was 5,07,058. They mostly belonged to the depressed classes. I refer to article 73, page 57 of the Census report of 1921, Vol. III, part 1, in which it is stated the total garden labour population is 9,22,000. Over 7,82,000 or 85 per cent are Hindus. (Vide 1931 census, Report, Vol. III, Part 1, Page 222) : "these garden labourers were considered as garden cooly castes and their total population given in the report was 14 lakhs in which the number of Hindus was 13,16,000." According to the 1941 census, these garden cooly castes changed their status and they were considered as garden tribes. They were included in the Scheduled Tribes and thus increased the population of Scheduled Tribes from 16 lakhs to 28 lakhs. Thus, the status of the garden labourers has been changed gradually. Up to 1921 they belonged to the depressed classes; then they were promoted to garden cooly caste in 1931, then they were considered as garden Tribes in 1941.
Now, fortunately nine lakhs of them are going to be recognised as general, i.e., Caste Hindus. If we consider that out of 11,34,000 (vide 1941 census report) of the garden labourers 80 per cent (of this population) are belonging to the Hindu Community, then, the strength of the garden labourers comes to a total of about 10 lakhs Hindus. I strongly feel that 80 per cent of these Hindus garden coolies belong to the Scheduled Castes; thus we get about 8 lakhs of Scheduled Castes from the garden labourers. If we add these with the total population of Scheduled Caste of 1941 census then, I can claim rightfully that the Scheduled Castes population is sure to be about 11 lakhs even according to 1941 census. Therefore, if a real census is taken before the election, I can assure the House that we shall get about 11 to 12 lakhs of Scheduled Castes in the province of Assam.
Before the partition, one seat was allotted in the Constituent Assembly to the Scheduled Castes from Assam. After the partition also, this community was treated with exceptional generosity by the members of the Assam Legislative Assembly and one seat was allotted to them in the Constituent Assembly.
Mr. President: Is it your argument that because they happen to be eleven lakhs, there should not be any reservation of seats ?
Prof. N. C. Laskar: There should be, but I have some doubts in my mind; therefore I want some clarifications.
Mr. President: What are you driving at? Is it because they happen to be eleven or twelve lakhs in the province they should not have reservation of seats ?
Prof. N. C. Laskar: I would like to say that according to the 1941 census their numbers are about four lakhs. I have great doubts in my mind whether this population can claim any seat in the House of the People. Therefore, by my amendment I want some exception to be made for the Scheduled Castes of Assam so that they get representation in the House of the People.
Mr. President: Whatever their population may be, reservation of seats will be in proportion to their number.
Prof. N. C. Laskar: I have already proved before the House that the census figure of 1941 is not correct. I demand a regular census before election and if not, some exceptions to be made for this community before elections. I would like to say that for granting one seat in the Constituent Assembly even after the partition, I am very much grateful to the Honourable Premier of Assam and the Congress Parliamentary Party of the Assam Legislative Assembly. I feel that they realised the real strength of the Scheduled Castes in Assam and therefore granted one seat in the Constituent Assembly.
Then, Sir, in the amendment of Dr. Ambedkar, it is stated that:
"The Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes shall bear, as nearly as may be, the same proportion to the total number of seats allotted to that State...... as the population of the Scheduled Castes in that State or of the Scheduled Tribes in that State..
The insertion of the words "as nearly as may be" cannot remove my doubts, the meaning of the words "as nearly as may be" seems to be vague. The Election Commission may make out a common formula such as, "no seat should be allotted to a community having a population of less than 4,50,000." Thereby we cannot claim any seat in the House of the People. Therefore I want some exception in the provision of this article.
The language that has been used in my amendment is not my language. It is the language of the Drafting Committee. Mine is not a "solitary example". Exceptions have already been given to other communities also. By the provision of article 293 some exceptions are being made for the Anglo Indian community, and again by article 149 some exceptions are being made for the people of the tribal areas and Shillong constituencies of Assam. In Clause (3) of article 149 it is stated :
"The representation of each territorial constituency in the Legislative Assembly of a State shall be, on the basis of the population of that constituency as ascertained at the last preceding census of which the relevant figures have been published and shall, save in the case of the autonomous districts of Assam and the constituency comprising the cantonment and municipality of Shillong be on a scale of not more than one representative for every seventy-five thousand of the. population."
The Shillong constituency contains a population of about 12,000. Exception is also being made for that Shillong constituency under the provisions of this Constitution, and therefore I think my demand in my amendment is legitimate.
I cannot check temptation in giving some facts about the present situation of the Cachar districts in Assam which contain about one-third of the Scheduled Caste population, of Assam, which narrowly escaped from the grip of Pakistan by Radcliffe award and which district I belong to. After the partition, the total population of this district is 10,24,581. Of these, Scheduled Castes are 1,17,205, Hindus are, 2,82,646, and Muslims 4,34,205. There are also refugees who have come from Eastern Pakistan to Assam. Their total population will be about 55,000. The Muslim influx in this district is not less than that.
I shall now deal with the present position of the major communities of Cachar district. First of all, I shall take up the case of Hindus. About fifty per cent of these caste Hindus are untouchables. They are mainly belonging to Manipuries, Naths communities. There are some communist elements in my district. In the last Assembly election the Communist candidate from this district polled the largest number of votes amongst the Communist candidates in the whole of India, and therefore I cannot say that the Communist movement has been checked in my district. Some reactionaries of the Muslim community created also some troubles in my district. On the twelfth day after the assassination of Mahatmaji, small children started a silent procession and it was intercepted with lathi charge by some Muslims and the offenders were convicted in the court. Again in my district, I can quote another instance after partition. A cow was slaughtered on the land of' the Hindus just in front of a Kali temple. The offenders were caught hold and the case tried in the Law Court and the offenders were convicted. Therefore you can imagine, Sir, that there are some Muslim disrruptive elements also in my district. As regards the Scheduled Castes there are some followers of Mr. J. N. Mandal also. After Partition, the President of the Assam Scheduled Caste Federation appeared before the Boundary Commission with a memorandum to get Cachar included in Pakistan. Then just before the referendum, Mr. J. N. Mandal of Sylhet District, the Honourable Minister of Pakistan Government, was invited by the Scheduled Caste Federation and Mr. Mandal in a meeting requested the Scheduled Castes to vote for Pakistan.
But in the last election all the Scheduled Caste seats were captured by the Congress in Assam. Each seat was contested by the Scheduled Castes Federation but was badly defeated by the Congress. I do not know, if the Honourable Dr. Ambedkar has in his mind any prejudice against the Scheduled Castes of Assam. I hope he will kindly wash it off from his mind. Because I believe that he loves Scheduled Castes more than I do. He did much for the Scheduled Caste and I hope he will do much more. Therefore I request him to accept my amendment. If any privileges are not given to Scheduled Castes people of Assam, then these poor innocent people of Assam may be handled by some other reactionary groups. Therefore in consideration of the geographical position and political and strategic condition of Assam, I appeal to the House to accept my amendment. With these words, Sir, I move.
Shri Jaspat Roy Kapoor (United Provinces : General): Mr. President, Sir, I beg to move :
"That in amendment No. 22 above, at the end of the proposed article 292, the following proviso be added: -
'Provided that the constituencies for the seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes shall comprise, so far as possible such contiguous areas where they are comparatively more numerous than in other areas."'
If this is not acceptable to the House, I move alternatively that the following proviso be added :-
"Provided that reserved seats shall be allotted to such constituencies as contain comparatively larger number of Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes members than in other constituencies.
Sir, I am sure that everyone of us here today is very happy at the amendment which has been moved by the Honourable Dr. Ambedkar. By his amendment he is replacing the old draft of article 292. This is one of those few amendments which is going to have a far reaching consequence for the great good of the country, It is based on the agreement which has been arrived at in the Minorities Committee, between the major and the different minority communities of this country. By that agreement our Muslim friends and our Christian friends as also our Sikh brethren have agreed to give up reservation of seats in the different legislatures. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate them all for this wise and bold decision that they have taken in the larger interest of the country. I would particularly like to congratulate my Muslim brethren because for so many years past they have had separate electorates and separate representation and they had begun to think that therein only lay their salvation and that without separate electorate and separate representation it would not be possible for them to safeguard their interests. We know they were grossly mistaken but then all the same because of the clever tactics of the British Government, this thing had been instilled in their minds they always felt convinced about the propriety of this separate representation. It is a very fortunate day for us and for this country that they have now come to realise that such a system is certainly not in their interest. I congratulate them once again for this wise and bold decision. They have now thrown the responsibility of safeguarding their interests on the major community and it is now for the major community to show by their conduct, by their actions, by their dealings towards the Muslim brethren to convince them that they were in the wrong in the past and that they are right now, that their interests are safe when they forget to think themselves as a separate community and that their interest is the same as the interest of the major community or rather that the interest of every community and every citizen of the country lies in the interest of the country as a whole.
The major community has already begun to realise what a tremendous responsibility has been thrown on its shoulders. I know of several places where members of the majority community have realised their responsibility. I would hereafter very much prefer not to refer to any community as major or minor community and I am sure after the adoption of this article and the coming into being of this Constitution we should forget the sting of communities as major and minor communities. Because the more we talk in this way the more we remind the people that we are not one Nation and that they are different communities with different interests. I have often felt that when we address meetings and say Hindu and Muslim "Bhaiyon" and when we appeal to them that the Hindus, Muslims and Christians should come together - I have always felt that we remind them by that appeal that they are so many different communities who need being brought together. It is much better that we do not refer them as Hindus, Muslims and Christians in our meetings and publications. The members of the majority community have already begun to realise that a heavy responsibility has been cast on them by their Muslim brethren. They have now thrown themselves at our mercy - if I could put it like that and therefore, we now owe it to our Muslim brethren and we owe it more to ourselves to prove by our conduct and actions that the trust that they have reposed in us will not be betrayed, that this step has not been a wrong one and that they have everything to gain thereby. The majority community is out to make specific efforts to see that in the elections - municipal and otherwise, that are to take place shortly in some places the Muslims may be elected not only in proportion to their number but even more, if possible.
Of course the task is not an easy one. It would have been easier before partition. It has been made more difficult by partition, because partition has been brought about because of the existence of separate electorates and separate representation. That canker in our political system leading to the partition of the country and the consequent tragedy thereafter has left behind bitter memories, and it will take sometime before these bitter memories are wiped out but all responsible members of the major community are keenly alive to the responsibility that has now been cast on their shoulders, and they have already begun to take active steps to see that in the elections that will take place hereafter their Muslim brethren's interests are amply safeguarded.
I would also like to congratulate our Christian friends who have also given up their contention of separate representation and reservation of seats. In the past the Christians had hardly ever demanded separate representation.
They have all along been nationalists to their core, but somehow when this Draft Constitution was under preparation some of them thought that since Muslims, Scheduled Castes and even Sikhs and probably even Parsees were thinking of having separate seats reserved they might as well take advantage of this and claim a few seats in the legislatures. Happily they gave it up, which of course I know was hardly ever put with any seriousness. The credit in a great measure for this must go to my honourable and revered Friend Dr. H. C. Mookherjee who adorned this Chair in your absence, Sir. I have developed very great regard and affection for Dr. H.C. Mookherjee. I have known how hard he worked to persuade his own community and how still harder he worked to persuade the other communities to give up claiming reservation of seats, and if he has not succeeded in persuading the Scheduled Castes Members to give up this claim, the fault is not surely his.
As I am thinking of Dr. Mookherjee I cannot forget to mention my Friend Mr. Sidhva over there. He was perhaps thinking why, I am forgetting him but I had not forgotten him. I was thinking that at the end I would congratulate him and not only him but the great Parsee community to which he belongs, not only for giving up the claim of reservation but for something more and that is for never having thought of it at all. Their is an example worth emulating. The Parsee community is neither a majority community nor a minority community. It is, if I may say so, a baby community, and though, a baby may well always claim special treatment and special nursing, this baby community has never thought of any special protection. What is the result? We find Parsees being represented not only represented but even overwhelmingly represented, looking to their small number, in this country, not only in the legislature but in every walk of life, be it social, industrial, commercial banking or any others. They have always been patriots whose example is worth emulating. On this occasion I cannot forget mentioning the sacred names of Dadhabhoy Naoroji of revered memory, the late Sir Pherozeshah Mehta, the late Shri Dinshaw Wacha whose names go down in history as the makers of modern India, as the harbingers of freedom in this country and to their sacred memory I bow my head in reverence. I congratulate and express my great appreciation for the patriotic attitude which this baby community has always adopted in this country.
Late of all, Sir, I would like to refer to my Sikh brethren. They also deserve our congratulations for having fallen in line with the other minority communities. As a matter of fact our Sikh brethren should never have thought of being a minority community. They have always been part and parcel of the Hindu community. Only for a few loaves and fishes of office or seats in the legislatures they allowed themselves to be tempted to claim separate representation. I say they are always a part and parcel of the Hindu Community, in spite of what any Sikh friend of mine might say to the contrary. There has always been inter-dining; there has always been inter-marriages between the Hindus and Sikhs, though these inter-marriages have become less common now ever since our Sikh brothers have begun to say that they are entirely separate from the Hindus. I hope there will be a change in their attitude also and we shall have occasion hereafter to welcome this changed attitude on their part. Our Sikh brethren have always been not only part and parcel of the Hindu community, but they have always been the sword-arm of the Hindus and of the country as a whole. Hereafter we are going to forget thinking in terms of Hindus. Muslims and Sikhs as such and they shall continue to be the sword-arm of India. To them we shall look up for the defence of the country and for keeping our enemies out of our boundaries.
But, Sir, I wish I could similarly congratulate my Scheduled Caste friends, but then, unfortunately today there is no such occasion. They still think that they cannot safely fall in with other minority communities in this country. As I said about the Sikhs, so also the Scheduled Castes people are not a minority community which have a separate entity from the Hindus; they are blood of our blood and flesh of our flesh. Why should they think that they are in any way separate from the rest of the Hindus community ? We do not wish to impose on them our judgment and our views. We will leave it to them to realize in course of time that they are not in the right when they demand reservation of seats; and the other communities of this country is as short a time as possible by their conduct must convince the members of the Scheduled Castes that their interests are as safe in the hands of the rest of India as in their own hands. The rest of India must, therefore, make specific efforts to remove this apprehension in the minds of the Scheduled Castes, so that even before the period of ten years they may themselves come forward with the suggestion that they do not want any reservation of seats. My amendment is in that direction. Now that they have demanded reservation of seats, let us give it to them. Let us not only give it to them but let us make such provisions which may ensure a representation of their to their satisfaction. My amendment suggests that constituencies which are reserved for the Scheduled Caste members should be such as contain a larger number of Scheduled Caste voters than in other constituencies so that it may be easier for the Scheduled Castes to send to the legislatures such persons as are of their confidence. The larger the number of the members of the Scheduled Castes in a constituency the easier will it be for them to elect member of their choice. Their choice if it not be actually the determining and deciding factor, at least it should have a great voice, a very influential voice in the selection or the election of candidates. This is my objection moving this amendment.
Again I say, it is for the Scheduled Caste themselves to see whether this amendment of mine is to their advantage or not. My intention is to suggest to them that they might accept it for I consider it to be in their interest, and in whatever lies their interest, lies the interest of the rest of the communities of this country. Should they feel that they have nothing to gain by accepting this amendment, or that they have something to lose thereby, I shall readily withdraw this amendment, because I do not want to press any amendment which, though moved with a view to safeguard their interests, and to give them some thing more than what they have for themselves, does not meet with their approval. With these words, Sir, I place this amendment of mine for the consideration of the House or I should rather say particularly for the consideration of my Scheduled Caste friends, but if they do not want it, it should not be there.
Mr. President: I may point out to honourable Members that the articles which we are now considering represent decisions which we have taken after two days' debate and it is not necessary to repeat that debate again. So Members might confine themselves to the amendments, or if they have any different views they might express them, but we need not go over the same ground that we covered during the debate which lasted two days.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar (Bombay: General): I was going to suggest, with regard to the amendment which stands in the name of Rev. Nichols-Roy, that this is more relevant to the interpretation clause where the Scheduled Castes and the Tribal people will be defined. If my friend is keen on moving this amendment, I think it should properly stand over until we come to that part of the Constitution - article 303.
Mr. President: Have your followed Dr. Ambedkar ?
The Honourable Rev. J. J. M. Nichols-Roy (Assam : General) : Yes, I have. My amendment was based on the amendment which was going to be moved by Mr. Thakkar, No. 3108, and I now find that the amendment (No. 28) which he is now going to move is in a different form. However, if Mr. Thakkar is not going to move this amendment, I also will not move my amendment now. But I reserve the right that I shall move my amendment at the time when this matter will be discussed under article 303.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: I also suggest that the amendments which stand in the name of Mr. Thakkar should stand over and be taken at the same time when we are dealing with article 303.
The Honourable Rev. J. J. M. Nichols-Roy: If Mr. Thakkar agrees. I will agree.
Shri A. V. Thakkar (Saurashtra) : I completely agree.
Mr. President : So both amendments stand over.
Sardar Hukam Singh (East Punjab : Sikh) : Sir, I am not moving amendment Nos. 29 to 31. I beg to move:
"That in amendment No. 22 of List I (Fifth Week) of Amendments to Amendments, at the end of the proposed article 292, the following Explanation be added:
At the outset, I might submit that the Explanation proposed in this amendment is not a new idea. It was already there in the recommendations of the Minorities Advisory Committee and that recommendation was also placed, and I am sure, agreed to, by this sovereign body on the 27th and 28th August 1947. In my opinion it was a wholesome provision. I do not know why it has been dropped in this draft. Of course things were different when the original was put before this Constituent Assembly and all religious minorities had been given........
Shri S. Nagappa (Madras : General) : I rise to a point of order. The amendment which my honourable Friend is moving is superfluous. It has been provided in the Constitution itself that Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes can contest not only seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes but the general seats as well. So my honourable Friend's amendment is superfluous. So I would request my honourable Friend, that as it is already provided for in the Constitution......
Mr. President: That is not a point of order. After he has moved it you can ask him to withdraw it.
Shri S. Nagappa: I would recommend to my Friend not to move his, amendment as it would be superfluous.
Sardar Hukam Singh: I am thankful to my Friend for this counsel, and if I am convinced that certainly it is not required, I will have no hesitation to withdraw it subsequently. But I think it should be made clear here, as it was in the original draft that the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes shall have the additional right to contest the general seats as well.
I was submitting, Sir, that when the first draft was put before the House all religious minorities were given reservation of seats. They have now voluntarily agreed not to have them. My community is also one of those religious minorities. The Sikhs are not sorry for having come to that decision. They think that it is the right decision for the benefit of the minorities themselves.
But Mr. Kapoor has referred to one or two things to which, I must beg permission to reply. He has said that the minorities, - and he has given very good counsel, - should cease to think in terms of minorities and majorities and that we should all consider ourselves as one whole community. I do agree with him there and I can assure my honourable Friend that the Sikhs do want to be and will try to be welded into one whole. I have also heard several times slogans here in this House and outside as well that there are no minorities now. I wish it were so. But my submission is that so far we have this question, the minorities are there. Mere wise counsels and slogans will not eliminate them. It is something else, something better, that is required to bring about the objective, the goal that we desire to reach. For that purpose, I cannot do better than read a passage from the introductory remarks of our learned Friend Dr. Ambedkar when he introduced this Draft Constitution. He gave very sound counsel to the majority and the minorities and I think those words have much significance and they stand even today as the only solution of this problem.
He said then that the minorities have loyally accepted the rule of the majority which is basically a communal majority and not a political majority. It is for the majority to realise its duties not to discriminate against minorities. Whether minorities will continue or will vanish must depend upon the habit of the majority. The moment the majority loses the habit of discriminating against the minority the minorities can have no ground to exist. They will vanish, but that depends entirely upon the attitude of the majority.
I cannot improve upon it. My only submission to Mr. Kapoor is that this is the only solution and if the majority behaves and conducts itself in a manner that the minorities feel secure, then certainly they will vanish in a certain period of time. So far as the Sikhs are concerned - I cannot speak for the others - they have certain natural apprehensions and these slogans and these wise counsels will only increase those apprehensions. They feel that it is the future alone that could tell them whether their fears are well-founded or not.
Now I come to the merits of this amendment of mine. I think the original object was that, because we were taking a jump over from the separate electorates to unadulterated joint electorates, the Minorities Committee recommended that lest the minorities might feel apprehensive of the sudden change they must be assured some seats by reservation and a minimum number of seats should be secured to them. It could not be the object of the Minority Committee or this Assembly that the maximum should be limited. If this additional right is not given then the only effect is that the maximum number is being limited and not that the minimum be secured.
My second point is that this feeling of separation should go. We are accepting this reservation of seats as an unavoidable evil for the present, though it is only for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. I am not directly concerned with it, but I do feel that if we want this feeling of separatism to go then it is necessary that side by side with this reservation there should be a feeling in the minds of these classes as well that they are a part of the whole and that they have some part to play in other seats as well and that they can stand for those seats as anybody else. If after ten years suddenly we were to go to the other side, then this might not be accepted with equanimity and there might be certain bickering.
The third point I want to submit is that this additional rights would not materially affect the numerical strength of the majority. So far as I can make out it is only a psychological gesture; otherwise there is very little chance that the minority for whom these seats have been reserved shall secure additional seats to any considerable extent. But why should there be a feeling in their minds that a close preserve is being maintained by the majority for itself and it is to their benefit that such seats are being reserved ? In my humble submission there is no harm absolutely if that additional right which was contemplated in the beginning is given to them and they are allowed to contest the seats that are not reserved for them.
Shri V. I. Muniswamy Pillay (Madras : General) : Mr. President, Sir, I rise to move the two amendments that I have given notice of. I move:
"That in amendment No. 22 of List I (Fifth Week) of Amendments to Amendments, in clause (2) of the proposed article 292, after the words 'as the population' the words 'actually exists or known by a fresh census' be inserted."
I do not wish to take much of the time of the House since the reports of the Advisory Committees have been dealt with thread-bare in this House. I would, however, like to bring to the notice of the Drafting Committee certain factors which will go a long way to assure the Scheduled Castes of the seats that ought to be allotted to them under the scheme of reservation. The reason for my suggesting that the population must be taken as it exists today, or determined by a fresh census is because in the 1931 census the total population of Scheduled Castes was computed to be 50 millions, but in the census of 1941 it is shown as nearly 44 millions. I do not know how it is possible for a community like the Scheduled Castes to dwindle in the course of ten years. In August 1947 when the report of the Minorities Committee was considered in this august Assembly my honourable Friend, Mr. Khadekar, who happens to be the President of the Depressed Classes League of India, urged that a census should be taken before the allocation of seats, or that our numerical strength should be fixed on the basis of the 1931 census. We are prepared to accept representation either on the basis of the 1931 census or on a new census which will be taken in 1951. But the figures of the census of 1941 are utterly wrong so far as the Scheduled Castes are concerned. Any representation on that basis would be grossly unjust to us.
Secondly, due to the division of the country there has been a great influx of Harijans from the East Bengal to West Bengal and also from the West Punjab to East Punjab. It is a well known fact that lakhs of people of my community have had to emigrate to India due to the partition and various other causes. This matter should be taken note of by the Drafting Committee.
The third point I wish to make is that the 1935 Act and the orders thereon give power to the various Provincial Governments to include such of the communities as are considered to be backward and take them in the list of Scheduled Castes. From 1941, many communities have been taken on to the list of the Scheduled Castes, and as a matter of fact my Friend Shri Thakkar Bapa has given notice of a few communities that should be taken on the list. Taking these into consideration I feel that, the population of the Scheduled Castes will be more than what it was in 1941. It will therefore be necessary that a census should be taken as early as possible for the purpose of computing the number of seats so that the Scheduled Castes may feel satisfied that they have secured their political rights.
Another thing which I would like to submit to this august Assembly is in regard to determining the seats for the Scheduled Castes on the population basis. This House has granted adult franchise. Those that were minors in 1941 would have become adults during these ten years, and unless a correct census is taken it cannot be said that the population of the Scheduled Castes has been correctly computed. This is one of the important reasons, because the article clearly says :
"The same proportion to the total number of seats allotted to that State in the House of the People as the population of the Scheduled Castes in that State or of the Scheduled Tribes in that State or part of that State, as the case may be, in respect of which seats are so reserved bears to the total population of that State."
All those who were minors in 1941 would have become adults at present and so it is imperative that they must be included in the population list. Hence a fresh census for this purpose is necessary.
The other day my honourable Friend Dr. Ambedkar said that there is no reservation in the Upper House. As I read the report I could not come to that conclusion at all. I feel strongly that a large number of Scheduled Castes must get into the Lower House, if there is no reservation in the Upper House, so that our position may be safer.
I would also like to state that by reservation which is envisaged in this article it should not be taken to perpetuate the seclusion of this community for all time. I know the real Gandhian spirit has been applied in this article, so that other communities may rise up to the occasion; and whether it be for the more years the other communities must exhibit a very brotherly love towards this unfortunate community known as the Scheduled Castes, so that after this period they themselves may come forward and say that they require no reservation.
With regard to my second amendment, which I move "determining constituencies where the Scheduled Castes are in largest numbers in each district", my honourable Friend Mr. Jaspat Roy Kapoor has given us enough and more reasons why it is necessary that determining of seats or constituencies for the Scheduled Castes must be in contiguous areas, where the largest number of them inhabit. The reason is that in years past the seats were allotted in such places where the caste Hindus and other communities predominated and hence the Harijan was not given free scope to exercise his franchise as also to see that the best men of the community were returned. It is for this reason that I have given notice of this amendment as well. I hope that the Drafting committee will either accept my amendment or that of Mr. Kapoor.
words I support the motion moved by Dr.
Pandit Thakur Das Bhargava (East Punjab : General): Sir, I wish to move amendments Nos. 237, 236 and 234 in the Consolidated List up to the 10th July 1949.
I beg to move :
"That in amendment No. 225 above at the end of the proposed article 292 the following proviso be added :
"That in amendment No. 225, above, after clause (2) of the proposed article 292, the following new clause be added :
"That in amendment No. 225, above, in clause (2) of the proposed article 292, but before the Explanation, the following proviso be inserted:
I accept the interpretation which my Friend Mr. Nagappa just put on the general articles which we have passed already. According to the relevant article which the House has already passed every person has a right to stand for the general seats, which means that persons for whom seats are being reserved shall also have the right to contest general seats unless there is a provision to the contrary.
It is quite true that democracy means one person one vote. When the House agrees to reservation of seats for certain classes it really gives them a concession, an unavoidable concession under the circumstances in which we are placed. This is the right solution of the difficulty. I do not know whether any member of the Scheduled Castes wants that seats be reserved for them. All that he wants is that he should come up to the general standard of the other communities in this land and for this purpose there are other means in which this could be brought about. Since these classes think as also others that they will not be returned in the general constituencies it is best that we have agreed to reservation of seats for them. I have no doubt that if they are allowed to contest general seats we are certainly doing a wrong thing. We are departing from a principle but all the same I think that if this right is allowed to the Scheduled Castes no harm is being done. If psychologically they are happy over it, let them have that happiness. I do not think there will be a single seat in the whole of India from the general seats to which a member of the Scheduled Castes will be returned.
I will be happy if many of them are returned. I want that the members of the Scheduled Castes should enjoy the confidence of the other classes. I would be happy if many of them are returned defeating the other candidates. I do not grudge them this right. I am sure that after the lapse of ten years many of them will say : "We tried to see if other classes support us. We have not been supported. Therefore there is a case for the continuance of the reservation". Then this argument will not be open to them. As they have accepted the extreme limit of 10 years with open eyes.
In regard to the Scheduled Castes of Assam, the case is peculiar. In Assam, as I have been told, there are 20 per cent. Muslims, 32 per cent. Scheduled tribes and those who are not reserved from about 48 per cent of the population. If there is a big majority for those that are not reserved, I do not mind giving the persons who have seats reserved right to contest the general seats. But in relation to people whose numbers are less than half, this kind of right is certain to give valid ground for grouse.
Kazi Syed Karimuddin (C. P. & Berar : Muslim) : Muslims and others for whom seats are not reserved will get more than 60 per cent.
Pandit Thakur Das Bhargava : My Friend's 60 per cent adds more weight to my argument. I submit that reservation of seats being not a desirable thing, reservation for classes is calculated to induce a feeling of separateness and exclusiveness and would stand against the amalgamation of classes. In this view also it will not be fair to give these classes who have been favoured with this undemocratic right the right to contest other seats thus reducing still further the strength of those who have not been given reserved seats. Sir, everyone has got a right to be represented by a person of his choice. By reserving seats to certain classes you are depriving people of their right to be represented by persons of their choice. I can understand the argument that you are taking away the rights of others also. Those persons belonging to the Scheduled Classes may also choose to be represented in the legislatures by persons of their choice. And it may happen that they may place more faith on particular candidates from the unreserved classes. So reservation as a matter of fact deprives all people of their right to choose. It should be therefore our endeavour to see that the evils of this reservation do not harm the interests and the legitimate rights of the others. Therefore I say that in the case of Assam, where the unreserved people are less than 50 per cent., it is but fair that you do not allow the reserved classes to infringe upon the rights of the unreserved, people.
Now I come to my second amendment 236 :
"That in amendment No. 225 above, after clause (2) of the proposed article 292, the following new clause be added:
If there are plural constituencies my humble submission is that the representation secured is not fair. Those candidates who have to stand for plural-member constituencies will not fully represent those for whom they stand in the same effective manner in which those who represent single-member constituencies will represent those for whom they stand. In the case of the Scheduled Caste men those who will stand to represent them would be persons quite unknown except in their own neighbourhood. Therefore to ask them to stand for plural-member constituencies will mean that people who vote for them will be absolute strangers to them. This is also true of the other unreserved classes, because people are not generally known far beyond their immediate neighbourhood. As a matter of fact a person who is popular in his own district has no right to stand for another district. He may be unknown there. Therefore representation by means of plural-member constituencies is no right at all.
Moreover, when you consider the question of expenditure for canvassing an electorate of 7,50,000 people spread over a vast area you will understand the ,difficulty and the trouble of candidate. Similarly I submit that if there are single-member constituencies people living in the constituency will be deprived of their right to choose their particular candidate in so far as only persons from a particular tribe will be allowed to stand. If these are plural-member constituencies the trouble will be greater. Considering all these, neither in the interests of the classes for whom seats are reserved nor in the interests of the others there should be plural-member constituencies. I would appeal to the House to accept this suggestion of mine and make it a part of the Constitution that, as far as possible, this representation of the Scheduled Castes also should not be from plural-member constituencies, but from single member constituencies.
Now I come to my third amendment, viz.,
"That in amendment No. 225 above, after clause (2) of the proposed article 292, but before the Explanation, the following proviso be inserted:
'Provided that for the calculation the balance of the proportion is more than half of what it requires to obtain one seat, one seat shall be allotted and if it is less than half it shall be ignored.' "
It is a rule of mathematics and an equitable rule too. I do not want to say anything further about it. This is a just proposition.
Mr. President: The amendments moved by Pandit Bhargava are, Nos. 234, 236 and 237 of the List of Amendments of 10th July 1949.
Shri Kuladhar Chaliha (Assam : General) : Mr. President, I shall confine my remarks firstly to the motion moved by my Friend Professor Laskar. I feel deeply sympathetic to his case, but then we are faced with a difficult situation. If you take the figures of population of Assam his case will not stand scrutiny. First, we find that we have there 34 lakhs of tribal population and 17 lakhs of Muslims, leaving the general population in a sort of minority. According to the 1941 census the total population of Assam (Divided) was about 74 lakhs. As such, it is very difficult to give representation in the House of the People on the basis of population which is only 31/4 lakhs of Scheduled Castes. There are other communities in Assam such as Ahoms. They are three lakhs odd. The Ahoms were the ruling community and therefore they will have as much right to claim a seat. Then we have Mataks and Morans who are also 31/2 lakhs, Chutias about 11/4 lakhs, seats for them also to be created and carved out of the general community which, as I have said, is a minority. I feel that Mr. Laskar's community deserves our sympathy and I hope Mr. Laskar will have a seat in the House. But our position is such that it is impossible for us to concede his point. We have grown a convention in our part of the country to see that as far as possible all communities are represented. The Congress Committee has observed this for a very long time and they will make sure that in spite of the fact that the number of his community is small, there is a chance in the next five years for him to come into the House of the People.
Mr. Laskar has also found fault with the census figures. The Congress was, not in power in 1941. It is true that most of the figures for the tribals have been inflated. Some of the Scheduled Castes were said to have been converted to tribal religion because they were addicted to drink, and others were said to have been converted to Hinduism, and the increase in 184 per cent. But that is not the fault of the Congress. If there is an increase of the tribal population God alone is to be blamed and none else. I hope in the next census, such sort of things will not occur, and that things will be just and equitable.
As regards Pandit Thakur Das Bhargava's amendment, Sir, I agree with him. The general constituencies of Assam are in a minority. Those who claim reservation should not further transgress into the domain of the general population and should have no right to seek seats there. Fortunately in Assam we have been carrying on happily, making adjustments, and I am sure that the minorities will show us the tolerance which we expect of them and we will show them that tolerance which they expect of us as well.
With these words, Sir, I oppose Mr. Laskar's amendment and I give my qualified support for Pandit Thakur Das Bhargava's amendment. Also I am at one with Rev. Nichols Roy in his views, that the seats reserved for the tribal's should not be deprived on one ground or another and the tribals should not be divided as proposed in another amendment.
Mr. President: Mr. Jaipal Singh.
Shri M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar (Madras : General) : The question may now be put.
Mr. president : I have already called him.
Shri Jaipal Singh (Bihar : General) : Mr. President, Sir, it is most unfortunate that this House has not had an opportunity to discuss the recommendations made by the two Tribal Sub-Committees. I know we had a debate of two days to consider the report of the Minorities Committee in regard to whether the Scheduled Castes and the Muslims were to get any reservation of seats or not. At that time all the discussion was confined to the Muslim problem only. When I raised the question of our reports, you were pleased to say, Sir, that this House would have an opportunity in the future to discuss the reports. However, if it is the wish of the House that without any discussion the articles which deal with the scheduled tribes will be taken up in this House. I have no personal quarrel except that it is very unfortunate that the two Chairmen of these two Sub-Committees should not have an opportunity to explain to the Members why their recommendations have taken a particular pattern.
Take for example the recommendations of the Sub-Committee of which I myself was a member and over which the venerable social reformer the honourable Mr. Thakur presided. In due course we will have to discuss certain provisions that have been recommended by this Sub-Committee. Why these recommendations have been made will to be explained by someone. I should have thought that it would be very much better if a discussion had taken place which would have put the Members wise as to the investigations that have been carried out, as to why the Sub-Committee had come to certain conclusions, as to why, for example, I had to submit a minority minute of dissent, as to why my Friend, Mr. Devendra Nath Samanta, had to agree with me in regard to my minute of dissent, etc. All these things would have been thrashed out in extenso in the discussion so that the Members would have appreciated the difficulties of the Sub-Committee on the tribal problems before they participated in the discussion and before they exercised their vote for or against any of the recommendations.
Having said that, Sir, I would like to congratulate Dr. Ambedkar for his new amendment which he has presented to us today. As I have said before, if there is any group of people who have got a right to rule over India, they are the Adibasis. They are first-rate Indians and all the others are second-rate, third-rate, fourth-rate, nth-rate Indians. I think that situation has to be appreciated when we take up questions like the reservation of seats. Sir, we are not begging anything. I do not come here to beg. It is for the majority community to atone for their sins of the last six thousand odd years. It is for them to see whether the original inhabitants of this country have been given a fair deal by the late rulers. But the future can be brightened up. What has happened in the past, let it be a matter of the past. Let us look forward to a glorious future, to a future where there shall be justice and equality of opportunity.
One honourable Member said that he was glad that the Muslims and the Christians had given up something, given up the reservation of seats. Sir, the Adivasis are not giving up anything because they never had anything. It seems very surprising that people should talk of democracy when their whole conduct has been anti-democratic in the past. What have the general community done for these backward people in the past? Has there been anything in the statute to prevent them from putting up the Adivasis in more seats than were due to them according to their population ? Take Bihar. There are 5.1 million Adivasis in Bihar, but only 7 Adivasi M. L. As. Did the Congressmen put up a single Adivasi for a general seat ? No. Take the Central Provinces and Berar. There were before the merger of the States 2.9 million Adivas; but there was only one seat for the Adivasis. After the merger, there would be an addition of something like 2.8 million more, a large majority of whom would be Adivasis. I can say the same thing about every province. Even in a province like Bombay, where without the merged States, there was an Adivasi population of 1.6 million, which would be added to on account of the merger by a figure that may double itself from out of the 4.4 million that have been put within the province, there is only one seat reserved. And also in a province where the Premier has been a very ardent worker amongst the Adivasis for many years. He was the President of the Adivasi Seva Mandal there and it was a privilege for me to see something of the work he did before he became the Premier. After he became the Premier, he could not devote so much time for that work.
Even in a province where you have such a sympathetic leader of the dominant party, you find no generosity whatever. People talk of democracy. Let them search their hearts. Is there anything that prevented them from bringing out these people from their jungle fastnesses into the legislature ? How do they explain their niggardliness, in fact their apathy, hostility to bring these people to the legislature and other forums of public life? It is essential that these people should be compelled to come out of their jungle fastnesses. It is for that reason reservation is very necessary. If you want unity in this country, we must all get together.
Sir, in this connection, I would like to quote something that you said about nine years ago when you were the Chairman of the Reception Committee of the 53rd session of the Indian National Congress at Ramgarh. I am not quoting anything out of its proper context. I think what you said is very relevant to prove what I have been endeavouring to say. You said:
"That portion of Bihar where this great assemblage is meeting today has its own peculiarities. In beauty, it is matchless. Its history, too, is wonderful. These parts are inhabited very largely by those who are regarded as the original inhabitants of India. Their civilisation differs in many respects from the civilisation of other people. The discovery of old articles shows that this civilisation is very old. The Adibasis belong to a different stock (Austrick) from the Aryas and people of the same stock are spread toward the south-east of India in the many islands to a great distance. Their ancient culture is preserved in these parts to a considerable extent, perhaps more than elsewhere. It is not, however, as if the Aryas and the Adibasis never mingled with one another. As a matter of fact there have been considerable intermixture and exchange. Aryas have taken many things from them and they have taken many things from the Aryas. With all this, however, they have kept themselves apart. It is the opinion of experts that the colour and facial expression of the Biharis, the formation of their skulls and even their language exhibit clear unmistakable marks of their influence. Having, however. once cast their influence on the Biharis, the Adibasis have made much of our culture and our speech their own."
There has been this peculiarity. In certain parts of India, what is called inter-mixture and inter-mingling has been fairly considerable with the result that the process of absorption into the Hindu fold has been very great. On the other hand, in particular areas this has not been the case. There has however developed somehow a hostility between the ancient people and the new-comers. When the Aryan hordes came into this country, naturally they were unwelcome because they were intruders. But they began to pour in streams one after another and pushed the people that were there, the aboriginals, the Adivasis, further and further away. The Arya-speaking people settled in the rich Gangetic valley and ousted the Adivasis who had to retreat to the jungle fastnesses because the Aryas found them inhospitable. That is roughly the history as to why the Adivasis are today found only in the mountainous tracts, because these tracts were inhospitable, were inclement to the Aryan people.
Now, that, of course, is no longer the case. Nothing is isolated. We can get everywhere and therefore, intercourse on a fresh scale, on a much more intensive scale, will take place in the future. Another reason for the hostility and bitter feeling against the dikus, as we call the new-comers- diku means new-comer-- has been the fact that the new-comer has always exploited the simple, ignorant Adivasi; he has looted him of his land; he has expropriated him of his many rights; he has taken away that jungle freedom from him. This the Adivasi rightly resents. All this hostility that has gone on for thousand and thousands of years must be done away with. I am very glad indeed that in the new Constitution there is not going to be anything like separate electorates. I welcome the fact that the Adivasis will be elected from the joint general electorates. I also welcome the fact that the House, as a whole, is unanimous that the Adivasis must be compelled to come into the Government of the provinces as well as at the Centre. The result of this article 292 will be, whereas in the past we had seven M. L. As. from Bihar, now we shall have something like 51. There must be 51 because there will be 51 seats reserved for them. There may be more if the political parties would be generous enough to give more seats than is due to the Adivasis according to their population figures. Like that, in the Central Provinces, where as there is only one Adivasi M. L. A., there may be as many as thirty. In Assam, according to the population, there are 2.4 million Adivasis; at present there are only nine seats, reserved for them. Well, I am not one who was ever an admirer of the census figures. Ever since the Hindu Mahsabha became a millitant political organisation, the census figures have never been reliable or accurate. We have yet to get to a stage where we want to get scientific facts in an honest way. Take for instance, the Central Provinces. You compare the figures of Adibasis there, say in 1941; take the censuses of 1921, 1931 and 1941. You find in between 1911 and 1941 the figure gets reduced by 18 lakhs. I know particularly that the Adivasis are not a dying race and yet somehow or other one minute the Gonds are enumerated as Hindus and the next minute they come back as Adivasis; and that type of cooking of figures and misenumeration has gone on at every census and the sooner this country becomes honest about it and tries to find out statistics in an honest way, without any religious bias, the better it will be. At the last Session of the Indian Science Congress, the scientists said- there are people who want to know and who are not moved by religious or political bias- that there were in this country not less than 30 million Adibasis. In 1941 census the figure is of course only 24.8 million. You may multiply that by 5 or not, but, the fact is that any section of our society that is economically and politically backward must have safeguards and provisions which will enable it to come up to the general level.
That is the only reason, Mr. President, why I do support the reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and the scheduled tribes and for no other reason. I am not at all optimistic that in the short space of ten years, which means two general election, Adibasis will have come to the level of the rest of India and therefore at the end of ten years reservation of seats should be done away with. I am not one who will be so bold as to believe in such a miracle. Things are not going to move as fast as we would like them to move. I would have preferred that this matter should have been reviewed at the end of ten years to find out whether Adibasis and Scheduled Castes in the two general elections that will take place during the ten years had made good, whether they had been able to assert themeselves in the Councils and take their share in the national life of the country. When that had been made, then I think the Parliament could decide whether or not these reservations should be done away with or continued for a further period of say ten or fifteen or twenty-five years. I would have preferred it that way but if there is any suspicion in the minds of non-Scheduled Caste people or non-Adibasis, I would not insist on it. The generous thing would have been to give them ample scope to come into all the Councils in the provinces and at the Centre and not to limit them only to two general elections.
Some people harp on separatism being implied in reservation of seats. Some people have a kink and they like to explain everything away by attributing separatism to any difference of opinion. It has become the fashion in this country to call every rebel a Communist. Similarly, those of us who desire that the backward groups in our society should be compelled to come by the front door and not by backdoor and the front door is open reservation, are dubbed as separatists. It does not lie in the mouth of people to talk of separatism when 30 million Adibasis have been treated as political untouchables over centuries. It does not lie in the mouth of those people to tell Adibasis what democracy is. Adibasi society is the most democratic element in this country. Can the rest of India say the same thing? Can people who have for centuries been living under the Caste system honestly and genuinely say that they can have a democratic outlook? It takes time. In Adibasi society all are equal, rich or poor. Everyone has equal opportunities and I don not wish that people should get away with the idea that by writing this Constituttion and operating it we are trying to put a new idea into the Adibasi society. What we are actually doing is you are learning and taking something as you, Mr. President, said. Non-Adibasi society has learnt much and has still to learn a good deal. Adi basis are the most democratic people and they will not let India get smaller or weaker. It is not they who are responsible for the partition. Adibasis claim the whole of India. So I would like that Members should look at it from that generous angle and not be so condescending. You are clearing your own conscience, having expropriated them from their lands, having made laws whereby you have driven them out of their rights. What is the position today? Why are there about ten lakhs of people in Assam crimped away from Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Bihar and they are running from place to place with no sense of security? It is because non-Adibasis have taken away their lands, cheated them and they continue to cheat.
Now it is very necessary in the interest of this country, for its great future, that every element of India, be it backward or forward, should get together and pull in the same direction and for that we must see to it that the backward sections come up. Reservation is very necessary for the backward people whether they are Adibasis or whether they are Scheduled Castes, or Jains or Muslims. Once you acknowledge that something has got to be done, some fulcrum has to be pushed in to tilt them up to a higher level, then the question of separatism does not arise at all. Therefore I, as an Adibasi representative, am not ashamed to accept this principle of reservation. I regret it is there only for ten years, because I am convinced that India is not going to become heaven, that everybody is not going to become a graduate in ten years or that everybody will get politically educated. What is necessary is that the backward groups in our country should be enabled to stand on their own legs so that they can assert themselves. It is not the intention of this Constitution, nor do I desire it, that the advanced community should be carrying my people in their arms for the rest of enternity. All that we plead is that the wherewithal should be provided as has been provided in article 292, so that we will be able to stand on our own legs and regain the lost nerves and be useful citizens of India.
There is much more to be said, but, I understand that some of the amendments have been deferred to another occasion and, therefore, I would not say much at this stage. But I am sure and I may assure non-Adibasis that Adibasis will play a much bigger part than you imagine, if only you will be honest about your intentions and let them play a part they have a right to play.
Shri R. V. Dhulekar (United Provinces : General) : What does he exactly want?
Shri Jaipal Singh: I want Mr. Dhulekar to behave just as he used to when he was a student in St. Columba's College, Hazaribagh, when he mixed freely with the Adibasis and spoke of them as being the finest citizens in India. But at the present moment, the Adi basis have been put into a watertight compartment. I know there are people who will say that the British put them into zoos. We have now an Indian National Government. Is the zoo not still there? Popular ministries have been heard of in this country for the last twelve years; what have they done in any way to remove this stigma ? Have they done anything? During the Sub-Committee's tour - wherever we went - Provincial Governments came out with elaborate reports of the heavenly things they were doing for the Adi basis to fight their poverty and the evil disease in their midst, and how all that was going to be removed. One Provincial Prime Minister told me that he had set aside Rs. 20 lakhs for ameliorative measures for the Adi basis in a particular district. I asked him how much he had spent in the last eight months. He said : "We still have our plans but we hope it will be ready on paper!" What happens is just paper and paper : all window-dressing. We want concrete work among these people. Some people think that by opening a few schools and giving some scholarships they will be making a tremendous change among the Adi basis. It is economic betterment that the backward people need. Once they are economically better, they will be able to educate themselves.
I would like to, if I may, tell the provincial Prime Ministers who are here and in whose provinces there are large number of Adibasis, that no good will come out of the lakhs and lakhs that they profess to earmark for welfare and other work among the Adibasis and other backward people in their provinces, unless there is the missionary spirit behind it. I know in my own province of Bihar that all welfare work has a political background. In Bihar, unfortunately, there have been three conflicting militant groups, one pulling eastwards towards Bengal, one pulling southwards towards Jharkhand, and one pulling northwards towards the Himalayas. Now, in order to kill the eastwards and southwards groups, lakhs and lakhs of rupees are being spent, all in the name of welfare among the backward people. Evidence is there, Mr. President, of leading Congressmen in Manbhum, in Palamau, in Ranchi, in Hazaribagh and other districts.........
Shri Biswanath Das (Orissa : General) Are all these matters relevant to the subject matter of the discussion?
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad (West Bengal : Muslim) : Every truthful statement in this connection is certainly relevant.
Shri Jaipal Singh: Lakhs of rupees are being spent, not for the direct benefit of the people, but for the employment of armies of welfare workers and the money gets swallowed up in the payment of wages and salaries, and motor cars and propaganda vans. The actual result to the Adibasi is nil. It is very much like the Grow More Food campaign. If for the amount of money that we spend in this campaign, one more grain was grown, it would have been a success. But it seems to be the other way round.
The idea of the generosity of the Members as a whole in recognising the necessity of giving reservation of seats to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled tribes was that these people who as you have said at Ramgarh have somehow or other kept apart, will now be compelled to come into the inner circle and do their best and contribute their share for the betterment of this country. I know there is fear in certain quarters. There is fear in Assam : there was fear in West Bengal. When Mr. Khaitan moved his amendment, or rather gave notice of his amendment - he is no longer in our midst - I discussed with him why he wanted no reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes in West Bengal. He was quite honest about it. He said, if the Scheduled Castes combined with any minority group, then the upper class people were nowhere. Some such apprehension has been indicated from a Member from Assam. I know perfectly well that it is not a question that you have reserved so many seats for Adibasis therefore you should not given them any of the general seats. That is not the general issue. Let us be honest. What the upper classes in Assam fear is that if the Scheduled Castes and the Adibasis were to combine, and if these two groups were given the right to contest also the general seats, then the upper classes might not remain in power.
That is the truth of the matter as I see it and I deeply beg of everyone not to think in terms of fear. Let us not be afraid of our fellow man because, if we do not trust him, we have no right that he should trust us. We have been living under different circumstances in the past. Now the destiny of our country is in our hands. Whatever has happened in the past has happened. It may have been due to our own fault or due to the mischief of alien rulers. Now everything is in our own hands. We are masters of the situation and if now and hereafter we go on thinking in terms of fear, if we refuse to relegate ourselves to the background and let others also have the chance, then we are thinking along the wrong lines.
I have great pleasure in supporting the amendment of Dr. Ambedkar to article 292.
Mr. President: There has been a closure motion.
(At this stage several Honourable Members rose to speak.)
Mr. President: I do not think it is necessary to enter into a discussion on all that Mr. Jaipal Singh has said.
The Honourable Shri Krishna Ballabh Sahay (Bihar : General) : He has made several observations which I would like to contradict.
Mr. President: You will have a opportunity somewhere else on another occasion.
Shri Brajeshwar Prasad (Bihar : General) : I would like to point out that editorial comments have been made in the Statesman that some vital articles are being rushed through and closure motions are being made. This is a very important article and only two or three speakers have taken part in the general discussion. More speakers should be allowed to speak. You have power either to admit the closure motion or not.
Mr. President: I do not think there is any justification for the remark that we are rushing any article through. So far as I am concerned, I have given the fullest opportunity and the fullest latitude to all Members, and if anything, I have been more generous in this respect that perhaps I should have been.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad : There is no suggestion like that from any section. But there is a desire to speak more.
Mr President: So far as this particular article is concerned, we have already had two days discussion on this very question and any general remarks will only mean a repetition of what was stated them. It is therefore not necessary further to discuss this particular article.
So far as certain remarks which have been made by certain speakers are concerned, if any Members have to say anything with regard to them or to contradict those remarks, probably they will get another opportunity in connection with some other article and they might take advantage of it then.
The Honourable Rev. J. J. M. Nichols-Roy : Certain wrong information has been given to this House regarding the tribal people and this must be corrected now.
Mr. President: If it is only a question of correcting some information which has been wrongly given, I might allow him to make the correction, but no more than that.
Shri Jagat Narain Lal (Bihar : General) : Even if the closure motion is accepted, the president can certainly allow a speech or so and I think it is not right that what has been said with reference to this article should be sought to be contradicted or controverted in the course of a debate on another article. So, I would request you, Sir, to allow one speech with reference to what has been said by the previous speaker.
Mr. President: I do not think any useful purpose would be served by simply contradicting statements which have been made.
The Honourable Rev. J. J. M. Nichols-Roy: Sir, in Assam there are three classes of scheduled tribes, and all these together are calculated to be about 23 to 24 lakhs. Eight lakhs of them are in the plains area eight lakhs of them are in hills area and the remaining eight lakhs are in the tea gardens. The tribals in the tea gardens are included in the general population, with the result that the only people who will have reserved seats will be the eight lakhs in the plains area and the eight lakhs in the hills area. As regards the eight lakhs of tribals living in the plains area the Working Committee of the Assam Provincial Congress Committee have agreed to allow them to stand as candidates from the general constituencies and my honourable Friend the Premier of Assam himself has said that he does not want that there should be any limitation on any tribals of the plains to stand for the general seats.
Therefore, Sir, I oppose Pandit Bhargava's amendment regarding preventing the tribals of Assam from standing as candidates from the general constituencies.
Sardar Bhopinder Singh Man (East Punjab : Sikh) : As a number of amendments have been moved, it seems to me that some time be given to oppose those amendments.
Mr. President : As I said we have discussed this very proposition for two full days in this House, and every section of the House had full opportunity of expressing itself on the general principles. Now it is those very principles which are sought to be embodied in the resolution which has been placed before the House by Dr. Ambedkar. I do not think any further discussion will help the Members. I therefore call upon Dr. Ambedkar to speak.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : Mr. President, Sir, a great many of the points which were raised in the course of the debate on this article and the various amendments are, in my judgment, quite irrelevant to the subject matter of this article. They might well be raised when we will come to the discussion of the electoral laws and the framing of the constituencies. I therefore, do not propose to deal with them at this stage.
There are just three points which, I think, for a reply. One point is the one which is raised by Mr. Laskar by his amendment. His amendment is to introduce the words " save in the case of the Scheduled Castes in Assam". I have completely failed to understand what he intends to do by the introduction of these words. If these words were introduced it would mean that the Scheduled Castes in Assam will not be entitled to get the representation which the article proposes to give them in the Lower House of the Central Parliament, because if the words stand as they are, "save in the case of the Scheduled Castes in Assam" unaccompanied by any other provision, I cannot see what other effect it would have except to deprive the Scheduled Castes of Assam of the right to representation which has been give to them. If I understand him correctly, I think the matter, which he has raised, legitimately refers to article 67B of the Constitution which has already been passed. In that article it has been provided that the ratio of representation in the Legislature should have a definite relation to certain population figures. It has been laid down that the representation in the Lower House at the Centre shall be not less than one representative for every 7,50,000 people, or not more than one representative for a population of 5,00,000. According to what he was saying-and I must confess that it was utterly impossible for me to hear anything that he was saying-but if I gathered the Purport of it, he seems to be under the impression that on account of the division of Sylhet district the population of the Scheduled Castes in Assam has been considerably reduced and that there may not be any such figure as we have laid down, namely, 7,50,000 or 5,00,000, with the result that he feels that the Scheduled Castes of Assam will not get any representation. But I should like to tell him that the provision in article 67 (5) (b) does not apply to the Scheduled Castes. It applies to the constituency. What it means is that if a constituency consists of 7,50,000 people, that constituency will have one seat. it may be that within that constituency the population of the Scheduled Castes is much smaller, but that would not prevent either the Delimitation Committee or Parliament from allotting a seat for the Scheduled Castes in that particular area. His fear, therefore, in my judgment, is utterly groundless.
Then I come to the amendment moved by Sardar Hukam Singh in which he suggests that provision ought to be made whereby the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes would be entitled to contest seats which are generally riot reserved for the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes. He said that the Drafting Committee has made a deliberate omission. I do not think that is correct. It is accepted that the Scheduled Castes and the scheduled tribes shall be entitled to contest seats which are not reserved seats, which are unreserved seats. That is contained in the report of the Advisory Committee which has already been accepted by the House. The reason why that particular provision has not been introduced in article 292 is because it is not germane at this place. This proposition will find its place in the law relating to election with which this Assembly or the Assembly in its legislative capacity will have to deal with. He therefore need have no fear on that ground.
With regard to the point raised by my Friend Mr. Pillai that the population according to which seats are to be reserved should be estimated by a fresh census, that matter has been agitated in this House on very many occasions. I then said that it was quite impossible for the Government to commit itself to taking a fresh census but the Government has kept its mind open. If it is feasible the Government may take a fresh census in order to estimate the population of the Scheduled Castes or the scheduled tribes in order to calculate the total representation that they would be entitled to in accordance-with the provisions of Article 292. The Government is also suggesting that if in any case it is not possible to have a fresh census, they will estimate the population of these communities on the basis of the voters strength which may be calculated from them, in which case we might be able to arrive at what might be called a rough and ready estimate of the population. I do not think it is possible for me to go beyond that.
All the other amendments I oppose.
Prof. N. C. Laskar: Sir, I beg to withdraw my amendment No. 24.
Mr. President : The question is
"That in amendment No. 22 at the end of the proposed article 292 the following proviso be added:
The amendment was negatived.
Sardar Hukam Singh : Sir, if what I have suggested in my amendment (No. 77) is provided for elsewhere I do not press it.
The amendment was, by leave of the Assembly, withdrawn.
Shri V. I. Muniswamy Pillay: Sir, in view of this lucid explanation of Honourable, Dr. Ambedkar, I beg to withdraw my amendment No. 94.
The amendment was, by leave of the Assembly, withdrawn.
Mr. President: Amendment No. 95 is to the same effect as the one that the House has already rejected. The question is :
"That in Amendment No. 225 after clause (2) but before the Explanation, the following proviso be inserted :-
'Provided that for the calculation the balance of the proportion is more than half of what it requires to obtain one seat, one seat shall be allotted and if it is less than half it shall be ignored'."
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. President : The question is:
"That in amendment No. 225 after clause (2) the following new clause be added:
'(3) The reservation of seats shall, as far as possible, be secured by single member territorial constituencies'."
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. President: The question is:
"That in amendment No. 225 at the end the following proviso be added:
'Provided that the members of the scheduled tribes in Assam will not have the right to contest general seats'."
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. President: The question is:
"That proposed article 292 stand part of the Constitution."
The motion was adopted.
Article 292, as amended, was added to the Constitution.
(Amendments Nos. 3118 to 3121 were not moved.)
Mr. Mohd. Tahir (Bihar: Muslim): Sir, I beg to move:.......
Shri T. T. Krishnamachari (Madras : General) : Sir, on a point of order; this amendment is not really germane to the article before the House; it has nothing to do with the subject matter of article 293.
Mr. Mohd. Tahir : Article 292 refers to the matter of the reservation of seats. Article 293 says:
"Notwithstanding anything contained in article 67 of this Constitution, the President may, if he is of opinion that the Anglo Indian Community is not adequately represented in the House of the People, nominate not more than two members of the community to the House of the People."
These are articles where. representation is to be fixed and reservation is allowed to different communities. This is the only place where I want that minority communities which are given reservation of seats should also have a chance of getting themselves elected from the general constituencies. The amendment is quite relevant and this is the place where this subject can be introduced so that minorities might have the right to seek election in the general constituencies also.
Mr. President: I do not think this question arises under article 293 which relates especially to the representation of the Anglo-Indian community. I do not think you can bring in the right of members of the other communities for whom seats have been reserved to seek elections from the general constituencies in this article. The amendment is not in order.
Mr. Mohd. Tahir: I submit to your ruling, Sir.
Sardar Hukam Singh : Sir, I beg to move:
"That with reference to amendment No. 3119 of the List of Amendments, for article 293, the following be substituted :-
'293. Notwithstanding anything contained in article 67 of this Constitution the President may, if he is of opinion that any minority community is not adequately represented in the House of the People, nominate an adequate number of members of that community to the House of the People."
Shri R. K. Sidhva (C. P. & Berar : General) I rise to a point of order. This amendment seeks that any minority community which is not adequately represented may be given nomination by the President. Sir, the question of election of minorities has been decided by this House. We have decided that there should be no representation for minority communities except the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the Anglo -Indians. Article 67 has decided that. You cannot now go back on what has been decided in article 67. If you allow that article to be again opened, it would lead to complications. If the President feels that some community has not been adequately represented, he should make the choice. You cannot mention that a particular minority shall be nominated by the President. That will go against the decision of this House and it will be a dangerous precedent if you allow this amendment after we have adopted article 67. After we have passed it you cannot allow something to be done by the back door. My second reason is that after the House has decided the question of the minorities it should not be re-opened.
Mr. President: Do you wish to say anything about this point of order, Sardar Hukam Singh?
Sardar Hukam Singh: I do not think there is any force in the point of order raised by my honourable Friend. We are, under article 293, arming the President with powers that when the Anglo-Indian community is not represented adequately, to nominate two of them. My amendment is that it should not be confined to the Anglo-Indian community alone. If that community is adequately represented in the elections and there is another minority that is not adequately represented in the elections and there is another minority that is not adequately represented, it should be open to the President, in the same way as he would look to the interests of the Anglo-Indian community, to see that the other community also gets representation. I do not want to upset the provisions that have been passed. But in this article itself we are providing that the President shall have this power of nomination, I do feel that all these constituencies have been demarcated. We cannot increase their number that has been fixed. But there is this provision in article 293 itself which gives the President power to have two seats in his own hands. Whenever he finds that the Anglo-Indian community is not represented adequately he can nominate two of them. My object is that, instead of saying that only he Anglo-Indian community should be safeguarded in that way, if it is found that any other community which finds itself in that position might be given these nominations to the extent of two, three or four. If it is found that the Anglo-Indian community is properly represented and any other community is not properly represented, should not, in justice, that community be allowed representation by the President?
Mr. President: I am inclined to agree with Sardar Hukam Singh that this amendment seeks only to extend to other communities the privilege given under this article 293 to get nominations for their interests if they are not adequately represented. I think the amendment is in order.
Sardar Hukam Singh: Sir, I may in the beginning say that I do not grudge this concession being given to the Anglo-Indian community. I do realise that they are in very small numbers. I am also conscious of the fact that they are diffused over different parts of the country. I do feel that there is little likelihood of their being returned and I agree that they should have the first choice and the first concession. I do not even oppose instructions being given to the President that their case might be considered first of all. But what I want to submit is that when their interests are safeguarded, we cannot exclude this possibility that they might be returned according to their population-when we are aiming at a secular State where everybody could stand and could vote, there will be some possibilities where even this small community might get representation in certain cases-if some other community is not represented properly. I feel justified in saying that the President should have power to give it some representation at least. We are depending upon the vargaries of the voters. Any responsible man can see that the voters do not care whether some community gets justice or not. In these special circumstances, I want to submit that the power should be given to the President to use in whatever way he likes, though the consideration might be uppermost in his mind that this (Anglo-Indian) community should be given preference. I do not grudge them this concession. But this power should be general that any community which is not properly represented it should be open to the President to give some representation to.
Mr. President: There is then notice of an amendment by Mr. Sahu (No.104) that this article be deleted. That is not an amendment which can be moved. The honourable Member may vote against the article. Then there are two amendments in the Printed List of 10th July 1949. I understand that they are not being moved. Any Member who wishes to speak may do so now.
Shri R. K. Sidhva : Mr. President, Sir, this article deals exclusively with the Anglo-Indian community. It says that notwithstanding anything contained in article 67 the President may, if he is of opinion that the Anglo-Indian community is not adequately represented in the House of the People, nominate not more than two members of that community to the House of the People. The article relates to one community and also the number is specified. The President cannot nominate more than two. As regards the other communities, my friend says that if any community is nor properly represented, then the President shall have the right to make nominations from that community. Sir, that will be going against the very spirit of the decision that we have taken in this House. We have taken the decision that minorities voluntarily gave up their rights to special representation and now to ask the President to nominate members from those minority communities, that too in the Constitution itself, is to negative the very spirit of the decision of this House. I feel strongly that if we allow this article to be inserted in the Constitution and if we accept this amendment, it will mean that, although the right to special representation has been voluntarily given up by the various communities, the House desires that the President may nominate persons from those communities, which is not the desire of the House. The House has rejected nominations and reservations of seats. They have allowed nomination to the Anglo-Indian community as a special case. Having decided that, if we accept this amendment now, it will go against the spirit of the decision we have already taken and I do hope that the House will reject it summarily.
There are other amendments coming. My Friend, Mr. Nagappa, is also trying to open up the question of minority communities if they are not represented properly. The Minorities Committee considered this question and came to the unanimous conclusion, the House came to the unanimous conclusion that there should be no nomination and no reservation of seats for the minority communities, and we should not go against the spirit of that decision. I submit that this amendment should be summarily rejected.
Shri M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar (Madras: General): Sir, if we accept the amendment so Sardar Hukam Singh, the whole House of the People will be dominated by members who are nominated. This article provides for an exception. The nomination of members of the Anglo-Indian community to the House of the People is an exception. I do not think it is intended to perpetuate this exception or enlarge the scope of this exception to other communities. The article says-
"Notwithstanding anything contained in article 67 of this Constitution, the President may, if he is of opinion that the Anglo-Indian community is not adequately represented in the House of the People, nominate not more than two members of the community to the House of the People."
In regard to the others, if there is any constituency where there are five lakhs of people, that constituency is entitled to elect one member to the House of the People. The other communities, the Muslim community, the Indian Christian community or the Sikh Community of this country are not so small as would go unrepresented on this basis. It would not be so in the case of the Anglo-Indian Community. Their whole population would not be even five lakhs for the whole of India. You cannot point out to any constituency where they will be in a majority. Therefore this exception has had to be made, because they may not come in through the process of election. Article 292 originally stated that there would be reservations for the Muslim community, for Indian Christians and others. But they have voluntarily given that up and reservation is now only to be made for the Scheduled Castes, and scheduled Tribes. The latter may not be able to come in normally in elections. Therefore some reservation is made for them. I would submit that the Anglo-Indian community stands on a special footing. The Anglo-Indians are highly advanced, but they are not numerous. They were once part rulers of this country and therefore they should be shown some partiality for some time to come. Nomination has been provided for in the Upper House for certain interests but the Upper House has been made innocuous, and so far as the Lower House is concerned, there ought to be no nominations. The case of the Anglo-Indian community is an exception and there is no reason why it should be extended in favour of the other communities and why those communities should try to get by nomination what they have voluntarily given up. Not more than two is an insignificant figure in the Lower House. I oppose the amendment.
Mr. President: Dr. Ambedkar.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : I do not think it is necessary to say anything.
Mr. President : The question is:
"That with reference to amendment No.3119 of the List of Amendments, for article 293, the following be substituted:-
'293. Notwithstanding anything contained in article 67 of this Constitution the President may, if he is of opinion that any minority community is not adequately represented in the House of the People, nominate an adequate number of members of that community to the House of the People.'"
The amendment was negatived.
Mr. President: The question is:
"That article 293 stand part of the Constitution."
The motion was adopted.
Article 293 was added to the Constitution.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : Sir, I move:
"That for article 294, the following be substituted:-
(2) Seats shall be reserved also for the autonomous districts in the Legislative Assembly of the State of Assam.
(3) The number of seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes or the scheduled Tribes in the Legislative Assembly of any State under clause (1) of this article shall bear, as nearly as may be, the same proportion to the total number of seats in the Assembly as the population of the Scheduled Castes in the State or of the scheduled Tribes in the State or part of the State, as the case may be, in respect of which seats are so reserved bears to the total population of the State.
(4) The number of seats reserved for an autonomous district in the Legislative Assembly of the State of Assam shall bear to the total number of seats in that Assembly a proportion not less than the population of the district bears to the total population of the State.
(5) The constituencies for the seats reserved for any autonomous district of the State of Assam shall not comprise any area outside that district except in the case of the constituency comprising the cantonment and the municipality of Shillong.
(6) No person who is not a member of a scheduled tribe of any autonomous district of the State of Assam shall be eligible for election to the Legislative Assembly of the State from any constituency of that district except from the constituency comprising the cantonment and municipality of Shillong.'"
This article is exactly the same as the original article as it stood in the Draft Constitution. The only amendment is that the provision for the reservation of seats for the Muslims and the Christians has been omitted from clause (1) of article 294. That is in accordance with the decision taken by this Assembly on that matter.
(Amendments Nos. 34, 35, 36 and 39 were not moved.)
Shri Brajeshwar Prasad : Mr. President, Sir, I rise to give my qualified support to the article, Sir, I am convinced in my own mind that the Scheduled Castes do not form a minority in this country. They are not distinct or separate in any way whatsoever from the rest of the people of this country. Numerically they form a considerable section of the population. Moreover, I am convinced that the problems confronting the Scheduled Castes are in no way of a political character. The problems are primarily educational and of an economic character. They are of a cultural character. We want to raise the cultural level of these down-trodden and oppressed people. I do not see how their representation in the legislatures will in any way alter the material and the moral level of these people. Representations here and there will provide opportunities for a handful of leaders but it will not in any way materially alter their economic or their educational level. Better lay down in the Constitution that a fixed percentage in the budget, both Central and Provincial, shall be exclusively devoted for their welfare. I am a lover of those people who have been suffering and my whole attempt is to somehow liquidate their backwardness. I do not want by any back-door method to suppress or to deprive them of their just rights. If you want to give them representation, by all means give them. I am not opposed to their representation as such but I feel that this will be inadequate it will not solve their problems. I want that for the tribals and for the Scheduled Castes provision must be made in the Constitution, not in the Directive principles. It should be laid down clearly in express terms that educational and free education shall be imparted to them. There is only one country in the world where free education is imparted up to the university stage and that is Ceylon. I hope in the future with the growth and development of our economic resources it will be possible for us to provide the same facilities to our citizens. I want that for the tribals and for the Harijans provision must be made in the Constitution that free agricultural lands should be given to them. If we cannot give any one of these, I am quite clear in my own mind that by giving them a few seats here and there, their economic condition and their education level will in no way be improved.
A friend of mine, an honourable Member of this House, has said that there are people who are opposed to the reservation of seats on the ground that it promotes fissiparous tendencies. I have very great regard and very great respect for that honourable gentleman. I know that he is a representative of the tribal people. I think he will realize that it promotes fissiparous tendencies and weakens the foundation of the State. I am a great friend of these people, I want to help them. I am prepared to incur the displeasure of those who are closely associated with me on this question. May I ask how 50 persons in a legislature where there will be 200 or 300 non-tribals, achieve anything substantial for the tribals? They will raise a terrible hue and cry but nothing substantial will be achieved. All those things that we consider to be necessary and desirable for the economic advancement and the moral uplift of the tribals should be decided here and now and laid down in the Constitution.
I would like at this stage to raise the point which I had raised a few days back. We have not decided the constitution of the tribal people. Now to say here that seats shall be reserved for the tribal people in the legislature is rather premature. It is quite possible that when we discuss the Schedules relating to the tribal areas, we evolve a Constitution entirely different from what has been proposed.
Lastly, I would say that I am opposed to the introduction of the principle of elections in the tribal areas. This will disrupt the life of the tribal people. It is a fissiparous tendency and they have got a system of society which is entirely different from ours. It is more or less a corporate society which emphasises group consciousness. The principle of elections emphasises individualism and the principle of competition. The tribal people being ignorant, being backward, being down-trodden, will be exploited by powerful groups during the times of election. I hold that the principle of election is not at all suitable to these people. With these words, I support the article.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad : Mr. President, Sir, I had no desire to intervene in this debate; but a few of the remarks made by my honourable Friend who has just preceded me calls for a reply.
Mr. President: You need not worry about his remarks.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: Sir, I bow down to your wisdom.
Mr. President: You can confine yourself to the article.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad: In fact, if the honourable Member's speech was relevant a reply would also be relevant: but if you think that they are absolutely irrelevant, then I have nothing to say at all. They only point I wanted to submit was that a few of the sentiments given expression to in this House should be objected to. I must make my position perfectly clear. I was a member of a minority community. I have now shaken off that minority feeling and I speak as a perfectly independent man having no axe to grand. I feel that the Scheduled Castes and the scheduled Tribes some times require protection. My honourable Friend Mr. Brajeshwar Prasad remarked that a few members selected in the legislative assemblies will not improve their lot. I seriously contest this proposition. Theirs is a life of misery and exploitation. They are exploited on account of their ignorance and backwardness. If a few members are selected by them, they will ventilate their grievances, will focus public attention on their grievances and difficulties and that would lead to their redress. If a few seats given to the Scheduled Castes will not improve their lot, I ask how can a large number of members coming from the non-Scheduled classes be of any service to them ? That argument should be of no avail. I believe this representation means representation of the weak. It is for their protection. My honourable Friend's contention that the benefits of democracy cannot be given the Scheduled Castes, I should think, must also be contested. Democracy is a blessing. Democracy alone can lift these unfortunate Scheduled Castes and scheduled tribes from their miserable lot.
I do not desire to say anything. more. I fully support the article. But, my honourable Friend who preceded me while trying to support the article actually advanced arguments which went against it.
Shri Kishorimohan Tripathi (C. P. & Berar States): Mr. President, Sir, I have just come to seek clarification from Dr. Ambedkar.
The proposed article 294 says in clause (1):
"Seats shall be reserved for the Scheduled Castes and the scheduled tribes, except the scheduled tribes in the tribal areas of Assam, in the Legislative Assembly of every State for the time being specified in Part I or Part III of the First Schedule."
When I look at Part III of the First Schedule in division B, it is stated, "All other Indian State which were within the Dominion of India immediately before the commencement of this Constitution." Most of these States have now either formed into Unions or have merged into the provinces. Among the latter category come some of the States which I represent here. These States taken together and known as the Chattisgarh States, have a tribal population of roughly 50 per cent., that is, about 14 lakhs out of the total population of nearly 30 lakhs. I want to know from Dr. Ambedkar as to how reservation of seats will apply to these States which have now merged in the province of C. P. I will quote, for example, the State of Baster; it has a tribal population of 4,78,970 out of a total population of 6,33,888. The State of Udaipur which forms part of the newly formed district of Raigarh contains 72 per cent. of tribals out of its total population. The State of Jashput contains 73 per cent. of tribals out of its total population. These States have got tribal population in contiguous areas. Each State by itself can claim reservation for itself. I would therefore like to know from Dr. Ambedkar as to how these States are to be treated in respect of reservation of seats as also other advantages accruing to tribals under this Constitution.
The Honourable Rev. J. J. M. Nichols-Roy : Mr. President, I rise to support this article as moved by Dr. Ambedkar. I had given notice of an amendment; but that amendment has been included in this amendment which has been moved by Dr. Ambedkar. I am very glad that that has been incorporated here.
I just want to make a statement in regard to the statement made by Mr. Brajeshwar Prasad regarding tribal people. There are different kinds of tribal people. In Assam, we have got tribals who are very democratic. These democratic institutions which we have here in this Constitution will suit them very well. They are used to this kind of democratic institutions. There may be some other tribals who may not be used to such democratic institutions; I do not know where they are. Wherever I have known, the tribal people are very very democratic- minded. There may be Scheduled Castes and scheduled tribes in some other parts of India where the people are very down-trodden and not looked after, and democratic institutions may not suit them. As far as the tribals are concerned, as Mr. Jaipal Singh has already stated, they are very democratic, and in Assam they are so. For that reason I believe that this right and privilege given to them of sharing in the democratic institutions in the whole of India is a very good thing indeed.
Shri H. J. Khandekar (C. P. & Berar: General):* [Mr. President, I stand to support article 294 moved by Dr. Ambedkar. This article provides for reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and scheduled tribes. As a member of Scheduled Castes, I would like to submit that the reservation which is being provided for us is no favour to us. The members of the Scheduled Castes have, for thousands of years, suffered cruelties and oppression in various forms at the hands of their brethren belonging to castes other than their own. Now reservation is being provided for us as a compensation for the atrocities we have suffered, and therefore I do not deem this provision as any great favour to us. The article that was originally drafted to provide for reservation, contained provisions for the reservation of seats to Muslims also, on the basis of their population. But for some reasons this provision has now been dropped. I think reservation ought to have been provided for Muslims as well. Though, I do not belong to the Muslim Community, I would like to say that from the political point of view............] *
Mr. President: *[I think, you should not take up this question because it has already been discussed.]*
Shri H. J. Khandekar:* [I would like to say only one sentence in this connection.]*
Mr. President: *[Even one sentence will re-open the matter.]*
Shri H. J. Khandekar: *[I hold that politically it was a mistake. However, I shall not touch that question as I do not belong to the community concerned. To resume my point, reservation is being provided to Harijans only for ten years. But from the experience that I have of the Scheduled Castes and other communities of the country, I feel certain that the condition of the Harijan cannot improve within the next ten years. Continuously from 1927 to the time of his death Mahatma Gandhi made every effort physically, mentally and financially, for the uplift of the Harijans, but even within a period of twenty or thirty years no appreciable improvement as was expected, could be brought about in their conditions. I am unable, therefore, to accept that within a period of ten years for which reservation is being provided for them, a complete reform or change can be brought about in their condition.
I therefore, think that if, along with reservation in respect of Legislatures, a similar reservation is provided in respect of Local bodies-Municipalities, and District Boards too,- it will help much to improve their lot. But no mention of such a provision has been made here. If you look at the conditions obtaining in each and every province of the country, you will find that politically their condition, even today, is very deplorable. If any Harijan stands for election to any local body and tries to secure the votes of the Caste Hindus, I have myself been witness to it, he is never able to get their votes and is unable therefore to get elected. As for the future, I am sure no candidate belonging to Scheduled Castes or scheduled tribes would ever be returned to these bodies in elections. This is the state of affairs obtaining in our country today, and it is in view of this state of affairs that you have accepted our demand for the reservation of seats. I think if you provide reservation in respect of local bodies also, Harijans will be able to benefit considerably.
Secondly, if any one thinks that the provision of reservation would cause an all-round improvement among. the Harijans, I would say, he is sadly mistaken. There are many avenues in which Harijans will have to make improvement. They have to make much progress and require much help to be able to come on a part with other communities of the country. Reservation of seats alone will not do much. We were exploited in the past; and we are being exploited today and even in future, after the Constitution is passed we should be exploited by members of the other castes. Divisions will be created amongst us. In a constituency where caste Hindu voters have a majority over Harijans if one section of the Scheduled Castes, say for example chamars have a majority over the other Scheduled Castes, our caste Hindu friends will not enter into an alliance with the chamars but they will support the minorities of the Scheduled Castes in the constituency and thus suppress the majority section of the Scheduled Castes. This will be the ultimate outcome of this provision of reservation. This is bound to happen because the Harijan voters are not in majority in any constituency.
What I mean to say is this, that this provision of reservation will be helpful to Harijans only when they are given reserved seats in constituencies where they are in a majority. Otherwise in the name of Harijans, show boys only would be returned to Legislatures as is the case today in the Central and Provincial Legislatures. So by this provision, I am afraid you are not going to do any good to Harijans; rather you would be doing them harm.
I want to tell you one thing more, and it is, that you should provide for the same type of reservation in the Cabinet as you have provided in the Provincial legislatures so as to enable to Harijans to promote their advancement. However, I have seen it and you might have also seen it, and it is a matter of regret that whenever the interest of a caste Hindu and that of a Scheduled Caste man clashes, it is the scheduled caste man who suffers. This is the situation in the country and no sensible man can deny it. To give an instance, if you look at the cabinet of a province where twenty-four to twenty-five per cent. of the people are Harijans you will find that there is only one Harijan in the cabinet. But it is a matter of regret that in a province where the caste Hindus, that is to say the Brahmins, are in a minority and in such a small minority as two per cent of the population, ten ministers out of twelve are Brahmins. Would you not consider this an injustice?]*
Pandit Balkrishna Sharma (United Provinces: General): Down with the Brahmins!
Shri H. J. Khandekar: That you can say that non-Brahmins can say. Very well, they can be downed.
*[I mean to say that if you had provided for reservation for Harijans in the cabinet it would have prevented the injustice that is being perpetrated on the Harijans and scheduled tribes. It is a matter of regret that that article is no longer under discussion. Some people have remarked that barring the seats reserved for Harijans, they should not be allowed-to contest the election for other general seats. But I want to tell you that if you do not allow the Harijans to contest the elections for general seats, you will never be able to bridge the gulf that has been created between the Harijans and the caste Hindus.]*
Mr. President *[As you were not present in the House you could not listen to the previous debate. Had you listened to it, you would not have said such things.]*
Shri H. J. Khandekar:*[I was not present and I did not listen to it. But I want to say that if we have to level the breach between us and the caste Hindus, the same treatment should be meted out to us as is asked for by us, However, the treatment that is meted out to us is one that suits people blinded with self-interest. If I cite examples where self-interest was caught to be promoted, it will take the whole of the day and even tomorrow. I do not want to threaten anybody but I want to tell the caste Hindus in this House and outside that they should remember one thing. It is that if you want to atone for the atrocities perpetrated by you on the Harijans, you should bring them up to your level by granting them whatever they ask for. If you do not do this, the Harijans will intensify the movements they have launched for their progress, which you do not desire they should make, and through these movements they shall effect an improvement in their lot though I cannot predict what may happen in the country as a result thereof. I am not holding out any threat. Members of parties seeking to, exploit the situation for their own benefit move about amongst the Harijans of India and propagate such views as might go against the interests of this country. I warn you of this situation and urge you to grant to Harijans whatever facilities they ask for to come to your level.
I shall place before you one more example. Hundreds of Harijans applied recently for Indian Administrative Service and Indian Police Service and they were interviewed. But it is to be regretted that none of them was selected for the posts. The reason stated is that none of them was fit for the posts. You are responsible for our being unfit today. We were suppressed for thousands of years. You engaged us in your service to serve your own ends and suppressed us to such an extent that neither our minds nor our bodies and nor even our hearts work, nor are we able to march forward. This is the position. You have reduced us to such a position and then you say that we are not fit and that we have not secured the requisite marks. How can we secure them?
You just look at the position in which we are placed. The condition of our village boys is very bad today. They do not get the facilities enjoyed by the sons of well-placed men. How can you then expect our boys to compete with those who enjoy all sorts of facilities. You do not know under what conditions our students receive education in schools. The Government does not show any consideration to them. I know of a Harijan boy of C. P. who lives in Delhi. He studies in the Pusa Institute. He is a poor boy and his parents are dead. He is in such circumstances that for the last one month he has had no money to pay his fees. His monthly expenses amount to Rs.105/-, including the sum of Rs.75/- which he has to pay towards fees etc. every month. A week back he received a notice that he should deposit his fees for being permitted to prosecute his studies. The only recourse for this poor boy, who has no money to meet the expenses of food, clothes and fees, is either to beg or to steal. He has no other remedy. The other alternative before him is to leave the school but then he would be ruined completely. Yet it did not strike the mind of any government official that either he should be exempted from paying fee or some other kind of help might be given to him. This boy submitted many applications to the government, but as yet nobody has replied to him. Under such troubles and hardships how can that boy compete with the other boys who have all facilities available to them?
You have given us privileges for ten years. After that period you will tell us that you helped us in all respects. I would then ask you, in what respect you helped us. Will you prepare some scheme for the uplift of Harijans in these ten years? Have you prepared any scheme for education of Harijans up to this day? Have provincial governments earmarked some money for the uplift of the Harijans?]*
Mr. President: *[A period of ten years has been provided in this article. Other things are covered by other articles. You can say these things then. At present, I shall not allow you to take up this issue.]*
Shri H. J. Khandekar: *[I mean that our students do not get those facilities which other students get and hence they cannot stand in competition with others. The government has never thought of our uplift. Very often we have requested that to safeguard our interests there should be at least one Harijan Minister appointed in every province and one at the Centre also who should work for the uplift of the Harijans. Had such ministers been appointed in every province and Centre, who could have thought over the difficulties of the Harijans, there would have been a lot of improvement by this time. In every province such resolutions were passed and were sent to the government by the Harijans from all the places requesting that these resolutions should be given effect to, but it is very painful to note that those persons have not as yet received a written acknowledgment of the receipt of their resolutions. This is the value and importance attached to the uplift of the Harijans. Such an attitude reveals that you want to please them with sweet words. In India there are many who talk sweetly and the Harijans are very easily taken in. They serve their selfish purpose. Except Mahatma Gandhi and ten or twenty other persons there is none to think of the uplift of the Harijans in the true sense.]*
Mr. President : *[You are talking of the provinces.]*
Shri H.J. Khandekar : *[I am talking of many provinces, and whatever I say is based on my personal experience. I have got an experience of about twenty or twenty-five years. I have been witnessing even up to this day that nothing good has been done for the Harijans. You have appointed Harijans ministers in the provinces but they are all your men. Then article about reservation provided by you is not going to safeguard our interests. In this way all the problems of Harijans would not be solved.]*
Mr. President : *[It appears that you have been continuously absent.]*
Shri H. J. Khandekar :* [I was not absent from this Assembly for a day, I was present all along even if someone marks me absent. I was here in my seat all the while.]*
Mr. President :*[But I would like to tell you that you can speak on the question which is under consideration. You cannot be permitted to discuss the question of all the Harijans. Nothing would be gained by that. If you are a member of any provincial assembly you can raise this question there. Others also, who get an opportunity of speaking here, should restrict themselves to this article only. It is useless to talk of other things here.]*
Shri H. J. Khandekar: *[I am speaking on this article. I want to submit that I do not believe that the reservation that has been provided will do any good to the Harijans. I say that this reservation can bring no good to the Harijans. But the painful aspect of the problem is that those, who believe in the uplift of the Harijans and also know that they suffer in many ways, are in favour of this article. But I feel that this article of reservation provides no scope for the uplift of the Harijans.
There are differences amongst our sub-castes. This article provides scope for creating all kinds of differences amongst the sub-castes of the Harijans. It has got a scope for ousting the Harijans who are in majority in a province. Every community will have some percentage. You know that there is one community in majority in Bombay. None has paid any attention to it. There are ten or twelve persons who can enter the legislature of Bombay Province through reservation. Those members of the minority community who come from that fold will be ousted. Up to this present day there are only two or three men of the minority community in the Bombay Legislature. Even now there are members of such minority communities who are not even two per cent of the Harijans. I submit that when this article is implemented the Harijans would move still more backward rather than forward. I submit to you, Sir, that it would neither be beneficial to the country nor the Congress government nor even to the Harijans.
This is what I mean and after explaining it I support the article and resume my seat.
Shri Mahavir Tyagi (United Provinces: General): *[Mr. President, I rise to lend my support to this article. I would like to submit that the question of reservation for the Scheduled Castes was raised in this land during the British regime in pursuit of a policy which was then followed by them. By raising the same question in respect of Muslims the Britishers created a division between the Hindus and Muslims of the country-a policy which ultimately culminated in the creation of Pakistan. 'Divide and rule' was the policy of the alien rulers in India in those days. It was in pursuit of this policy that in the Round Table Conference the English politicians made attempts for the first time to establish the system of separate representation for the Scheduled Castes by creating a division between them and the caste Hindus. At this, Mahatma Gandhi declared his resolve to fast unto death if attempts were made to create another part of Scheduled Castes in India. As a result this, they could not be separated from the Hindus and the system of separate electorates could not be adopted for them as was done for the Muslims. But seats were reserved for them on the basis of their population. Mahatma Gandhi settled this question with Dr. Ambedkar and gave an award which offered the Scheduled Castes more seats than what were given to them by the Round Table Conference. It was then felt that justice must be done to the Scheduled Castes.
The statement made by my Friend Mr. Khandekar that prior to this award no representative of the Scheduled Castes was ever elected, is a fact. According to the agreement reached between Mahatmaji and Dr. Ambedkar in regard to this question, representatives of the Scheduled Castes were to be elected by a common electorate but a certain number of seats were reserved for them and the number of seats so reserved was greater than what was given to them in the Round Table Conference.This agreement, has since then been in operation.
Now when after fourteen years we are again going to decide that seats will be reserved for them, we must not lose sight of the experience gained in the past in this respect. I would like to draw the attention of the House to the past experience with regard to this question. The reservation of seats has benefited us in many ways. Firstly, it has created an awakening among the Scheduled Castes; it has brought among them a spirit of self-progress: it has made others to realise that the members of the Scheduled Castes are citizens, equal to them and that they too should be entitled to all the rights that a citizen should have. It has also developed amongst us a habit to sit together and decide the future of the country and to discuss the important grave problems of the country mutually. This helps a lot in our affairs.
But we have to see what will in fact be the advantage of such a reservation. My Friend Mr. Khandekar has just now complained that the majority community does not allow minority community to send its representatives. This is a fact. In this respect I too belong to a minority community. The strength of my community in my district consists of myself, my daughters and a policeman. They are all five in number. Still, whenever there is an election in my district, I am returned. But this is not the general rule. Those who are not elected on the basis of service to the country, are returned on the strength of their relations. Whoever has a large number of relations, is returned. In the district of Meerut, where the Jats are in a majority, only a Jat candidate can come our successful. A Brahmin cannot be elected there. Therefore this is not a question of Scheduled Castes only but is so in the case of other Castes also. This, of course, is very unfortunate for this country. Even if we confine our attention to the Scheduled Castes alone we find that they also suffer from the same malady. Twenty seats have been reserved for the Scheduled Castes in our province and there are perhaps eight seats for them in the Punjab. If we undertake a study of the caste composition of the members filling the seats and if Shriyut Khandekar does the same in regard to the seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes all over India it will be found that excepting two or three Mahars, including my Friend Mr. Khandekar and Dr. Ambedkar, the majority of seats have gone to Chamars because among the Scheduled Castes they have a majority. If you look at the Ministers also, you will see that excepting Dr. Ambedkar there is no Scheduled Caste Minister who is a non-Chamar.]*
Some Honourable Members: *[In Bihar, there are.]*
Shri Mahavir Tyagi: *[Yes, excepting Bihar, in all other places these people alone are ministers. May I ask whether the four hundred communities are taking advantage of the Scheduled Castes seats? Out of these four hundred communities only two or three communities are taking advantage of the seats reserved for Scheduled Castes. In Bombay the Mahars are in a majority but owing to joint elections some other members of the community have been returned and this has given cause to Mr. Khandekar to complain. I am opposed to this type of mentality. The scheduled castes have been formed by combining together four to five hundred communities but if a majority section and a minority section are found among them, it would mean that the seats reserved for Scheduled Castes would go to the majority section. Even if we reserve a number of seats in India for the Chamars the result would be the same as we have achieved by reserving seats for Scheduled Castes cause in our province the Chamars are in a majority and they alone get the majority of votes. Every party too puts forward a candidate on the consideration whether he has a large number of relations, so that matters may be facilitated. Therefore all the Scheduled Caste people do not benefit by reservation. There are five hundred to six hundred Scheduled Castes and we are not familiar even with their names. Indeed, it will never be possible for them to get representation in the Assembly.
This means that we provide seats for Scheduled Castes to benefit those who have a large number of relations. The advantage of joint elections, to which my Friend Mr. Khandekar objects, would be that caste Hindus would be able to extend justice to those Scheduled Castes people who are in a minority. They would realise that the Chamars have a majority in the district and that those people who are in a minority have no chance of winning an election, although their candidates are well qualified for being returned to the Legislative Assembly. They would help these candidates and make up the deficiency of votes in their favour. What I mean to say is this, that the advantage of other caste people participating in the elections for Scheduled Caste seats would be that besides those who are in a majority among the Scheduled Castes, even those who are in a minority among them would be able to fight elections and win them. This is my reply to the objection that has been raised. We should keep in view the interests of all the Scheduled Castes specified in the schedule and not only of those which are in a majority.
I would like to draw the attention of the House to another aspect of this problem. The reservation that has been provided for the Scheduled Castes up till now, is producing, the effect; among others, of the formation of a separate kind of group of the Scheduled Castes. And if this practice is continued for some time more the leader of the Scheduled Castes will act in the same way as the Muslim leaguers did. They can become ministers and members of the Assembly as long as the reservation of their seats is continued. Under such circumstances the separatist tendency cannot be brought to an end in this country. I, therefore, feel that there should be no kind of reservation.
In my province of U. P., the Panchayat Election has just been held. It may be a surprise to the House that the election of Sarpanch of these Panchayats was a joint one. In our eastern districts more than half of the Panchayats are such wherein the members of the Scheduled Castes have been elected as Sarpanch. This is the, result of the Gram Panchayat election held through the government and the members of the Scheduled Castes were elected as Sarpanch. It is wrong to think that the minorities are not enjoying the privileges in the political spheres. Had I been a leader of a minority community I could have very easily demonstrated to you that in a House consisting of one hundred members I could form a ministry with the backing of my twenty followers in the legislature. I hold this belief because I am confident that the remaining eighty members of the House would-be divided into a number of parties and I could, therefore lend my support to one of these parties and thereby enable it to be dominant in the Legislature. By this bargain I could easily obtain the premiership for myself. The fact is that all the world over the ministers enter into such bargains and are thereby able to secure their ends. There are different groups in the majority, and the minority always secure advantages for itself by favouring one, group or the other. It is therefore wrong to say that the minority groups does not secure advantage for itself. In the same way the minority pushes its candidate in general elections too and it is a clear misunderstanding that the minorities cannot take part in elections.
My own idea was that there should be no reservation. On the other hand, the provision of reservation makes me feel that there has been a little of in-justice to the Sikhs. They have been living separate for many years and this right of reservation has been denied to them. Similarly Christians have also been denied this right. All the other minorities generously accepted to give up this right. I therefore fail to see why this reservation should be kept. I believe that even without reservation the members of the Scheduled Castes can gain seats in proportion to their population. You will see after ten years that they will gain seats in a greater proportion. I would like to repeat it again that in election importance should be attached to the capabilities of the candidate and not to the caste of the candidate. It should be considered as to who has served the country in a better way and who can represent the country in a better way. Unfortunately people having good knowledge of English gain success. It is a misfortune that nobody thinks for those Brahmans who are even poorer than the members of the Scheduled Castes. Similarly there are Kashtriyas, Rajputs and some persons and families among all the other castes, who do not get any opportunity to gain education and wealth. There is no provision for them in this Constitution. They are poor and illiterate and can neither become representatives nor ministers. Unfortunately the conditions are such that those, who have English education and have adopted English methods, are the representatives of India. Only such persons can gain representation. It pains me greatly that there is no scope in this country for the illiterates. I say that until the rein of administration is held by non-English knowing illiterate persons and until a majority of illiterate persons comes in Government Service, India would not be able to feel the glow of freedom. The educated persons are demoralised. And in the present regime the administration of India is in the hands of those who are devoted to English culture and language and are demoralised. Just as with other castes, in Scheduled Castes also there is no opportunity for their real representatives even after the removal of the British regime. Persons like Dr. Ambedkar, who are capable in all respects, will come forward from the Scheduled Castes. To what Scheduled Castes does Dr. Ambedkar belong to, who is the Pandit of the Pandits? He only takes advantage of the Scheduled Castes. At the same time Dr. Ambedkar can come into the Legislature from any part of the country by virtue of his own merits.
I therefore, see no advantage, as I have already stated, in reservation. The true representatives do not enter the Legislatures even through reservation. This may be attained only when we change our mentality and elect persons according to our old Indian custom based on honesty, ability, conscientiousness, service to humanity and intelligence. We have been so much entangled in the English language that one who has attained even an alphabetical knowledge of this language attains the right of being the representative of the country. Even after saying so much I feel that this provision is good. They will get opportunities for ten years more and after that period it will automatically come to an end and there would be joint elections.
Mr. President : This is one of those articles which represent the decisions arrived at at a previous session and I do not think much discussion is necessary. However, I have not stood in the way of members speaking.
The question is:
"That for article 294, the following be substituted:
(2) Seats shall be reserved also for the autonomous districts in the Legislative Assembly of the State of Assam.
(3) The number of seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes or the scheduled tribes in the Legislative Assembly of any State under clause (1) of this article shall bear, as nearly as may be, the same proportion to the total number of seats in the Assembly as the population of the Scheduled Castes in the State or of the scheduled tribes in the State or part of the State, as the case may be, in respect of which seats are so reserved bears to the total population of the State.
(4) The number of seats reserved for an autonomous district in the Legislative Assembly of the State of Assam shall bear to the total number of seats in that Assembly a proportion not less than the district bears to the total population of the State.
(5) The constituencies for the seats reserved for any autonomous district of the State of Assam shall not comprise any area outside that district except in the case of the constituency comprising the cantonment and the municipality of Shillong.
(6) No person who is not a member of a scheduled tribe of any autonomous district of the State of Assam shall be eligible for election to the Legislative Assembly of the State from any constituency of that district except from the constituency comprising the cantonment and municipality of Shillong.' "
The motion was adopted.
Article 294, as amended, was added to the Constitution.
Mr. President : This is a non-controversial article.
The question is:
"That article 295 stand part of the Constitution."
The motion was adopted.
New Article 295-A
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar : Sir, I move:
"That after article 295, the following new article be inserted:-
This is also in accordance with the decision of the House. I do not think any explanation is necessary.
Mr. President: There are certain amendments to this. Amendment No.39 has been given notice of by three Members.
Shri Yudhisthir Mishra : (Orissa States): Sir, I move:
"That in amendment No.38 above, in the proposed new article 295-A, the words 'and the scheduled tribes' be deleted."
The effect of my amendment will be that the provision of this Constitution regarding reservation of seats for the Scheduled tribes both in the Centre and in the Provinces shall not cease to have effect even after the lapse of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution. The purpose of this new article 295-A is not to allow reservation of seats to Scheduled Castes and tribes after a period of ten years from the date of the commencement of this Constitution. My amendment seeks to provide that the reservation of seats for the tribes should not be limited to ten years only.
We decided in the last session of the Constituent Assembly, in a motion tabled by the Honourable Sardar Patel, that the system of reservation of seats for minorities other than the Scheduled Castes in the legislatures be abolished and that the reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes shall be limited to ten years only. The communities referred to in this resolution are Muslims, Sikhs, Scheduled Castes and Indian Christians. It was held that in the context of a free and independent India, and according to the present conditions, there should not be tiny reservation of seats for religious communities. Therefore, it did not affect the reservation of seats for the scheduled tribes. Sir, in the report of the Advisory Committee dated 11th May 1949 submitted by Sardar Patel to this House on the subject of political safe-guards for minorities, it has been specifically stated that nothing contained in the resolution passed by the Minorities Advisory Committee shall effect the recommendations made by the North-East Frontier (Assam) Tribal and Excluded Areas Sub-Committee and the Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas (other than Assam) Sub-Committee with regard to the tribals in the legislatures. It was also laid down that the resolution would not affect the special provision made for the representation of Anglo-Indians in the legislatures.
Now, Sir, in their report, the Advisory Committee for Tribal and Excluded Areas have suggested some protection for the tribes, and no limitation, as far as I remembers, was fixed as regards the period for which such protection should be provided. It is of course surprising to me how the Drafting Committee in its recent amendment or in its new article 295-A has put in a time limit. We have passed new article 215-B which provides for the administration and control of the tribal areas in any State, according to the provision of the Schedule V and Schedule VI of the Draft Constitution. This provision in 215-B is a permanent feature of the Constitution which will not cease to be operative even after a lapse of ten years.
Then again , in the Vth and VIth Schedules in the Draft Constitution, a Tribal Advisory Committee has been provided to advise the Government of the States in all matters pertaining to the administration of the scheduled tribes and the welfare of the tribal people in all States. Now, three-fourth of the Tribal Advisory Committee will consist of the elected representatives of the scheduled tribes in the legislature of the States. If there is no reservation for the tribes, how are you going to give effect to the provisions of this Constitution as far as the provisions laid down in the Scheduled V of the Draft Constitution are concerned? So far as the tribal people are concerned, due to their social, educational and political backwardness, I am sure very few of them will be returned to the Assembly if reservation is abolished. I feel that even after the lapse of ten years we shall not be able to remove the backwardness of the tribes. I hold that the standards of education and material well-being of the Scheduled tribes are lower in most cases than even those of most of the Scheduled Castes. That is clear from the representation of the scheduled tribes in this House in comparison with the representation that the Scheduled Castes have been able to secure. Even the representative character of this House, as far as the interests of the scheduled tribes are concerned has been challenged by some people. I recently received some letters and telegrams from the tribal people of the Orissa States that the representatives in this House are not entitled to make any Constitution for them and that even if a Constitution is made, they are not bound by it. This is due to the apprehension in their minds that they will receive proper justice unless we go and try to understand their feelings as far as reservation of seats are concerned. Therefore we should think twice before abolishing reservation of seats for the tribal people after the lapse of ten years. I feel that the scheduled tribes will not be able to attain the same social standard as the other people within ten years. So I submit that the time-limit should. be removed. I hope this amendment will receive due consideration at the hands of the Drafting Committee.
Mr. President : We shall take up the other amendments tomorrow.
Before we part, there is one matter which I would like to mention to the House. although it is not usual to do so. I have just received a resignation letter from Dr. S. Radhakrishnan who is going as our Ambassador to Moscow. I am sure this House appreciates the work which he has done here. We shall be missing him very much in the future. But what is a loss here is going to be a gain to the country. He is going with a great reputation as a philosopher and writer of International fame and I hope and trust that his appointment to a country with which we wish to be on the best of terms will bear good fruit and will prove to be very helpful and useful to the country.
On my behalf and on behalf of this House I offer my best wishes to Dr. Radhakrishnan in his mission.
Prof. S. Radhakrishnan (United Provinces: General): Mr. President and fellow Members, I thank you very much, Sir, for the very kind sentiments which you just expressed. I regret that it has not been possible for me to attend the meetings of this Assembly and take any useful part in its discussions. It is due entirely to circumstances beyond my control. I hope the House will appreciate that fact.
We have laid down our objectives and if we implement them with speed and steadfastness, our political and economic future may be taken as assured. It all depends on the way in which we carry out those objectives. Politics, are more a result than a cause. Political upheavals occur the world over because there are unsatisfactory economic conditions. Wherever standards of life are all right, political stability is assured. Where you have economic unstability, upheavals occur. I hope that our trusted leaders who are now running this Government will carry out all those obligations put down in our Draft Constitution and will not allow it to be said that we have delayed social justice and so denied social justice. We have just listened to an impassioned statement on Harijans, their rights, etc. Our aim is social democracy which transcends these distinctions of caste and outcaste, of rich and poor. We will be judged in the world by the way in which we carry out these proclamations which we have inserted in our Constitution.
Sir, you have referred to my appointment in Moscow. We are working under the great leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. If there are political conflicts, there are two ways of overcoming them. One way is to give a knock-out blow to defeat, to destroy and establish your own supremacy. That is what is called power solution. There is another way. That is understanding why our opponent believes what he does, trying to appreciate his view and trying to bring about a reconciliation. That is what is called the knowledge solution. We in this country are wedded to the adoption of the knowledge solution, and in Soviet Russia it will be my purpose to interpret and understand their policies and also interpret and make them understand our policies. That will be my work towards reconciliation, and I am very much fortified by the fact that in my new assignment I carry the good wishes of you. Mr. President, and the other Members of the House.
Mr. President: The House stands adjourns till nine o'clock tomorrow morning.
The Assembly then adjourned till Nine of the Clock on Thursday; the 25th August 1949.
*[Translation of Hindustani speech.]*