MAKING OF THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION Constitutional Assembly Debates: Differing Perspectives LESSON:2 BY SWETA CHOWDHURY
CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY e COMPOSITION: 389 Members- 292 elected and 93 representatives of the native states and 4 representatives of the chief commissioner provinces PROCEDURE OF ELECTION: laid down in the Cabinet Delegation- indirect election by the members of the Provincial Legislative Assemblies- the Lower House- seats in proportion to population-seats in each Province were distributed among the Muslim, Sikh and General communities- proportional representation with single transferable vote system
CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY . First Sitting: 9th December 1946 with Sachidananda Sinha as the temporary President(Rajendra Prasad was elected as the President on the nth of December 1946)- boycotted by the Muslim League- 211 members attended Reassembly: 31st August 1947- creation of a separate Constituent Assembly of Pakistan- reduction of membership to 299 . Final Passage: 26h November 1949- 284 members
THREE READINGS FEBRUARY 1948: Draft Committee under Dr. B.R.Ambedkar- publication of the 'Draft Constitution of India- proposals of change and alternative solutions to the reports submitted by the numerous committees-Committee on the Rules of Procedure, Steering Committee, Credential Committee, States Committee, Minorities Sub-Committee, Union Constitution Committee . OCTOBER 1949: deliberations on the clauses of the Draft was completed NOVEMBER 1949: the document was signed by the President and passed DATE OF COMMENCEMENT: 26th JANUARY 1950
INDIAN CONSTITUTION- OUTCOME OF AN INTENSE DEBATE- DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES Presence of intellectuals with diverse ideologies- Constituent Assembly debates arose due to the heterogeneous compositiorn Gandhians: Decentralization- autonomous local village democracy- Panchayat as the basis of political administration in India VS Parliamentarians: Nehru and Ambedkar as the principal opponents of Local Self Governance along with Patel and K.M. Munshi- apprehension of rule by dominant caste groups- marginalization of the masses- Sapru and Nehru Reports supported Parliamentary form of government e ALTHOUGH THE NEHRUVIAN AND AMBEDKARITE VIEW WAS ADOPTED, THE GANDHIAN DEMAND FOR SELF GOVERNING VILLAGE INSTITUTIONS WAS INCLUDED IN THE DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES OF STATE POLICY
LIBERALS VS SOCIALISTS .Liberals: individual and civil rights and liberties . Socialists: upliftment of the minorities- social and economic development- justice to the marginalized sections of the society Example: Debate on the Right to Property- liberal individual right in clash with socialist community interests Nehru- Socialist bent of mind- Fabian Nehru- Promoter of modern science and technology- Democratic Socialism industrialization Solution: attainment of socialist objectives through liberal methods- condition of the masses could be improved only through free trade and individual freedom to develop human potentials to the fullest- liberal economic and political measures in order to achieve welfare of the people at large
DEBATE ON RESERVATION . Ambedkar: Separate electorates for the minority communities- Scheduled Castes VS. . Nehru and Patel: political safeguards are not necessary natural democratic course to social justice Mahavir Tyagi, Brajeshwar Prasad, Dr. P.S.Deshmukh- backwardness of the minorities was an economic problem istice to the long neglected section of Indian society is imperative Solution: "Reservation of Seats"
ADOPTION OF A FEDERAL SCHEME . H.N.Kunzru, TT. Krishnamachari- opposed to a strong Centre- e Ambedkar, Rajendra Prasad, Nehru and Patel- necessity of a not workable in a country marked by plurality strong Centre in order to arrest parochial and separatist tendencies- unified India Solution: Federal Government with division of powers between the Centre and the State- strong centralizing tendencies on the basis on the overriding powers of the Centre with regard to the three lists possessing a Constitutional status AMBEDKAR: The Indian Constitution was "Unitary as well as Federal"- circumstantial- not a mere Centre-State binary
ADOPTION OF A FEDERAL SCHEME Division of powers- binding- supremacy of the Constitution Centre-State disputes-judiciary-final interpreter of the Constitution- supremacy of the Judiciary- clash with the supremacy of the Parliament Solution: Independent Judiciary
OTHER ISSUES WITH DIFFERING PERSPECTIVES PRIMACY TO FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OVER AND ABOVE DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLES OF STATE POLICY-H.N.Kunzru, Somnath Lahiri- demand to make DPSP enforceable before a court of law- justiciable PRESIDENTIAL OR PARLIAMENTARY FORM OF GOVERNMENT: Presidential- supported by Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer and opposed by K.T.Shah and Nehru- adoption of Republican form of government 8 5 DEBATE ON SECULARISM- Ambedkar on the Hindu Code Bill- no imposition of a specific religion by the Parliament on the people-however the term 'Secular' was not encorporated in the Constitution until the 42d Amendment Act much to the dismay of K.T.Shah and H.V. Kamath among others HINDI AS THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE- supported by K.M. Munshi, Ravi Shankar Shukla- opposed Non-Hindi speaking communities- N.G.Ayyangar, T.T Krishnamachari- finally resolved through e Munshi-Ayyangar Formula- English to continue as the official language along with Hindi for fteen years
Xaverian and Presidencian possessing B.A. and M.A. in Political Science with a quest for liberating through knowledge. UGC NET qualified.