The Second Day of the Constituent Assembly (December 10th, 1946) – Hullabaloo begins!

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RV DHULELKAR
SHYAMAPRASAD MUKHERJEE with AMBEDKAR

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was called upon by the temporary Chairman to move his resolutions.

The first one pertained to adoption of the Central Legislative Assembly rules, till the proposed Procedural Committee drafted the Constituent Assembly’s own regulations.

The second one was regarding the organization of the Office of the CA, pending the final decision.

The Office of the Constituent Assembly had been functioning for past many months and had organised all that had been done before the Assembly had met for the first time. The Resolution was to legalise the continuation of that Office until such time as the Assembly thought otherwise.

Then Acharya JB Kriplani moved a resolution on the Committee to form Rules of Procedure, which read as-

“This Assembly resolves-

(1) to appoint a committee consisting of a Chairman and 15 others members to report on the following matters:

(a) Rules of Procedure of the Assembly.”………..

The draft resolution read as “Assembly, Sections and Committees”,

but Kriplani argued that since Sections and Committees were part of the Assembly,  the words ‘Sections and Committees’ seemed superfluous. Therefore , he chose to take them off.

Dr.Suresh Chandra Banerjee found this omission improper, and moved a proposal to re-include the left-out words.

Shyama Prasad Mukherjee seconded Banerjee’s proposal, and summarized thus-

“If it is the intention of the Mover that the Rules Committee will also frame rules for Sections and Committees, it is desirable to include Sections and Committees specifically in the Resolution, so that it may read like this “Rules of Procedure of the Assembly, including Sections and Committees.”

PD Tandon , KM Munshi and Harnam Singh vehemently supported Mukherjee’s viewpoint.

“It should be laid down definitely that the Constituent Assembly is one and indivisible, that the sections as already pointed out are Sections of the Assembly, and that they do not form independent bodies which can provide for procedure inconsistently with the rules of the Constituent Assembly.”

The matter became one of superfluity against unambiguity, and generated lot of heated debate. It was left to Nehru to do some fire-fighting. He advised Kriplani to accept the amendments, and further clarified that –

“Undoubtedly anything that is done in the Sections will have to be considered by this House. The Advisory Committee obviously and patently has to report to the Constituent Assembly. There is no doubt about it. I do not think anybody else will have any doubt about it and I take it that all Committees of this House should report to this House.”

MR Jaykar cautioned the Assembly on framing of rules for ‘Sections’- “ Remember the word “Sections”. You are asked by express terms to legislate for them in advance of their future formation. Remember “Sections” include ‘B’ and ‘C’ Sections. Remember further that in ‘B’ and ‘C’ Sections there is likely to be-almost certainly to be – a preponderance of a certain group of men who are not present here today, and who may be present later when these Sections begin to function. That group of men are not present here today under a feeling of suspicion, if not hostility. Would you not rather let matters rest at this, or would you go further and rub the point in by making an express mention of Sections implying thereby that we here today in the absence of that group, make it obligatory by express words that the rules framed by the Assembly shall apply to the Sections. Such rubbing in is absolutely unnecessary, because the rules of the Assembly would prima facie include rules of the Sections.”

The process of appeasement of a section of the population, then represented by the Muslim League, whose representatives had not joined the Assembly under protest, had begun.

As Kriplani agreed to the proposals, RV DHULELKAR stood up and began speaking in Hindustani. To which the Chairman enquired if he did not know English.

“ I do, but I intend to speak in Hindustani.”

The temporary Chairman, SN Sinha said- “Many members, like even Rajaji do not know Hindustani.”

Dhulelkar thundered,” People who do not know Hindustani have no right to stay in India. They better leave. People who are present in this House to fashion out a Constitution for India, and do not know Hindustani , are not worthy to be members of this Assembly. They had better leave.”

The Chairman gave in- “Please say what you wish to say.”

Dhulelkar further added, “I desire to move that the Procedure Committee should frame all rules in Hindustani which may be translated into English. As an Indian I appeal that we, who are out to win freedom for our country and are fighting for it, should think and speak in our own language. We have all along been talking of America, Japan, Germany, Switzerland and House of Commons. It has given me a headache. I wonder why Indians do not speak in their own language. As an Indian, I feel that the proceedings of the House should be conducted in Hindustani. We are not concerned with the history of the world. We have the history of our own country of millions of past years.”

The Chairman did not allow him to proceed on these lines, and conveyed the sense of the House that he was out of order. But Dhulelkar had laid down the foundations of the language conflict with this speech. Also note that he spoke in and advocated Hindustani’s cause, not Hindi’s.

Harnam Singh demanded that minority representation be ensured in the Advisory Committee, as envisaged by the Cabinet Mission. Ujjal Singh also wanted the House to ensure that at least five out of 15 Committee members were from various minority sections, and felt that nomination by the President or co-option by members was a good idea. “Under the method of proportional representation, certain important minorities may not be represented. The only means of giving representation to that small minority will be, either nomination by the President or co-option.”

Kriplani rejected minority representation in the form suggested by Harnam Singh, and added, “There is no doubt in my mind that more rules will have to be framed by Committees themselves, and by Sections. They may be called by-rules or by any other name. This Committee will not frame exhaustive rules. Proportional Representation by Single Transferable Vote shall be applicable for forming different committees.” This amendment was deemed to be carried by the temporary Chairman, but Kriplani said it had merely been proposed and seconded, but not carried. But SN Sinha remained adamant and did not change his ruling.

Then many members quarrelled if “filling-in of vacancy”, as HV Kamath had suggested, was proper, or was “filling of the vacancy” better. On the first day of proper business transaction of the Assembly, language issues and insecurity of the minorities raised their ugly head, and lawyers and intellectuals did not let go of any opportunity to bicker while demonstrating their gyan.  A trend had been established, which influenced the whole show for the next three years.


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  1. Pragnya says:

    Thanks for sharing this information,

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