On 3rd January 1949, the Constituent Assembly took up Article 66 of the Draft Constitution (Article 79 of the Final Constitution) for debate. The Draft Article constituted a parliament for India that comprised the President and two houses – Council of States (Rajya Sabha/Upper House/Second Chamber) and the House of People (Lok Sabha/Lower House).
Lokanath Mishra moved an amendment to remove the term ‘Council of States’ from the Draft Article – he did not want an upper house. He felt that if the rationale behind an upper house was to provide a ‘sobering effect’ on House of People, then the upper house must be ‘purely Indian based on Indian culture of deep, all-pervasive view and on Indian sentiment and temperament based and nurtured on our traditions’. Since the Draft Constitution did not provide for such upper house, Mishra saw no need for an upper house at all - it was a waste of public money and time.
Begum Aizaz Rasul wanted the term ‘Parliament’ to be replaced by ‘Indian National Congress’. This, she believed ‘will convey to the people of India and to the world the name of the party that instituted the struggle for the freedom of the country’. She further added that re-naming parliament as the ‘Indian National Congress’ would stop the Congress party from getting denigrated. She also argued that the term ‘Congress’ was used for the American parliament as well.
K.T. Shah was next: he did not want the President to be part of parliament. He believed that the Draft Article was a mere imitation of the British system where the ‘King still forms an integral part of the entire Governmental machinery, the entire Constitution, and particularly of the Parliament’. He felt that the British system was a result of a particular evolution of that country’s tradition and constitutionalism; a system that did not suit India. The President of India, he argued, unlike the King in Britain, is only a figurehead and ‘nothing but the ornamental head of state’.
The last member in the debate was Ananthasaytnam Ayyangar who defended the Draft Article. Unlike Mishra, Ayyangar argued that parliament needed an upper house for the following reasons: first, that politics must be a space for a range of people to take part; the upper house would be space ‘where the genius of the people may have full play’ (Ayyangar here seems to have been referring to the fact that the upper house would have a range of experts from different fields nominated to it). Second, the upper house would act as a check on any hasty legislation that lower house may pass. Third, the upper house, unlike the lower house, would be permanently elected (See Article 83 ).
Ayyangar agreed and was sympathetic to Rasul’s assessment of the independence movement: the Indian National Congress was indeed the party that fought for India’s independence. However, Ayaangar believed that re-naming parliament as ‘Indian National Congress’ was inappropriate for two reasons: first, it would trigger accusations that the Congress party had established a ‘one-party rule’ through the Constitution. Second, it would be the ‘death-knell’ of the Congress party; the party would not have the ability to legitimately fight other reactionary political parties that based their politics on community and religion.
Ayyangar rejected Shah's amendment that removed the President from the parliament and dismissed Shah’s claim that Article 66 was an imitation of the British System. He reminded Shah that the Constituent Assembly had already adopted an Article that placed the executive power of the Union with the President; since executive power was supposed to be co-extensive with legislative power, Ayyangar argued, the President must be an integral part of the parliament.
After Ayyangar’s interventions, Draft Article 66 was put to vote; the Constituent Assembly adopted the Draft Article and all proposed amendments were rejected.