Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Citizenship Clause01 May 1947
The Ad Hoc Committee presented their recommendations with respect to the definition of a citizen in the constitution. The committee comprised of seven members including S. Varadachari, Tek Chand, B. L. Mitter, A. Krishnaswami Ayyar, K. N. Katiju, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, & K.M. Munshi.
REPORT OF THE AD HOC COMMITTEE ON CITIZENSHIP CLAUSE
We have, after full consideration, redrafted the clause relating to citizenship thus: —
“Every person born in the Union and subject to its jurisdiction; every person either of whose parents was, at the time of such person’s birth, a citizen of the Union; and every person naturalised in the Union shall be a citizen of the Union. Further provision regarding the acquisition and termination of Union citizenship may be made by the law of the Union.”
This report came up for consideration before the Advisory Committee at their meeting held on the 30th December, 1948. Some members of the Committee felt that conditions having vastly changed since the Advisory Committee made their recommendations in 1947, it was no longer appropriate in the context of free India and of present conditions that there should be reservation of seats for Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, or any other religious minority. Although the abolition of separate electorates had removed much of the poison from the body politic, the reservation of seats for religious communities, it was felt, did lead to a certain degree of separatism and was to that extent contrary to ‘the conception of a secular democratic State. Dr. H. C. Mookerjee, Mr. Tajamu) Husain, Shri Lakshmi Kant Maitra and certain other members gave notices of resolutions seeking to recommend to the Constituent Assembly that there should be no reservation of seats in the Legislatures for any community in India. Shri V. I. Muniswami Pillai gave notice of an amendment to the said resolutions seeking to exclude the Scheduled Castes from the purview of the said resolutions. At that meeting I pointed out that if the members of a particular community genuinely felt that their interests were better served by the abolition of reserved seats, their views must naturally be given due weight and the matter allowed to be reopened. At the same time I was anxious that the representatives of the minorities on the Committee should have adequate time both to gauge public opinion among their people and to reflect fully on the amendments that had been proposed, so that a change, if, effected, would be one sought voluntarily by the minorities themselves had not imposed on them by; the majority community. Accordingly, the Committee adjourned without taking any decision and we met again on the 11th of May 1949. At this-meeting, the resolution of Dr. H. C. Mookerjee found wholehearted support’ of an over-whelming majority of the members of the Advisory Committee. It was recognised, however, that the peculiar position of the Scheduled Castes would make it necessary to give them reservation for a period oi ten years as originally decided. Accordingly, the Advisory Committee, with one dissenting voice, passed the said resolution as amended by Shri V. I. Muniswami Pillai in the following form: —
“That the system of reservation for minorities other than Scheduled Castes in Legislatures be abolished.”
It was further decided that nothing contained in the said resolution shall affect the recommendations made by the Northeast Frontier (Assam) Tribal and Excluded Areas Sub Committee and Excluded and Partially Excluded Areas (other than Assam) Sub-Committee with regard to representation of tribals in the Legislatures. The Committee also decided that the resolution should not affect the special provision made for the representation of Anglo Indians in the legislature.
May 1, 1947
B. L. MITTER,
A. KRISHNASWAMI AYYAR,