Report of the Committee on Chief Commissioner's Provinces21 October 1947
The Committee on Chief Commissioners’ Provinces was set up by the Constituent Assembly on 31 July 1947 to determine the administrative future of the Chief Commissioner’s Provinces in Independent India. Under British rule, these Provinces were directly controlled by the Governor General and had almost no form of representative government. The Committee had to suggest suitable constitutional changes to define the future administration of these Provinces and decide whether they would continue to be centrally administered.
The seven member Committee, chaired by Pattabhi Sitaramayya, submitted its Report to the President of the Constituent Assembly on 21 October 1947. Due to its late submission, the Report was not discussed by the Assembly prior to publishing the 1948 Draft Constitution. It was only on 4 November 1948 that B.R. Ambedkar tabled the Report in the Assembly.
The Report contained recommendations for administration of the five previously centrally administered Provinces— Panth Piploda, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Coorg, Ajmer-Merwara and Delhi. Significantly, as per the Report, the latter three would exist as ‘Lieutenant Governors’ Provinces‘ post independence, with an elected legislature like all other States. But unlike other States, the Central Legislature and the President would have a considerable amount of power over legislation in these Provinces. The recommendations of the Report went through several changes both in the Drafting Committee and later in the Assembly.
LIEUTENANT GOVERNORS’ PROVINCES
1. Delhi, Ajmer-Merwara including Panth Piploda, Coorg and such other provinces as may be so designated shall be Lieutenant Governors’ Provinces.
THE PROVINCIAL EXECUTIVE
2. In each province there shall be a Lieutenant Governor who shall be appointed by the President of the Federation.
3. The provisions of the Constitution Act relating to the term of office, qualifications for appointment, eligibility for re-appointment, conditions of office, declaration before entering office by the Governor shall as far as possible be applicable in the case of the Lieutenant Governor. He may be removed from office by the President on grounds upon which a Governor may be impeached.
4. (i) The executive authority of the province shall be vested in the Lieutenant Governor and may be exercised by him either directly or through persons acting under his authority.
(ii) The power to suspend, remit or to commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offence shall be vested in the Lieutenant Governor as in the case of major provinces.
(iii) Nothing in this section shall prevent the President of the Federation or the provincial legislature from delegating functions to subordinate authorities.
ADMINISTRATION OF PROVINCIAL AFFAIRS
5. (i) There shall be a Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister at the head to aid and advise the Lieutenant Governor in the exercise of his functions except in so far as he is by or under this Constitution required to exercise his functions or any of them in his discretion. The number of Ministers shall not exceed three except with the approval of the President of the Federation.
(ii) In case of difference of opinion between the Lieutenant Governor and his Ministers on any issue which he considers important he may refer the matter to the President of the Federation, whose decision shall be final and binding upon the province.
6. The provisions of the Constitution Act relating to the appointment, dismissal and with respect to the determination of the salaries of the Ministers in the Governors’ provinces shall, as far as possible, be applicable in the case of Lieutenant Governors’ provinces.
7. There shall for each of the Lieutenant Governor’s province be a legislature, consisting of a single chamber to be known as the Legislative Assembly. It shall be composed of members chosen by direct election.
8. The term of office of the elected members of the Assembly, the basis of franchise and other general provisions shall be on the lines as provided in the Constitution Act for Governors’ provinces except that the representation of the different territorial constituencies in the Assembly shall be on a scale of not more than one representative for every 5,000 persons subject to a maximum of 33 for Coorg, 15,000 subject to a maximum of 40 in the case of Ajmer-Merwara including Panth Piploda and 20,000 subject to a maximum of 50 in the case of Delhi.
9. The provincial Assembly shall not have the power to make laws for Federal subjects; and the subjects included in both the provincial and concurrent lists in the new Constitution, will be treated as concurrent in respect of these minor provinces. Laws made by the Federal legislature for these provinces in respect of any of these subjects shall prevail over laws passed by the provincial Assembly in so far as the latter are inconsistent with the Federal laws.
10. Laws passed by the provincial Assembly shall require the assent of the President of the Federation.
11. The provisions of the Constitution Act relating to prorogation and dissolution of the legislature, the right of the Governor to address and send messages, election of members as officers of the legislature and fixation of their salaries in Governors’ provinces shall apply mutatis mutandis in the case of Lieutenant Governors’ provinces.
12. The provisions of the Constitution Act relating to the making of declaration by members, vacation of seats, disqualification of members, their privileges and immunities, salaries and allowances, in the provincial legislatures shall as far as possible be applicable in the Lieutenant Governors’ provinces.
13. The provisions of the Constitution Act relating to language to be used in the provincial legislature shall as far as possible be applicable in the case of these provinces.
14. If at any time the President of the Federation is satisfied that the government of the province cannot be carried on in accordance with these provisions, he should have power to supersede these arrangements, take the administration into his own hands and make such other provision for conducting it as he may consider necessary. The exercise of this power will be subject to the usual provisions relating to report to and control by the Federal legislature in the case of emergencies in a Governor’s province.
15. (i) In the case of Coorg, the powers of a High Court shall be exercised by the Madras High Court.
(ii) For Delhi and Ajmer-Merwara there shall be a High Court established in Delhi having original as well as appellate jurisdiction over both the provinces. The constitution of this High Court, the appointment of judges and their salaries, its jurisdiction and administrative functions shall be governed by the provisions of the Constitution Act applicable to the High Courts.
16. (i) For higher appointments provision shall be made in the recruitment of All India Administrative Services for meeting the requirements of these three provinces.
(ii) Provision shall be made for transfers inter se of service personnel recruited in the above manner in these three provinces.
REPRESENTATION IN THE FEDERAL LEGISLATURE
17. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the Union Constitution regarding the basis of representation for the Houses of Federal legislature, each of these three minor provinces should be treated as a unit of the Federation for purposes of representation in the two Houses of a Federal legislature.
CHIEF COMMISSIONERS’ PROVINCES
18. (i) The Andaman and Nicobar Islands and such other areas as may be so designated shall be the Chief Commissioners’ provinces.
(ii) The Andaman and Nicobar Islands shall continue to be administered as at present with such adjustments in the administrative machinery as may be deemed necessary.