The Constituent Assembly of India met in the Constitution Hall, New Delhi, at Ten of the Clock, Mr. Vice-President (Dr. H. C. Mookherjee) in the Chair.
We may resume discussion of the Draft Constitution. The motion before the House is :
"That article 50 form part of the Constitution."
May we know up to what date the Assembly will continue if this can be ascertained, so that we may fix up our own programmes?
I shall be in a position to let the honourable Member have the information at a later date--by the end of this week or early next week.
(Amendment No. 1150 was not moved.)
Looking to the amendments I find that the first part of amendment No. 1151 and amendment No. 1152 are of similar import. Amendment No. 1152 which stands in the name of Mr. Karimuddin may be moved.
"That in clause (1) of article 50, after the words 'for violation of the Constitution the words 'treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanours,' be inserted."
This does not require any detailed speech. Under article 50 it is mentioned that there can be an impeachment of the President in regard to the crime of violation of the Constitution. In the American Constitution the grounds I have mentioned in the amendment are also mentioned. In my opinion it is very necessary that for impeachment of the President all these grounds should be embodied under article 50.
Does Prof. K. T. Shah want the first part of his amendment No. 1151 to be put to vote?
I want to move it.
It cannot be moved. But I can put it to vote.
Prof. Shah may move the second part of amendment No. 1151.
I beg to move:
"That in clause (1) of article 50, for the words 'either House' the words 'the People's House' be substituted."
Is this the part I am allowed to move, Sir?
In bringing this amendment before the House, I am following the usual practice that if impeachment is to be made, it should be by the People's representatives and not by the other House, the Council of States. The Council of States would be composed of people not directly elected by the people. There may be some appointed elements in that House; and that Body may consist of representatives of units and interests rather than of the people themselves.
Now here are offences and the trial thereof, as against the Head of the State, which can, in my opinion, be only done by the House of the representatives of the people. After all, it is the people who are the sovereign in the scheme of the Constitution that this Draft presents, and that I have accepted. Under that scheme it should be the real sovereign, the people, who should and might, through their representatives, be empowered and entitled to try for such offences the Head of the State.
I think no further arguments are necessary from me to make it clear even to those who are fond of imitating others that this amendment only conforms to the existing practice in America and the West. This amendment, at any rate, cannot be opposed on that ground.
There are several amendments to this amendment. The first one is amendment No. 30 in List I of the Fifth Week. As the mover (Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava) is absent, the amendment is not moved. The next two amendments, viz., 31 and 32 also stand in his name. They are also not moved as the Member is absent.
(Amendment No. 1153 was not moved.)
Amendments Nos. 1154 and 1155 are disallowed as being merely verbal amendments.
Amendments Nos. 1156 and 1160 to 1165 are of similar import. Of these, amendment No. 1156 seems to be the most comprehensive one and may therefore be moved. It stands in the name of Shri Brajeshwar Prasad. The Member is absent and therefore the amendment is not moved.
The next comprehensive amendment is No. 1163 and may be moved. As the Member is absent it is not moved.
Then I allow Shri Shankarrao Deo to move amendment No. 1160.
Mr. Vice-President, I move the following amendment which stands in my name:--
"That in sub-clause (a) of clause (2) of article 50 for the words 'thirty members', the words 'one-fourth of the total membership of the House' be substituted."
The necessity for this amendment is so obvious that I need not take the time of the House by adducing arguments in support of it. The impeachment charge is so grave that if it is proved, the President who is the head of public life and the dignity of the State will suffer. So, if anybody thinks of preferring this charge, he must do so realising the seriousness of the charge, and there must be a sufficient number of representatives coming forward to support that charge. In view of the seriousness of the step proposed, the number thirty is very small. So I suggest that at least one-fourth of the total number of members of the House should come forward to prefer such a serious charge against the President who represents the dignity of the State. I hope the House will accept this amendment.
Does the mover of amendment No. 1161 want it to be put to vote?
Does Kazi Syed Karimuddin want his amendment (No. 1162) to be put to vote?
: Yes, Sir.
Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena may move his amendment No. 1164.
As the Member is not in the House, the amendment is not moved.
Amendments Nos. 1157, 1158 and 1159 are of similar import. Shri Jaspat Roy Kapoor may move amendment No. 1157.
(The amendment was not moved.)
Amendment No. 1158 standing in the name of Shri B. M. Gupte may now be moved.
B. M. Gupta
Mr. Vice-President, I beg to move :
"That in sub-clause (a) of clause (2) of article 50, for the words, 'after a notice' the words 'at least after 14 days notice' be substituted."
B. M. Gupta
Sir, the provision as it stands today mentions the notice, but specifies no period for it. If we refer to articles 74, 77 and 158 which deal with the removal of the Deputy Chairman, Speaker, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, and Speaker, Deputy Speaker of the State Legislature, we will find that everywhere 14 days' notice is provided. There is no reason why the same period should not be laid down here. I have therefore suggested in my amendment that 14 days' notice should be given. I hope the House will accept it.
Does the Member who has given notice of amendment No. 1159 (Mr. Mohd. Tahir) want that it should be put to vote?
Amendments Nos. 1166, 1167, 1168 and 1169 are of similar import. Amendment No. 1167 may be moved. It stands in the name of Dr.Ambedkar.
Sir, I move:
"That in sub-clause (b) of clause (2) of article 50, for the words 'supported by' the words 'passed by a majority of' be substituted."
Amendment No. 1166 standing in the names of Mr. Mohd. Tahir and Saiyid Jafar Imam.
I want to discuss it. My amendment is quite different from Dr.Ambedkar's. They are not the same.
It can be put to the vote. You can take part in the general discussion and make your point then. That will be much better. I think.
Amendment No. 1168 standing in the name of Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad. Do you want it to be put to vote?
It seems it is identical with Dr. Ambedkar's amendment. Then, amendment No. 1169 standing in the name of Kazi Syed Karimuddin. Do you want it to be put to vote?
The next in my list is amendment No. 1170 standing in the name of Kazi Syed Karimuddin.
"That the following new sub-clause be inserted after sub-clause (b) of clause (2) of article 50:
'(c) the meeting shall be presided by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court whose decision on the admissibility of evidence shall be final.'
There is no mention in article 50 as to who would preside at the meetings or sittings for the impeachment of the President. Therefore I have made an attempt to add a sub-clause in which it is laid down that the meeting or sittings shall be presided over by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. I suppose that if this amendment is not accepted, then either the Speaker or the Vice-President will have to preside at such meetings. Obviously there is an objection to the Vice-President as he is likely to succeed if the President is removed. The Speaker also should not be allowed to preside at these meetings because generally he is elected from the majority party. When there is an impeachment of the President, political passions will be running so high that there is bound to be an imperceptible change in the Vice-President or the Speaker. There is no doubt that there are instances in India and in England when the Speaker and the Vice-President have maintained the noble traditions of the House, but it is necessary not only that there should be justice but it should appear that you are doing justice. At such a critical time when there is an impeachment of the highest man in the country, it is very necessary that the presiding officer must be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
There is one more ground which is also very important and it is this that while impeaching the President, there would be several questions of law and fact and there will be also several questions about the admissibility of evidence. In a parliamentary system of government, it is not very necessary that every one should be a lawyer or a judge, but surely when there will be so many mixed questions of law and facts and of the admissibility of evidence, it would be very difficult for a layman to decide such important questions. Impeachment can be based by a layman on wild rumours and hear say evidence. To decide whether a particular piece of evidence is admissible or not, it is very necessary that a man having legal acumen and having experience of law should be the presiding officer at such meetings or sittings. Therefore my submission is that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who is generally detached from public life should be requested to preside at such meetings. In the American Constitution there is such a provision. We take only those provisions from other constitutions which suit us and reject others which do not suit us although they are very salutary. I make an appeal to Dr.Ambedkar to embody this amendment, particularly in view of the fact that when political passions are so high, it is very difficult for the Speaker or the Vice-President to keep up their balance.
Amendments Nos. 1171, 1173 and 1176 all stand in the name of Prof. Shah. I suggest that he may move them one after the other.
Am I to move only one of them?
You can move all the three.
Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I beg to move:
"That in clause (3) of article 50, for the words 'either House' the words 'the People's House' be substituted and the words 'or cause the charge to be investigated and the President shall have the right to appear and to be represented at such investigation' be deleted."
For clarification I will read the clause as amended by this amendment. The clause would be:
"When a charge has been so preferred by the House of the People, the other House shall investigate the charge."
Coming to the second amendment standing in my name, I move:
"That in clause (3) of article 50, after the word 'investigated' a full stop be inserted."
Then, I move:
"That after clause (3) of article 50, the following new clause be added:
'(3A) The President shall have the right to appear and to be represented at such investigation.'
Sir, the first amendment is in consonance with an earlier amendment I moved, by which I sought to vest the power to investigate, the power to try, in the House of the People, and the Council of States, respectively; and not be left open to either House. The other House may investigate, and the President should have the right to be heard and be represented at such investigation. It is, of course, but the most rudimentary principle of jurisprudence that any man who is accused of any offence should have the right of being heard; and also of being defended by competent advisors or by competent counsel at such hearing or at such investigation. The right, therefore, of the President to be heard is given by this amendment specifically by an additional clause, and not made part of an earlier clause where other matters besides this are also included. The right of the sovereign people to charge the President, in my opinion, should be left untrammelled in this matter; and, similarly, the right of the President to be heard or to be represented by competent advisers should equally be explicitly stated, without linking up or coupling this one with the other, so that there may possibly be some doubt as regards procedure. My object, therefore, in putting forward this amendment is simply to bring in clarity of procedure and the removal of any possible doubt that hyper-ingenious lawyers might bring forward, or party passions might suggest. I therefore commend these amendments to the House, without taking any more time of the House.
The next three amendments which are grouped together are amendments Nos. 1172, 1174 and 1175.
(The Amendments were not moved.)
Amendments Nos. 1177, 1178 and 1179 are of similar import. Amendment No. 1177 may be moved.
Sir, I beg to move:
"That in clause (4) of article 50, for the words 'passed, supported by' the words 'passed by a majority of' be substituted."
Amendment No. 1178 stands in the name of Mr. Mohd. Tahir and Saiyid Jafar Imam.
(Mr. Mohd. Tahir rose to speak.)
Do you want to put it to vote? You can say what you have to say in the general discussion. I shall give you an opportunity.
My amendment is of quite a different nature and it has to be discussed and moved.
You make a specific suggestion about 'two-thirds'. All right: you may come to the mike.
Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I beg to move:
"That in clause (4) of article 50, for the words 'not less than two-thirds of the total membership of the House', the words 'a majority of the members present and voting' be substituted."
Sir, I have moved this amendment because the provision, as it is, that is to say, requiring the votes as two-thirds, in my opinion seems to be against the spirit of democracy and it can bring in many difficulties and confusion.
I will submit before the House a very simple example. In case of the Chairman of a District Board, for instance, I think every Member of the House has got this experience. We have seen that a Chairman of a District Board for his misdeeds cannot be removed from the office unless two-thirds of the members vote against him with the result that, however dishonest he may be, it is impossible for the members to remove him from office, simply because a man in office however incompetent or dishonest he may be, at least he has got some power in his hand and by using that power, he manages that two-thirds of the members should not go against him and he keeps at least more than one-third of the members by his side, with the result that although the majority of the members are against his work in the District Board, we find that it is impossible for them to remove such a Chairman. It may be the same case with the President also, because the President will be in power and if there is solution to impeach him, then it would be very difficult for the members to remove such a President from the Office. I submit, Sir, that the most important thing that we are doing at present is the framing of this Constitution and we are deciding every article of our Constitution,--the most important thing--simply by majority of votes. Then, in the case of an officer against whom there is a resolution for impeachment--why should not such a resolution be decided by majority votes of the members present in the House? Therefore, Sir, in order to avoid all these difficulties, I have moved this amendment, and I hope this House will consider it deeply and decide that the amendment be accepted. With these words, I move.
(Amendment No. 1179 was not moved.)
The next three amendments standing in the name of Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad, Nos. 1180, 1181 and1182 are disallowed.
Amendment No. 1183 may be moved. It stands in the name of Prof. K. T. Shah.
Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I beg to move:
"That in clause (4) of article 50, after the words 'such resolution shall' the words 'be placed before the People's House, and if adopted by the latter, shall' be inserted."
The clause as altered would read:--
"If as a result of the investigation a resolution is passed, supported by not less than two-thirds of the total membership of the House by which the charge was investigated or caused to be investigated, declaring that the charge preferred against the President has been sustained, such resolution shall be placed before the People's House, and if adopted by the latter, shall have the effect of removing the President from his office as from the date on which the resolution is so passed."
Sir, there is one safeguard added by my amendment, namely, that immediately the judgment is passed or the resolution is adopted by the other House, according to the scheme of this Constitution, the Resolution would automatically have the effect of removing the President. I do not think that that would be quite in consonance with our conception of fair justice being done to the accused and especially in the case of such highly exalted officers, or in the case of such offences as are likely to be the subject-matter of this investigation.
After all, the cases would be in all probability cases where politics would play a considerable part. They would not be pure questions of law or fact; but a good deal of opinion, a good deal of view-point, a good deal of the angle of approach would be involved. On that account, the judgment of one House by itself should not, I suggest, be made automatically effective, and the exalted officer be made to cease immediately thereafter to have any place in the scheme of things.
In the several amendments that I have the honour to place before this House, I have, of course, laid emphasis on the fact that the one House investigates and the other House tries; one House makes the accusation, and the other House determines the validity of that accusation. In that scheme of things, I think that it is important, it is but right and proper, that the President should be not only found guilty, and a resolution to that effect be passed by the House which tried him. But what is still more important is that the resolution should be further confirmed by the other House as well.
Which has accused him?
Which has accused him. You would, therefore, have the same procedure in a slightly different form, of the two Houses agreeing in a measure, which is to be a measure of Parliament. Thus would this step become a measure of the whole legislature,--and, in the last analysis, a measure as desired by the sovereign people through their representatives.
I do not think that this safeguard will in any way offend against the requirements of fairness as well as the requirements of expediting such matters. It is not a dilatory procedure by any means. What is positive in its favour is that it will give, so to say, one more chance to political passions coming down, and the party concerned getting a fair verdict or at least a chance of vindication that may otherwise be denied.
I am particularly anxious that, since the trying procedure is vested, according at least to my scheme of things, in the Upper House, which is relatively a smaller body, and composed of the representatives of interests or the Units and which therefore is not directly representative of the people's will, a resolution of that House should not be taken to be operative immediately; and that there should be one more chance of the direct representatives of the people having their final say on the matter.
Whether you regard it in the shape of a kind of reprieve; whether you regard it as a kind of supreme pardon, or whatever way you like to look upon it,--I am afraid I cannot give a correct analogy or parallel--it is one more chance, in my opinion, for real justice being done, rather than suffer momentary exigency or political prejudices to prevail. Accordingly, I put it to the House that it would be erring,--if at all it is erring,--on the side of justice and fairplay, and as such it should be accepted.
(Amendment No. 1184 was not moved.)
Amendment No. 1185. Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad.
Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I beg to move:
"That in clause (4) of article 50, for the words 'date on which', the words 'time when' be substituted."
Sir, I submit this is a very important amendment. Upon the acceptance of this amendment, a deadlock would be avoided and I hope honourable Members will kindly hear what I have to say. Dr.Ambedkar is not hearing.
The whole House is hearing.
The whole House is useless unless Dr.Ambedkar agrees.
That is a reflection, I think,
We want to hear you.
H. V. Kamath
Is that statement in order Sir?
I withdraw it. Sir, I move amendment No. 1185. I consider this amendment to be very important and I desire the House should listen. This has reference to the impeachment of the President. It is provided that as soon as the appropriate House passes a resolution declaring that the charge against the President has been substantiated--I refer to clause (4) of article 50--it will have the effect of removing the President "as from the date on which the resolution is passed". I submit, Sir, that this will lead to an impasse. By another article, article 54, clause (1), it is provided that as soon as the President is removed by a resolution, the Vice-President steps in from the 'date' on which the President is removed and, under article 54, clause (1), the Vice-President shall act "until the date on which" the new President enters upon his office. There is an amendment to that article also which is connected with this: that is amendment No. 1207. I submit, Sir, that the President, if he is removed, is removed with effect from the time when the resolution is passed and not from the date. I will ask the House to consider a situation. Supposing the appropriate House under clause (4) of article 50 passes a resolution, say, at one o'clock, then according to clause (4) the President is removed as from the date on which the resolution is passed. I ask what will happen to acts done by the President on that date before one o'clock? The President may have declared an emergency under the Constitution in the morning; he may have, in the morning, assented to Bills. He may have appointed a Judge of the Federal Court; he may have dismissed or appointed a Ministry in the morning before his removal. If we allow clause (4) to remain as it is the President is removed with effect from the date on which the resolution is passed, that is, with effect from the period after the previous mid-night. The date begins after the mid-night. I ask what will happen to acts done by the President during the fateful day before his removal? I submit, Sir, his dismissal or removal must have reference to the particular time when he is removed. Otherwise, the Vice-President will step in as soon as there is a vacancy. This clause says the vacancy has effect from the date of his removal, that is before his removal. The Vice-President says, "I am the President with effect from the early morning of the 'date' of his removal". What will happen if the Vice-President acts retrospectively? He says, 'I am the President in the place of the President'. The President says, 'I was the President duly functioning before and up to the very moment of my removal'. I submit, Sir, that the words that he is removed with effect from the date on which the resolution is passed would be unhappy and would lead to absurd consequences. It will lead to a constitutional impasse and probably the Federal Court will have to decide it without any data. Commonsense says that the President should function till the time, that is the moment when he is dismissed, immediately after the resolution is carried. As soon as the resolution is carried, the President ceases to function. Up to that time his acts should be upheld and for that purpose the amendment is necessary. The text says that "He ceases to function with effect from the date on which he is removed" but the amendment says "that he would be removed with effect from the point of time the resolution is passed". There is a similar amendment to article 54 saying that the Vice-President shall act as President until the date on which the new President is appointed. In fact that must also be linked up with the point of time at which the new President is elected. If we provided for a whole day instead of a particular point of time, it will lead to absurdities. I submit this should be carefully considered by the House and accepted. The legality of the President's acts on the date of his removal but prior to the actual moment of his removal will be jeopardy.
Sir, I rise on a point of order. While Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad was moving his amendment, he deliberately said that he was addressing Dr.Ambedkar who was busy otherwise and he was not addressing the House or you. Now the point is this that when a Member speaks he addresses the Chair or the House. He does not address a particular Member who is in charge of the bill. Therefore, Sir, my point of order is this that you should hold that Mr. Naziruddin is guilty of contempt of the Chair and of the whole House and if that is your finding, a charge should be framed against him as under article 50 when the President is being impeached, he should be impeached by this House--as there is no other House which can try him and we are the supreme body and sovereign body--and we will make a charge against him and we will try him and you will preside over it. As the honourable Member said deliberately that he was not addressing the Chair or the House, he is guilty of contempt of the Chair and the whole House. I want a ruling, Sir.
The ruling will be given after proper consideration. I do not want to do anything in a passion.
I was not addressing any individual Member. I only insisted that the most important Member in the House should listen.
We shall pass on to the next amendment. No. 1186.
Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I beg to move:
"That at the end of clause (4) of article 50, the words 'by both Houses of Parliament' be added."
And the clause would then read--I am omitting the first four lines because I have already read that-
"which resolution shall have the effect of removing the President from his office as from the date on which the resolution is passed by both Houses of Parliament."
and not only by one.
Sir, I regard you as the most important Member for the time being, and not the Chairman of the Drafting Committee; and I therefore address the House through you which I trust will listen sympathetically to the argument I am going to place before you, as I regard all other Members of this House to be equal inter se.
The point I have made is that the Resolution convicting the President on impeachment must be passed and adopted by not only one but by both Houses. It is in conformity with the general scheme of the amendments which I have suggested that one House should start the proceedings, the other should investigate and pronounce its judgment embodied in a Resolution; and that Resolution be finally confirmed by the other House.
Unless and until that is done, I have been maintaining that the cause of justice would suffer; and in the interest, therefore, of fairness and justice, this is a consequential amendment flowing from those which I have had the honour of placing before the House viz., that the Resolution must be confirmed by both Houses, and that it should have effect only on the day that it is similarly confirmed by the other House which has not tried, the impeached President along with the House which tried and passed a Resolution of that kind.
Amendment No. 1187.
Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I move the amendment standing in my name-
"That the following be added at the end of clause (4) of article 50:--
'and it shall operate as a disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honour trust or profit under the Indian Union.' "
Clause (4) in article 50 lays down that if investigation is successful and a resolution is passed the President shall be removed from his office, but this clause (4) does not lay down any disqualification. Therefore I have moved that after the impeachment is successful and after he is removed from his office, this should operate as a disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honour, trust or profit under the Indian Union. I hope the House will accept this amendment.
(Amendments Nos. 1188 and 1189 were not moved.)
The article is now open for general discussion.
Sir, before throwing open this article for general discussion; there is one minor amendment necessary for the amendment moved by Shri Shankarrao Deo, i.e., No. 1160, to make it read aright. As it is, the amendment speaks of substituting the words "one fourth of the total membership of the House." But the correct wording should be "one-fourth of the total number of members". In the event of the House accepting the amendment moved by Shri Shankarrao Deo, this minor amendment which I now suggest, is necessary, and if you think that amendment should be moved before throwing open the article for general discussion, it may be moved now.
Does the House allow this amendment to be moved in order to make the meaning clearer?
Then it may be formally moved by you, Mr. Krishnamachari.
Sir, I move:
"That in the amendment No. 1160 moved by Shri Shankarro Deo, the words 'one-fourth of the total membership of the House' be replaced by the words 'one-fourth of the total number of members.' "
Now, Mr. Kamath can speak on the article in general.
L. Krishnaswami Bharathi
In that case, Sir, sub-clause (b) of clause (2) of article 50 also requires a slight change. The sub-clause says--"unless such resolution has been supported by not less than two-thirds of the total membership of the House." Therefore, the same case arises there also, and that sub-clause also should be suitably amended.
H. V. Kamath
Mr. Vice-President, Sir, this is an important article of tremendous import in that it provides for the arrangement, the impeachment and the removal from office, of the President of the Indian Union. In any ordinary trial, in any criminal trial, the presiding officer of the tribunal is one who is expected to be impartial, and a man of the completes integrity. I hope that we in India shall not have any occasion to invoke the aid of this article, and that all our Presidents will be thoroughly constitutional and of impeachable integrity. But Sir, we have got to make provisions against human frailty and that is why we have got to incorporate an article of this nature in our Constitution. But it is very necessary, absolutely essential that when you proceed to impeach the President of the Indian Republic for violation of the Constitution, I say it is absolutely necessary that the officer presiding over such an investigation must be a man who is above party politics, and a man of the completest integrity and impartiality. In this context, Sir, the amendment moved by Mr. Karimuddin acquires some importance. The article as it stands says that when a change has been so preferred--I am referring to clause (3) of the article,--when a charge has been so preferred by either House of Parliament, the other House shall investigate the charge or cause the charge to be investigated. It is quite possible and probable that the other House may investigate the charge, or perhaps it may proceed to appoint another tribunal consisting of its own members and some others, to investigate the charge. But in either case, it is necessary that the Presiding officer of the House which is investigating the charge should not preside over the impeachment proceedings. Suppose, for instance, the Upper House prefers the charge and the Lower House investigates it. Then, what is the position? The Lower House is presided over by the Speaker. Do we intend that the Speaker of the House of the People shall preside over the impeachment proceedings? The Speaker is almost always a party man, and the President is being impeached for some violation consequent upon a conflict that might have arisen between him and the party in power. Naturally, therefore, the Speaker who is a member of the party in power cannot be expected to be impartial and of the completest integrity in this particular affair. Suppose the charge is being investigated by the Upper House after it has been preferred by the Lower House. As the article stands, the Vice-President will preside over the proceedings. But, Sir, man is after all a frail creature. The Vice-President may have at the back of his mind the idea that if the President is impeached and removed from office, he will be able to step into his shoes. The Vice-President, therefore, will be, more or less, an interested man, because, if the impeachment succeeds and the President goes out of office, the Chairman of the Council of State will be able to step into his shoes and become the President. He may be interested in seeing that the impeachment succeeds. So in either case, whether the Lower House presides over the proceedings of impeachment or the Upper House, the presiding officer of that House cannot be expected to be impartial and absolutely above party politics, or above party passions, and of the completest rectitude, in those proceedings. Therefore, it is very necessary that the Chief Justice of India should preside over the investigation of the charge preferred against the President. He must have the last word not merely upon the conduct of the trial but also on all matters such as admissibility of evidence and cognate matters. Here, I will, with your permission, Sir, quote from "The Constitutional History of the United States" by A. C. Mac Laughlin.
"When President Andrew Johnson was being tried before the Senate--the Chief Justice presiding--a similar question about the admissibility of evidence arose, and the Senate decided that the Presiding Officer might rule on the admissibility of evidence, and the ruling should stand, unless there was a division, in which case, the question should be passed on by the Senate itself."
H. V. Kamath
Here the President was being tried and the Chief Justice was presiding, and in the course of the trial, a question arose and it was ruled that the Chief Justice must have the power to decide about the admissibility of evidence. Here also, I think, the same procedure should be adopted, for the impeachment of the President of the Indian Republic, and the Presiding Officer of the investigation should be the Chief Justice of India, who is neither the Speaker of the House of the People nor the Chairman of the Council of States. I therefore, lend my support to the amendment moved by Mr. Karimuddin, to the effect that the Chief Justice of India should preside over the investigation in connection with the impeachment of the President.
H. V. Kamath
Sir, Mr. K. T. Shah moved an amendment, I refer to amendment No. 1183. Of course, his whole scheme is that the charges should be preferred by the Lower House, that it must originate, that it must be initiated by the Lower House, and that it should be investigated by the Upper House. I do not subscribe to this particular proposition, that it should be initiated only by the Lower House; it may arise either in the Lower House or in the Upper House. But if it arises in either of the two Houses, the other House investigates it. I however support him in so far as amendment No. 1183 says that the House which investigates the charge and finds it to be sustained should not have the last word as regards the removal of the President. The resolution, or the charge, if found sustained by the other House, the House other than the House that preferred the charge, that resolution must go back to the House that preferred the charge, because the President should be impeached, and removed, not by the vote of one House only, but by the vote of both Houses. Therefore, it is important that in the constitution we should provide definitely, unambiguously and unequivocally that the President, if he is to be removed at all from his high office, must be removed by the vote of both Houses and not of one House only. The arguments advanced by Prof. K. T. Shah are sound. In the course of the trial, many months may elapse and it may be that certain prejudices and party passions which dictated the preferment of the charge might subside and perhaps when it goes back to the other House, it may be--I do not say it will always be so--it may be that the charge which was preferred by that House may be found, on further reflection that it could not be justly and fully sustained. So, both amendments No. 1183 and No. 1186 moved by Prof. K. T. Shah are important in this respect because they have the effect of removing the President of India by a vote of both the Houses and not by the vote of a single House, namely, the House which investigated the charge preferred by the other House and found it sustained on evidence advanced before it. Therefore, I think, Sir, that these amendments must be incorporated in some form or other in our Constitution. Just as in a criminal trial the Police hold a preliminary enquiry and then the case comes before a Court of law where the presiding officer is above the prosecution and above the defence, similarly when the charge preferred by the other House is investigated the presiding officer must be the Chief Justice of India because he is neither the Speaker of the House of People nor the Chairman of the Council of States. That is as regards the first amendment moved by my Friend Mr. Karimuddin.
H. V. Kamath
Secondly, as regards the two amendments moved by Prof. K. T. Shah to the effect that the President must be removed by the final vote of both the House and not by the vote of a single House only. This is also a very sound principle and must be embodied in the Constitution.
H. V. Kamath
Then there is amendment No. 1187 of my Friend Mr. Karimuddin again, that the President, after he has been impeached and removed from office, must not be eligible for any office of profit or honour or trust in the Indian Union. It follows--I think it is a matter of integrity in public life, of the standards of public conduct which we proclaimed at Jaipur the other day--it follows that the President........
H. V. Kamath
My Friend Mr. Husain is smiling chuckling to himself. I do not know what his smile means, whether the Jaipur......
It does not follow.
H. V. Kamath
I leave it to Mr. Husain to explain why it does not follow. I will say only this much, that the President has been removed for a gross violation of the Constitution by an impeachment and an adverse vote of both the Houses; do we contemplate, do we visualise that such a man, such a high dignitary, when he has been removed by Parliament from office should be eligible for an office of trust or honour in the Indian Union? No, a thousand times no. We shall keep such a man away from all office and all honour or trust so far as our country is concerned. I therefore lend my support to amendment No. 1187 as well.
Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava
Mr. Vice-President, I do not agree with the wording of this article 50. In the first instance there is this defect in article 50 that only the President has been mentioned therein, though there would be many occasions when the Vice-President would act as President. For that there is no provision. In such cases, if there is any violation of the Constitution, the responsibility would clearly be that of the Vice-President, who would be held responsible for his actions. For this reason, the Vice-President should also have been in this article.
Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava
Another short-coming which I find in this article is that the words "Violation of the Constitution" have nowhere been defined. There can be "Violation of the Constitution" in various ways, e.g., by not conforming to the instructions contained in Schedule Four; by not fulfilling the undertaking imposed by the Oath under Article 49, and in failing to carry out his other functions. Hence, these words "Violation of the Constitution" are vague and require clarification. The President will be the highest official of the Indian Union, and there is a possibility of his being unnecessarily harassed for his act on account of the presence of those vague words. This is a very undesirable position.
Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava
The third short-coming, which I find, is that in the face of the vague wording, the condition of thirty members giving notice of such resolution is not a sufficient safeguard. I think a notice by one-fourth of the total membership should be necessary. This amendment is very necessary, and I support it. The additional safeguard that the Resolution should be passed by two-thirds of the total membership is also necessary.
Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava
The stage for investigation could be reached after these conditions have been satisfied, and the enquiry will then be conducted by the other House. Under article 50 (3), either the House would investigate the charge itself or appoint somebody else for the work. If the House undertakes the investigation itself, then there is no reason why the President of the House should not continue to act as President. The Speaker of the House of People--is most trustworthy person and he is above all party-politics. He can be fully trusted to act justly without fear or favour. The argument of Mr. Kamath that since the Chairman of the Council of States would also be the Vice-President and so he is not likely to act justly because by the removal of the President he gets a chance to act otherwise, is untenable. Firstly, he would not be the only judge and secondly he would not be so characterless as to cast away all fairness. In this connection, an important question that arises is that if after investigation the charge is substantiated, then the condition of fixing the two-third majority of member would make the right of impeachment quite illusory. To fetter justice by so many restrictions is not proper. There are sufficient and proper safeguards against frivolous accusations in sub-clauses (a) and (b). The result of the enquiry of the House being in support of the charge or the judgment of the Supreme Court or any higher court to that effect, will change the whole position. Under these circumstances there is no necessity of the condition that the Resolution should be confirmed by a two-thirds majority; rather, a bare majority should be enough. If as a result of investigation the charge is not proved, then the question of passing the resolution does not arise. If a two-thirds majority has the right to pass a resolution only in the event when it supports the charge, then it would be an insult to the House, which has investigated the charge, or to the Court appointed for the purpose. In the other case, there is no occasion or justification for passing a resolution. Of course, if the charge is proved the House should have the right to confirm the resolution by bare majority. The entire article 50 remains quite vague and unsatisfactory by not providing any definite machinery and method of investigation in 50 (3) and by not indicating the result as a definite outcome of the investigation in 50 (4). No doubt, this article would be rarely put to use, but, even then, whenever it would be used difficulties in its proper application will have to be faced. In itpresent form its correct interpretation would become impossible.
Pandit Thakur Dass Bhargava
My submission is that if the amendments, to which I have alluded, are not incorporated, then many difficulties would crop up. Another minor point which I want to make is that in cases where the violation of the Constitution by the President is so expressly pronounced that both the Houses want to play the accusers, then the question will arise which House would be the accuser and which the investigating authority. Though it is not probable, there is no provision here for such a contingency. There should be some provision that in such and such cases the House of the People should be the accuser and the Council of States should be the investigating authority. With these words I support the article.
Mr. Vice-President, Sir, while you have given a chance to the important, more important and the most important people, I am glad that you have now given a chance to the most unimportant side of the House.
The trial of the President is a very important matter and requires careful consideration from the Members of this House. Mr. Karimuddin's amendment seems to be very sensible, very fair and impartial. When we try a man of distinguished position and dignity the trial should be presided over by such a person who would be detached from party passions and prejudices. And who could that person possibly be? The Chief Justice of the Federal Court can be the only person who will be the fit person. He will bring into the trial such impartial views as the Speaker will be unable to do. In trying our highest personage it is necessary that we should have a man presiding who will be absolutely free from any bias and who will be free from party prejudices. The Speaker, however high a person he might possibly be, will yet not be away from party leanings and party prejudices, as we find everywhere.
This is a very small amendment and it requires consideration not because it has come from a party, or from a person who does not belong to our party--if that is the consideration I think we will be doing an injustice to ourselves--but we should be fair to all who bring sensible amendments. I wish I could have followed Pandit Bhargava who spoke in high-flown Hindustani which is not understandable by us, but from what I partially followed it was hardly convincing. The Speaker will not be able to bring in proper discussion on the subject. Apart from that he may not be a great lawyer. He may be a very popular person, but he may not be the best person, and may be one backed by the majority. As such his ideas about the admissibility or inadmissibility of evidence will be a matter of great conjecture, and they may possibly be swayed by rumours and other things. And evidence may be let in which may cause prejudice to the great personage. I suggest that we should view this amendment dispassionately and allow the Chief Justice to preside over the trial of the President who will be the most distinguished man we will have in our country. As such I humbly suggest that you may consider the matter and think over the amendment of Mr. Karimuddin.
In the American constitution they have made provision for the Chief Justice to preside over such trial. In fact, in the trial of President Johnson, it was found that unless he had been there the President would have been dismissed. But he allowed such evidence that was proper and therefore the President just escaped from being chucked out and dismissed from office. Similarly in our country also we should try to be fair and just.
I think our party will consider this very wholesome and sensible amendment which has been so ably supported by Mr. Kamath.
Sir, I speak with much diffidence. We are trying to create a democratic President, but we are suspicious and the House is suspicious. The Members, after the recess, after returning from Jaipur, are very much subdued. They do not frankly and openly say what is in their mind. Yet, the few amendments that have been moved by those with whom I do not see eye to eye, and others stabled and not moved show that there is suspicion in the minds of Members.
Is it necessary for Mr. Das to refer to Jaipur? Members have again and again referred to it. I do not know what Jaipur has to do with the proceedings of this House.
I do not know why Members are subdued ! Article 47 to 50 are the most important articles regarding the President. Are we creating a democratic President or are we creating a Frankenstein? Under article 50, we are discussing at present about our suspiciousness of the President and are considering in what way he can be prosecuted for misdemeanours to the Constitution. That shows that we are not creating a democratic President. By means of the various amendments moved and not moved, many Members want to further restrict the hands of the President. Human minds have travelled far backwards and to the memory of Napoleon, a common man who was elected as President and became an autocratic Emperor. We have the recent memories of South American Presidents who suddenly became great autocrats and dictators in those so-called republics which abound in South America. Unfortunately, we have to see whether we are giving any dictatorial powers to our President. Though he may be guided by a democratic Cabinet, is it safe to entrust him with dictatorial powers? With all human weaknesses, will a democratic President remain democratic and not turn autocratic? Sir, the amendments that have not been moved indicate that we are human beings and have our suspicions about the democratic President turning autocratic. Many want that he should not be a baby of 35 years, but should be an elderly statesman. My own amendment No. 1185 I did not move, hoping that the President will prove to be a gentleman always. It is to this effect: No President should seek service under the Union Government or as the Governor of a State after he retires from the Presidentship of the Republic of India. Why should that human weakness manifest in our elderly statesmen? Why should he seek to become an Ambassador or a Governor? Sir, these things are agitating our minds. It is for the democratic President to prove that he is above all these allurements.
Sir, I have had experience of these suspicious conducts in the recent past, in the days of British Government; a Governor of Madras, after retirement, came here as the Governor-General of India and his wife looked at it as a means of getting fabulous presents and other gains. We have to consider whether the democratic President we are going to have under articles 41 to 51 will not later on turn out to be autocratic President and accept presents and other perquisites. Such presents are not small sums. The jewellery and other presents go up to lakhs and crores. We have to see that our future President, his wife, his daughters or his daughter-in-laws are not allowed to accept such presents. I wish that my esteemed Friend Dr.Ambedkar devises a provision which will make all presents received by a President or his family during the time he occupies the Gadi at Delhi accrue to the Nation and become State property. The benefit of such presents should not go to the President or his dependants.
Sir, if I sought permission to speak, I did so only to voice the feelings of many Members. We are all human beings. We are not Thakkar Bapa or Mahatma Gandhi or even you, Mr. Vice-President. My mind is suspicious. All my political career I have been suspicious of every Englishman and I have been suspicious of those who have been trained in the British traditions. Therefore I want to know what we are going to do to allay these suspicious. The speeches made on the floor of the House show that we are suspicious of our President. That being the case, why not we make matters clear? We cannot expect that because we may have a President well trained in the school of Mahatma Gandhi, others may not seek Governorships and the like. While considering the article under reference we have to bear in mind that we are giving autocratic powers to pass Ordinances and other dictatorial controls to the President and the Cabinet. Sir, these are my observations.
Mr. Vice-President, my learned Friend Mr. Tahir has moved amendment No. 1178......
Our South Indian friends have repeatedly told me that they cannot follow highflown language. You are at liberty to speak in any language you like; but if you want to influence their votes you must speak in English. It is for you to decide.
Because a friend of mine Pandit Bhargava spoke in beautiful Hindustani, I wanted to show to the House that I was also capable of speaking in my mother tongue as well as a person from Delhi, although I come from a long way off, Bihar.
He comes from East Punjab.
Punjabi is not Hindustani. However, I shall speak in English, Sir.
Mr. Tahir has moved his amendment to this article. The article says that when the Parliament wants to censure the President of the Indian Republic it should at least pass a resolution to that effect by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting. Mr. Tahir 'No, that is wrong. In a democracy it should not be done like that. It should be done by a simple majority of votes.' I have come here to oppose his amendment.
Now, if the President of the Indian Republic is to be turned out of office by a simple majority of one or by the casting vote of the person presiding at that time, then what would happen?
The President will be a mere tool in the hands of the majority party of the House. We do not want a President like that. We do not want a President who should flatter the majority party, no matter what party is in power, Congress, Socialist or Communist. We do not want the President to look to the majority party in the House. Once elected, let him become impartial absolutely and not look for favours at the hands of any party. Therefore, I support the draft article as it is. If the President is to be impeached, let him be impeached by a majority of two-thirds of the members present.
Now, Sir, I come to amendment No. 1183 moved by my Friend Prof. K. T. Shah. He wants that in clause (4) of article 50, after the words "such resolution shall" the words "be placed before the People's House and if adopted by the latter, shall" be inserted. Article 50 lays down the procedure for the impeachment of the President. There are two Houses, the Upper House and the Lower House, the Council of States and the House of the People. Now, Article 50 says that either of the two Houses may frame a charge against the President and when one House--suppose the Lower House--frames the charge, accuses or makes certain allegations against the President of the Republic, the other House, the Council of States shall enquire into it, which means that the other House will act as judges and the House which is accusing will be only the complainant or the prosecutor. In legal jurisprudence you will find that the person who accuses should not be the judge. That is why we have been fighting that the judiciary should be separated from the executive. As soon as time permits, that is going to be done. It suited the British Government to be the accuser as well as the judge, but now that we are having democracy, now that India has become independent, the accuser should not be the judge. Therefore I have come here to oppose the amendment moved by my Friend Prof. K. T. Shah.
The next amendment is 1185 moved by Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad. His is a simple amendment. He wants that the President shall cease to be President from the time when such a resolution has been passed, instead of the date on which the resolution is passed. This appears to be reasonable and simple. Suppose the meeting is held at 10'clock in the morning and the motion of censure is passed, the President according to the existing clause (4) will remain President till twelve in the night on that date. According to the amendment of Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad, the moment the Resolution is passed, the President automatically ceases to be President. I think this is reasonable and should be accepted.
Then I come to amendment No. 1186 moved by Prof. K. T. Shah that at the end of clause (4) the words "by both Houses of Parliament" be added. He wants that both the Houses of Parliament should try the President of the Republic when one of the Houses has accused him. I do not want to repeat my argument but what he wants is that both the accusers and the judges should sit together and deliver judgment on the case. As the accuser should not be the judge also, I oppose this amendment also.
Next comes amendment No. 1187 moved by my honourable Friend Kazi Syed Karimuddin. In this article, it is nowhere mentioned as to what is going to happen to the President of the Republic after he ceases to be the President on account of the censure motion passed against him. When the President is removed, he will be unfit to hold any office, but it must be mentioned in this Constitution also. I think the amendment of Mr. Karimuddinis very reasonable and I therefore support it. When a President is removed, it shall operate as a disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honour, trust or profit under the Indian Union. Of course, that will be done but I want it to be in black and white.
Mr. Vice-President, Sir, of the many amendments which have been moved to this article, I can accept only two. One is No. 1158 moved by my Friend, Mr. Gupte providing of fourteen day's notice for the discussion of a motion to impeach the President. The second amendment which I am prepared to accept is amendment No.1160 moved by my Friend Mr. Deo, as amended by Mr. T. T. Krishnamachari. I think the original provision in the Draft Constitution did not lay down sufficient number of members as a condition precedent for the initiation of the motion. I think the change provided by the amendment is for the better and I am therefore prepared to accept it.
Now, Sir, I come to the other amendments which I am sorry to say I have not been able to accept but which I think call for a reply. The amendments which call for a reply are the amendments moved by Prof. K. T. Shah, Nos. 1151, 1171, 1173, 1176 and 1186. Sir, the amendments which have been moved by Prof. K. T. Shah refer to two questions. The first is the scheme of impeachment which has been laid down in the Draft Constitution and the second relates to the right of the President to appear and defend through a lawyer before the House which is investigating the charge against the President. So far as the second amendment of Prof. K. T. Shah is concerned. I do not see that there is any necessity for any such amendment at all; because Prof. Shah referred to the article--I think it is sub-clause (4) or (3),--it makes ample provision for permitting the President not only to appear before the investigating House, but also to be represented by any other person, namely, a lawyer. All that Prof. K. T. Shah has done is to separate this particular part of that clause and to put it as sub-clause (3) (a) in order to make it an independent proposition by itself. I do not think that here is any such necessity for the device that he has adopted.
Now, I come to the first part, namely, the drawbacks which he has shown in the scheme of impeachment provided in the Draft Constitution. Before I proceed to reply to his points, I think it is desirable that the House should have before it a clear picture of the provisions of the scheme embodied in the Draft Constitution. Any one who analyses this article will find that it embodies four different propositions. Firstly, the motion for impeachment may be initiated in either House, either in the Council of States or in the House of the People. Secondly, such motion must have the support of a required number of members. Thirdly, the House which has passed the motion for investigation shall not be entitled to investigate the charge. And fourthly, that the House which has investigated the charge, if it finds the President guilty must do so by a majority of two-thirds.
These are the four propositions which have been embodied in this particular article. Now Prof. Shah's proposition is that the Upper House should have nothing to do with the impeachment of the President and that the jurisdiction to impeach the President, to investigate and to come to its own conclusions must be solely vested in the House of the People. I have not been able to understand the reasons why Prof. K. T. Shah thinks that the Lower House is in a special way entitled to have this jurisdiction vested in it. After all the trial of the President or his impeachment is intended to see that the dignity, honour and the rectitude of the office is maintained by the person who is holding that particular office. Obviously, the honour, the dignity and the rectitude of that office is not merely a matter of concern to the Lower House, it is equally a matter of concern for the Upper House as well. I do not, therefore, understand why the Upper chamber which, as I said, is equally interested in seeing that the President conducts himself in conformity with the provisions of the Constitution should be ousted from investigating or entertaining a charge of any breach of conduct on the part of the President in his integrity and it is equally concerned as the House of the People. Prof. K. T. Shah felt so sure about the correctness of his proposition that he said in the course of his argument that only those who have been slavishly copying the other constitutions would have the courage to oppose his amendments. I do not mind the dig which he has had at the Drafting Committee. As I said in my opening address, the Drafting Committee in the interests of this country has not been afraid of borrowing from other constitutions wherever they have felt that the other constitutions have contained some better provisions than we could ourselves devise. But I thought Prof. K. T. Shah forgot that if there was any person so far as I am able to see, who has practised slavish imitation of the Constitution of the United States, I cannot point to any other individual except Prof. Shah. (Laughter). I thought his whole scheme which was just a substitute for the scheme of Government embodied in the Draft Constitution was bodily borrowed with commas and semi-colons from the United States Constitution, and when he was defeated on his main proposition, his worship of the United States Constitution has been so profound, so deep, that he has been persisting in moving the other amendments which, as he himself knows, are only consequential and have no substance in themselves. I therefore do not mind the dig that he has had at the Drafting Committee.
The other proposition which Prof. K. T. Shah has sought to introduce in the Constitution is that there should be a concurrence of the other House. He has evidently decided to accept the main scheme embodied in the Draft Constitution. What he wants is that even if the one House which has investigated the offence has come to a conclusion, that conclusion ought not to have effect unless it has been adopted by the other House. I cannot understand why, for instance, the verdict of a jury--and this is no doubt a sort of jury, which will investigate and come to a conclusion--I do not understand why the verdict of one House, which it would have come to after investigation should be submitted to another jury. I have never known of any such principle or precedent at all. Secondly, I do not understand what is to be the effect if the other House does not adopt. Is the other House required to adopt only by bare majority or two-thirds majority? Supposing the other House does not adopt the conclusion which has been arrived at by one House, what is to be done? Obviously there will be a tie. Prof. K. T. Shah provided, in my judgment, no remedy for the dissolution of that tie. For these reasons, I am unable to accept any of the amendments moved by Prof. K. T. Shah.
There is another amendment which I might deal with because it is analogous to the amendments moved by Prof. K. T. Shah, and that is amendment No. 1178 moved by my Friend, Mr. Mohd. Tahir. He says that it is unnecessary to provide for a two-thirds majority for a charge of being guilty of violation of the Constitution. He thinks that a bare majority is enough. Now, Sir, I think my Friend, Mr. Mohd. Tahir has not taken sufficient notice of the fact that a motion for impeachment is very different from a motion of no confidence. A motion of no confidence does not involve any shame or moral turpitude. A motion of no confidence merely means that the party does not accept or the House does not accept the policy of the Government. Beyond that no others censure is involved in a no confidence motion. But, an impeachment motion stands on a totally different footing. If a man is convicted on a motion for impeachment, it practically amounts to the ruination of his public career. That being the difference, I think it is desirable that such an important consequence should not be permitted to follow from the decision of a bare majority. It is because of this difference that the Drafting Committee provided that the verdict of guilty should be supported by a two-thirds majority.
Now, Sir, I come to the amendments of my honourable Friend, Kazi Syed Karimuddin. His first amendment which I propose to take for consideration is amendment No. 1152. By this amendment he wants to add treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanours after the words, 'violation of the Constitution'. My own view is this. The phrase 'violation of the Constitution' is quite a large one and may well include treason, bribery and other high crimes or misdemeanours. Because treason, certainly, would be a violation of the Constitution. Bribery also will be a violation of the Constitution because it will be a violation of the oath taken by the President. With regard to crimes, the Members will see that we have made a different provision with regard to the trial of the President for any crimes or misdemeanours that he may have made. Therefore, in my view, the addition of these words, treason and bribery, are unnecessary. They are covered by the phrase "violation of the Constitution".
His other amendment is amendment No. 1170, whereby Mr. Karimuddin seeks to provide that when an investigation is being made into the charge of impeachment, the Chief Justice of India shall preside. I have no quarrel with his proposition that any investigation that may be undertaken by any House which happens to be in charge of the impeachment matter should have the investigation conducted in a judicial manner, having regard to all the provisions which are embodied in the Criminal Procedure Code and the Evidence Act. As I said, I have no quarrel with his objective; in fact, I share it. The only point is this: whether this is a matter which should be left for the two Houses to provide in the Rules of Procedure or whether it is desirable to place this matter right in the Constitution in a definite and express manner. My Friend Mr. Karimuddin will see that in sub-clause (3) it is provided that the House shall investigate, and therefore it is quite clear that both the Houses of Parliament in making the rules of procedure will have to embody in it a section dealing with the procedure relating to impeachment. Because, it may be, at one time the initiation may take place in the Upper Chamber and trial may take place in the Lower Chamber, and vice versa. So both the Houses will have to have a section dealing with this matter in the procedure of each House. That being so, there is nothing to prevent the legislature from setting out in that part of the procedure of the two Houses that wherever that investigation is made either the Chief Justice shall preside or some other judicial officer may preside, and therefore it seems to me that his object will be achieved if what I submit it carried out by the procedural part of the Rules of the two Houses. This provision is therefore quite unnecessary.
I come to his third amendment, No. 1187. He wants that the Constitution should lay down the disqualifications which must necessarily arise out of a charge of guilt on impeachment. The language that he has borrowed I see is from the United States Constitution. My view with regard to this matter is this. So far as membership of the legislature is concerned, as I pointed out on an earlier occasion, the matter is covered by the provision contained in article 83 which lays down the disqualifications for membership of the legislature. As I then stated, it would be perfectly possible for Parliament in laying down additional disqualifications to introduce a clause saying that a person who has been impeached under the Constitution shall not be qualified to be a member of the legislature. Therefore, by virtue of article 83, it would be perfectly possible to exclude a President who has been impeached from membership of the legislature.
The only other matter that remains is the question of appointment to office. It seems to me that there are several considerations to be borne in mind. It is quite true that the provisions of the Draft Constitution leave this matter open. But, I think it would be perfectly possible for Parliament, when enacting a Civil Servants Act, as I have no doubt the future Parliament will be required to do, to lay down the qualifications for public service, their emoluments and all other provisions with regard to public service. Obviously, it would be open to Parliament to say that any person who has been impeached under the law of the Constitution shall not be a fit person to be appointed to any particular post, either an ambassadorial post, outside the Government, or inside the Government in any particular department. Therefore, that matter, I see, can also be covered by parliamentary legislation.
: Am I to understand that Dr. Ambedkar is personally in favour of this amendment?
Yes; I think there is nothing in this amendment except the fact that this was met by other ways.
Now, Sir, the other question is this: is it necessary to have these disqualifications laid down specifically and expressly in the Constitution? It seems to me that there is no necessity, for two reasons. One is that no person who has been shamed in this manner by a public trial and declared to be a public enemy would ever have the courage to offer himself as a candidate for any particular post. Therefore, that possibility, I think, is excluded by this consideration. The second is this: whether the people of this country would be so wanting in sense of public duty and public service to elect any such person, if he, as a matter of fact, stood. I think it would be too shameful an imputation to the people of this country to say that it is necessary to make an express provision of this sort in the Constitution because the people of this country are likely to elect persons who are criminals, who have committed breach of trust and who have failed the public in the performance of their public duties. I think these weaknesses are inherent in all societies and no good purpose will be served by advertising them by putting them in the Constitution. I therefore think that the amendments, however laudable they are, are not necessary to be embodied in the Constitution.
The amendments which have been moved will now be put to vote.
Amendment No. 1152 standing in the name of Kazi Syed Karimuddin. The question is:
"That is clause (1) of article 50, after the words 'for violation of the Constitution', the words 'treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanours', be inserted."
The amendment was negatived.
Amendment No. 1151 standing in the name of Prof. K. T Shah First part.
The question is:
"That in clause (1) of article 50, after the words 'is to be impeached for' the words 'treason or' be added."
The amendment was negatived.
Amendment No. 1151 standing in the name of Prof. K. T. Shah Second Part.