(1) Subject to the provisions of article, the House of the People shall consist of —

 

(a) not more than 4 [five hundred and thirty members] chosen by direct election from territorial constituencies in the States, and

 

(b) not more than 5 [twenty members] to represent the Union territories, chosen in such manner as Parliament may by law provide.

 

(2) For the purposes of sub-clause (a) of clause (1),—

 

(a) there shall be allotted to each State a number of seats in the House of the People in such manner that the ratio between that number and the population of the State is, so far as practicable, the same for all States; and

 

(b) each State shall be divided into territorial constituencies in such manner that the ratio between the population of each constituency and the number of seats allotted to it is, so far as practicable, the same throughout the State:

 

Provided that the provisions of sub-clause (a) of this clause shall not be applicable for the purpose of allotment of seats in the House of the People to any State so long as the population of that State does not exceed six millions.

 

(3) In this article, the expression “population” means the population as ascertained at the last preceding census of which the relevant figures have been published:

 

Provided that the reference in this clause to the last preceding census of which the relevant figures have been published shall, until the relevant figures for the first census taken after the year 2026 have been published, be construed,—

 

(i) for the purposes of sub-clause (a) of clause (2) and the proviso to that clause, as a reference to the 1971 census; and

 

(ii) for the purposes of sub-clause (b) of clause (2) as a reference to the 2001 census.

Debate Summary

Article 67 (5) – (8), Draft Constitution 1948

(5) (a) Subject to the provisions of articles 292 and 293 of this Constitution, the House of the People shall consist of not more than five hundred representatives of the people of the territories of the States directly chosen by the voters.

(b) For the purpose of sub-clause (a), the States of India shall be divided, grouped or formed into territorial constituencies and the number of representatives to be allotted to each such constituency shall be so determined as to ensure that there shall be not less than one representative for every 750,000 of the population and not more than one representative for every 500,000 of the population:

Provided that the ratio of the total number of representatives of the States for the time being specified in Part III of the First Schedule to their total population shall not be in excess of the ratio of the total number of representatives of the States for the time being specified in Parts I and II of that Schedule to the total population of such States.

(c) The ratio between the number of members to be elected at any time for each territorial constituency and the population of that constituency as ascertained at the last preceding census shall, so far as practicable, be the same throughout India.

(6) The election to the House of the People shall be on the basis of adult suffrage; that is to say, every citizen who is not less than twenty one years of age and is not otherwise disqualified under this Constitution or under any Act of Parliament on the ground of non-residence, unsoundness of mind, crime or corrupt or illegal practice shall be entitled to be registered as a voter at such elections.

 (7) Parliament may, by law, provide for the representation in the House of the People of territories other-than States.

(8) Upon the completion of each census the representation of the several States in the Council of States and of the several territorial constituencies in the House of the People shall, subject to the provisions of article 289 of this Constitution, be readjusted by such authority, in such manner and with effect from such date as Parliament may, by law, determine.

 

Draft Article 67 (5) – (8) was debated on 4 January 1949 and 17th October 1949. It established the composition of the House of the People.

 

A member proposed to replace single-member constituency, with a ‘system of proportional representation with multi-member constituencies by means of cumulative vote’. He argued that the former perpetuated a democracy of majority which was ‘tyrannical’. The system of proportional representation would ensure that voices from diverse sectors were heard. Moreover, the single-member constituency system would not guarantee protection to minority communities. He relied on the Irish experience to demonstrate how religious minorities were disenfranchised by the majority.  Another member supported this move and believed that proportional representation would ensure ‘greater reflection of popular will’. A similar amendment was moved to encode proportional representation. The mover called ‘Parliamentary democratic system’ a defect in electoral democracy. 

 

However, the members of the Drafting Committee were not convinced by this proposal. A member cited practical reasons to oppose this: India’s population was too excessive to conduct elections through proportional representation. And the literacy rate was far too low for this system to succeed. The Chairman relied on the English example: the British categorically dismissed proportional representation as it would adversely impact the stability of governments. Instead, minority representation could be promised through the reservation in the legislature.

 

A member sought to introduce ‘illiteracy’ a ground for disqualification to vote for the first ten years of the Constitution being in force. He argued that this could drive ‘adult education’ and would increase the literacy rate.

 

The aforementioned proposal fell through. The Assembly accepted a few other amendments and adopted the Draft Article on 4th January 1949. It was reopened for discussions and amended on 17th October 1949.