Musings on the Constitution-XXXVI Narasimhan Vijayaraghavan He went on to say: “Shaikh Abdullah spoke in the Constituent Assembly of Kashmir about three or four months ago, words which

Musings on the Constitution-XXXVI
Narasimhan Vijayaraghavan
He went on to say:
“Shaikh Abdullah spoke in the Constituent Assembly of Kashmir about three or four months ago, words which have not been withdrawn, but words which created a good deal of misgivings in the minds of all Indians irrespective of party affiliations. I do not know whether the Prime Minister saw this:

Sheikh Abdullah with Jawaharlal Nehru

We are a hundred per cent sovereign body. No country can put spokes in the wheel of our progress. Neither the Indian Parliament nor any other Parliament outside the State has any jurisdiction over our State.
. . . And then the flag. The flag has a significance. It will not do for the Prime Minister to say that it is a matter of sentiment. It was announced in the papers three days ago that the Indian flag will fly only on two ceremonial occasions and otherwise the State flag alone will fly there.

It you feel that the unity and integrity of India are not affected and it will not lead to fissiparous tendencies being generated, accept it and do it for all. But why do it as a matter of surrender to Sheikh Abdullah’s demand?
He wanted to call himself the Prime Minister. That is how he first started. Some of us did not like it. We know one Prime Minister of India including Kashmir, that is the Prime Minister who is sitting here. How can you have two Prime Ministers, one Prime Minister in Delhi and another Prime Minister in Srinagar . . . As regards the emergency provision, it is an amazing stand. If there is an emergency on account of internal disturbance, the President of India will not have the last say. Why this fear of the President of India? Can you contemplate a more gratuitous insult to the President of India? . . . I shall conclude, by making this constructive suggestion . . . I submit that we must proceed according to certain standards. First of all there is no question of the President by virtue of his power to take orders altering the provisions of the Constitution in material respects . . .

“Nationalism is Indivisible” Syama Prasad in Kashmir
You consider all these items and make your provisions so elastic that you can apply them either to the whole of India or you can apply them to only such parts where the Parliament of India will feel that such special treatment is necessary.
Proceed in accordance with a constitutional manner, not just play with the Constitution. It is a sacred document, and it is a document on which much labour and much thought were bestowed. If you feel some changes are necessary in order to take into consideration the new set-up that is slowly developing in India, whether in Kashmir or other parts of India, by all means let the people of the country have a chance to express their opinion.
Lastly, mindful of the prognosis that the Sheikh was a Kashmiri Muslim, and was apt to discriminate against the remainder of the population of the state, namely the Dogras, the Ladakhis, the Gujjars, the Bakarwals and the Shia Muslims of the Kargil area, he had the following words of wisdom :

Kargil Vijay Diwas: A look at India’s victory over Pakistan at one of the toughest battle terrain

Monks in Ladakh
“The same right which you are claiming for Kashmir may also be demanded by the people of Jammu and Ladakh. Let us proceed in a friendly spirit. Sheikh Abdullah himself said about a month ago that he will have no objection if the people of Jammu and Ladakh really felt that they would go to India . . . Let it be possible for the people residing in those areas to make up their minds which way it will be good to proceed, and it will also be consistent with the same principles of self-determination which constitute the basic claims of Sheikh Abdullah, supported by the Prime Minister.”
On 17th Dec,1946, when the Resolution relating to Aims and Objects- was moved by the Chairman before the Constituent Assemb;ly, several members exercised their right to speak, nearly 50. Syama Prasad’s stood out for its scholarly presentation.
“Mr. Chairman, Sir, I believe in the course of the chequered history of our country, we have often passed motions and resolutions from different political parties and platforms embodying our demands for an independent sovereign State for our motherland. But so far as today’s Resolution is concerned, it has a deep and special significance. It is for the first time in the history of our country, since we came under British rule, that we have met to frame our own constitution. It is a great responsibility- in fact, as the Hon’ble the Mover of the Resolution reminded us, it is a solemn and sacred trust which we Indians have agreed to perform and we propose to do so to the best of our ability. Now, Sir, the amendment which has been moved by Dr. Jayakar raises certain questions of fundamental importance. I am sorry I cannot support the amendment. The effect of the amendment practically is that we cannot pass a resolution of this description at all until the Sections have met and made their recommendations. Dr. Jayakar wants that we should not pass this Resolution until both the Indian States and the Muslim League are enabled to attend the Constituent Assembly. So far as the Indian States are concerned, they cannot come even if they wish to, until the Sections have met and settled the provincial constitutions, which means how many months none can foretell. So far as the Muslim League is concerned, no doubt, every one regrets that the Muslim League has not found it possible to attend the preliminary session of the Constituent Assembly. But what guarantee is there that, if this Resolution is postponed till the 20th January next, as Dr. Jayakar suggests, the Muslim League will come and attend the session?

I feel, Sir, that the question should really be looked at from a different point of view. Does this Resolution raise issues which are in any way inconsistent with the Cabinet Mission’s Scheme of May the 16th? If it does raise issues which are inconsistent with that scheme, then obviously we are prejudging matters, we are raising matters which, it may be said, we have no right to do at this stage. Now, th Now, that document to my mind is something like a puzzle picture. You can interpret it in so many ways looking at it from different angles of vision. But looking at the Resolution as it stands, what is the declaration that it is making now? It enumerates certain fundamental things which are within the frame-work of the Scheme itself. I know that if we go into some details, I have to refer to at least one matter on which many of us hold divergent views, namely, the question of residuary powers. But that is a matter which the Cabinet Mission’s Scheme has included within the contemplated framework of the Constitution. That is a matter on which the Indian National Congress has expressed its opinion; that is a matter, I believe, on which the Muslim League …
(Author is practising advocate in the Madras High Court)

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