Shrimati G. Durgabai (Madras: General): Mr. President,Sir, I beg to move the following amendment:--
"That in sub-clause (b) of clause (2) of article 19 for the words "any class or section" the words "all classes and sections" be substituted."
Sir, if my amendment is accepted, the clause would read thus:--
"That nothing in this article shall affect the operation of any existing law or preclude the State from making any law for social welfare and reform or for throwing open Hindu religious institutions of a public character to all classes and sections of Hindus."
Sir, the object of my amendment is to enlarge the scope of the clause as it stands. The clause as it stands, reads thus--
"..........for social welfare and reform or for throwing open Hindu religious institutions of a public character to any class or section of Hindus."
Sir, in my view the clause as it stands is restricted in its scope, and the object of my amendment is to secure the benefit in a wider way and to make it applicable to all classes and sections.
Sir, though we are not able to make a sweeping reform or a more comprehensive reform in this direction, I feel that no distinction of any kind should be made between one class of Hindus and another.
Now, with regard to the Hindu religious institutions of a public character, we are all aware that there are various classes of these institutions, such as temples, religious maths, and educational institutions or Pathasalas conducted by these institutions, or attached to these institutions. So far as temples are concerned, I am sure that all of us are aware that almost all of the provinces, including some States, have already passed law throwing open temples to all classes or sections of Hindus. But I am equally sure that some distinction does still exist in regard to the other forms of religious institutions, such as Pathasalas, educational institutions and others managed or conducted by these religious institutions. As I have already explained, my object is to enlarge the scope of this clause, and to include within it all classes and sections of Hindus. If my amendment is accepted, then that object will be fulfilled. As I have already explained, there should not be any distinction between one class and another class of Hindus.
I think these few words will suffice to explain the object of my amendment. I commend my amendment to the House for its acceptance. Sir, I move.
Mr. Vice-President: Amendment No. 610 is disallowed because it has already been covered by something allied, under the Directive Principles.
(Amendment No. 611 was not moved.)
No. 612, standing in the joint names of Mr. Mohammed Ismail Sahib and Mr. Pocker Sahib.
The Honourable Shri K. Santhanam (Madras: General):Sir, on a point of order. This particular amendment No. 612 is not relevant to this article 19. The amendment refers to personal law, but here we are dealing only with freedom of religion. The matter touched by the amendment has already been raised in a previous article, and also in the Directive Principles.
Mohamed Ismail Sahib (Madras: Muslim): Sir, I beg to submit that my amendment is quite in order under this article, because this article speaks of the religious rights of the citizens, and personal law is based upon religion. I have made it quite clear on a previous occasion that personal law is part of the religion of the people who are observing that personal law. I only want to make it clear that this article shall not preclude people from observing their personal law. I am putting it in a negative form, because here, the article says
"Nothing in this article shall affect the operation of any existing law or preclude the State from making any law--
(a) regulating or restricting any economic, financial, political or other secular activity which may be associated with religious practice;"
This practice of personal law may, by a stretch of imagination, be brought under the secular activities associated with religion. Therefore,(I propose to make it clear that so far as personal law is concerned, this article shall not affect the observance thereof by the people concerned.) That is my point.
The Honourable Shri K. Santhanam: Sir, we have adopted a directive asking the State to endeavour to evolve a uniform civil code, and this particular amendment is a direct negation of that directive. On that ground also, I think, this is altogether inappropriate in this connection. Mr. Vice-President: Would you like to say anything on this matter, Dr. Ambedkar? I should value your advice about this amendment being in order or not, on account of the reasons put forward by Mr. Santhanam.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: I was discussing another amendment with Mr. Ranga here and so.......
The Honourable Shri K. Santhanam: Amendment No. 612 about personal law is sought to be moved.
The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: This point was disposed of already, when we discussed the Directive Principles, and also when we discussed another amendment the other day.
Mr. Mohamed Ismail Sahib: On a previous occasion I put it in the positive form and here I put it in the negativeform. So far as the Directive Principles are concerned, they speak of the attempts which the Government have to make in evolving a uniform civil code. Suppose they have exempted personal law, that does not mean that there can be no uniform civil code in the country. Whatever that may be, here I say under this article, in the matter of religion, people are given certain rights and this question of personal law shall not be brought in. That is what I say. The question of personal law shall not be affected when this article comes into operation. That is my point.
Mr. Vice-President: I do not know whether I am technically correct or not; but in view of the peculiar circumstances in which our Muslim brethren are placed, I am allowing Mr. Mohamed Ismail Sahib to say what he has to say and to place his views before the House.
Mr. Mohamed Ismail Sahib: Thank you very much, Sir, forgiving me another opportunity to put my views before the House on this very important matter. I beg to move:
"That after clause (2) of article 19, the following new clause be added:
`(3) Nothing in clause (2) of this article shall affect the right of any citizen to follow the personal law of the group or the community to which he belongs or professes to belong.'"
Sir, this provision which I am suggesting would only recognise the age long right of the people to follow their own personal law, within the limits of their families and communities. This does not affect in any way the members of other communities. This does not encroach upon the rights of the members of other communities to follow their own personal law. It does not mean any sacrifice at all on the part of the members of any other community. Sir, here what we are concerned with is only the practice of the members of certain families coming under one community. It is a family practice and in such cases as succession, inheritance and disposal of properties by way of wakf and will, the personal law operates. It is only with such matters that we are concerned under personal law. In other matters, such as evidence, transfer of property, contracts and in innumerable other questions of this sort, the civil code will operate and will apply to every citizen of the land, to whatever community he may belong. Therefore, this will not in any way detract from the desirable amount of uniformity which the State may try to bring about, in the matter of the civil law.
This practice of following personal law has been there amongst the people for ages. What I want under this amendment is that that practice should not be disturbed now and I want only the continuance of a practice that has been going on among the people for ages past. On a previous occasion Dr. Ambedkar spoke about certain enactments concerning Muslim personal law, enactments relating to Wakf, Shariat law and Muslim marriage law. Here there was no question of the abrogation of the Muslim personal law at all. There was no revision at all and in all those cases what was done was that the Muslim personal law was elucidated and it was made clear that these laws shall apply to the Muslims. They did not modify them at all. Therefore those enactments and legislations cannot be cited now as matters of precedents for us to do anything contravening the personal law of the people. Under this amendment what I want the House to accept is that when we speak of the State doing anything with reference to the secular aspect of religion, the question of the personal law shall not be brought in and it shall not be affected.
Sir, by way of general remarks I want to say a few words on this article. My friend Mr. Tajamul Husain brought forward certain amendments, Nos. 572 and 588. To tell you the truth, Sir, I did not know at that time nor do I know now whether he was serious at all when he made those proposals and what were the points which he urged in favour of his proposals I could not understand. I did not take him, and I make bold to say that the House also did not take him, seriously and therefore I do not want to waste the time of the House in replying to him.
The question of professing, practising and propagating one's faith is a right which the human being had from the very beginning of time and that has been recognised as an inalienable right of every human being, not only in this land but the whole world over and I think that nothing should be done to affect that right of man as a human being. That part of the article as it stands is properly worded andit should stand as it is. That is my view. Another honourable Member spoke about the troubles that had arisen as a result of the propagation of religion. I would say that the troubles were not the result of the propagation of religion or the professing or practising of religion. They arose as a result of the misunderstanding of religion. My point of view, and I say that that is the correct point of view, is that if only people understand their respective religions aright and if they practise them aright in the proper manner there would be no trouble whatever; and because there was some trouble due to some cause it does not stand to reason that the fundamental right of a human being to practise and propagate his religion should be abrogated in any way.
Mr. Vice-President: The clause is now open for discussion.
Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra (West Bengal: General):Sir, I feel myself called upon to put in a few words to explain the general implications of this article so as to remove some of the misconceptions that have arisen in the minds of some of my honourable Friends over it.
This article 19 of the Draft Constitution confers on all person the right to profess, practise and propagate any religion they like but this right has been circumscribed by certain conditions which the State would be free to impose in the interests of public morality, public order and public health and also in so far as the right conferred here does not conflict in any way with the other provisions elaborated under this part of the Constitution. Some of my Friends argued that this right ought not to be permitted in this Draft Constitution for the simple reason that we have declared time and again that this is going to be a secular State and as such practice of religion should not be permitted as a fundamental right. It has been further argued that by conferring the additional right to propagate a particular faith or religion the door is opened for all manner of troubles and conflicts which would eventually paralyse the normal life of the State. I would say at once that this conception of a secular State is wholly wrong. (By secular State, as I understand it, is meant that the State is not going to make any discrimination whatsoever on the ground of religion or community against any person professing any particular form of religious faith. This means in essence that no particular religion in the State will receive any State patronage whatsoever. The State is not going to establish, patronise or endow any particular religion to the exclusion of or in preference to others and that no citizen in the State will have any preferential treatment or will be discriminated against simply on the ground that he professed a particular form of religion. In other words in the affairs of the State the professing of any particular religion will not be taken into consideration at all.) This I consider to be the essence of a secular state. At the same time we must be very careful to see that this land of ours we do not deny to anybody the right not only to profess or practise but also to propagate any particular religion. Mr. Vice-President, this glorious land of ours is nothing if it does not stand for lofty religious and spiritual concepts and ideals. India would not be occupying any place of honour on this globe if she had not reached that spiritual height which she did in her glorious past. Therefore I feel that the Constitution has rightly provided for this not only as a right but also as a fundamental right. In the exercise of this fundamental right every community inhabiting this State professing any religion will have equal right and equal facilities to do whatever it likes in accordance with its religion provided it does not clash with the conditions laid down here.
The great Swami Vivekananda used to say that India is respected and revered all over the world because of her rich spiritual heritage. The western world, strong with all the strength of a materialistic civilsation, rich with the acquisitions of science, having a dominating position in the world, is poor today because of its utter lack of spiritual treasure. And here does India step in. India has to import this rich spiritual treasure, this message of hers to the west. If we are to do that, if we are to educate the world, if we are to remove the doubts and misconceptions and the colossal ignorance that prevails in the world about India's culture and heritage, this right must be inherent,--the right to profess and propagate her religious faith must be conceded.
I have listened to some of the speeches that have been made in connection with this article. It has been objected to and it has been said that the right to propagate should be taken away. One honourable Member suggested that if we conceded the right, the bloody upheaval which this country has witnessed of late would again recur with full vehemence in the near future. I do not at all share that pessimism of my honourable Friend. Apparently my honourable Friend has not given special consideration to the conditions that are imposed in this article. The power that this article imposes upon the State to intervene on certain occasions completely demolishes all chances of that kind of cataclysm which we have seen.
It has also been said, and I am very sorry that an observation was made by an honourable Member of considerable eminence and standing, that the Christian community in its proselytising zeal has sometimes transgressed its limits and has done acts which can never be justified. An instance of Bombay was cited in defence of his position.
Mr. Vice-President: I am afraid you are making a mistake there. No particular instance, so far as I remember, was cited.
Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra: Anyway I believe that was at the back of his mind. I am sorry if I have not got at it correctly. I want to say that a good deal of injustice will be done to the great Christian community in India if we go away with that impression. The Indian Christian community happens to be the most inoffensive community in the whole of India. That is my personal opinion and I have never known anybody contesting that proposition. This Indian Christian community, so far as I am aware, spends to the tune of nearly Rs. 2 crores every year for educational uplift, medical relief and for sanitation, public health and the rest of it. Look at the numerous educational institutions, dispensaries and hospitals they have been running so effectively and efficiently, catering to all classes and communities. If this vast amount of Rs. 2 crores were utilised by this Christian community for purposes of seeking converts, then the Indian Christian community which comprises only 70millions would have gone up to...........
Mr. Vice-President: Your are mistaken there: it is only7 millions.
Pandit Lakshmi Kanta Maitra: I beg your pardon. From 7 millions it would have gone to 70 millions. But the point, Mr. Vice-President, is not in the figures. The point of my whole contention is that the Christian community in India has not done that proselytising work with that amount of zeal and frenzy with which some of our friends have associated it. I am anxious to remove that mis-conception. Sir, I feel that every single community in India should be given this right to propagate its own religion. Even in a secular state I believe there is necessity for religion. We are passing through an era of absolute irreligion. Why is there so much vice or corruption in every stratum of society; Because we have forgotten the sense of values of things which our forefathers had inculcated. We do not at all care in these days, for all these glorious traditions of ours with the result that everybody now acts in his own way, and justice, fairness, good sense and honesty have all gone to the wilderness. (If we are to restore our sense of values which we have held dear, it is of the utmost importance that we should be able to propagate what we honestly feel and believe in. Propagation does not necessarily mean seeking converts by force of arms, by the sword, or by coercion. But why should obstacles stand in the way if by exposition, illustration and persuasion you could convey your own religious faith to others?) I do not see any harm in it. And I do feel that this would be the very essence of our fundamental right the right to profess and practise any particular religion. Therefore this right should not be taken away, in my opinion. (If in this country the different religious faiths would go on expounding their religious tenets and doctrines, then probably a good deal of misconception prevailing in the minds of people about different religions would be removed, and probably a stage would be reached when by mutual understanding we could avoid in future all manner of conflicts that arise in the name of religion. From that point of view I am convinced that the word `propagate' should be there and should not be deleted.)
In this connection I think I may remind the House that the whole matter was discussed in the Advisory Council and it was passed there. As such I do not see any reason why we should now go back on that. Sir, the clause as it is has my whole-hearted support, and I feel that with the amendments moved by my honourable Friend Dr. Ambedkar and Shrimati Durgabai this clause should stand as part of the Constitution.
Shri L. Krishnaswami Bharathi (Madras: General): Mr.Vice-President, after the eloquent and elaborate speech of my respected Friend Pandit Maitra I though it was quite unnecessary on my part to participate in the discussion. I fully agree with him that the word `propagate' ought to be there. After all, it should not be understood that it is only for any sectarian religion. It is generally understood that the word `propagate' is intended only for the Christian community. But I think it is absolutely necessary, in the present context of circumstances, that we must educate our people on religious tenets and doctrines. So far as my experience goes, the Christian community have not transgressed their limits of legitimate propagation of religious view, and on the whole they have done very well indeed. It is for other communities to emulate them and propagate their own religions as well. This word is generally understood as if it referred to only one particular religion, namely, Christianity alone. As we read this clause, it is a right given to all sectional religions; and it is well known that after all, all religions have one objective and if it is properly understood by the masses, they will come to know that all religions are one and the same. It is all God, though under different names. Therefore this word ought to be there. This right ought to there. The different communities may well carry on propaganda or propagate their religion and what it stands for. It is not to be understood that when one- propagate his religion he should cry down other religions.It is not the spirit of any religion to cry down another religion. Therefore this is absolutely necessary and essential.
Again, it is not at all inconsistent with the secular nature of the State. After all, the State does not interfere with it. Religion will be there. It is a personal affair and the State as such does not side with one religion or another. It tolerates all religions. Its citizens have their own religion and its communities have their own religions. And I have no doubt, whatever, seeing from past history, that there will not be any quarrel on this account. It was only yesterday His Excellency the Governor-General Sri Rajaji spoke on this matter. It is very necessary that we should show tolerance. That is the spirit of all religions. To say that some religious people should not do propaganda or propagate their views is to show intolerance on our part.
Let me also, in this connection, remind the House that the matter was thoroughly discussed at all stages in the Minorities Committee, and they came to the conclusion that this great Christian community which is willing and ready to assimilate itself with the general community, which does not want reservation or other special privileges should be allowed to propagate its religion along with other religious communities in India.
Sir, on this occasion I may also mention that you, Mr.Vice-President, are willing to give up reservation of seats in the Assembly and the local Legislatures of Madras and Bombay, and have been good enough to give notice of anamendment to delete the clause giving reservation to the Christian community. That is the way in which this community, which has been throughly nationalist in its outlook, has been moving. Therefore, in good grace, the major ity community should allow this privilege for the minor ity communities and have it for themselves as well. I think I can speak on this point with a certain amount of assurance that the major ity community is perfectly willingto allow this right. I am therefore strongly in favour of the retention of the word `propagate' in this clause.
The Honourable Shri K. Santhanam: Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I stand here to support this article. This article has to be read with article 13, article 13 has already assured freedom of speech and expression and the right to form association or unions. The above rights include the right of religious speech and expression and the right to form religious association or unions. Therefore, article 19 is really not so much an article on religious freedom. But an article on, what I may call religious toleration. It is not so much the words "All persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion" that are important. What are important are the governing words with which the article begins, viz., "Subject to public order, morality and health".
Hitherto it was thought in this country that any thing in the name of religion must have the right to unrestricted practice and propagation. But we are now in the new Constitution restricting the right only to that right which is consistent with public order, morality and health. The full implications of this qualification are not easy to discover. Naturally, they will grow with the growing social and moral conscience of the people. For instance, I do not know if for a considerable period of time the people of India will think that purdah is consistent with the health of the people. Similarly, there are many institutions of Hindu religion which the future conscience of the Hindu community will consider as inconsistent with morality.
Sir, some discussion has taken place on the word `propagate'. After all, propagation is merely freedom of expression. I would like to point out that the word `convert' is not there. Mass conversion was a part of the activities of the Christian Missionaries in this country and great objection has been taken by the people to that. [Those who drafted this Constitution have taken care to see that no unlimited right of conversion has been given. People have freedom of conscience and, if any man is converted voluntarily owing to freedom of conscience, then well and good. No restrictions can be placed against it. But if any attempt is made by one religious community or another to have mass conversions through undue influence either by money or by pressure or by other means, the State has every right to regulate such activity.]
Therefore I submit to you that this article, as it is, is not so much an article ensuring freedom, but toleration--toleration for all, irrespective of the religious practice or profession. And this toleration is subject to public order, morality and health. Therefore this article has been very carefully drafted and the exceptions and qualifications are as important as the right it confers. Therefore I think the article as it stands is entitled to our wholehearted support.
Shri Rohini Kumar Chaudhari (Assam: General): Sir, I am grateful to you for giving me this opportunity for making a few observations on this very important article. It struck me as very peculiar that, although as many as four articles have dealt with religion, there is no mention of God anywhere in the whole Chapter. At first I considered it extremely strange, but after going through the matter more carefully, I found every justification for it. From the way in which the world is progressing, there is very little doubt that a time will come when we may be in a position to dispense with God altogether. That has happened in other more advanced countries and therefore I believe, in order to make room for such a state of things, the word "God" has been purposely avoided in dealing with religion itself.
It reminds me of a story, Sir, which I had heard in my student life. There was a great scientist who presented to the king something like a globe in which the whole solar system, the sun, moon and everything, was shown. Then the king who had some faith in God asked the scientist, "Where have you placed God?". The scientist said, "I have done without him". That is exactly the position today. We are framing a Constitution where we speak of religion but there is no mention of God anywhere in the whole chapter. Sir, (myhonourable Friend Mr. Kamath introduced `God' in his speech but at the same time he spoke about spiritual matters.) The term "Spiritual training" is somewhat ambiguous. The word "spirit" is defined in the Chambers Dictionary as a `ghost'. There are people in this world who do not fear God but they fear ghosts all the same because ghosts bring troubles while God does not. (The term `spiritual training' is very difficult for me to follow. What did my honourable Friend.Mr. Kamath, mean by spiritual training? What is the spiritual training to which he is referring? Is it training to believe in ghosts or to avoid them or is it the training to have more recourse to spirit to keep up your spirits in the evening. (What actually he meant by spiritual training is very difficult to follow. Does he mean the teaching of the great books like the Bible, the Koran and the Gita in all institutions and that the State should be in a position to endow any institution which is dealing only with the teaching of the Koran, or the Bible or the Gita? I do not think that that is the aim. That point ought to be made clear.)
Another point is the propagation of religion. (I haveno objection to the propagation of any religion. If anyone thinks that his religion is something ennobling and that it is his duty to ask others to follow that religion, he is welcome to do so. But what I would object to is that there is no provision in this Constitution to prevent the so-called propagandist of his religion from throwing mud at some other religion.) For instance, Sir, in the past were member how missionaries went round the country and described Sri Krishna in the most abominable terms. They would bring up particular activities of Sri Krishna and say, "Look here, this is your Lord Krishna and this is his conduct". We also remember with great pain how they used to decry the worship of the Idols and call them names. (Sir, in the new Constitution we must make it perfectly clear that no such thing will be tolerated. It is not necessary in the course of propagating any particular religion to throw mud at other religions, to decry them and bring out their unsatisfactory features according to the particular supporters of a particular religion. There should be a provision in the law, in the Constitution itself that such conduct will be met with exemplary punishment. With these words, Sir, I support the amendment subject to such verbal alterations as have been suggested by Shrimati Durgabai and the Honourable Dr.Ambedkar.) Shri T. T. Krishnamachari (Madras: General): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I am here to support the motion before the House, viz., to approve of article 19. Many speakers before me have emphasised the various provisions of this particular article and the background in regard to the framing of this article. What I would like to stress in this: Sir, we are not concerned here with compromises arrived at between the various communities. We are not really concerned with whether some advantage might be derived from the wording of this article later on by certain communities in regard to the furtherance of their own religious beliefs and practices, but I think emphasis should be laid on the fact that a new government and the new Constitution have to take things as they are, and unless the status quo has something which offends all ideas of decency, all ideas of equity and all ideas of justice, its continuance has to be provided for in the Constitution so that people who are coming under the regime of a new government may feel that the change is not a change for the worse. In achieving that particular object, I think this article has gone a long way.
Sir, objection has been taken to the inclusion of the word "propagate" along with the words "profess and practise" in the matter of religion. (Sir, it does not mean that this right to propagate one's religion is given to any particular community or to people who follow any particular religion. It is perfectly open to the Hindus and the Arya Samajists tocarry on their Suddhi propaganda as it is open to the Christians, the Muslims, the Jains and the Bhuddists and to every other religionist, so long as he does it subject to public order, morality and the other conditions that have to be observed in any civilised government. So, it is not a question of taking away anybody's rights. It is a question of conferring these rights on all the citizens and seeing that these rights are exercised in a manner which will not upset the economy of the country, which will not create disorder and which will not create undue conflict in the minds of the people. That, I feel, is the point that has to be stressed in regard to this particular article.) Sir, I know as a person who has studied for about fourteen years in Christian institutions that no attempt had been made to convert me from my own faith and to practise Christianity. I am very well aware of the influences that Christianity has brought to bear upon our own ideals and our own outlook, and I am not prepared to say here that they should be prevented from propagating their religion. I would ask the House to look at the facts so far as the history of this type of conversion is concerned. It depends upon the way in which certain religionists and certain communities treat their less fortunate brethren. The fact that many people in this country have embraced Christianity is due partly to the status that it gave to them. Why should we forget that particular fact? An untouchable who became a Christian became an equal in every matter along with the high-caste Hindu, and if we remove the need to obtain that particular advantage that he might probably get--it is undoubtedly a very important advantage, apart from the fact that he has faith in the religion itself--well, the incentive for anybody to become a Christian will not probably exist. I have no doubt, Sir, we have come to a stage when it does not matter to what religion a man belongs, it does not matter to what sub-sect or community in a particular religion a man belongs, he will be equal in the eyes of law and in society and in regard to the exercise of all rights that are given to those who are more fortunately placed. So I feel that any undue influence that might be brought to bear on people to change their religion or any other extraneous consideration for discarding their own faith in any particular religion and accepting another faith will no longer exist; and in the circumstances, I think it is only fair that we should take the status quo as it is in regard to religion and put it into our Fundamental rights, giving the same right to every religionist, as I said before, to propagate his religion and to convert people, if he felt that it is a thing that he has to do and that is a thing for which he has been born and that is his duty towards his God and his community.
Subject to the overriding considerations of the maintenance of the integrity of the State and the well-being of the people,--these conditions are satisfied by this article--I feel that if the followers of any religion want to subtract from the concessions given herein in any way, they are not only doing injustice to the possibility of integration of all communities into one nation in the future but also doing injustice to their own religion and to their own community. Sir, I support the article as it is.
Shri K. M. Munshi (Bombay: General): Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I have only a few submissions to make to theHouse. As regards amendment No. 607, moved by my honourable Friend, Prof. K. T. Shah, I entirely agree with him that the word `Hindu' used in this section should be widely defined. As a matter of fact, the Hindu Bill which is now before this House in its legislative capacity has defined `Hindu' so as to include the various sub-sections, but it will be more appropriate to have this definition in the interpretation clause than in this.
I have only a few words to say with regard to the objections taken to the word "propagate". Many honourable Members have spoken before me placing the point of view that they need not be afraid of the word "propagate" in this particular article. (When we object to this word, we think in terms of the old regime. In the old regime, the Christian missionaries, particularly those who were British were at an advantage.) But since 1938, I know, in my part of Bombay, the influence which was derived from their political influence and power has disappeared. If I may mention a fact within my knowledge in 1937 when the first Congress Ministry came into power in Bombay, the Christian missionaries who till then had great influence with the Collectors of the Districts and through their influence acquired converts, lost it and since then whatever conversious take place in that part of the country are only the result or persuasion and not because of material advantages offered to them. (In the present set up that we are now creating under this Constitution, there is a secular State. There is no particular advantage to a member of one community over another; nor is there any political advantage by increasing one's fold. In those circumstances, the word `propagate' cannot possibily have dangerous implications, which some of the Members think that it has.) Moreover, I was a party from the very beginning to the compromise with the minorities, which ultimately led to many of these clauses being inserted in the Constitution and I know it was on this word that the Indian Christian community laid the greatest emphasis, not because they wanted to convert people aggressively, but because the word "propagate" was a fundamental part of their tenet. Even If the word were not there, I am sure, under the freedom of speech which the Constitution guarantees it will be open to any religious community to persuade other people to join their faith. So long as religion is religion, conversion by free exercise of the conscience has to be recognised. The word `propagate' in this clause is nothing very much out of the way as some people think, not is it fraught with dangerous consequences.
Speaking frankly, whatever its results we ought to respect the compromise. The Minorities Committee the year before the last performed a great achievment by having a unanimous vote on almost every provision of its report.
This unanimity created an atmosphere of harmony and confidence in the majority community. Therefore, the word `propagate' should be maintained in this article in order that the compromise so laudably achieved by the Minority Committee should not be disturbed.
That is all that I want to submit.
Mr. Vice-President: I have on my list here 15 amendments, most of which have been moved before the House. I should think that they give the views on this particular article from different angles. We had about seven or eight speakers giving utterance to their views. I think that the article has been sufficiently debated. I call upon Dr.Ambedkar to reply.
The Honourable Dr. Ambedkar: Mr. Vice-President, Sir, I have nothing to add to the various speakers who have spoken in support of this article. What I have to say is that the only amendment I am prepared to accept is amendment No. 609.
Shri H. V. Kamath: May I ask whether it will be enough if Dr. Ambedkar says: "I oppose: I have nothing to say." I should think that in fairness to the House, he should reply to the points raised in the amendments and during the debate.
Mr. Vice-President: I am afraid we cannot compel Dr.Ambedkar to give reasons for rejecting the various amendments.
Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad (West Bengal: Muslim): Mr. Vice-President, may I say that amendment No. 609 which has been accepted by the Honourable Dr. Ambedkar is a mere verbal amendment?
Mr. Vice-President: It will be recorded in the proceedings. We shall now consider the amendments one by one.
The question is: "That in clause (1) of article 19, for the words `practice and propagate religion' the words `and practice religion privately' be substituted." The amendment was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President: The question is: "That in clause (1) of article 19. for the words `practise and propagate' the words `and practise' be substituted." The amendment was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President: The question is: "That in clause (1) of article 19, for the words `are equally entitled to freedom of consscience and the right', the words `shall have the right' be substituted." The amendment was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President: The question is: "That in clause (1) of article 19, the words `freedom of conscience and' be omitted." The amendment was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President: The question is: "That Explanation to clause (1) of article 19 be deleted and the following be inserted in that place:-- "No person shall have any visible sign or mark or name, and no person shall wear any dress whereby his religion maybe recognised." The amendment was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President: The question is: "That the following proviso be added to clause (1) of article 19:-- "Provided that no propaganda in favour of any onereligion which is calculated to result in change of faith bythe individuals affected, shall be allowed in any school orcollege or other educational institution, in any hospitalasylum or in any other place or institution where persons ofa tender age, or of unsound mind or body are liable to beexposed to undue influence from their teachers, nurses orphysicians, keepers or guardians or any other person set in author ity above them, and which is maintained whollyor partially from public revenues, or is in any way aided orprotected by the Government of the Union, or of any State orpublic author ity therein." The amendment was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President: The question is: "That in the Explanation to clause (1) of article 19,for the word `progession' the word `practice' be substituted." The Honourable Shri Ghanshyam Singh Gupta: (C. P. &Berar: General): Sir, I wish to withdraw the amendment. The amendment was, by leave of the Assembly, withdrawn.
Mr. Vice-President: The question is: "That at the end of Explanation to clause (1) of article 19, the words 'and for the matter of that any other religion' be inserted." The amendment was adopted.
Mr. Vice-President: The question is: "That after clause (1) of article 19, the following newsub-clause be added:--"(2) The State shall not establish, endow or patronizeany particular religion. Nothing shall however prevent the State from imparting spiritual training or instruction to the citizens of the Union." The amendment was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President: The question is: "That in article 19, the following be inserted as clause (1a):-- "(1a) The Indian Republic shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The amendment was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President: The question is: "That in clause (2) of article 19, for the word preclude" the word "prevent" be substituted." The amendment was adopted.
Mr. Vice-President: The question is: "That in sub-clause (a) of clause (2) of article 19,for the words "regulating or restricting any economic,financial, political or other secular activity" the words"regulating, restricting or prohibiting any economic, financial, political or other secular activity" be substituted." The amendment was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President: The question is: "That in sub-clause (b) of clause (2) of article 19, after the words 'or throwing open to Hindu' the words 'Jain,Buddhist or Christian' be added." The amendment was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President: The question is: "That in sub-clause (b) of clause (2) of article 19 for the words "any class or section" the words 'all classes and sections' be substituted." Have you accepted it, Dr. Ambedkar? The Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar: Yes, Sir. Mr. Vice-President: The amendment has been accepted byDr. Ambedkar. The amendment was adopted.
Mr. Vice-President: The question is: "That after clause 2, of article 19, the following new clause be added:-- "(3) Nothing in clause (2) of this article shall affectthe right of any citizen to follow the personal law of the group or the community to which he belongs or professes to belong'. The amendment was negatived.
Mr. Vice-President: I shall now put article 19, as amendment by amendment numbers 596 and 609 to vote. The question is: "That article 19, as amended, from part of theConsitution." The motion was adopted.
Article 19, as amended, was added to the Constitution.
Last edited by Abhibhushan on 03 Apr 2007 21:38, edited 1 time in total.