Saturday, November 02, 2013

Letter to the President of India

His Excellency the President of India,

Respected Sir,

Aruna Kumar Vundavalli, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha, has sent a letter to you on 28th October 2013, which was subsequently released to the media.  In that letter, he makes a claim that ‘consent’ is required from Andhra Pradesh State Legislature for separation of Telangana.  And he poses the question ‘whether the province affected should have the power or the Indian parliament should have the power’ to divide any state or province.

We believe that it is our duty to counter the claims made by Mr. Vundavalli by bringing the real facts to your notice and thereby to the common man in this country.

During Constituent Assembly Debates of 1948-49, while Indian Union was being forged by Sardar Vallabhai Patel, a distinction was made between Provinces as Part I of the First Schedule and Princely States as Part III of the First Schedule.   Honorable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar had proposed that only the ‘views’ of the Legislature of the State are required in the case of Provinces, while ‘consent’ needs to be obtained in the case of Princely States.   

When questioned by Honorable Pandit Kunzru on the difference in treatment of Provinces and Princely States, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar explained that India was ‘at present moment bound by the terms of agreement arrived’ by the Negotiating Committees with the Indian Princely States.  Since the Princely States were assumed to be ‘sovereign’ at that time, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar treated them differently compared to the Provinces.  However, he assured the House that in near future such distinction is not warranted.  He explained that ‘Indian Union may be able to deal with the Indian States in the same way in which it is able to deal with the Provinces’.

By 1956, it became clear that all the states in India including Princely States were treated the same as Provinces.  Therefore, the requirement for ‘consent’ was no longer needed. 

Eventually the Article 3 of Indian Constitution emerged in the current form wherein the Bill for the purpose of reorganization of states is ‘referred by the President to the Legislature of that State for expressing its views’. 

Responding to K T Shah’s amendment which prescribed that ‘every proposal for legislation’ for reorganization ‘shall originate in the Legislature of the State concerned’, Honorable Shri K. Santhanam said:

I wonder whether Professor Shah fully realises the implications of his amendment. If his amendment is adopted, it would mean that no minority in any State can ask for separation of territory, either for forming a new province or for joining an adjacent State unless it can get a majority in that State legislature.

I cannot understand which he means by ‘originating’.  Take the case of the Madras Province for instance.  The Andhras want separation. They bring up a resolution in the Madras legislature. It is defeated by a majority. There ends the matter. The way of the Andhras is blocked altogether.  They cannot take any further step to constitute an Andhra province.

On the other hand, as re-drafted by the honourable Dr. Ambedkar, if the Andhras fail to get a majority in the legislature, they can go straight to the President and represent to him what the majority did in their case and ask for further action removing the block in the way of a province for them.  If they are able to convince the President, he may recommend it and either the Government of India may themselves sponsor legislation for the purpose or any private Member or a group in the Central legislature can take up the question. 

Therefore, by Mr. Shah's amendment instead of democracy we will have absolute autocracy of the majority in every province and State. That is certainly not what professor Shah wants. But, unfortunately, in his enthusiasm for what he calls the principle, he has tabled an amendment which altogether defeats his object. I therefore suggest that the amendment shall be rejected and the proposition moved by Dr. Ambedkar should be accepted.

When we look at the response given by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s to K T Shah (as furnished by Mr. Vundavalli) in the original context, it becomes clear that while it was agreed by the House that the State Legislature will be ‘consulted’ for its views, K T Shah’s amendment to originate every reorganization proposal in State Legislature was ‘ruled out’ because it sought ‘complete substitution’ to Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s amendment, which was approved and adopted.

As seen from Constituent Assembly Debates and precedents of reorganization of states in India, it is evident that ‘consent’ is not required of Andhra Pradesh State Legislature as sought by Mr. Vundavalli.  And as per the provisions of Constitution of India, Your Excellency will refer the Bill to the Andhra Pradesh State Legislature so that it can ‘express its views’.  

To answer the question raised by Mr. Vundavalli, yes, all state formations and subsequent court verdicts in India have clearly established that Indian Parliament, through the sanction of Article 3 and as envisioned by the architects of Indian Constitution, has the power to reorganize the states, and not the state affected.

As your Excellency is already aware, the democratic aspiration of Telangana people seeking separate state is almost sixty years old, and must be one of the most extensively debated issues in Indian politics.   We request upon you to ensure that the formation of separate Telangana is no longer delayed.

B. Vinod Kumar.
Ex-MP, TRS Politburo Member, Hyderabad. 
01 Nov 2013.

[External Links:  Andhra Jyothi 02 Nov 2013, Andhra Jyothi 30 Oct 2013]


  1. Undavallis is the best among the band to use twisted FACTS for his favor.

  2. Let us see how many of the CA members supported Prof. KT Shah's implicitly stated "consent requirement" amendment.

    Ten members including Dr. Ambedkar opposed the idea that the consent of "provinces" should be mandatory. I am classifying Chaudhari Ranbir Singh & Brajeshwar Prasad as those opposed the idea based on their intent.

    Dr. BR Ambedkar: "The distinction, as I said, is based upon the fact that, so far as we are at present concerned, the position of the provinces is different from the position of the States. The States are sovereign States and the provinces are not sovereign States. Consequently, the Government need not be bound to require the consent of the provinces to change their boundaries; while in the case of the Indian States it is appropriate, in view of the fact that sovereignty remains with them, that their consent should be obtained".

    K. Santhanam: "Take the case of the Madras Province for instance. The Andhras want separation. They bring up a resolution in the Madras legislature. It is defeated by a majority. There ends the matter. The way of the Andhras is blocked altogether. They cannot take any further step to constitute an Andhra province".

    Pandit HN Kunzru: "I am not asking that the States should have no voice in connection with matters relating to their territorial limits. All that I am asking for is that the consent of the States should not be necessary for a reorganization of their territories. Consultation with them should be quite enough".

    Pandit TD Bhargava: "For example, if any part of a big province wants to break away then the only course before it is to bring the matter before the Members. But by doing so the very purpose would be defeated because the majority would always reject such a proposal".

    Gopikrishna Vijayavargiya: "I think, mere consultation would be sufficient in the matter of the States also as it is in connection with the Provinces".

    Prof. SL Saksena: "My honorable friend Pandit Kunzru has also argued that there should be no differentiation at least in this matter namely about consent and consultation. He wants that the States should only be consulted just like the Provinces. He has also pointed out Sections in the Draft Constitution where the States have been asked to fall inline with the Provinces, and I think he has made out a very good case. I am very much in agreement with all that he said".

    L. Krishnaswami Bharathi: "Sir, I fully support Dr. Ambedkar's amendment and the principle underlying it. He said that in the case of Provinces, that is Part I States, mere consultation is enough, in the case of Indian States previous consent is necessary".

    Chaudhari Ranbir Singh: " I no doubt support the amendment but at the same time I want that it should be changed so as to include without any doubt the provision that when the Centre consults the provincial legislature the opinion of the majority of the representatives of the territory, which wants to separate itself and join another province, should also be on record and that their recorded opinion should appear before the Central Assembly so that it may know what that particular territory desires".

    Continued further due to comment size limits

  3. Continuing from the previous:

    RK Sidhwa: "With these observations, I support the amendment strongly and I hope Dr. Ambedkar will clear the point why a differentiation has been made in the case of the States, why he has stated that the views of the legislature should be ascertained in the case of the provinces, whereas in the case of the States he has stated that their previous consent should be obtained".

    Brajeshwar Prasad: " The Government of India must have the power to takeover the administration of a State into its own hand, if it does not govern well or in accord with spirit of the Constitution. Similarly it must have the authority to punish a recalcitrant state which under the stress of centrifugal forces tends to drift away from the Centre".

    Four members including Prof. Shah supported the idea that the consent of "provinces" should be mandatory. I am classifying RK Chaudhari as those who supported the idea based on the intent even though they actually supported Dr. Ambedkar's text.

    Prof. KT Shah: "Lest I should be misunderstood, I would at once add that I am certainly not in love with the present position, or the continuance of the alignment of the provinces and States as they stand today. They need to be altered, they must be altered. But they must be altered only as and how the people primarily affected desire them to be altered, and not in accordance with the preconception, the notion, of such adjustment that those at the Centre may have, even if some of those at the Centre are the representatives of the people concerned".

    Rai Bahadur SN Sahaya: "I feel that in both the cases of the Provinces and the Indian States, the words 'previous consent' should occur".

    Rohini Kumar Chaudhari: Merely because the States now are showing their inclination to come and join us in all matters, we must not ask them to agree to a proposition whereby you will be able to alter their name, diminish their area, or change their boundary or do anything of that kind, without their consent.

    HV Kamath: "So also if the provinces are consulted and if their views are against such a proposal, then that proposal will not be made in the Union Parliament".

    One member, Raj Bahadur, may be treated as non-committal.

    So the final tally is 10 against, 4 in favor and 1 neutral. I hope this sets at rest what the "intent" of the constitution framers really was.


Dear Commenters:
Please identify yourself. At least use a pseudonym. Otherwise there will be too many *Anonymous*; making it confusing.

Do NOT write personal information or whereabouts about the author or other commenters. You are free to write about yourself. Please do not use abusive language. Do not indulge in personal attacks and insults.

Write comments which are relevant and make sense so that the debate remains healthy.