1. In the order dated 31st May 1932, His Highness the Maharaja Bahadur in Council accepted the recommendation of the President of the Kashmir Constitutional Reforms Committee, Mr. Glancy, and appointed a Franchise Committee. Observing from Mr. Glancy’s Report that the Reforms Conference had only been able to put forward tentative suggestions regarding the important question of the franchise and of the composition of the Assembly, His Highness in Council instructed the Franchise Committee to examine the different kinds of qualifications and disqualifications for the franchise and for elected membership of the Assembly and to submit recommendations on matters referred to in that Report and on – any other matters which as a result of the Committee’s enquiries appeared to be germane to the subject. The Committee was authorised to collect statistics, to receive representations and to examine witnesses.
2. The Committee was composed of the following Members:
1.Sir Barjor Dalal, Kt., I.C.S. (Retd.) President
2. Mr. L.W. Jardine, I.C.S Vice President
3. R.B. Sardar Thakur Kartar Singh Ji, Member
4. K.B. Sheikh Abdul Qayum Member
With Mr. Ram Nath Sharma, Registrar High Court. As Secretary.
On the 24th March 1933, Sir Ivo Elliott, I.C.S. (Retd.) was appointed Franchise Officer and replaced Mr. Jardine as Member of the Committee.
Owing to the pressure of his ordinary work Mr. Ram Nath Sharma left the Secretaryship and Mr. Hira Nand Raina was appointed Secretary to the Committee. To both these gentlemen the Members of the Committee desire to express their thanks, and especially for their arrangements in the examination of witnesses.
3. The Committee first met on the 8th of June 1932, to discuss procedure. We paid special attention to the need for securing the widest possible attention of the public to the points which we had been instructed to examine. A proceedings of the Committee were published in the Gazettee and in October 1932, the Committee issued a Questionnaire as a further help to witnesses in covering the whole ground of Enquiry. The 3rd October 1932 was the earliest date by which we could expect witnesses to prepare written statements and to give oral evidence, and we hoped to hear the Srinagar witnesses in this month. Very few of them, however, were able to attend at the date fixed and the hearing of evidence in Kashmir had to be postponed to the 1933 season, though the Committee took the opportunity of examining some witnesses at Muzaffarabad and Baramulla. The Committee heard evidence in Jammu in April 1933 and in Srinagar in May 1933.
Full publicity was given to the proceedings; the written statements of witnesses were read in open Committee and the witnesses were then orally examined. The Committee also permitted any persons present at the meeting to ask questions from the witness on the points on which they had given their evidence.
4. The list of the witnesses examined and of some individuals who were only to submit written statements is given in Appendix 1. The list comprises representatives of every community in Jammu and Kashmir and we are satisfied that we have been made acquainted with the opinions of most parties and classes in the State. We should have welcomed some further assistance at Srinagar from the “Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference.” We were informed by the President of the Conference on 16th May 1933 that in fact the Conference did not propose to add anything to the statements made in the Memorial of 19th October 1931. That Memorial was earlier in date than the proceedings of the Constitutional Reforms Conference, which it was our special duty to supplement by more detailed enquiries, and as the particular statements in it were no more than two very short paragraphs expressed in the most general terms, the President in his letter of the 17th May 1933 invited the Conference to submit evidence on the points of detail in the manner which had been indicated by our Questionnaire and which had been followed by our other witnesses whether speaking in a personal or representative capacity. We were promised that a member of the working committee of the Conference would send in a written statement and give evidence, but this was not done.
5. Our Questionnaire, which in its arrangement closely followed the points in Mr. Glancy’s Report on the Constitutional Reforms Conference, has probably been more helpful to our witnesses than it has been to us. It enabled them or the associations which they represented to say yes or no to a number of isolated propositions. But we have been disappointed at the failure in too many cases to give reason for the answer or even to ensure that the answer to one question was consistent with the answer to another. This failure was due in part no doubt to the divergent nature of the questions which we had asked in our Questionnaire and in particular the function of constituencies; but we must regret that so few witness sawtheneed for basing their answers on some general and consistent scheme which would embrace all interests. It was not enough at this stage to put forward the maximum claims of a community, to express ignorance of or indifference to the claims of any other community and to make no attempt to reconcile these different claims in one coherent scheme. Yet this has been a general feature of the evidence.
It is a matter of interest that on only one of the main points which we had to examine were our witnesses absolutely unanimous; all agreed in preferring direct election to any form of indirect election. Only one witness advocated manhood suffrage. For the rest there was an extreme divergence of opinion and this divergence has been mainly on a communal basis.
We have therefore been faced with the same exaggeration of communal claims and fears which made the Constitutional Reforms Conference abortive and prevented any of its Members from putting their signatures to Mr. Glancy’s Report. We think then that it would be helpful if we begin by examining what appears to us to be the chief cause of this exaggeration, namely the excessive attention which has been given to the idea. We certainly cannot call it the principle – of enfranchising 10 per cent of the total population. This idea rests on mix-apprehension and indeed on mix-statement.
6. Mr. Glancy began that part of his report with which we are chiefly concerned by saying; “it is generally agreed that the number of voters on the electoral roll should amount approximately to ten per cent of the total population a ratio which has frequently been adopted as the working rule in British India.” This is not correct; it is not a working rule. The reports of the Statutory Commission and of the Indian Franchise Committee show that the existing system in British India has enfranchised a percentage which varies from 1.1 in Bihar to 3.9 in Bombay. The British Indian Provinces have been accustomed for many years to election either for the local self-governing bodies or for the Councils, and it is because there has been this experience with the smaller experience, an advance towards adult franchise. It was for conditions which were still in the future that the Statutory Commission suggested 10 percent as a possible figure which would educate a\\ider electorate, that the Provincial Governments with some hesitation prepared to arrange for number of electors, and that tile Indian Franchise Committee developed their further proposals.
There is no virtue whatever in the ratio of 10 per cent it is an arbitrary figure which has been suggested as a rough measure of the advance which can be made practically towards adult suffrage in a country where years of experience of a restricted franchise have made some advance possible. It would be entirely against constitutional history to lay so much stress on the total numbers of men, women and children, or in other words to think in terms of adult suffrage, in a country which has never yet had any wide-spread electoral system. In the first stages of constitutional progress the chief element is not the individual men, it is the constituency. When the Ruler has desired to associate his Government, he has had two ways of securing a competent and representative body of advisers. A part from his own officials there are prominent and capable men whose advice he would obviously require for legislation, and whom he can summon by name to his Council, and these have often been the nucleus of a second Chamber. But as the Kingdom advances there is more need for the specific representation of local interests, and more important men of local areas are required to elect their members to supplement the nominees. What these local are as should be, has never been determined by some exact measurement of men and women through a census of even by the allotment of an exact number of enfranchised voters to each seat; the local areas have determined themselves by their history and form of administration. Historically it has been the towns which usually have been the first to secure elected representation, as the concentration of trade in them has given them importance and they have had some special administration which has made it less reasonable that there interests should be represented only by the big land holders who have been called by the Ruler to his Council. Elected representation of the country apart from the town, belongs to a later stage, and when it has been granted, the territorial units have differed very largely in size in every country where representative Govt. has been established, and these differences still continue. It is only at a very advance stage of progress, namely when adult suffrage is becoming possible, that there has come the idea of making the constituencies more equal in size or number of the total population, and even now as the example of many democratic countries shows, equality cannot be reached, and the constituency remains more important than the census.
1. It is from these considerations of normal constitutional growth that we hold that it has been a misapprehension to lay so such stress on the idea of enfranchising 10 per cent of the total population, apart from the actual misstatement of describing this ratio as a working rule. We propose to base our recommendations on the constituencies; and for this reason we deal first with the composition of the Assembly before `\e proceed to discuss the franchise; but our scheme will show that we have also given appropriate weight to the numerical facts, though we have been careful not to exaggerate their importance.
The facts about the constituencies can be stated very shortly. There are the two cities. Jammu and Srinagar, which havespecial importance as in them are concentrated wealth, trade, education and the learned professions. There are ten Wazarats, Jammu, Udhampur, Reasi, Kathua, Mirpur, Kashmir North, Kashmir South, Muzafferabad, Ladakh and Gilgit. We have been informed in the Prime Minister’s letter that the Jagirs should be included in the constitutional scheme. Chenani is small but has entirely separate interests which must be represented. This Jagir and Poonch bring the number of rural constituencies to twelve. There can be no question of including the Frontier Ilaqas outside Ladakh and Gilgit.
On these facts, and with historical reasoning behind us, we might with advantage consider a first hypothesis of what would be a justifiable constitution. It would be possible to recommend that His Highness the Maharaja Bahadur’s first Legislative Assembly, for the exercise of powers such as Mr. Glancy has foreshadowed, might well consist of thirty two members. Sixteen of these would be summoned by name by His Highness from those of his subjects who were most eminently fitted to be State Councillors; sixteen would be elected representatives, one from each of the rural constituencies, and two from each the cities; in this point we should be giving weightage, to the interests of the cities, but weightage to the factors of wealth and learning has always preceded weightage for mere numbers in the stages before it becomes possible to be constituted to form a Sound nucleus for further development, when the political progress of the State made it possible to give greater responsibilities to the Legislature; the elected representation of the cities and districts could be increased so as to form a large Assembly; and the State Councillors would from the nucleus of a second Chamber or Council such as we consider might be required in the interest of the State as a whole in a more advanced type of constitution.
Such an Assembly would also have the merit of being comparable to that which has been established in the State of Bhopal. a State which resembles this State in certain essential factors. Bhopal has an Assembly of 74 members, only eight of whom are elected, and of these two members represent the city and two represent trade. Our Assembly of 39 members, 16 of whom u ould be elected, would be in advance of the Bhopal constitution and while giving weightage, as in Bhopal, to the urban interests, would give far greater representation to the agricultural population.
2. We are faced, however, by other local facts in Jammu and Kashmir, in particular the great diversity of the population. which compel us to go beyond our first hypothesis’ though we retain its general principle. To m et these facts we must propose a greater number of representative members. In thus enlarging the Assembly on the lines which we state below we are aware that we are recommending a greater advance over constitutions such as that of Bhopal, but we do not think that this will be unwise.
The diversity of the population can best be stated in the following table which shows to the nearest thousand of the adult males over 20 years of age in each of our proposed constituencies and in each of the principal communities. There is such general agreement that women cannot be enfranchised to any large extent that we require only the figures adult males. The figures for districts are exclusive of the cities:
3. In the rural districts the result) of an election on any conceivable system Of franchise, if only one member was to be elected, would be the election of a Muslim member in five Wazarats and in Poonch, and of a Hindu in Kathua and Chenani. In Jammu, Udhampur and Reasi the result would be uncertain and this uncertainty could not fail to be reflected in communal competition which would be dangerous to the peace. We, therefore, recommend that each of these three constituencies should have two elected members, one for the Muslim electorate and one for the Hindu.
But if Jammu, Udhampur and Reasi return two members each, it would be to great an anomaly to leave Mirpur, Northern and Southern Kashmir and Poonch each with only a single member, and although we do not attach the first importance to this factor of population, it would be an almost equally great anomaly if in these four districts the second member were to be elected by the minority communities which are negligible in numbers compared with the minorities in Jammu, Udhampur and Reasi. The second member in these four districts must clearly be a Muslim.
10. If however the Assembly is to embrace all local interests we must provide for the representation of the smaller minorities also, if they are to be divided from the major community and formed into separate electorates, as Mr. Glancy and the great majority of our witness, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh, are recommended. The 15,000 Hindus of Mirpur and the 11,000 Muslims of Kathua might each elect a member without straining over much the idea of weightage. The groups of Hindus in the three Kashmir districts are very much smaller, but they are to a very large extent homogeneous, and they have a high degree of literacy. For the small minority in Poonci1 the best course will be for the Ilaqadar to nominate a representative of the Hindus. In Chenani the numbers are so small that although there must be special representation, a system of election is not really justified, still less a system of separate electorates, and we feel that in this case also it will be wiser to ask the Ilaqadar to nominate his representative. But while we thus provide for the minorities by election or nomination according to their size, we must also in fairness to the majority community, be mindful of our principle of giving some weight, though in a less degree to the numbers of adult male population. We follow the same course of giving an extra elected member for a large group and an extra nominated member for a smaller group and we propose that where any community has more than 40,000 adult men to each elected member, there should be an additional elected member for each 40,000 and an addition d nominated member for part of 40,000 greater than 5000. This scale would give a third elected member both to Kashmir North and Kashmir South, both from Muslim electorate and extra Muslim nominated member to each of the three Kashmir Districts, and an extra Hindu nominated member to Jammu and Udampur. Where a Wazarat or Ilaqa is allotted two or more members under this scheme, and the population is practically homogeneous, we think that the representation would be more effective if it were divided by Tehsils, roughly in accordance with the population figures, into single member constituencies. This would also make the conduct of the election much easier by decreasing. The number of candidates for any one constituency. We recommend that these constituencies should be as follows:
|Badgam (Sri PartapSinghpura)||49|
|Tehsil Khas Pulwama||69|
Although there is inevitably some inequality in the population of the different units we believe that this scheme would give excellent representation to local interests, and we are opposed to any readjustment of boundaries in order to equalize population, as the limit of the Tehsils are well known to everyone. The provision of three extra Muslim seats for the three districts of Kashmir Province will enable His Highness to nominate representatives of any Muslim elements for which the electoral system does not provide.
11. In the evidence given to us at Jammu we have heard with great interest and sympathy the claims of the Megh Community, and our conclusion is that the Meghs have real grounds for being specially considered, without however, being in any way separated from the mass of the Hindus. A comparison of the figures in the last two census shows that there must hl 1931 have been some concealment of membership of this caste and their real numbers; this is one of the most important caste groups in the State. We also observe that the great majority of the Meghs are localized in Jammu and Udhampur Wazarats.
We have recommended that each of these Wazarats should have an extra Hindu membernominated; Jammu has 16,000 and Udhampur 6,000 adult males in excess of 40,000 but these communities would not come on to our scale for extra members, were it not for the approximately 9,000 Megh adults in Jammu and 7,000 in Udhampur and also members of other castes which are elsewhere called the depressed classes. It is, therefore, as a measure of obvious fairness that we suggest that in these two constituencies the extra Hindu members to be nominated should be chosen from the Megh community. We make no other recommendation for the representation of the depressed classes; such a step would not be suitable in this first stage of constitutional representation, and the case for making it is not strong if the action which we recommend on behalf of the Meghs is taken, as they are by far the most important of the communities of this type.
12. We have hitherto referred to representation of Ladakh and Gilgit in the same terms as in the case of the other districts, but we feel that it will be impossible to hold elections in these frontier districts until much greater experience of the conduct of elections has been acquired. Those of our witnesses who have stated that elections could be held now in Ladakh and Gilgit have clearly been speaking without any knowledge of the actual process of election and have made light of administrative difficulties which they have not attempted to examine. These difficulties will be considerable in other parts of the State, but in Ladakh and Gilgit the rigours of the climate, the immense area the wide dispersion of inhab ted sites and the extreme difficulty of communications between them make it a present impossible for a limited and entirely inexperienced staffto conduct an election. We must, therefore, recommend that at least until experience of election has been gained the members for Ladakh and Gilgit should be nominated and not elected. Our scale would give one Muslim and one Buddhist member to Ladakh and one Muslim member to Gilgit; but in view of the scattered and divers population of Ladakh we recommend that two Muslim and two Buddhist members should be nominated for that Wazarat. One of the Muslim members should represent Skardu Tebsil and the other Kargil.
13. We have provided members by nomination for the Buddhist and, as part of the Hindu representation, for the Megh community. A community which requires special consideration is that of the Sikhs. and we have given a careful hearing to the claims put forward their behalf, claims which have some justification from the fact that the numbers of the Sighs, 12,365 adult males, are certainly not commensurate with their wealth, activities and general place in the State. The Sikhs are far less localized than are either the Buddhists or the Czechs, and it is difficult to fit their groups into our scheme of constituencies; yet the Sikh witnesses have laid stress on the fact that the two members suggested by Mr. Glancy could not properly represent local groups which live in such diverse conditions, and this has led them to make extravagant claims which admitted, have ignored every other consideration except the communal. After examining this point of the local distribution of the Sikhs, we think that it would not be unfair to assign them to three groups. firstly those of Mirpur and Poonch (4,800 adult males) whose circumstances are very similar; secondly those of Muzaffarabad and of the Baramulla and Uttarmachipura Tehsil (3,800 adults); and thirdly the Sikhs of the rest of the State (3,700 adults) who no where from any large local group, but have some general importance in business and industry.
We cannot treat these three groups as one body for the purpose of electing a member, like the Kashmiri Hindus whose groups in the three districts are living in the same condition in far easier contact one with the other. Our general method of handling this question of the smaller minority groups would justify us in proposing that three members should be nominated to represent the Sikh groups, but in that case the Sikhs unlike the other communities, would have no elected member. This would on general grounds be an unsatisfactory conclusion, and specially so because the Sikhs have a high percentage of literacy; out of the 12,365 adult males 4,064 are literate. This factor entitles us to recommend that out of the three Sikh groups, two (1) Mirpur-Poonch and (2) West Kashmir should each elect one member. This third constituency of Eastern Kashmir and Jammu minus Mirpur will be too large a constituency in wl1icll to arrange an election so we recommend a nominated Sikh member for that constituency.
14. The steps which we have considered in the preceding paragraphs have raised the proposed rural representation to 24 elected and 12 nominated members. In the hypothetical constitution which we first examined we had 12 rural to 4 urban members and the latter number also must now be raised, and for the same reasons. We propose, therefore, that there should be 10 urban elected members, 7 from Srinagar and 3 from Jammu, of whom the Muslim electorate should elect 1 member in Jammu and 5 in Srinagar and the Hindu electorate 2 in each city.
In order to simplify the process of election, Srinagar should be divided into single-member constituencies, the basis of the division being, according to our general principle, the existing municipal wards. For the Muslim seats wards Nos. 1 and 3 in the south can be combined as one constituency No. 1 carrying a comparatively light population. Similarly the outlying wards in the north, Nos. 6 and 8 should provide one seat. The qualified voters in ward No. 2 will be so predominantly Hindu that for the Muslim electorate this ward can be combined with No. 4. The densly populated wards 5 and 7 should each return a Muslim member. Of the two Hindu members one should be elected by wards 1, 2 & 3, the other by the remaining five municipal wards.
We have heard much evidence on behalf of the domiciled Hindus of Srinagar, a community which is of real importance to the State, though its numbers are small and it has few members who are State-subjects. It is obvious that these Hindus could not secure an elected seat, as they are completely outnumbered in the possible Hindu electorate, and they would not de qualified for inclusion in the State Councillors. We, therefore, propose that there should be one nominated seat in Srinagar for their representation.
15. Our full scheme would thus provide 34 elected and 13 nominated members to represent the cities and districts. To these we should add the 15 State Councillors, to whom we referred in pare 7 and whose inclusion we regard as an essential element in the constitution. The local facts which have led us to raise the number of representative members from 15 to 47 do not apply to the nomination of the most eminent men in the State, and we retain the original number sixteen. It is not for us to restrict His Highness’ freedom of choice in summoning his Councillors by name, but we would respectfully urge, firstly that they should be chosen from those whose actual and historical position in the State is so eminent that they would naturally be members of a second Chamber, if such were constitute], secondly that they should not be officials, and thirdly that in order preserve the balance of the communities, no fewer than five should be Muslims. It would also be advantageous if one State Councillor were a Sikh who could help to harmonize the more purely local views of the representative Sikh members. Fourthly we recommend that in view of their historical position in the State, four of the State Councillors should be Rajputs and four should be Illaqadars or Jagirdars.
We propose that the State Councillors should remain members for more than one term of the Assembly, and that a Councillor nominated to fill a vacany should hold his seat for the next half term. This would secure some continuity in the advice which the Assembly could tender. It has a parallel in the British Municipal system. As we recommend later a three years term for the Assembly the State Councillors should be appointed for a term of 41 years.
16. We recommend that the Assembly should be completed by the addition of twelve official members of whom six would be Ministers holding their seats ex-officio. Their presence is unquestionably necessary in order to state to the Assembly the views of the government. It is similarly desirable to have in the Assembly Heads of Departments who have expert knowledge; the remaining six official seats would enable His Highness to make such nomination as might be required for presenting this expert official knowledge and we recommend that one of these six official seats should be for an official of Poonch, to be nominated by the Illaqadar with the approval of His Highness.
17. We can now conveniently tabulate the proposed composition of the Assembly.
|Mirpur Poonch Sikh||1|
|Tehsil Khas Pulwama||1|
|Kashmir South Muslim||1|
|Kashmir North Muslim||1|
|West Kashmir Sikh||1|
Total members with 16 State Councillors and 12 officials …75
33 elected members (21 muslims, 10 Hindus, 2 Sikhs)
30 nominated members
Minimum number of Muslim members…32 excluding the 12 officials.
Maximum number of Hindu members. . .25
11. We do not recommend that there should be special representation either of the Rajputs or of the land-holders or of traders or of the depressed classes or of labour. The first two groups would have their representatives among the State Councillors; so too might trade, and we have considered the tradinginterests when giving weightage to the cities; and w e have already stated our views and made provision for the depressed classes. Neither these nor the labourers would normally be represented in the first stage of constitutional development. We have no evidence of any serious organic cation of labour as a separate class. We consider, however, that the provision of extra nominated seats in the Kashmir Muslim constituencies would give His Highness an opportunity of selecting one or two members who would be more directly interested in the welfare of the labouring classes, in the same way as the Jammu and Udhampur Hindu nominated seats can be used for the representation of the lower orders of the Hindus.
We may and add here a recommendation that in no case should a candidate who has been defeated in an election be nominated to a seat in the same term of the Assembly. This is a convention in the practice of British India, for obvious reasons.
12. We conclude this portion of the Report with certain recommendations about the assembly, though we do not consider it to be our province to discuss its powers; we have made our proposals as to its composition on the assumption that its powers will be on general lines similar to those recommended by Mr. Glancy.
We would desire that in accordance with the practice in British India in earlier days when the Councils were formed, the Prime Minister should be the President of the Assembly. But we recognize that to act throughout a session both as President, responsible for the procedure of Assembly, and as Leader of the House, responsible in addition to the Prime Minister’s duties. We, therefore, recommend that His Highness should appoint another Minister, preferably the Judicial Minister, to preside over the Assembly. and be in permanent charge of the Assembly office. It may be ordered that in the unavoidable absence of the Minister particularly appointed as President, any other Minister may act as President. It is obvious that these duties will demand an officer with full experience in the transaction of official business, and that the election of an untrained non-official cannot yet be contemplated.
In the experimental stage we think that there should be a dissolution in the ordinary course after three years.
The terms of the nominated members, other than of the Ministers and State Councillors, should be the same as that of the elected members.
13. There are five general conditions which must govern any system of Franchise. Two are of minor practical importance and we only follow ordinary usage in saying that:
1. Persons of unsound mind cannot vote,
2. Persons may be disfranchised for corrupt practices at an election.
The other three general conditions are those of:
2. sex, and
There should be no question that every elector must be a State-subject. this is the essential bond of unity in an electorate which is so separated by natural conditions and by religion, and we might add that this is one point on which the majority of our witnesses are agreed. We do not propose that for the purpose of enfranchisement the existing law defining a State-subject should be changed. Mr. Glancy’s remarks on this point exaggerate the issue and we do not understand his reference to “hereditary – State-subject” or to “domicile in the State for a thousand years.” The present definition, if applied to the franchise, would admit persons who have acquired immovable property in the State and have ten years’ continuous residence. It is our general principle that the new constitution must be evolutionary; it should rest on existing conditions in the State and not on a priori ideas or on blind imitation of the practice in other countries. If for general reasons, and after hearing the advice of the new assembly, His Highness the Maharaja Bahadur decides to alter the law that would automatically affect the franchise; but the franchise now must be based on the present definition, and only State-subject of the three classes as now defined should be qualified to vote or to be elected as members.
The same principle leads us to agree with Mr. Glancy that women in general should not be enfranchised. We have a representation from the local branch of the All-India Women’s Conference, and some of our Hindu witnesses have favoured women’s suffrage. But it is obvious that the majority of the population would not welcome this and we must add the practical consideration that the inclusion of women voters in any large number would increase the administrative difficulties of the first election. At the beginning the most that we can do is to admit women who have a sufficient educational qualification..
As regards age we follow the general practice that a voter must be 21 years old when the electoral roll is published. We note that this means a small reduction in the figures of adult males, which we have quoted from the census.
11. Only one witness has urged adult male suffrage, and it is not necessary for us to consider this question either as an immediate issue or as the goal for the future. Adult male suffrage would require at least 1,300 officials of standing to act as presiding officers at the election, besides more than 3,000 clerks. Besides being premature now, it is administratively impossible.
Just as many of the opinions expressed to us about the Assembly have been of no help because witnesses have assigned seats to the different communities by percentages, without considering what the constituencies actually should be, so the attempt to create an electorate on a fixed percentage of the population as well as on personal qualification has led our witnesses into logical and practical difficulties; one witness, regardless of finance, has proposed that there should be a special electoral census, in order that the Government may ascertain the exact figures of land revenue payment which would qualify precisely 10 per cent of the people, another witness takes the line 10 per cent, should be enfranchised in each district, and that the personal qualifications should be varied accordingly from district to district. We must repeat that 10 percent was an arbitrary figure taken by the statutory Commission as a rough guide in conditions which do not as yet apply to Jammu and Kashmir. The simple fact is that no uniform personal qualifications can give same numerical result all over the country. We must leave these arbitrary figures and base our scheme of qualification on reasoned grounds.
12. We may begin by admitting to the franchise all those whose position is already representative, and who therefore may justly represent their fellows at an election. These are the Zaildars, Safed-Poshes and Lumberdars, who in districts where there are many villages, are very numerous. There are also the religious representatives, Imams, Mufties and Qazis, the Adhisthatas of temples, the Bhais and Granthis of Gurdwaras and ordained Ministers of the Christian Church.
A second group includes those whose prominence or responsibility are shown by the fact that they received titles in the State or in British India, or are receiving pensions of not less than Rs. 10 a month, or are retired or pensioned officers or N.C.Os of the regular military forces. To these we may add, without straining our principle the retired soldiers, who certainly hold a distinguished place among their fellows.
Our third group would include those whose education or subsequent attainments have clearly fitted them for a part in a modern constitutional system. We would enfranchise as such the Lawyers, Doctors, Hakims, Vaids and Schoolmasters, who are actually practicing in the State. To these we would add those who have at least passed through the Middle school or an equivalent educational test, as well as those who have had higher education.
Lastly there must be the principal mass of electors, who can voice the feelings of the ordinary citizen, but who must be expected to do with some degree of responsibility. For this purpose property is the only possible test, in this State as elsewhere, but we think it necessary to make the property test a low one, in order that the Government may be quite sure that at an election the ordinary people are really represented. We agree with Mr. Glancy in putting the basic figure for the payment of land revenue as low as Rs. 20, a lower figure than is in force in the Punjab, but, in order to secure an adequate urban electorate we prefer Rs. 600 as the value of immovable property other than land which should qualify a person to give a vote, instead of Mr. Glancy’s figure of Rs. 1,000. These qualifications must be supplemented by a similar qualification for occupancy tenants, and by a slightly higher qualification for the holders of Ilaqas, Jagirs, Guzaras and revenue-free land. We add a grazing-fee qualification in order to enfranchise persons of settled habitation whose property is in livestock. We adopt in all these cases the Punjab rule which enables co-sharers to vote if the value of their share would, if partitioned, come within the prescribed limits. We have not delayed the submission of this report in order to complete or test the figures which we have been collecting of the number of voters which these property qualification would produce: but we are satisfied that the number will not be so great as to make the conduct of the elections too difficult for a limited official staff, whereas lower rates would certainly lead to practical difficulties in some parts of the State. Our scheme would enfranchise more than 10Oo of the adult male population, and would give to the small revenue payers and the small house holders a great and often a decisive influence on the election. As there can be no doubt that these men are not distinguishable in feeling from the mass of the people, our object would be attained; our electorate would comprise all State-subjects who had raised themselves to a responsible position, and all who were educate, and also a large number of voters who would both be completely in touch with the masses and yet have the responsibility induced by the possession of their small property.
13. We have, in conclusion, to express our views as to the qualification for candidates for election. The object of the Election system being to secure the real representation of local opinion, no one should be entitled to be a candidate for a constituency in which he is not resident and registered as an elector but for this purpose registration in any part of a city should qualify an elector The object of convening the Assembly being to -obtain responsible assistance in legislation, we are justified in raising the age of candidates to 25, agreeing in this with Mr. Glancy and many of our witnesses. Lastly we recommend, in agreement with Mr. Glancy, that every candidate must be able to read and write the Urdu language, which will be the Language in which the Assembly will conduct its business.
14. As a summary of this part of our recommendations we append a draft of the relevent electoral rules, preparing, on established models, rules to govern the detailed procedure of elections, which it is not necessary for us to discuss in the Report.
DRAFT ELECTORAL RULES
1. Every person shall be entitled to be registered as an elector on the electoral roll of a constituency who is not subject to any of the following disqualifications, namely:
a. is not a State-subject of any class, as defined in notification I – L/1984, dated Jammu, 18th April 1927; or
b. has not attained the age of 21 years on the first day of the month on which the roll is published; or
c. has been adjudged by a competent court to be of unsound mind; or
d. if female, has not obtained the Middle school certificate or any other certificate mentioned in rule 4(7) below or a certificate of having passed some higher examination; and who has the qualifications prescribed for an elector of that constituency in rules 2,3 and 4.
1. A person shall be qualified as an elector,
a. in a Muslim constituency, who a Muslim,
b. in a Sikh constituency, who is a Sikh, and
c. in any other constituency, who is neither a Muslim nor a Sikh.
1. A person shall be qualified as an elector of that constituency alone in which he or she ordinarily resides or carries on business.
Provided that no person shall be entitled to have his name entered on the roll of more than one constituency but he can choose the constituency on whose roll his name may be entered.
2. A person shall be qualified as an elector who has any one of the following qualifications:
1. is a Zaildar, or Safed-Posh, or Lumberdar, or
2. is an Imam of a mosque, or Mufti or Qazi, or an Adhisthata of a temple, or a Bhai or Granthi of a Gurdwara, or an ordained Minister of the Christian Church, who has been acting as such for a period of not less than six months prior to the preparation of the electoral rolls, or
3. is a recognized title-holder, or
4. is a retired or pensioned officer, non-commissioned officer or soldier of His Highness regular forces, pro that he has not been discharged therefrom with vided ignominy, or
5. is a pensioner who receives a pension of not less than Rs. 10 a month from treasury in this State or any other, or
6. is a Doctor, or Hakim or Vaid, or Lawyer, or Schoolmaster actually practising his profession within the State, or tenancy is divisible by 20 or the value of immovable property is divisible by 600. The co-sharer shall appoint by name the persons so entitled to vote as electors.
1. For the purpose of these rules a person shall be deemed to have owned property or to have paid fees for any period during which the property was owned or the fees paid by any person through whom he derives lisle by inheritance.
2. (1) An electoral roll shall be prepared for every contituency on which shall be entered the names of all persons appearing to be entitled to be registered as electors for that constituency. It shall be published in the constituency together with a notice specifying the manner in which and the time within which any person whose name is not entered in the roll and who claims to have it inserted therein, or any person whose name is on the roil and who objects to the inclusion of his own name or of the name of any other person on the roll, may prefer a claim or objection to the Revising Authority.(2) The orders made by the Revising Authority shall be final. and the electoral roll shall be amended in accordance therewith and shall, as so amended, be republished in such manner as the Government may prescribe. No person shall vote at an election if on the date on which the poll is taken he is undergoing a sentence of imprisonment or if he has been bound over to be of good behavour and the period of the bond has not yet expired.
1. has obtained the Middle school cerficate, or a certificate of having passed the Budhiman, Rattan, Adhib, Munshi, Moulvi, or Prajna examination or a certificate of having passed some higher examination, or
2. is the owner of land assessed to land revenue of not less than Rs. 20 per annum, or
3. is an Ilaqadar, or
4. (a) is a Jagirdar, Muafidar, or Guzarkhar holding an assignment of not less than Rs. 20 per annum, or
5. is a tenant with right of occupancy paying rent of not less than Rs. 20 per annum, or
6. is the owner of immovable property, other than land. within the State, of the value of not less than Rs. 600, or
7. pays grazing-fees to the Government of not less than Rs. 20 per annum and is not a Bakarwal.
1. Where two or more persons are co-sharers in land assessed to land revenue, or in an assignment of land-revenue, or in other immovable property, or in a tenancy, every person shall be qualified as an elector who would be so qualified it his share in such land, property, assignment or tenancy were held separately. The share of any such person who is under 21 years of age shall be deemed to be the share of his father, or if his father is dead his eldest brother provided that his father or eldest brother as the case may be. is a co-sharer with him in the property.
2. If on division, none of the persons would be entitled to vote, any one or two or such number of them shall be entitled to vote as the number of times the total revenue or assignment of land-revenue or rent of
3. A person shall be eligible for election as a member of the Assembly for a constituency if he is;
a. over 25 years of age, and
b. can read and write the Urdu language, and
c. is registered as an elector for that constituency, or if the constituency is an urban constituency is registered as an elector in the city of which the constituency forms a part, and
d. has ordinarily resided or carried on business in the constituency or city for the twelve months proceeding the first day of the month on which the roll is published.
Note:- For the puspose of this rule, a person may be presumed to reside in a constituency if he owns a family dwelling house or a share in family-dwelling house in the constituency, and that house has not during the twelve months been let on rent either in whole or in part.
1. A person against whom a conviction by a criminal court for an offense punishable with a sentence of imprisonment for a period of more than six months is subsiting shall, unless the offence of which he was convicted has been pardoned, not be eligible for election for five years from the date of the expiration of the sentence.
2. A person shall not be eligible for election if he is an undischarged insolvent, or being a discharged insolvement has not obtained from the court a certificate that his insolvency was caused by misfortune without any misconduct on his part.
3. The name of any person who has been found guilty of a corrupt practice, under any rules in force regarding elections, shall be removed from the electoral roll, and shall not be registered on an electoral roll for a period of five years from the date of the finding, and such person shall not be eligible for election to the Assembly for such period.
(Sd) Barjor Dalal President
(,,) Kartar Singh Member
(,,) Abdul Qayoom Member
(,,) Ivo Elliott Member
30th December, 1933