4th November 1948 was a critical date in India’s constitution-making process: B.R. Ambedkar, Drafting Committee Chairman, formally introduced the Draft Constitution in the Constituent Assembly. This ‘formidable’ (as Ambedkar referred to it) document, containing 315 Articles and 8 Schedules, was the culmination of the Assembly’s work, particularly its committees, that began on 9th December 1946. From this point onwards, all of the Assembly’s debates – 114 out of 165 sittings – centred around this Draft. These debates mark the most intense phase of Indian constitution-making.
Mahboob Ali Baig moved an amendment proposing that the prime minister and his ministers be selected by members of parliament ‘in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote’. Baig’s amendment was rejected. The Historical Constitution and the Constituent Assembly debates reveal that the constitutional choice regarding the executive was not straightforward – it was preceded by rigorous debate and conflict over alternative systems. While India settled on Article 75, the problems of representativeness of the executive remain in 2019.
Student Delegates for the National Constitution Society (NCS) Convention 2018 will be engaging in a series of online discussions prior to the Convention on 23rd November. Prompt 1 on Illaiah Shepherd’s ‘Where are the Shudras?’