1. The constitution of the State Reorganization Commission and its recommendations were testimony to the growing realization that regional and linguistic identities were a contemporary social reality and the best way to tackle it was to accept it. Discuss.
For a newly Independent India emerging from the pathos of partition The grouping of the States at Independence was done more on the basis of historical and political principles than social, cultural or linguistic divisions. There was not enough time to undertake a proper reorganisation of the units at the time of making the Constitution.
The Government appointed a commission under S.K. Dhar to examine the feasibility of reorganisation of states on a linguistic basis. The S.K Dhar Commission preferred reorganisation for administrative convenience rather than on linguistic basis. A Congress Committee under Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel and Pattabhi Sitaramayya (the JVP Committee) too did not favour a linguistic base.
However, in 1953, the first linguistic State came into being as Andhra Pradesh, created by separating the Telugu speaking areas from the State of Madras. This followed a prolonged agitation and the death of Potti Sriramulu after a 56-day hunger strike. As there were several more demands for states on a linguistic basis, a commission was set up under Justice F. Fazl Ali with H.N. Kunzru and KM. Panikkar as members to study the demand. The efforts of this commission were overseen by Govind Ballabh Pant, who served as the Home Minister from December 1954.
The Commission submitted its report on 30 September 1955, with the following recommendations:
The three-tier (Part-A/B/C) state system should be abolished
The institution of Rajapramukh and special agreement with former princely states should be abolished.
The general control vested in Government of India by Article 371 should be abolished
Only the following 3 states should be the Union Territories: Andaman & Nicobar, Delhi and Manipur. The other Part-C/D territories should be merged with the adjoining states
In Part II of Report of the States Reorganization Commission (SRC) 1955, titled “Factors Bearing on Reorganization”, the Commission clearly said that “it is neither possible nor desirable to reorganise States on the basis of the single test of either language or culture, but that a balanced approach to the whole problem is necessary in the interest of our national unity. “
Though sceptical of the recommendations the Congress government at the centre passed the State reorganisation committee act 1956 facilitating creation of newer states and 14 states and six union territories were formed via the 7th amendment.
Language was decided as the basis on which India’s states were to be reorganised for the following reasons:
Linguistic basis would ensure larger participation of the local people in the administration.
Linguistic regions were, naturally, geographically contiguous also, and this made them easily governable.
The vernacular languages neglected by the British can now flourish
Volatile situation which occurred in various parts of the country has to be brought under control for which recognition of Language as a social reality has to not only be recognised but also has to be realised as the most suitable way forward for newly Independent India by the leadership even though the move was fraught with negative consequences of regionalism, lack of economic cooperation and a feeling of antagonism towards neighbouring states.
Thus the linguistic organisation of states emerged as the most suitable solution at the time to ensure the internal unity and acceptance of diversity amidst the various territories of India.
2. The integration of the princely states was a result of the successful interplay of persuasion, diplomacy and force. Do you agree? Substantiate.
When British gave independence to India at stroke of mid-night, the first major issue was integration of 552 princely states in to Independent India. The “Iron Man of India” took up the role of integrating such diverse country into one assisted by able bureaucrat V.K Menon.
Many states willing joined but some didn’t for which three major ways were used by Sardar Vallabhai Patel.
All but 3 states of the country were brought under the ambit of Indian republic by this method.
Patel and Menon had days of negotiations, discussions, persuasion with the rulers.
The rulers of Bhopal, Jodhpur were all assured of Privy Purse, their jewels, governorship and other entitlements to bring on course of joining the Indian Union.
The ruler Nawab was bent on joining Pakistan despite being inside Indian Territory.
Despite assurances and concessions when he did not accede, India had to cut of essential supplies and transportation for the state.
When plebiscite was held, it was in favor of India. Thus it joined Indian Union.
Kashmir’s accession to India was when India sent its troops to fight the Pakistan sponsored tribes who had attacked Kashmir. The king signed the Instrument of Accession and it joined India.
The Nawab of Hyderabad aimed to create a separate country of Hyderabad within Indian Territory. His army (Razakars) did killings, human rights violations.
So police action in the form of Operation Polo was done where the Indian armed forced defeated the Nawab’s men and Hyderabad joined the Indian republic.
Another was Operation Vijay much later to integrate Goa into India.
The Indian political Map was changed in due course of time with addition of New state and few territories but the credit for integrating such a diverse country into one goes to the great statesman and stalwart Sardar Vallabhai Patel who is also known as “Bismarck of India”.
3. The controversy surrounding the Hindu Code Bill immediately after India became a republic and the political acumen shown by the contemporary leaders to tackle the crisis exemplifies the importance of political will in pushing difficult reforms. What clues can be taken from history in the context of the debates over the uniform civil code? Discuss.
On the lines of Article 44 of Indian constitution Jawaharlal Nehru, post-independence, entrusted his first Law Minister Dr. Ambedkar with the task of codifying the Hindu personal law as the first step towards a uniform civil code. The codification of the Hindu bill had 2 main purposes. Firstly, to elevate the social status of Hindu women and secondly to abrogate social disparities and inequality of caste.
Some of the prominent ideals proposed under this codification are as follows:
The property of a dying man has to be shared equally among his widow, daughter and son.
The right of any women over her inherited/self-obtained property should not be limited.
Allowing either partner to file for divorce on certain grounds such as domestic violence, infidelity etc.
The granting of maintenance to the wife if she decides to live separately due to divorce.
Making monogamy mandatory.
Allowance of inter-caste marriage and adoption of children of any caste.
Hindu Code Bill controversy:
Hindu code bill could not be passed during the provisional govt. just after the independence. It was subjected to strong opposition from staunch Hindutva supporters, RSS and Hindu Mahasabha etc. These conservative groups believed it to be a derogatory and absurd appeal against the basic Hindu laws that were governed by Dharmasastra (the textual authority on issues of marriage, adoption, inheritance). Even women belonging to the Hindu Mahasabha came to the forefront to oppose the bill.
Political acumen shown by contemporary leaders:
Dr. Ambedkar and his team, undaunted by the opposition from inside as well outside of the parliament, continued with their efforts with all seriousness and presented the draft bill to Nehru’s cabinet, which unanimously approved it.
Finally, Nehru broke it down into 4 laws for the easy passing in the parliament. These four laws were- Hindu Marriage Act, Hindu Succession Act, Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act and Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act.
They were passed one by one during 1955-56 leading to passing of what we call as Hindu code bill.
Clues that can be taken from history:
A stewardship is demanded when it comes to steps which is good for society but conservatism comes in between. The Uniform Civil Code which seeks to bring uniformity in all personal laws is being vehemently opposed by Muslim bodies like AIMPLB as it the UCC bill proposes doing away with discriminatory practices of triple talaq, nikah halah, polygamy etc. Within Muslims.
However as learnt for the Hindu bill controversy the government of the day needs to adopt a following approach:
Involving all stakeholders- the religious law boards, intelligentsia from the religious communities etc.
Taking gradual steps.
Making it an important issue so that a rational debate and discussion take place.
The government can also try to reform different segments of personal law like triple talaq, polygamy etc. individually rather than at one go.
The UCC is the need of the hour to create an egalitarian society. Its passage will require political acumen on the part of the leadership today. The lessons learnt from the past must be utilized judiciously to resolve the conflict over UCC.
4. “The right to reputation is a constituent of Article 21 of the Constitution. It is an individual’s fundamental right”. Do you agree? Examine in light of the recent verdict of the Supreme Court to uphold the constitutional validity of the Criminal Defamation law.
Right of reputation is one of the derived rights of the Article 21(Right to life and personal liberty). The definition of life under Article is very broadly based and provides adequate opportunity for holistic development of an individual. In social ecosystem in which a individual live, his reputation in public life is important to define his overall identity. The personal allegations which can tarnish the reputation is detrimental for his credibility and social interactions.
Recently with political propaganda used a medium to elicit public opinion and use of social medium for disseminating this at faster pace without knowing the authenticity of such information, the instances of using personal remarks are increasing.
Examination of verdict
Recently, the Supreme Court, in Subramanian Swamy vs Union of India case upheld the constitutionality of criminal defamation. As per SC, the right to free speech does not mean that a citizen can defame the other. This judgment is based on following reasoning:
Protection of reputation is a fundamental right under Art-21, right to life with dignity and also a human right.
Criminalization of defamation to protect individual dignity and reputation is a “reasonable restriction”.
A deliberate injury to one’s reputation built over years is not a civil wrong.
With the right to freedom of speech and expression, there is a correlative duty on citizens not to interfere with the liberty of others, as everyone is entitled to the dignity of person and of reputation.
However, there are following issues with such a stance:
Freedom of speech is important for a vibrant democracy and must not be curbed in the garb of protecting reputation.
Right to reputation cannot be extended to collective such as government which has the resources to set right damage to their reputations.
Retaining the criminal remedies against defamation will be used less to preserve reputation and more to coerce, harass and threaten.
Other countries like Sri Lanka have decriminalized defamation.
Though the arguments given by the court are convincing, in a democracy like India, there is no place for archaic laws restricting a person’s freedom. There are enough evidences that such laws lead to self-censorship. So, the gains made through such laws are not commensurate to the loss. For a society to evolve, democracy to flourish, free speech is a sine-qua-non and the State has to every responsibility to uphold it.
5. Why does India want the membership of the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG)? What benefits will accrue if India gets the membership of NSG? What are the hurdles? Discuss.
NSG was established in the wake of the Pokhran I peaceful nuclear explosion conducted by India in 1974.
The intent and purpose of the NSG is, however, different from that of the NPT. NSG is not an international treaty. It is a group of “nuclear supplier countries that seeks to contribute to nonproliferation of nuclear weapons through implementation of two sets of Guidelines for nuclear exports and nuclear-related exports.”
The 48-nation group frames and implements agreed rules for exporting nuclear equipment, with a view to controlling the spread of nuclear weapons; members are admitted only by consensus.
After more than 25 years of its establishment, some suggested guidelines were evolved in 2001 at Aspen for admitting new members to the organization. Amongst these, membership of NPT is only a guideline, a consideration, and not a mandatory requirement while deciding on a country’s application.
India was given a unique waiver in 2008, and china supported it then.
Why does India need the entry to the group and benefits:
India is keen to become a member of the NSG and other export control regimes such as the Wassenaar Agreement and Australia Group as it seeks to significantly expand its nuclear power generation and also enter the export market in the coming years.
membership of the NSG will provide greater certainty and a legal foundation for India’s nuclear regime and thus greater confidence for those countries investing billions of dollars to set up ambitious nuclear power projects in India.
as India’s international political, economic, military and strategic profile and clout increases, India would like to move into the category of international rule-creating nations rather than stay in the ranks of rule-adhering nations. For this, it is essential that India gets due recognition and a place on the NSG high table.
India’s track-record in observing the provisions of the NPT and NSG, even though it has not been a member of either body, is impeccable, But the entry into NSG will provide legitimacy to this past record.
India became a Member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) on 7 June 2016. All 34 members of MTCR are members of the NSG. India is hence assured of support of these 34 members in its quest for NSG membership.
Provide greater certainty and a legal foundation for India’s nuclear regime and thus greater confidence for those countries investing billions of dollars to set up ambitious nuclear power projects in India
Access to technology for a range of uses from medicine to building nuclear power plants It can start building updated versions of its own fast breeder reactor and sell it to countries
India committed to reducing dependence on fossil fuels and ensuring that 40% of its energy is sourced from renewable and clean sources, there is a pressing need to scale up nuclear power production
Nuclear industry and related technology development could give the Make in India programme a big boost
Training people in peaceful uses of nuclear energy, including use of radioisotopes, nuclear safety, radiation safety, nuclear security, radioactive waste management and nuclear and radiological disaster mitigation
China been saying that India is not eligible to become a member of the NSG as it is not a member of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT),
China has stated that Pakistan also has similar credentials to join the NSG; and that if India is admitted, Pakistan should also be admitted simultaneously.
The members of the group want to define the criteria for the entry of new countries, Brazil and Switzerland was in favour of discussing criteria of entry and India’s case jointly and Ireland and New Zealand wanted to discuss criteria before discussing India’s case.