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Dictation Transcription –
Mr. President, Sir, in this matter it is obvious that a great change has come over the honourable Members of this House since the last decision was taken and I must also confess that I am one of those Members who have changed their views. At that particular point of time, when the last decision was taken, I remember very well the consideration that weight with the Members, was as to the manner in which the Governor should be elected so as to be able to interfere with the government if party factions and cliques threatened to break it up or to paralyse its activities.
At that time it was felt that the Governor, in order that he might have the strength so to interfere should be able to feel that he had the backing of the whole province behind him. It was for this reason that a great deal of emphasis was laid upon the form in which he was to be chosen, and it was decided that it should not be by appointment or selection but should be by election,–and not only election but election by adult suffrage. Since then on sober and serious reflection evidently the Members of the House are now persuaded that a general election of that kind whereby the Governor was to be elected by adult suffrage would impose a tremendous strain upon each province and would hardly subserve the purpose for which it was being held. What is the purpose? The upholding of democratic ideas.
The question is whether by interfering, the Governor would be upholding the democratic idea or subverting it. It would really be a surrender of democracy. We have decided that the Governor should be a constitutional head. The Premier with his Council of Ministers is really responsible for the good governance of the province. The whole of the executive power is vested in the Premier and his Council of Ministers. That being so, if there is another person who is able to feel that he has got the backing of the whole province behind him and therefore he can come forward and intervene in the governance of the province, it would really amount to a surrender or subversion of democracy. It would make it impossible for the Premier or his Council of Ministers to initiate measures which would be in the best interest of the province.
Only in exceptional cases of emergency should he have the power or the function to step in and interfere with the actual governance of the province for a short time. Of course, the conditions and circumstances must be such as would justify the exercise of emergency powers and those conditions have been indicated elsewhere. Ordinarily, however, his function is not to interfere but to remain detached. Therefore in the best interest of democracy, in the best interest of parliamentary form of government which has been decided upon as the basis of the Draft Constitution, the election of the Governor by adult suffrage is uncalled for and inappropriate.
The next method of election that is suggested is election by the legislature. There too there would be mischief–only in another form–and a conflict would arise between the Premier and his Council of Ministers on the one hand and the Governor and certain other sections or factions which would be in his support. Therefore I believe that it would, instead of being in the interests of parliamentary government, be a thorn on the side of the Premier and the Council of Ministers and would prevent them from carrying out any measures which are in the best interest of the province. What then? We have now to look out for some other appropriate method. If we are satisfied that both the forms of election which form the substance of article 131–there are the two above-mentioned forms given there–would not subserve the purpose of democracy, what is the next alternative? The alternative that is placed before us is that the appointment of the Governor should be in the hands of the President who, by Convention, shall act upon the advice of the Prime Minister at the Centre. Now, it has been said by some of the honourable Members who have spoken on the subject that it would not really be in the interests of democracy to vest so much power in the hands of the President. The question then is where lies the balance of advantage. The two forms of election being out of the way, can we or can we not vest this power in the hands of the President who is to act on the advice of the Prime Minister? The President being detached from the province would be able to act in a manner perfectly in conformity with the interests of the province, whether his nominee be of the province or of any other part of the country.
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