Some Constitutional Gyaan

Our constitution is no ordinary constitution. It’s one of the world’s most comprehensive constitution. The makers of our constitution took cue from constitutions of over 60 nations, spent close to 3 years and spent roughly 64 lakhs Rupees to bring it into form. It’s Note-worthy that the amount spent on the making of the constitution was humungous- 64 lakhs spent in 1950’s is equivalent to 73 crores in 2012. Nonetheless, constitution was ready on 26th November, 1949 and few of the articles were simultaneously implemented. Other clauses and provisions were made live on 26th January, 1950 also know as Republic Day of India.

The Indian Constitution also hogged a good deal of negative-limelight. People retorted that the makers of the constitution were primarily intellectuals-lawyers and politicians- which resulted in sidelining of lower strata masses as they had no representative. However, in my opinion their argument is flawed because Dr. BR Ambedkar- himself born into a poor Mahar family-was at the helm of this entire process. He’s the ‘Father of the Indian Constitution’. Few people argued that Congress was under direct influence of the British, and the constitution framed by them was centered over one community ie. Hindus. Congress’s dominance was further emboldened by choosing 26th January as the date of declaring India a Republic.  The date 26th January was chosen to give credence to announcement of poona swaraj in 1930 post Lahore Session of INC. Other groups opinions/views ceased to exist in front of INC-behemoth. No wonder, Muslim League always felt betrayed.

Single Transferable Vote

I recently read about this voting system, and was surprised by the efficacy with which  it works. I happened to read about it while I was reading an article about constitution of India’s first constituent assembly in 1946.  To begin with I would like to give a brief overview of the composition of the assembly:

  • Total strength of the assembly was 386.
  • Roughly 70% seats were allotted to British India and rest of them belonged to the princely states.
  • Out of the 296 seats allotted to British India 292 were from the 11 Governor provinces and 4  were from Chief-Commissioner provinces; Delhi, Ajmer-Merwara, British Baluchistan and Coorg.
  • Seat allocation to each British province was to be decides by principle communities; Muslim, Sikh and General* ( Includes all others).
  • Representative of each community were elected by members of that community in provincial legislative assembly. Voting was done by ‘Proportional Representation’ by means of  ‘Single Transferable Vote’.
  • Representative from princely states were to nominated by the head of the states.
  • Elections were held in August 1946 with Congress securing majority seats leaving Muslim league behind.
  • Sadly, princely states chose to stay out of this process.
  • One highlight of this election was that both Mahatma Gandhi and Mohd. Ali Jinnah chose to stay out.

* No wonder the General category is often sidelined by giving other categories Quotas. General is too generalized in the present era, i suppose.

Single Transferable Vote:

It’s a system of proportional representation during voting so that no vote go waste. Often during elections, few votes are given to the sure loser or extra votes are given to the sure winner. This skims the chances of the other eligible/deserving candidates. So, this system focuses on intelligent distribution of votes. It using a formula called Droop formula, given below:

\left( \frac{\mbox{Total Valid Poll}}{\left(\mbox{Seats}+1 \right)} \right) + 1

You can find an elaborate example on the following link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_transferable_vote

 

I think it’s a very good system, though I’m yet to explore its downside. Another thing which interests me presently is why did the framers of our constitution do away with this system. Guess, that’s something more reading will tell. Watch out this space for more on Indian Historic Diaspora.

 

Simon Commision

Simon commission was introduced in 1927 as a 7 member committee. All 7 members were British leading to a complete boycott by the Indian parties. It was made by the government to track the progress of country, post implementation of Govt of India act 1919. The commission submitted the report in 1930 after 3 round table conferences-Attended by representatives of British India, princely states and British government. The report asked the government to withdraw the system of diarchy, whereas other clauses; Communal electorates, were given a green signal. Recommendations by the commission were introduced later in the Govt of India act 1935.