SECTION IVProvincial Autonomy
PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT IN RELATION TO
THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
109. It is evident that the responsibility of the Executive would be of very little consequence if the Provincial Executive instead of being subordinate to the Provincial Legislature is subordinate to any other body outside the Province or if the Provincial Legislature instead of being supreme within its field is made subject to some other authority in the matter of the exercise of its powers. In other words responsible government must also be autonomous government. To render Provincial Government autonomous it is necessary to demarcate clearly the spheres of operation of the Provincial and Central Governments.
110. Prior to 1919 a Provincial Government was required under Section 45 of the Government of India Act, 1915, to obey the orders of the Governor-General in Council, and keep him constantly and diligently informed of its proceedings and of all matters which ought, in its opinion, to be reported to him, or as to which he requires information, and is under his superintendence, direction and control in all matters relating to the government of its province. This meant that the Provincial Governments had no acknowledged authority of their own in any of the matters which they administered; that whatever powers they exercised were powers which were delegated to them by the Central Government in the same way as a principal delegates his authority to his agent. By the Act of 1919 this relation of the Provincial to the Central Government was made subject to its provisions and rules made thereunder. Section 45(1)(b) of the Act of 1919 provided "for the devolution of authority in respect of provincial subjects lo local governments, and for the allocation of revenues or other moneys to those governments," while Section 45 (3) laid down that " the powers of superintendence, direction, and control local governments vested in the Governor-General in Council under this Act shall, in relation to transferred subjects, be exercised only for such purposes as may be specified in rules made under this Act, but the Governor-General in Council shall be the sole judge as to whether the purpose of the exercise of such powers in any particular case comes within the purposes so specified." The Act of 1919 therefore made two changes : (1) It gave the provinces authority of their own as distinguished from authority derived as agents of the Government of India. (2) It relieved them of their former obligation to obey the Government of India in regard to those subjects which were transferred to the control of the Ministers but retained its powers of supervision. From this it is clear that there may be a complete transfer of all the subjects to the control of the Ministers; but transfer will always be subject to the powers of supervision of the Government of India involving interference in the freedom of action by the Provincial Government. The question is whether these powers of supervision are necessary and if so whether any other form of relationship between the Provincial and Central Governments can be contemplated in which these powers will be so placed as not to conflict with the autonomy of the Province.
111. By the Act of 1919 and the Rules made thereunder the Provincial subjects are marked off from Central subjects. Notwithstanding this the Provincial Legislature have not been given freedom of action or finality of action in legislating upon Provincial subjects. The powers of Provincial Legislature are restricted in two different ways. In certain matters defined in Section 80A it cannot without the previous sanction of the Governor-General make or take into consideration any law although it might pertain to a matter lying within the Provincial field. In certain other matters Provincial Legislature may pass a law but if the law happens to fall within the purview of Section 81A and rules made thereunder its action becomes subject to the veto of the Governor-General. The combined effect of these two restrictions on Provincial autonomy can be easily understood. The question is whether any other system of relationship between the Provincial and Central Governments can be contemplated in which the powers of the Central Government will not conflict with the autonomy of the Province.
112. The provision regarding supervision by the Central Government over Provincial Government in the matter of administration of Provincial subjects and of previous sanction and subsequent veto by the Central Government of Provincial legislation regarding Provincial subjects is a feature which is not to be found in the constitution of any other country in which the functions of government are divided between two body politics. Central and Provincial, such as Canada, Australia and the United States. The provisions regarding previous sanction have found their way in the Indian constitution as a result of two erroneous suppositions. One is that it is not possible to demarcate functions exclusively. That assumption does not seem to be well founded. For in Canada the constitution does divide the functions into two distinct classes (1) those which exclusively belong to the Central Government and (2) those which exclusively belong to the Provincial Government making each government absolutely autonomous in the sphere which is allotted to it. The second assumption is that in dealing with those functions which cannot be said to be exclusively Provincial the only way open is to make their exercise subject to previous sanction and subsequent veto by the Central Government. This again seems to me to be an erroneous assumption. The constitution of Australia and the United States are examples where the constitutions have not divided the functions into two clear cut exclusive divisions as is done in Canada. By the scheme of division of powers and functions adopted by the Australian constitution there are certain matters over which the Central Government has exclusive powers. In certain other matters the powers of the Central Government are concurrent with those of the State Governments. But the matters of concurrent legislation are divided into two categories (1) in which the power of the Commonwealth Parliament operates by way of paramount legislation merely over-riding any exercise by the State of its. own powers and (2) in which the Commonwealth has no paramount power. In the United States Governmental powers are distinguished into (1) Powers vested in the Central Government alone, (2) Powers vested in the State Governments alone, (3) Powers exercisable by either the Central Government or the States, (4) Powers forbidden to the Central Government and (5) Powers forbidden to the State Governments. Thus the constitution of Australia and the United States both recognise that there may be functions which cannot be said to exclusively belong to either. But neither of them have adopted the plan of assigning them to one government subject to the previous sanction and subsequent veto of the other government. I recommend that the scheme of division of functions and powers like that of Canada should be tried and failing that the scheme prevalent in Australia or the United States should be adopted. But in any case the provision of previous sanction and subsequent veto should be done away with.
113. The provision whereby the Central Government has been invested with powers of supervision over subjects which have been transferred to Provincial control is partly due to want of clear cut allocation of subjects between Central and Provincial and partly to an erroneous view of the responsibility of the Central Government for the administration of Provincial subjects. The power of supervision is sought to be justified on the ground that certain subjects are of importance for Central Government. This reason will not survive a proper allocation of the subjects on the Canadian, Australian or American lines. The other justification for the powers of supervision is the view that the Government of India must be responsible for the peace, order and good Government of India as a whole and that it may discharge its own responsibilities, it must have the power of supervision. It seems to me that with the partition of functions there must follow a partition of responsibilities as well. If these responsibilities are partitioned and that of the Central Government confined to matters arising out of matters assigned to it, the necessity for supervision over Provincial Governments will vanish and I suggest that the clauses in the Government of India Act which define the responsibilities of the Central Government should be amended accordingly.
114. While I am anxious to see that there should be established complete Provincial autonomy I am opposed to any change which will in any way weaken the Central Government or which will impair its national character or obscure its existence in the eye of the people. Holding this view I am against making the Central Government a league composed of a number of governments bound together to constitute for certain purposes a single body. The effect of such an arrangement is obvious. The league will exist only as an aggregate of governments, and will therefore vanish as soon as the governments decide to separate themselves from one another. Such a Central Government will last only as long as the component government's will desire it to last. The league being a confederacy of governments will have to deal with and act upon the governments only. With the individual citizen it will have very little to do. It will have no right to tax the individual, to adjudicate upon his causes or to make laws for him. Such a Central Government is bound to be the weakest government possible. My conception of the position of the Central Government will not permit me to reconcile myself even to such a form of relationship as is found in the American constitution in which the Central Government is a commonwealth as well as a union of commonwealths. It is true that under it the Central Government acts immediately upon every individual through its courts and executive officers. But it is equally true that the Central Government in the United States is a creature of the States. Having been called into existence by the States it must stand or fall with the States. The States retain all the powers which they have not expressly surrendered. The Central Government has no more powers than those that have been conferred upon it by law. Such a Central Government, howsoever stronger it may be than a Central Government in a league, will not in my opinion be strong enough for the needs of India. My view is that the national Government should be so placed as not to appear to stand by virtue of the Provincial Governments. Indeed its position should be so independent that not only it should survive even when all Provincial Governments have vanished or changed into wholly different bodies but it should have the power to carry on provincial administration when a Provincial Government by rebellion or otherwise has ceased to function. Consequently on this aspect of the question I make the following recommendations: (1) That all residuary powers must be with the Central Government, (2) that there must be a specific grant of power to the Central Government to coerce a recalcitrant or a rebellious Province acting in a manner prejudicial to the interests of the country, (3) that all powers given to the Provincial Government in case of its non-functioning shall return to the Central Government and (4} that the election to the Central Legislature shall be direct.
PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT IN RELATION TO THE CROWN
115. For the purpose of securing Provincial autonomy it is not sufficient merely to lay down proper relations between the Provincial Government and the Central Government. It is also necessary to define the status of the Provincial Government. This is of practical importance principally in respect to their external relations. That the Provinces cannot have any international status goes without saying. But the question of their relationship with the Home Government stands on a different footing and cannot be easily disposed of. It is clear that whatever the nature of the relationship between the Provincial and Home Government it must be in keeping with the constitutional law of the country. The degree of independent political existence of a Province must determine the angle from which the problem is to be looked at. Are the Provinces to be treated so very devoid of independent political existence that they are to be treated as mere internal divisions comparable with the areas of local Government, unknown and unrecognised beyond India itself ? If so, that Imperial Government would know but one Indian authority, the Central Government, and would in all matters affecting India address itself to that Government and receive communications from or through it alone. On the other hand, have the Provincial Governments an independent political existence in the eye of the law ? If they can be said to have it, then the Imperial Government must recognise them and must in all provincial matters address them and must receive communication from them. Of these two possible bases of relationship there is no doubt that the latter is the more proper one. An independent political existence for the Provinces is now an accomplished fact. They have a sphere of activity in which they have an authority of their own. The whole scheme of reforms is opposed to the subordination of the Provincial Governments to the Central. The chief executive of the Province is not a nominee of the head of the Central Government. He is the representative of the Crown in the Province and not of the Governor-General. The constitution is a pluralistic constitution and there is nothing to suggest the view that while within India the constitution is to be treated as plural, conferring distinct powers on each, it is to be treated by the Imperial Government as a unitary constitution with a single responsible Government.
116. What are the matters in which the right of Provincial Governments to deal directly with the Home Government can be recognised ? Following the role prevalent in the case of the Australian Commonwealth that in matters in which the Crown is concerned solely in its capacity as part of the constitution of a Government, communications proceed directly between the State Governor and the Colonial Office without the intervention of the Governor-General, it must be claimed on behalf of the Provincial Governments that they shall have the right to deal with the Home Government directly without the intervention of the Central Government. The matters in which it must have such a right must include the reservation, the allowance and disallowance of provincial legislation, the appointment and removal of Provincial Governors and their instructions, the amendment of provincial constitutions and other matters which exclusively belong to the Provincial Governments. What about matters which do not exclusively belong to either Government ? I suggest that in cases in which the Central Government has paramount power of legislation, the Central Government is the sole representative of India. But as to matters within concurrent jurisdiction of the Central and Provincial Government, the Provincial Government must have a right to direct representation.
117. To make the political existence of the Provinces as an entity independent of the Government of India a reality, the representation of the Crown in the Provincial Executive and the Provincial Legislature should be made more manifest than it is at present. Under the existing law the Secretary of State has placed the Crown quite in the background and has in fact usurped its place. The office of the Secretary of State for India is analogous to the office of the Secretary of State for Colonies. But the two play quite different roles. The Secretary of State for Colonies occupies no place in the constitutional law of the Dominions. The constitutional laws of all the Dominions are emphatic in. their declaration that their Executive and Legislative Government is vested in the Crown. Section 2 of the Government of India Act gives a definite legal status to the Secretary of State. So prominent is the position given to the Secretary of State that he has altogether eclipsed the Crown. Indeed, except for a passing reference in Section I there is no mention of the Crown anywhere in the Government of India Act. The reasons for this are no doubt historical and go back to the passing of the Regulation Act of 1773 when the East India Company disputed the right of the Crown to the possessions it had acquired in the East. Whatever be the historical differences the fact remains that the Dominion laws do not recognise the Secretary of State while the Indian law does. The result is that the Secretary of State for Colonies does not govern the Dominions. His duty is to advise the Crown to allow or disallow particular acts of the Dominion Governments. The Secretary of State on the other hand is not merely the adviser of the Crown. By Section 2 of the Government of India Act he has been given the fullest powers of government.
118. The provisions contained in Section 2 cannot be justified under any circumstance. They are derogatory to the position of the Crown and are a perversion of the true position of a Secretary of State. They gave a false picture of the position of the Provincial Governments. Whatever might have been the justification of the provisions in Section 2 before 1919 the changes introduced in that year have removed it altogether. The powers of government having been transferred to the people it is no longer possible to retain those powers in the hands of the Secretary of State. To do so would be to introduce a system of double government fraught with the possibilities of serious conflict. I therefore recommend that section (2) of the Government of India Act should be deleted and two new sections of the following tenor should be added :
(1) The Legislative power of the Province shall be vested in a Provincial Parliament which will consist of the King and a Council of. the King and a Council of Representatives and which is hereinafter called " The Provincial Legislature ".
(2) The Executive power of the Province is vested in the King and is exercisable by the Governor as the King's representative and extends lo the execution and maintenance of the constitution and of the laws of the Province.
Sections of similar import regarding the position of the Crown in the Government of India should be added to Act of 1919. Such a change will not only help to place the Crown and the Secretary of State in their true position, but they will also help to bring the constitutional law of India in line with the constitutional law of the Dominions.
1. Reorganisation of Services
119. Separation of Services.The present organisation of the public services in India is the outcome of the recommendations of the Aitchison Commission which inquired into the Public Service of India in 1886-87. Prior to the appointment of the Commission the great bulk of the civil posts of higher responsibility and emoluments were filled by recruits from Europe and that Commission was expressly directed to suggest measures which would " do full justice to the claims of natives of India to higher and more extensive employment in the Public Service " of their country. The Commission held the view that the Civil Service should be only " a Corps d'elite " and consequently recommended that the recruitment of officials in England should be substantially reduced and the higher appointments so set free transferred to a service locally recruited in India. As a result of these recommendations officers recruited in England formed Imperial Services and the officers locally recruited formed the Provincial Services. The conditions of appointments in regard to pay, leave and pension of officers belonging to the two services were to be fixed on independent grounds and were not necessarily to have any relation to each other. This division into Imperial and Provincial obtains in most of the Civil Services of the country which it is needless to detail. What is important to bear in mind is that the division was made to distinguish officers recruited in England and officers recruited in India and not as might be understood from the description, in order to distinguish officers placed under the Government of India and liable to serve all over India from officers placed under Local Governments and liable to serve only in specified provinces. For instance the officers belonging to the Provincial services in the Telegraph (Engineering) and the Survey of India are directly under the Government of India and not confined to any particular province while officers in the Imperial Service in the Education and the Police Departments arc allotted to different provinces. In my opinion time has arrived when each Province should be free to organise its own civil service. For this the All-India character of the services must cease. There should be Central Civil Service recruited and maintained in response to its own needs by the Central Government to run various departments which are handed over to it by the Government of India without imposing upon its members the liability to serve under any of the Provincial Governments. Similarly there should be a Provincial Civil Service recruited and maintained in response to its own needs by every Provincial Government exclusively for its own employment. This recommendation cannot be said to involve any substantial change in the system. For although members of the Imperial Service and Provincial Service are liable to serve in any part in India, their All-India character is only nominal. For the cases in which a member of the Civil Service whether Imperial or Provincial has been called upon to serve in a Province different from the one in which he was originally posted are few. Almost all of them continued to work to the end in the same Province in which they were placed in the beginning. That being the case the reform which I have suggested will involve no change. It will only recognise facts as they exist.
120. The grounds on which I press for this reform in the organisation of the Civil Service are many. First of all such a separation of the services into those which are Central in the sense that they are in the employment of the Government of India and those which are Provincial in the sense that they are in the employment of the Provincial Government has this immense advantage, namely that it is a reform which is eminently called for by the change in the character of the Provincial Government. If the present system was continued, ministerial responsibility would be difficult of realisation. Public Servants in India according to Section 96(B) of the Government of India Act no doubt hold their position during the pleasure of the Crown. But it must be remembered that the Act does not allow the Ministers the power to decide when His Majesty should be pleased to remove him from office. Although that power is given to the authority who appoints him yet the dismissed officer has been given a right of appeal to the Secretary of State. Not only the Minister has no right of dismissing an officer, but he cannot even punish him with impunity, because it is provided in the Act that if any officer appointed by the Secretary of State in Council thinks himself wronged by an order of an official superior in a Governor's Province he has a right to complain to the Governor and the Governor by the Act as well as by the instrument of instructions is bound to inquire and pass such an order as may appear to him just and equitable. These provisions must make any Minister, however strong he may be, quite helpless against a recalcitrant member of the Civil Service who refuses to carry out the policy for which the Minister is responsible to the legislature in accordance with its wishes. Ministerial responsibility requires that a Minister shall have power effectively to deal with an erring officer working under him. He must also have the power to decide how many officers he must have and to what particular post any of them might be appointed. The existing provisions do not permit him any of the powers he must stand in sore need of. This anomaly was recognised by the Lee Commission which was appointed soon after the reforms were introduced. That Commission recommended that no further recruitment should take place in the transferred departments on an All-India basis and the personnel required for them should in future be recruited and appointed by Provincial Governments. As a result of this recommendation Provinces have been empowered to frame rule for the recruitment of officers who will take the place of the existing All-India Service Officers in these services operating in the transferred department when the latter vacate. The reform I have suggested is merely an extension of the same principle which the necessities of the case have compelled the authorities to accept. The extension cannot now be delayed for the reason that under a fully responsible system of Government the distinction between Reserved and Transferred will have vanished.
121. The second advantage of a separate and independent Provincial Civil Service will be the liberty it will give to the Provincial Governments to alter the cadre of the services belonging to the Province. The draw-back of the All-India system is that a Minister who is satisfied that there are several superfluous posts ordinarily held by the members of the All-India Service and a larger number the duties of which can be and in the temporary vacancies have been efficiently discharged by the more moderately paid officers of the Provincial Services, and who might therefore be convinced of abolishing such a post or transferring it to the cadre of a Provincial Service finds himself powerless to do so. For, under the Act he has no such power. All that he can do is to let such post remain in abeyance or to let an officer of the Provincial Service concerned officiate for a lengthened period. But even here his powers are limited. For, under the rules he cannot do this beyond fixed number of months without the sanction of the Secretary of State. This is a very serious limitation arising out of the All-India Organisation of the Services in that it prevents the attainment of the ends of economy for which the Reformed Council has been clamouring from its very inception.
122. These are not the only advantages of an independent system of Provincial Civil Service. The All-India character of the service imposes upon the provinces uniformity in the conditions of employment in relation to pay, leave allowances, promotions and pensions. I contend that such uniformity must work great hardships upon the resources of comparatively poor Provinces. They are obliged to pay more for the service than they can reasonably afford. Nor can it be said that uniform scale of salary in all Provinces is necessary to ensure equality in the standard of living. It is notorious that owing to differences in local conditions the same standards of comfort can be had in two different Provinces on quite different salary. If that is the case there is no reason why should uniformity in pay be enforced when such uniformity is either burdensome or unjust.
123. The requirement of uniformity in the conditions of service also arises directly out of the All-India character of the Civil Service and it will not vanish unless the service ceases to have that character. The constitution of an independent Provincial Civil Service is a means for accomplishing this end and should be welcomed particularly when its accomplishment can reduce the cost of administration and give the Provinces full liberty to manage its own affairs. This of course means that the position of the Secretary of State vis-à-vis the Provincial Governments in the matter of recruitment to the public service must be radically altered. The Secretary of State instead of being the general employer and the Provincial Government indenting upon him for the number of hands necessary for work in their provinces, the Secretary of State in those cases where the recruitment in England is necessary should merely act as the agent of particular provinces concerned, on the terms prescribed by the Provincial Government and not on the terms formulated by himself. The Provinces should henceforth cease as authorities utilising the service of persons lent to them or found for them, so to say, by the Secretary of State. So long such a system continues the Secretary of State is bound to claim the powers which he now enjoys under Section 96B of the Government of India Act. Much is said by the Ministers against the powers retained by the Secretary of State over the Civil Service on the ground that they make responsible government impossible. That criticism is perfectly valid. But those who urged this criticism do not seem to be aware of the fact that these powers can be taken away only when the Secretary of State ceases to be the recruiting officer.
124. If this reform of separation of services is carried into effect, I should like to suggest the following classification of the Provincial Civil Service
Provincial Civil Service
Class I equivalent to the present I.C.S. and the Imperial Services
Class II equivalent to the Present Provincial Services
125. Recruitment Agency for the Provincial Civil Service.The next question that arises for consideration relates to the agency that should be in charge of matters pertaining to the recruitment to the Provincial Civil Service when the Secretary of State has ceased to perform that function. I accept that the Civil Service in order that it may be free from the evil effects of political influence and jobbery should be recruited and controlled by an authority independent of the Ministers. I am not, however, prepared to say that a Provincial Civil Service Commission could be instituted to take charge of this kind of work. On financial considerations alone the proposal seems to be too big. However, I agree with the suggestion that in every province there should be a full-time officer specially charged with the consideration of service matters. He should be a liaison officer between the Public Service Commission and the Local Government.
II. Indianisation of the Services
126. (i) Recruitment of Indians.The case for Indianisation was accepted by the Islington Commission in 1915. Its relation to the success of the Reforms was emphasised by the authors of the Joint Report and the Lee Commission gave effect to it by defining the proportion between the Indians and the Europeans in the different services. There is, therefore, no necessity to argue the case for Indianisation de novo. All that is necessary to say is that during the interval that elapsed between the appointment of the Islington Commission and the appointment of Lee Commission the angle of vision regarding this question had completely altered. In the days of the Islington Commission the question was, " How many Indians should be admitted into the Public Services ? " At the time of the Lee Commission it had become, "what is the minimum number of Englishmen which must still be recruited ? " I am glad to say that the Lee Commission gave full recognition to this altered angle of vision. What is now necessary is to determine the necessary changes in the principles which were taken by the Lee Commission for framing the proportions of Indians and Europeans so as to accelerate the pace of Indianisation. The consideration that should, in my opinion, govern the proportions is the requirement of a Department and the merits of qualified Indians to run them. If this consideration were adopted the proportions settled by the Lee Commission will have to be altered in favour of Indians in all departments except Law and Order, Forest and other Technical Departments.
127. (ii) Payment of Indians.1 press for Indianisation not only on its own merits but also because of its potential effects on the finances of the Province. For, I hope that Indianisation can be made to yield economy in administration. I have not been personally able to see why equality of pay to Indians and Europeans should be regarded as a necessary consequence of membership of an All-India Service. Looking to the question from the standpoint of merit I have been convinced that there is no logical justification for equal remuneration for both classes of public servants. One class consists of a body of public servants exiled from their own home and posted in a country thousands of miles away in which they do not think that they can properly educate their children or maintain their health. Conditions such as these which compel them to maintain dual establishments at a standard of living admittedly high are considerations which do not apply to those civil servants who have their domicile in India. In contrast to their European colleagues they are working in a country in which they are living free from the difficulties of dual establishments not exposed to ill-health owing to climatic considerations and accustomed to a comparatively low standard of living. The financial burden they are obliged to carry is obviously less pressing than is the case with their European colleagues. If this difference between personal risk and sacrifices involved in the performance of their service is admitted, then in my opinion, there is no logical justification for paying them on the same basis. Indeed, if the total position of the two classes of public servants in India be compared then one thing is certain. That if the present salary of European officers is adequate then it is beyond dispute that the Indian officers are overpaid. If, however, the contention is that the Indian officers are not overpaid then it follows that the European officers are underpaid. Whichever view is taken the present practice of equal pay to Indians and Europeans gives rise to a position which is quite unsatisfactory. I have no hesitation in saying that under the present practice of equal payment whether or not the European is adequately paid his Indian colleagues is certainly overpaid. That being my view I am anxious to see that the scale of salary of public servants with Indian domicile is lower. This argument, I am sure, cannot fail to appeal to every Indian who examines the financial position of the different Provincial Governments and the serious embarrassments in which each is placed by reason of the high proportion of expenditure which is devoted to the payment of emoluments to public servants. There are some Indians I know who object to this principle of inequality in salaries. Be it noted that these objections come from those classes of Indians from which the Civil Service is largely recruited, and who claim to be the leaders of the country. Theirs is a contemptible little argument without any substance in it. It has no substance because inequality in status is not a necessary consequence of inequality in pay. It is contemptible because it is based on self-interest. I for myself am in favour of increasing Indianisation mainly because of the large promise of economy which it holds out.
128. (iii) Indianisation and the claims of the Backward Classes.It is notorious that the Public Services of the country in so far as they are open to Indians have become by reason of various circumstances a close preserve for the Brahmins and allied castes. The Non-Brahmins, the Depressed Classes and the Mohammedans are virtually excluded from them. They are carrying on an intense agitation for securing to themselves what they regard as a due share of the Public Services. With that purpose in view they prefer the system of appointment by selection to the system of appointment by open competition. This is vehemently opposed by the Brahmins and the allied castes on the ground that the interests of the State require that efficiency should be the only consideration in the matters of appointment to public offices and that caste and creed should count for nothing. Relying upon educational merit as the only test which can be taken to guarantee efficiency, they insist that public offices should be filled on the basis of competitive examinations. Such a system it is claimed serves the ends of efficiency without in any way prohibiting the entry of the Backward Classes in the Public Services. For the competitive examination being open to all castes and creeds it leaves the door open to a candidate from these communities if he satisfied the requisite test.
129. The attitude of the Brahmin and allied castes towards this question has no doubt the appearance of fairness. The system of competitive examination relied upon may result in fairness to all castes and creeds under a given set of circumstances. But those circumstances presuppose that the educational system of the State is sufficiently democratic and is such that facilities for education are sufficiently widespread and sufficiently used to permit all classes from which good public servants are likely to be forthcoming to complete. Otherwise even with the system of open competition large classes are sure to be left out in the cold. This basic condition is conspicuous by its absence in India, so that to invite Backward Classes to rely upon the results of competitive examination as a means of entry into the Public Services is to practise a delusion upon them and very rightly the Backward Classes have refused to be deceived by it.
130. Assuming therefore that the entry of the Backward Classes in the Public Services cannot be secured by making it dependent upon open competition, the first question that arises for consideration is, have the Backward Classes a case for a favoured treatment ? Unless they can make good their case they cannot expect any modification of the accepted principles of recruitment by considerations other than those of efficiency pure and simple. In regard to this important question I have no hesitation in stating that the Backward Classes have a case which is overwhelming.
131. First of all those who lay exclusive stress upon efficiency as the basis for recruitment in public services do not seem to have adequate conception of what is covered by administration in modern times. To them administration appears to be nothing more than the process of applying law as enacted by the legislature. Beyond question that is a very incomplete understanding of its scope and significance. Administration in modern times involves far more than the scrutiny of statutes for the sake of knowing the regulations of the State. Often times under the pressure of time or from convenience a government department is now-a-days entrusted with wide powers of rule-making for the purpose of administering a particular law. In such cases it is obvious that administration cannot merely consist in applying the law. It includes the making up of rules which have the force of law and of working them out. This system of legislation by delegation has become a very common feature of all modern governments and is likely to be on the increase in years to come. It must be accepted as beyond dispute that such wide powers of rule-making affecting the welfare of large classes of people cannot be safely left into the hands of the administrators drawn from one particular class which as a matter of fact is opposed to the rest of the population in its motives and interests, does not sympathise with the living forces operating in them, is not charged with their wants, pains, cravings and desires and is inimical to their aspirations, simply because it comes out best by the test of education.
132. But even assuming that administration involves nothing more than the process of applying the law as enacted by the legislature it does not in the least weaken the case of the Backward Classes. For, officers who are drawn from a particular caste and in whose mind consciousness of caste sits closer than conscientious regard to public duty, may easily prostitute their offices to the aggrandisement of their community and to the detriment of the general public. Take the ordinary case of a Mamlatdar, administering the law relating to the letting of Government lands for cultivation. He is no doubt merely applying the law. But in applying he may pick and choose the lessees according to his predilection and very possibly may decide against lessees on grounds which may be communal in fact although they may be non-communal in appearance. Take another illustration of an officer placed in charge of the census department in which capacity he is called upon to decide questions of nomenclature of the various communities and of their social status. An officer in charge of this department by reason of his being a member of particular caste in the course of his administration may do injustice to a rival community by refusing to it the nomenclature or the status that belongs to it. Instances of favouritism, particularly on the grounds of caste and creed are of common occurrence though they are always excused on some other plausible ground. But I like to quote one which pertains to the Vishwakarmans of the Madras Presidency. It is related in their letter to the Reforms Enquiry Committee of 1924 in which they complained that " a Brahmin member of the Madras Executive Council Sir (then Mr.) P. Siwaswami Ayyarwhen he was in charge of the portfolio of law, issued a Government Order objecting to the suffix ' Acharya ' usually adopted by the Vishwakarmans in their names and seeking to enforce in its place the word ' Asry ', which is weighed with common odium. Though there was neither necessity nor authority to justify the action taken by the law member, the Government Order was published by the law department as if on the recommendation of the Spelling Mistakes Committee. It happened to our misfortune that the non-official members of this Committee were drawn largely from the Brahmin community, who never knew how to respect the rights of their sister communities and never informed us of the line of action that they were decided upon. It was dealt more or less as the stab in the dark."
133. This is inevitable. Class rule must mean rule in terms of class interests and class prejudices. If such results are inevitable then it must raise a query in the minds of all honest people whether efficient government has also given us good government ? If not, what is the remedy ? My view is that the disadvantages arising from the class bias of the officers belonging to Brahmin and allied castes has outweighed all the advantages attending upon their efficiency and that on the total they have done more harm than good. As to the remedy, the one I see is a proper admixture of the different communities in the public service. This may perhaps import a small degree of inefficiency. But it will supply a most valuable corrective to the evils of class bias. This has become all the more necessary because of the social struggles that are now going on in the country. The struggles between the Brahmins and the non-Brahmins, between Hindus and Mohammedans, between Touchables and Untouchables for the destruction of all inequalities and the establishment of equality, with all their bitterness, cannot leave the judges, magistrates, civil servants and the police without being influenced in their judgement as to the right or wrong of these struggles. Being members of the struggling communities they are bound to be partisans, with the result that there may be a great loss in the confidence reposed by the public in their servants.
134. So far I have considered the case of the Backward Classes on grounds of administrative utility. But there are also moral grounds why entry into the public service should be secured to them. The moral evils arising out of the exclusion of a person from the public service were never so well portrayed as by the late Mr. Gokhale. In the course of a telling speech he observed, " The excessive costliness of the foreign agency is not however its only evil. There is a moral evil, which, if anything, is even greater. A kind of dwarfing or stunting of the Indian race is going on under the present system. We must live all the days of our life in an atmosphere of inferiority and tallest of us must bend in order that the exigencies of the existing system may be satisfied. The upward impulse, if I may use such an expression, which every school-boy at Eton or Harrow may feel that he may one day be a Gladstone, a Nelson, or a Wellington, and which may draw forth the best efforts of which he is capable, is denied to us. The full height to which our manhood is capable of rising can never be reached by us under the present system. The moral elevation which every self-governing people feel cannot be felt by us. Our administrative and military talents must gradually disappear, owing to sheer disuse, till at last our lot, as hewers of wood and drawers of water in our own country, is stereotyped." Now what one would like to ask those who deny the justice of the case of the Backward Classes for entry into the Public Service is whether it is not open to the Backward Classes to allege against the Brahmins and allied castes all that was alleged by the late Mr. Gokhale on behalf of Indian people against the foreign agency ? Is it not open to the Depressed Classes, the non-Brahmins and the Mohammedans to say that by their exclusion from the Public Service a kind of dwarfing or stunting of their communities is going on ? Can they not complain that as a result of their exclusion they are obliged to live all the days of their lives in an atmosphere of inferiority, and that the tallest of them has to bend in order that the exigencies of the existing system may be satisfied ? Can they not assert that the upward impulses which every school-boy of the Brahmanical community feels that he may one day be a Sinha, a Sastri, a Ranade or a Paranjpye, and which may draw forth from him the best efforts of which he is capable is denied to them ? Can they not indignantly assert that the full height to which their manhood is capable of rising can never be reached by them under the present system ? Can they not lament that the moral elevation which every self-governing people feel cannot be felt by them and that their administrative talents must gradually disappear owing to sheer disgust till at last their lot as hewers of wood and drawers of water in their own country is stereotyped ? The answers to these queries cannot but be in the affirmative. If to exclude the advanced communities from entering into public service of the country was a moral wrong, the exclusion of the backward communities from the same field must also be a moral wrong, and if it is a moral wrong it must be righted.
135. These are the considerations which lead me to find in favour of the Backward Classes. It will be noticed that these considerations are in no way different from the considerations that were urged in favour of Indianisation. The case for Indianisation, it must be remembered, did not rest upon efficient administration. It rested upon considerations of good administration. It was not challenged that the Indian was inferior to the European in the qualities that go into the make-up of an efficient administrator. It was not denied that the European bureaucracy had improved their roads, constructed canals on more scientific principles, effected transportation by rail, carried their letters by penny post, flashed their messages by lightning, improved their currency, regulated their weights and measures, corrected their notions of geography, astronomy and medicine, and stopped their internal quarrels. Nothing can be a greater testimony to the fact that the European bureaucracy constituted the most efficient government possible. All the same the European bureaucracy, efficient though it was, was condemned as it was found to be wanting in those qualities which make for human administration. It is therefore somewhat strange that those who clamoured for Indianisation should oppose the stream flowing in the direction of the Backward Classes, forgetting that the case for Indianisation also includes the case for the Backward Classes. Be that as it may, I attach far more importance to this than I attach either to Provincial Autonomy or to complete responsibility in the Provincial Executive. I would not be prepared to allow the devolution of such large powers if I felt that those powers are likely to fall in the hands of any one particular community to the exclusion of the rest. That being my view I suggest that the following steps should be taken for the materialisation of my recommendations :
(1) A certain number of vacancies in the Superior Services, Class I and Class II, and also in the Subordinate Services, should every year be filled by system of nomination with a pass examination. These nominations should be filled on the recommendation of a select committee composed of persons competent to judge of the fitness of a candidate and working in conjunction with the Civil Service officer referred to above. Such nominations shall be reserved to the Depressed Class, the Mohammedans and the Non-Brahmins in the order of preference herein indicated until their numbers in the service reach a certain proportion.
(2) That steps should be taken to post an increasing number of officers belonging to these communities at the headquarters.
(3) That a Central Recruitment Board should be constituted as a central agency for registering all applications for appointments and vacancies and putting applicants in touch with the offices where vacancies exist or occur from time to time. It is essential to put the man and the job in touch if this desire is to be achieved. The absence of such a Board is the reason why the efforts of the Government of Bombay in this connection have not achieved the success which was expected of them.
Chapter 1.There should be complete responsibility in the Provincial executive subject to the proviso that if members of the Legislature resolve to make it a reserved subject effect shall be given to their resolution.
Chapter 2.Under no circumstances should the executive be made irremovable. There shall be no communal representation in the executive. Ministers should be amenable to courts of law for illegal acts. The constitution should provide for the impeachment of Ministers. There should be joint responsibility in the executive. The executive should be presided over by a Prime Minister and not by the Governor.
Chapter 3.The Governor should have the position of a constitutional head. He should have no emergency powers.
Chapter 2.The Legislature should be wholly elective. All class and communal electorates should be abolished except for Europeans. Reserved seats should be provided for Mohammedans, Depressed Classes and Anglo-Indians and to the Non-Brahmins only if the franchise continues to be a restricted one.
Chapter 3.The Legislature should consist of 140 members. Of these Mohammedans should have 33 and the Depressed Classes 15. The under-representation of certain districts and the over-representation of others should be rectified on the basis of population. There should be a Committee to adjust seats between different classes and interests. The requirement of a residential qualification for a candidate should be removed.
Chapter 5.There should be no second chamber in the Province.
Chapter 6.The Legislature should have the power of appointing and removing the President, of defining its privileges and regulating its procedure. Sections 72D and 80C of the Government of India Act should be removed from the Statute. The Legislature should have the power to move " a motion of non-confidence". The Legislature should have the power to alter the constitution subject to certain conditions.
Chapter 1.There should be complete Provincial autonomy. The division of functions between Central and Provincial should be reconsidered with a view to do away with the control of Central Government now operating through the system of previous sanction and subsequent veto.
Chapter 2.Within the limits fixed by the functions assigned to the Provincial Government the relations between that Government and the Home Government should be direct and not through the medium of the Central Government. Section 2 of the Government of India Act should be deleted as it obscures the position of the Crown in relation to the governance of India.
There should be a distinct Provincial Civil Service and the Secretary of State should cease altogether to perform the function of a recruiting agency. His functions regarding the Services may be performed by a Provincial Civil Service Commission or by an officer acting conjointly with the Public Service Commission of India. Indianisation of Services should be more rapid. Its pace should vary with the nature of the different departments of State. Indianisation should be accompanied by a different scale of salary and allowances. In the course of Indianisation of the services arrangement should be made for the fulfilment of claims of the backward classes.
17th May 1929
(Refer footnote on page 339)
Extracts from the Report of the Board of Education of the Bombay Presidency for the year 1850-51
" Paragraph 5. Thus, the Board of Education at this Presidency, having laid down a scheme of education, in accordance with the leading injunctions of Despatches from the Honourable Court, and founded not more on the opinions of men who had been attentively considering the progress of education in India, such as the Earl of Auckland, Major Candy and others, than on the openly declared wants of the most intelligent of the natives themselves, the Board, we repeat, were informed by your Lordship's predecessor in Council that the process must be reversed."
" Paragraph 8. Equally wise, if we may be permitted to use the expression, do the indications of the Honourable Court appear to us to be as to the quarters to which Government education should be directed, and specially with the very limited funds which are available for this branch of expenditure. The Honourable Court write to Madras in 1830 as follows: ' The improvements in education, however, which most effectively contribute to elevate the moral and intellectual condition of a people are those which concern the education of the higher classes of the persons possessing leisure and natural influence over the minds of their countrymen. By raising the standard of instruction amongst these classes you would eventually produce a much greater and more beneficial change in the ideas and the feelings of the community than you can hope to produce by acting directly on the more numerous class. You are, moreover, acquainted with our anxious desire to have at our disposal a body of natives qualified by their habits and acquirements to take a larger share and occupy higher situations in the civil administration of their country than has been hitherto the practice under our Indian Government.' Nevertheless, we hear on so many sides, even from those who ought to know better of the necessity and facility for educating the masses, for diffusing the arts and sciences of Europe amongst the hundred or the hundred and forty millions (for numbers count for next to nothing) in India, and other like generalities indicating cloudy notions on the subject, that a bystander might almost be tempted to suppose the whole resources of the State were at the command of Educational Boards, instead of a modest pittance inferior in amount to sums devoted to a single establishment in England."
" Paragraph 14. It results most clearly from these facts, that if sufficient funds are not available to put 175 vernacular schools into due state of organisation, and to give a sound elementary education to 10,730 boys, all question as to educating ' the masses ', the ' hundred and forty millions ', the 900,000 boys in the Bombay Presidency disappears. The object is not one that can be attained or approximated to by Government, and Educational Boards ought not to allow themselves to be distracted from a more limited practical field of action by the visionary speculations of uninformed benevolence."
Views of Court of Directors as to the best method of operation with limited means
" Paragraph 15. The Honourable Court appear to have always kept the conclusion which has been arrived at in the last paragraph very distinctly in view. Perceiving that their educational efforts to improve the people could only be attempted on a very small scale, they have deemed it necessary to point out to their different Governments the true method of producing the greatest results with limited means. We have already cited their injunctions to the Madras Government on this head (paragraph 7), and their despatch to the Government on the same date enforces sentiment of exactly the same import : ' It is our anxious desire to afford to the higher classes of the natives of India the means of instruction in European sciences and of access to the literature of civilised Europe. The character which may be given to the classes possessed of leisure and natural influence ultimately determines that of the whole people.' "
Inquiry as to Upper Classes of India
'' Paragraph 16. It being then demonstrated that only a small section of the population can be brought under the influence of Government education in India, and the Honourable Court having in effect decided that this section should consist of the ' upper classes ', it is essential to ascertain who these latter consist of. Here it is absolutely necessary for the European inquirer to divest his mind of European analogies which so often insinuate themselves almost involuntarily into Anglo-Indian speculations. Circumstances in Europe, especially in England, have drawn a marked line, perceptible in manners, wealth, political and social influence, between the upper and lower classes. No such line is to be found in India, where, as under all despotisms, the Will of the Prince was all that was requisite to raise men from the humblest condition in life to the highest station, and where, consequently, great uniformity in manners has always prevailed. A beggar, according to English notions, is fit only for the stocks or compulsory labour in the workhouse ; in India he is a respectable character and worthy indeed of veneration according to the Brahminical theory, which considers him as one who has renounced all the pleasures and temptations of life for the cultivation of learning and undisturbed meditation on the Deity."
Upper Classes in India
1st. The landowners and jaghirdars, representatives of the former feudatories and persons in authorities under Native powers, and who may be termed the Soldier class.
2nd. Those who have acquired wealth in trade or commerce or the commercial class.
3rd. The higher employees of Government.
4th. Brahmins, with whom may be associated though at long interval those of higher castes of writers who live by the pen such as Parbhus and Shenvis in Bombay, Kayasthas in Bengal, provided they acquire a position either in learning or station."
Brahmins the most Influential
" Paragraph 18. Of these four classes incomparably the most influential, the most numerous and on the whole easiest to be worked on by the Government, are the latter. It is a well-recognised fact throughout India that the ancient Jaghirdars or Soldier class are daily deteriorating under our rule. Their old occupation is gone, and they have shown no disposition or capacity to adopt a new one, or to cultivate the art of peace. In the Presidency the attempts of Mr. Elphinstone and his successors to bolster up a landed aristocracy have lamentably failed; and complete discomfiture has hitherto attended all endeavours to open up a path to distinction through civil honours and education to a race to whom nothing appears to excite but vain pomp and extravagance, of the reminiscences of their ancestors' successful raids in the plains of Hindusthan, nor among the commercial classes, with a few exceptions, is there much greater opening for the influences of superior education. As in all countries, but more in India than in the higher civilized ones of Europe, the young merchants or trader must quit his school at an early period in order to obtain the special education needful for his vocation in the market or the counting house. Lastly the employees of the state, though they possess a great influence over the large numbers who come in contact with Government, have no influence, whatever, with the still larger numbers who are independent of Government; and, indeed, they appear to inspire the same sort of distrust with the public as Government functionaries in England, who are often considered by the vulgar as mere hacks of the state."
Poverty of Brahmins
" Paragraph 19. The above analysis, though it may appear lengthy, is nevertheless, indispensable, for certain important conclusions deducible from it. First, it demonstrates that the influential class whom the Government are able to avail themselves of in diffusing the seeds of education are the Brahmins and other high castes Brahmannis proximi. But the Brahmins and these high castes are for the most part wretchedly poor; and in many parts of India the term Brahmin is synonymous with ' beggar '."
" Paragraph 20. We may see, then, how hopeless it is to enforce what your Lordship in Council so strongly enjoined upon us in your letter of the 24th April, 1850, what appears, prima facie, so plausible and proper in itself what in fact, the Board themselves have very often attempted, viz., the strict limitation of superior education ' to the wealthy, who can afford to pay for it, and to youths of unusual intelligence.' The invariable answer the Board has received when attempting to enforce a view like this, has been, that the wealthy are wholly indifferent to superior education and that no means for ascertaining unusual intelligence amongst the poor exist until their faculties have been tested and developed by school training. A small section from among the wealthier classes is no doubt displaying itself, by whom the advantages of superior education are recognised, it appears larger in Bengal, where education has been longer fostered by Government, than in Bombay, and we think it inevitable that such class must increase, with the experience that superior attainments lead to distinction, and to close intercourse with Europeans on the footing of social equality ; but as a general proposition at the present moment, we are satisfied that the academical instruction in the arts and sciences of Europe cannot be based on the contributions either of students or of funds from the opulent classes of India."
Question as to educating low castes
" Paragraph 21. The practical conclusion to be drawn from these facts which years of experience have forced upon our notice, is that a very wide door should be opened to the children of the poor higher castes, who are willing to receive education at our hands. But here, again, another embarrassing question arises, which it is right to notice: If the children of the poor are admitted freely to Government Institutions what is there to prevent all the despised castes the Dheds, Mhars, etc., from flocking in numbers to their walls ? "
" Paragraph 22. There is little doubt that if a class of these latter were to be formed in Bombay they might be trained, under the guiding influence of such Professors and masters as are in the service of the Board, into men of superior intelligence to any in the community; and with such qualifications, as they would then possess, there would be nothing to prevent their aspiring to the highest offices open to Native talent to Judgeships, the Grand Jury, Her Majesty's Commission of the Peace. Many benevolent men think it is the height of illiberality and weakness in the British Government to succumb to the prejudices which such appointments would excite into disgust amongst the Hindu community, and that an open attack should be made upon the barriers of caste." Wise observations of the Honourable Mount Stuart Elphinstone cited
" Paragraph 23. But here the wise reflections of Mr. Elphinstone, the most liberal and large minded administrator who has appeared on this side of India, point out the true rule of action. ' It is observed,' he says, ' that the missionaries find the lowest caste the best pupils; but we must be careful how we offer any special encouragement to men of that description; they are not only the most despised but among the least numerous of the great divisions of society and it is to be feared that if our system of education first took root among them, it would never spread further, and we might find ourselves at the head of a new class, superior to the rest in useful knowledge, but hated and despised by the castes to whom these new attainments would always induce us to prefer them. Such a state of things would be desirable, if we were contented to rest our power on our army or on the attachment of a part of the population but is inconsistent with every attempt to found it on a more extended basis.' "
Contents STATEMENT B