15th June in Dalit History – Dr. Ambedkar proposed the creation of Election Commission

15 June 1949: Dr. Ambedkar proposed the creation of Election Commission during the constitution debates for article 289, which in the present constitution is article 324.

Honourable Dr. B. R. Ambedkar said[5] : Mr. President, Sir, I move:

 “That for article 289, the following article be substituted:-

289. The superintendence, directions and control of elections to be vested in an election commission.

(1) The superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of the electoral rolls for, and the conduct of, all elections to Parliament and to the Legislature of every State and of elections to the offices of President and Vice-President held under this Constitution, including the appointment of election tribunals for the decision of doubts and disputes arising out of or in connection with elections to Parliament and to the Legislatures of States shall be vested in a Commission (referred to in this Constitution as the election Commission) to be appointed by the President.

 (2) The Election Commission shall consist of the Chief Election Commissioner and such number of other Election Commissioners, if any, as the President may, from time to time appoint, and when any other Election Commissioner is so appointed, the Chief Election Commissioner shall act as the Chairman of the Commission.

(3) Before each general election to the House of the People and to the Legislative Assembly of each State and before the first general election and thereafter before each biennial election to the Legislative Council of each State having such Council, the President shall also appoint after consultation with the Election Commission such Regional Commissioners as he may consider necessary to assist the Election Commission in the performance of the functions conferred on it by clause (1) of this article.

(4) The conditions of service and tenure of office of the Election Commissioners and the Regional Commissioners shall be such as the President may by rule determine:

Provided that the Chief Election Commissioner shall not be removed from the office except in like manner and on the like grounds as a judge of the Supreme Court and the conditions of the service of the Chief Election Commissioner shall not be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment:

Provided further that any other Election Commissioner or a Regional Commissioner shall not be removed from office except on the recommendation of the Chief Election Commissioner.

(5) The President or the Governor or Ruler of a State shall, when so requested by the Election Commission, make available to the Election Commission or to a Regional Commissioner such staff as may be necessary for the discharge of the functions conferred on the Election Commission by clause (1) of this article.”

Earlier there during the discussions in the Constituent Assembly on 15 June, 1949, there was opposition to the appointment of Election Commissioners by the President. Prof. Shibban Lal Saksena gave an amendment saying the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner should be `subject to confirmation by a two-thirds majority in a joint session of both Houses of Parliament.’ He argued that appointment by the President would really mean appointment by the Government under the decision of the Prime Minister.[6]

Replying to the debate, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar said: “With regard to the question of appointment, I must confess that there is a great deal of force in what my friend, Prof. Saksena, has stated that there is no use of making the tenure of the Election Commissioner a fixed and secure one if there is no provision in the Constitution to prevent either a fool or knave or a person who is likely to be under the thumb of the Executive. My provision – I must admit – does not contain anything to provide against nomination of an unfit person to the post of Chief Election Commissioner or the other Election Commissioners.”

In the end, Dr. Ambedkar gave an amendment that the appointment of the CEC and the EC shall be made by the President `subject to any law made in that behalf by Parliament.’ Article 324 (2) contains this decision of the Constituent Assembly.

15th June

15 June 1952: Dr. Ambedkar forewarns of America’s inclination to Pakistan

Dr. Ambedkar returned to Bombay from America on 14 June after receiving Doctor of Law from Columbia University. The next day i.e. 15 June in an interview to the press he said that it was his impression that the American public was favourably inclined towards Pakistan. On inquiries he was told in America that this happened because Pakistan always took great care in the selection of her foreign representatives and ambassadors while India sent abroad inexperienced men to represent.

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