Tag Archives: Dr. Ambedkar at the Round Table Conference

24th September in Dalit History – Poona Pact


Poona Pact, Agreed to by Leaders of Caste-Hindus and of Dalits, at Poona on 24-9-1932

The following is the text of the agreement arrived at between leaders acting on behalf of the Depressed Classes and of the rest of the community, regarding the representation of the Depressed Classes in the legislatures and certain other matters affecting their welfare

1. There shall be seats reserved for the Depressed Classes out of general electorate seats in the provincial legislatures as follows: –

Madras 30; Bombay with Sind 25; Punjab 8; Bihar and Orissa 18; Central Provinces 20; Assam 7; Bengal 30; United Provinces 20. Total 148. These figures are based on the Prime Minister’s (British) decision.

2. Election to these seats shall be by joint electorates subject, however, to the following procedure –

All members of the Depressed Classes registered in the general elec- toral roll of a constituency will form an electoral college which will elect a panel of tour candidates belonging to the Deparessed Classes for each of such reserved seats by the method of the single vote and four persons getting the highest number of votes in such primary elections shall be the candidates for election by the general electorate.

3. The representation of the Depressed Classes in the Central Legislature shall likewise be on the principle of joint electorates and reserved seats by the method of primary election in the manner provided for in clause above for their representation in the provincial legislatures.

Dr. Ambedkar at the Round Table Conference

Dr. Ambedkar at the Round Table Conference

CENTRAL LEGISLATURE

4. In the Central Legislature 18 per cent of the seats allotted to the general electorate for British India in the said legislature shall he reserved for the Depressed Classes.

5. The system of primary election to a panel of candidates for election to the Central and Provincial Legislatures as i herein-before mentioned shall come to an end after the first ten years, unless terminated sooner by mutual agreement under the provision of clause 6 below.

6. The system of representation of Depressed Classes by reserved seats in the Provincial and Central Legislatures as provided for in clauses (1) and (4) shall continue until determined otherwise by mutual agreement between the communities concerned in this settlement.

7. The Franchise for the Central and Provincial Legislatures of the Depressed Classes shall be as indicated, in the Lothian Committee Report.

8. There shall be no disabilities attached to any one on the ground of his being a member of the Depressed Classes in regard to any election to local bodies or appointment to the public services. Every endeavour shall be made to secure a fair representation of the Depressed Classes in these respects, subject to such educational qualifications as may be laid down for appointment to the Public Services.

(Adult franchise but reservation has been provided for Dalits on population basis, till 1960),

9. In every province out of the educational grant an adequate sum shall be ear-marked for providing educational facilities to the members of Depressed Classes,

Source – Ambedkar.org

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9th January in Dalit History – Dr. Ambedkar at the fourth sitting of Round Table Conference in London


9 January 1930: Leadership cannot be imposed, it must be accepted by those on whose behalf it is claimed – Dr. Ambedkar

Janta newspaper reported the following: ‘The greatest presumption on Gandhi’s part at the Round Table Conference was that he claimed that he represented the depressed classes and not Dr. Ambedkar…. Leadership cannot be imposed, it must be accepted by those on whose behalf it is claimed.’

9 January 1931: Dr. Ambedkar at the fourth sitting of Round Table Conference in London, recommended transfer of police powers from minister to the Governor in times of imposition of emergency[1]  

Dr. Ambedkar at the Round Table Conference

Dr. Ambedkar at the Round Table Conference

This was the fourth sitting of Round Table Conference in London on the sub-committee No VII where the Police Act was being deliberated.

Mr. Zafrullah Khan : If I may add just this. Perhaps the members of this Committee are not all aware that both the Federal Structure Sub-Committee and the Joint Sub-Committee set up by Sub-Committees Nos. I and II have suggested quite a large number of enactments on comparatively unimportant subjects to be placed in that list under Section 80(3)(h)„ and if we put the Police Act under that it will not contravene any principles whatever.

Dr. Ambedkar: I am in general agreement with Mr. Zafrullah Khan. The reason why the Police Act is not placed in the Schedule today is that the subject is a reserved subject, therefore as a matter of fact the Government of India has a complete control over the Department of Law and Order; and when the Department of Law and Order comes to be transferred the position will be altogether different. I think it will be necessary to consider whether we should not at least for the transitional period, consider the necessity of certain safeguards at least for keeping such as they exist at the present time.  I personally am in favour of the suggestion that is Police Act should be included in the Schedule which requires today the previous sanction of the Governor-General or the Government of India. There is another point to which I should like to draw your attention with respect to the question of the Police and the Department  of Law and Order, a point which I raised also in the Provincial Constitution Sub-Committee. This question has been considered, of course, from the standpoint of the responsibility of the future Provincial (State) Governments.  It seems to me that this question has also to be considered from the standpoint of the different minorities in the Provinces and the emergency occasions which may arise on occasions of communal trouble and such other emergencies.  It seems to me that it is indeed a great safeguard for the minorities in the different Provinces to know which officer belonging to what community is going to administer law and order in that particular locality when a communal riot has taken place.  We are all aware that all Police Officers are accused of partiality and of showing favour to one community or the other.  There may not be sufficient justification for that accusation; but there maybe cases when there may be abundant justification for the partiality of the officers operating law and order in those particular localities. It seems to me that it is very necessary in the interests of the protection of the minorities that the transfer and posting of Police Officers should not be, at least in times of emergency, in the hands of Ministers. It may be that a Minister who may have a communal majority in the Province may on any particular occasion shift a Police Officer who may not favour the particular community to which he belongs.

Mr. Zafarullah Khan : Ordinarily the Inspector-General does it.

Dr. Ambedkar : I know that in the Bombay Presidency a great row was created on account of the transfer of Police Officers. I do not know whether it was done under the Inspectorof Police or by the Officer in charge; but I think that is a great safeguard which it is necessary to provide for in the future Constitution of India.  My specific proposal is this, that in cases of emergency, as a riot or communal trouble takes place, the Governor should have over-riding powers over the Minister in different localities with regard to the Police.

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