UTTAR PRADESH LEGISLATURE : A HISTORICAL SKETCH

A PEEP INTO THE ANCIENT PAST OF INDIA

Knowledge in ancient India was grouped under four heads, namely, Philosophy, the Vedas, Economics, and Politics. Of these, Politics or the Science of Government was considered an important branch of knowledge. The Mahabharat says, "When the Science of Politics is neglected, the Vedas as well as all virtues decline." The administration in Vedic times was conducted by means of an Assembly of the people. Hymn 191 of Mandala X of the Rig Veda gives an account of the assembly as follows:

"Assemble, speak together: let your minds be all of one accord,

As ancient gods unanimous sit down to their appointed share.

The place is common, common the assembly, common the mind, so be your thoughts united.

A common purpose do I lay before you, and worship with your general oblation.

One and the same be your resolve, and be your minds of one accord.

United be the thoughts of all that all may happily agree."

"In the Vedic period", according to Ramachandra Dikshitar, "the business of the council was more complex in character". Vedic Index says "The business of the council was general deliberation of the policy of all kinds, legislation so far as the Vedic Indian cared to legislate and judicial work."

In Mahabharata times "…….Paura (assembly) in India could depose and banish the King for illegal acts, and they mindful of the good of all, could choose another in his place outside the dynasty, by deciding upon it in their meeting."

In the early years of the Buddhistic Age, the popular assembly was regular institution. It was not only in republican states in the Indian sub-continent, but also in States in which the monarchial form of government prevailed, that the popular assemblies were important. The chief business transacted in the assembly was to receive and consider the petitions of the people. It also discharged the functions of the Supreme Court of appeal in the State. The members of the Assembly were the Crown Prince, the Minister and other officials, the Commander-in-Chief, the King's relatives, the subject rulers, the nobles, and such other persons as were invited to attend.

"Members had their allotted seats in the Assembly Hall. Great importance was attached to decorous and courteous behavior on the part of the members. Mutual conversations were forbidden, and no member was allowed to interrupt another in the midst of his speech. As a rule, members spoke only when called upon to do so, but on an emergent occasion or in case of an impending danger to the State a member was permitted to address the Assembly without a request from the King". According to Chanakya "It is the duty of a member of the Assembly to offer the King the best advice. When his opinion is sought, he should express his views boldly and without regard to the opinions of the other members. He should always speak with due regard to the interests of the State, and in conformity with the principles of righteousness and expediency. He should never speak ill of the other members of the Assembly, nor ascribe any motives to their actions. He should never indulge in statements, which are unworthy of a member of the Assembly, or of which he has no direct knowledge, or which are incredible or false." The Sukraniti advises members of the Assembly to use words "which are pleasant, true, and conducive to the welfare of the State."

Brihaspati narrates the procedure adopted at a meeting of the Council as: first a measure was introduced by the president, then the opinion of each member in order was heard. Lastly, as Chanakya says, a sort of general discussion took place. If the members were unanimous, well and good; if not, the decision of the majority prevailed. "…………there is evidence to show that a frank discussion was allowed in the council and everyone including the absentee members had his say. For the absentees had to send their views for discussion in the council."

"There used to be Clerks or Recorders of the House who without ever quitting their seats took down minutes of the deliberations and resolutions ……….'Acts of indemnity' and other 'acts' and 'laws' passed must have been reduced into writing, and we know that elaborate record of judicial business was kept by the Lichchhavis. The large body of the republican ganas necessitated the presence of more than one Clerk. The members of the assembly made speeches from their seats and the Clerks near the section 'took down the words'. Evidently the Clerks of the House were men of position."

"From the Ukkal and other inscriptions (E p Report 1909, pp. 82-83) it is clear that the institution of the Sabha (assembly) had reached a high degree of efficiency and was in a good working order about the tenth and eleventh centuries A. D."

U. P. ON THE POLITICAL MAP OF INDIA

Uttar Pradesh has always played a special and significant role on the political map of India. It is called the heart in the body politic of the country and there have taken place in this State events so momentous as have changed and revolutionized the course of the political history of the whole country. The people of this State have always contributed to the fullest of their might right from the First War of Independence in 1857, till the achievement of freedom in 1947. The flame of liberty kindled by Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi, Begum Hazratmahal of Oudh, Bakht Khan, Nana Sahib, Moulvi Ahmad Ullah Shah, Rana Beni Madhav Singh, Azim Ullah Khan and a galaxy of other patriots was further enlightened and illumined by C. Y. Chintamani, Tej Bahadur Sapru, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, Motilal Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru, Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Rafi Ahmad Kidwai. All these figures belonging to U. P. led the nation. Uttar Pradesh has also had the privilege of providing consecutively to the nation eight Prime Ministers, Jawaharlal Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, Charan Singh, Rajiv Gandhi, Vishwanath Pratap Singh, Chandra Shekhar and Atal Behari Vajapayee

A GLIMPSE OF THE PRE-BRITISH U. P.

"What now is Uttar Pradesh has not been an administrative, legislative or judicial unit in its present territorial dimensions for much length of time………… During the Mughal period the present territory of U. P. was divided into what may be called certain governor-ships or divisions for the purpose of collection of taxes and administering justice, both civil and criminal. The laws applied by the courts of these Chiefs of divisions were personal laws of the litigants in matters of inheritance, marriage etc., and the principles of Muslim jurisprudence contained in Aurangzeb's Fatwa-i-Alamgiri, in matters of crime and punishments etc. Other laws applied depended on the discretion of the judge and the exigencies of the situation. The main divisions existing at that time were Agra, Allahabad, Oudh, Banaras, Rohilkhand and Bundailkhand. Most of these areas were under the dominion of the Mughals with a few under independent Rajahs who had acknowledged the sovereignty of the Mughals."

BEGINNING OF THE BRITISH RULE

Concurrent with the Mughal administration "there were certain pockets (in U. P.) which were governed by the English equity and common law. For example, in 1618 the East India Company had a factory at Agra and all those who lived in the compound of the factory and those who had trade dealings with the factory were governed by the bye-laws made by the Company", under powers conferred on it by the Charter of 1615 in matters of crime, contract and sale and purchase of goods.

However, the legislative powers of the East India Company did not affect the area of present U. P. further until 1773 When the districts of Ghazipur and Banaras excluding the territory under the Maharaja of Banaras, were legally transferred to the Company by the Mughal Emperor. At that time, under the Regulating Act of 1773, these districts had as their legislature, the Governor General's Council at Calcutta which had powers to make regulations for all the territories under the Company including the territories comprised in the Presidencies of Bengal, Madras and Bombay. The law making powers of the Governor-General's Council extended to the making and issuing of such rules, ordinances and regulations as deemed just and reasonable and not repugnant to the laws of the United Kingdom. As such, the above named districts of present U. P., and other pockets under the East India Company were governed by the laws made by the Parliament of U. K., the common law of England, the Hindu Law and usage , the Mohammedan Law and usage, Charters and Letters Patent of the Crown and the regulations made by the Governor General-in-Council.

In the meantime, the British influence spread towards the West. Allahabad, Gorakhpur and portions of Rohilkhand were taken from the Nawab of Oudh by the Company in 1801 for meeting the expenses of the troops stationed by the Company in Oudh. The Marathas had by 1805 lost all powers in the territory, which is now western U.P. The entire province of Bundelkhand was under British influence and part of it under British rule. Agra soon after became the headquarters of the British for its North-Western Territories. The Himalayan territory of present U. P. now comprising the districts of Naini Tal, Almora, Garhwal and Dehra Dun were ceded by Nepal to the British in 1816, after the Nepalese wars, through a treaty. As such, a much larger area of present U. P. came under the jurisdiction of the laws made by the Governor General and his council. Meanwhile the Governor General had been given more powers by the Act of Parliament of U. K. of 1786 and by the Charter Act of 1793 and was empowered to over rule his Council in certain circumstances.

The Act of 1833 provided for the establishment of a separate Presidency at Agra, though this provision never came into operation. But a new province called the North-Western Province (a part of present U. P.) was created in 1835 with its legislature in Calcutta. The other part of U. P., viz. Oudh was still under Nawab of Oudh.

ORIGIN OF LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL

The next step in the development of legislature in what is now U. P. was taken in 1853, the Act of which year created virtually a separate Legislative Council for the British Territories in India with the Governor General at its head. The Governor General's Legislative Council hitherto was almost the same body as his Executive Council with the difference that while transacting legislative business it was reinforced by a law member. But now not only the law member was made a permanent member of the Governor General's Council but it was enlarged for functioning as a legislature by the addition of six more members, called the legislative members, including a representative from the government of Agra besides the Commander-in-Chief and the Governor General. The Business of the Legislative Council was now conducted in public and a procedure for discussing Bills was adopted. All Bills passed by the Legislature could become Acts only on receiving the assent of the Governor General. The procedure of the Legislative Council was modelled on that of the British Parliament. It was empowered to ask questions and to discuss the policy of the Executive Government.

In 1854, the East India Company acquired the territory of Jhansi under the doctrine of lapse and in 1856 annexed Oudh to give a better administration.

After the First War of Independence in 1857, there was an important change in the administration of the British territories in India. A new Government of India Act, 1858, was passed. It transferred the Government of India from the Company to the Crown, closing the era of rule by a trading organization. All the branches of the Government of India, the executive the legislature as well as the judiciary became part and parcel of the Government of United Kingdom.

BEGINNING OF REPRESENTATIVE INSTITUTIONS

"The assumption of the administrative power by the British Crown in 1858 ushered a new era in the constitutional history of India. It served to mark the beginning of representative institutions in India. No attempt had so far been made to associate Indians with the administration of their country. Such a move was sought to be made in the British Parliament in 1856, but Gladstone had turned it down. It was in 1861, when such an important step was taken for the first time. Loyalists like Sir Syed Ahmed Khan emphasized that the recent outbreak would not have occurred if the natives had been admitted into the Legislative Council. He remarked, "………….it is highly conducive to the welfare and prosperity of government-indeed it is essential to its stability-that the people should have a voice in its councils……the voice of the people alone can check the error in the bud, and warn us of dangers before they burst upon and destroy us……………" In 1861 the Indian Councils Act was passed under which Indians were associated for the first time with the business of legislation.

Under the Act, the Governor General was empowered to create provincial councils for North Western Province (now Uttar Pradesh) and Punjab, to create new provinces and to appoint Lt. Governors for them. The Council thus appointed for North Western Province had nine members, of whom three were non-officials. The Council could consider legislative measures placed before them by the Government and all acts required the assent of the Governor General besides that of the Governor. The Council consisted of the following members, besides Hon'ble Sir Alfred Comyns Lyall, Lt. Governor of the North Western Province and Chief Commissioner of Oudh:

    1. J. W. Quinton.
    2. Maulvi Sayyid Ahmad.
    3. T. Conlan.
    4. J. Woodburn.
    5. Raja Partab Narayan Singh.
    6. M. A. Mc. Conaghey.
    7. Durga Parasad.
    8. Ajoodhia Nath.
    9. G. E. Knox, Secretary.

The first meeting of the Legislative Council for the North Western Province and Oudh was held at the Thornhill Memorial, Allahabad on Saturday, January 8, 1887 with the Lt. Governor presiding. After the rules for the conduct of business at the meetings of the Council were laid on the table and the Lt. Governor made his inaugural speech, the meeting was adjourned.

The Council was to meet at the discretion of the Lt. Governor and its meetings were held generally at the Thornhill Mansion, Allahabad or the Chhatar Manzil, Lucknow. The first measure passed by the Council was Act no. 1 of 1887, the North Western Provinces and Oudh General Clauses Act, in its next meeting on Saturday, 19th February, 1887. The other important acts were Act IX of 1889 requiring landlords to contribute to the pay of the patwaris, Act XX of 1890 regarding re-organisation of the territorial limits of administration of the province and Act I of 1891 regarding the Municipal Waterworks.

Of the Indian members of the Council Pandit Ajoodhia Nath, Bireshwar Mittal, and Kali Ram Chaudhari took an active part in the debates of the Council.

"The legislative procedure in this Council was much the same as obtains now, with slight differences. All the Bills after introduction were referred to Select Committee consisting of four to five members. Two major points of procedural interests in that Council are worth mentioning. As soon as leave was granted to a member to introduce a Bill and the Bill was introduced by him, another official member would also introduce the same Bill and move for its reference to a Select Committee. The second point of difference in procedure was that after the report of the Select Committee had been presented and a motion made for consideration of the report and the Bill as amended, members would move their amendments, beginning with the preamble of the Bill, and the amendments to clauses of Bills were disposed of one by one. When all amendments were disposed of a motion would be made that the Bill, or the Bill as amended by the Council, be passed. In this way the main motion for consideration of the bill and amendments to clauses were disposed of simultaneously.

The proceedings of the Council were not taken down verbatim. Only an abstract report of each meeting signed by the Lt. Governor was maintained. The Council could meet anywhere in the province and the meetings of the Council were actually held at Allahabad, Lucknow and Bareilly.

DEMAND FOR MORE REPRESENTATION AND POWERS FOR THE COUNCIL

The eighties of the last century saw the birth of Indian National Congress. It took up the question of reform of the legislature which had proved to be inadequate and disappointing to the people. It passed a resolution in its first session, "That this Congress considers the reform and expansion of the supreme and existing Local Legislative Councils by the admission of a considerable proportion of elected members…...essential and holds that all Budgets should be referred to these Councils for consideration, their members being moreover empowered to interpellate the executive in regard to all branches of the administration."

As a result the Indian Councils Act, 1892 was passed. It did not provide for the principle of election, but it laid down that the members of the provincial Legislative Council were to be nominated by the Governors on the recommendations of District Boards, Municipalities, Landlords and Merchants. It raised the maximum number of members for the U. P. Legislative Council to fifteen out of which eight were non-official members of which two were from Municipalities, two from District Boards, one from Indian Chamber of Commerce, one from Allahabad University and one from the British Indian Association of Oudh. The Act provided for the right of asking questions after due notice and the right to discuss budget, but no division of the Council was allowed. Motion for adjournment of the Council was also not allowed. When the Council met for the first time on December 6, 1893 under the new Act, after the Lt. Governor had made his opening speech, Raja Rampal Singh, rose to ask the first question in the history of the Council which was answered by the Government. This was followed by questions asked by other members which were also answered.

The procedure since observed was to take up questions and answers as the first item on agenda after the laying on the table literature, if any.

One notable fact about the proceedings was that the Lt. Governor as President of the Council used to take part in the debates justifying governmental measures and policies.

The designation of the province was changed from 'North Western Provinces and Oudh' to 'United Provinces of Agra and Oudh' in 1902.

Important enactments of the Council that became law during the period 1893 to 1909 related to making better provision for village sanitation, Municipalities, establishment of village courts, Honorary Munsifs, Court of Wards, Tenancy, Land Revenue, Encumbered Estates and District Boards.

Of the non-official members of the Council Raja Rampal Singh, Babu Sri Ram, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, Lala Nihal Chand and Munshi Lal, took active part in the debates.

AWAKENING OF NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS AND MORLEY MINTO REFORMS

The Act of 1892 did not fulfil the aspirations of the people. Both the constitution and the functions of the Legislative Councils disappointed Indian public opinion. The Councils in fact were reduced to mere debating societies exercising very little influence on the decisions of the government. Moreover, Lord Curzon's tyrannical regime during 1898-1905, national calamities like famine and plague in 1896-97 with insufficient measures by the government to combat them, the humiliating treatment meted out to Indians in South Africa, the deterioration in the economic condition of the country and certain other political factors led to extreme dissatisfaction with the Indian Councils Act of 1892. The British rulers, thereupon, took a further step in the constitutional advance of the country and formulated what was known as Morley Minto Reforms of 1909. The Indian Councils Act of 1909 embodying those reforms together with the rules and regulations had the following provisions so far as the provincial legislatures were concerned:

(1) The number of members of the U. P. Legislative Council was raised from 15 to 50.

(2) The Council was to consist of three types of members-nominated officials, nominated non-officials and elected members. The electorate for the last category of members was the non-official members of the Municipal Committees and District Boards.

(3) Separate electorate for Muslims was provided.

(4) Special electorate for specified classes like the landlords, Chambers of Commerce etc. was provided.

The functions of the council were also increased. The members were not only given the right to discuss the budget but also to move resolutions on it. The member who asked a question was given the right to ask a supplementary, if he was not satisfied with the reply. The members could also move resolutions on matters of public interest and propose alterations in taxation. They were, however, not given the right of voting the grants or moving motions of non-confidence.

The Council was to meet under the rules of business framed by the executive. The head of the Provincial Government was to be the ex officio president of the Council. The legislative Department acted as the Secretariat of the Council. The members were to hold office for a term of three years.

The Council, as reconstituted under the Act of 1909 met at Mayo Hall, Allahabad on January 5, 1910. The Council consisted of 20 official and 26 non-official members. Of the non-official members 20 were elected. The members were first of all administered the Oath of allegiance to the Crown for the first time in the history of the Council. Thereafter the Lt. Governor, addressing the Council said that it would be the duty of the non-official members of the Council to exercise two privileges which were conferred on them by the regulations. They would have firstly to elect two persons to sit on the Council of the Governor General and secondly to elect six non-official members whom he would appoint on the Finance Committee to consider the draft Financial Statement of the Government. He also referred to the need of amending the rules for the conduct of legislative business.

The draft rules were taken into consideration at the meeting of the Council on February 7, 1910, and adopted. The procedure in regard to the preparation and presentation of the budget to the Council was also revised.

In 1910-11, the Council appointed different Committees to enquire into the evils of opium gambling, grain gambling and silver gambling and to consider the question of revising the rent and revenue laws.

The next triennial Council met on January 6, 1913. On that day it passed a resolution expressing grief and indignation of the Council at the dastardly outrage committed against Lord and Lady Hardinge on their State entry into Delhi on December 23, 1913.

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA ACT, 1915

In 1915, a consolidating statute known as the Government of India Act, 1915, was passed. It replaced nearly all previous enactments dealing with the Indian Constitution.

Further meetings of the Council were held under the provisions of this Act.

The Third Council was inaugurated on 25th April, 1916. On July 19, 1916, the Hon. Mr. C. Y. Chintamani moved a resolution expressing the ardent wish of the Council for early and complete victory of Britain in the World War. The resolution was passed unanimously.

On 12th August, 1918, the Council passed a resolution moved by Rai Anand Swarup Bahadur that it welcomed the scheme of Constitutional Reforms embodied in the report of Lord Chelmsford and Mr. Montague, which made an appreciable advance in the direction of responsible Government for India. Later on, several resolutions were passed urging the Government for further measures for grant of self-government and increased appointment of Indians on higher posts.

Important enactments of the Council during the decade 1910-1919 related to Excise, Prevention of adulteration, Civil Courts, Local Bodies, Co-operative Societies, Primary Education, Land Revenue and Tenancy. During this period, great personalities, viz., Motilal Nehru, Madan Mohan Malviya, Tej Bahadur Sapru, Ganga Prasad Verma, Jagat Narain, C. Y. Chintamani and Syed Raza Ali took active part in the Council proceedings.

MONTAGUE-CHELMSFORD REPORT AND THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA ACT, 1919

The Morley Minto reforms could not satisfy the aspirations of the Indian people, as the nominated non-official members of the Council were always eager to show their loyalty to their nominators. Thus the Council was rendered into a body to register the decrees of the executive. In 1916, the Congress and the Muslim League united as never before, and pressed unitedly the demand for Home-Rule. Besides, the World War entered a critical stage in 1917 and a change in policy appeared necessary to win over the national forces in India. All these circumstances led to deliberations between Mr. Montague, Secretary of State for India and Lord Chelmsford, the then Viceroy. They jointly submitted a report to Parliament, the recommendations of which later formed the basis of the Government of India Act, 1919.

The most vital and revolutionary change introduced by the Government of India Act of 1919 consisted in the introduction of partial responsibility in the provinces. "The central proposal of the Montford Reforms then was an important beginning in provincial autonomy, in both senses of the term, i.e., in the sense of freedom from control from above and also in the sense of transfer of power to the people."

The Act introduced a dyarchical form of administration in the provinces by bifurcating the subjects of administration into two parts, namely 'reserved' to be administered by the Governor and his Executive Councillors in regard to which they were not responsible to the Legislature and 'transferred' to be administered by the Governor with the aid of Ministers who were responsible to the Legislature. The Act specified separate fields of legislation for the Province and the Center. The Provinces were given the right of levying taxes and framing their own budgets. The status of the provincial Legislature was also enhanced. They were named as Legislative Councils. Seventy per cent of their members were to be directly elected and the proportion of official members was not to exceed 20 per cent the rest of the members were to be nominated by the Governor with a view to providing representation to various other groups. The strength of the members in the U. P. was fixed at 123. The Act widened the field of the electorates for the Councils giving about one tenth of the adult male population the right to vote. Communal electorates were set up for the Muslims and other minorities.

The Governor was no longer a member of the Legislature. Hence, he ceased to preside over the Council, but he had the right to address it.

1921-1924

The elections for the reformed Legislative Council in U. P. were held in order 1920 and the Council came into existence on 3rd January, 1921. It consisted of 100 elected members and 21 non-elected members.

The Council met for the first time on 22nd January 1921. Mr. M. Keane, I. C. S. who had been appointed as the president was in the Chair. The Council elected Rai Bahadur Anand Swarup as its Deputy President on 15th February 1921.

The meetings of the Council were held at Government House at Lucknow or Allahabad, or at the Mayo Hall, Allahabad. But the Halls in these buildings were inadequate for the enlarged Council's meetings. In view of this it was decided to construct a Council Chamber. But there was a controversy over locating the Council Chamber at Allahabad or Lucknow. In 1920, at an informal meeting of non-official members of the Council it was decided to construct the building at Lucknow. A sum of Rs. 21 lakhs was sanctioned for the purpose and the work was entrusted to Messrs. Martin and Co. The foundation stone of the Council Chamber was laid by Sir Harcourt Butler, the then Governor on December 15, 1922, and it was first occupied in 1928. Much of the interior of the building is built of Agra and Jaipur marble. The Chamber proper is octagonal with a dome–shaped roof, decorated at intervals with stucco peacocks having wings and tails extended.

Originally, there was provision for only about 250 seats in the Chamber. After Independence, when the strength of the Legislative Assembly, which had by then come to occupy it, was raised to more than 400, the seating arrangement had to be completely changed to accommodate the increased number of members. Recently, the Chamber has been fully air-conditioned and a new sound system installed with mikes provided on every set of two or three seats making the sound system foolproof.

The Legislative program of the Council included such important measures as the Intermediate Education Bill, the Allahabad University Bill and the Oudh Rent Bill, Resolutions were numerous, the important ones being those asking for the establishment of a Chief Court of Oudh and a University at Agra and for the grant of the franchise to women.

1924-1927

The next Council elected under the 1919 Act met on 9th January, 1924, with Mr. Keane, President of the Council in the Chair. An important announcement made by him was that he had allocated seats for the Swaraj Party, which would form the Opposition, on the left block facing the Government block. This was how the practice of reserving seats for the opposition started. Rai Bahadur Pandit Kharagjit Misra was elected the Deputy President by the Council on the same day.

The term of office of Mr. Keane, the first official President of the Council expired in August, 1925 and the Hon'ble Rai Bahadur Lala Sita Ram was elected as the first non-official President on August 19, 1925. Earlier a Bill was passed on March 5, 1925 fixing the salary of the President at Rs. 2,000 per month.

PRIVILEGES OF THE HOUSE AND OTHER LEGISLATIVE MEASURES

The proceedings of the Council were conducted in a highly dignified and responsible manner and the members of the Council were very much conscious of the dignity of the House. They urged for the recognition of special privileges for it on the lines of those enjoyed by the House of Commons and Legislature of other countries. The Council also adopted a resolution recommending the appointment of a Standing Committee of Privileges.

A resolution was carried empowering the members of the Council to inspect Government institutions in their constituencies.

The Council exercised great vigilance on public expenditure and during the budget debates every demand was closely scrutinised.

The Council recommended an inquiry into the causes and cure of corruption among public servants and unemployment among the educated classes.

Among the legislative measures adopted by the Council, the important ones were the Oudh Courts Act of 1925, the U. P. Board of Revenue Act, and the U. P. Opium Smoking Act, 1925.

1927-1930

The next Council elected in 1926 met on January 10, 1927 under the Chairmanship of Rai Bahadur Lala Sita Ram. After the members present had been sworn in, Rai Bahadur Lala Sita Ram was again elected as the President. Sri Mukandi Lal was elected as the Deputy President on 24th January, 1927.

In the new Council there was a Nationalist Party led by Sri C. Y. Chintamani and the Swaraj Party led by Sri Govind Ballabh Pant.

An important resolution passed by the Council, in 1926 stressed the removal of sex bar for membership of the Council.

In 1928 the Council was faced with the choice whether it was to co-operate with or boycott the Simon Commission. The Swarajists and the Nationalists forced the issue by moving a boycott resolution in February, 1928, which they succeeded in passing by one vote.

FIRST NO-CONFIDENCE MOTION

In September, 1928, when the Government moved for the election of a committee by the House to work with the Simon Commission, the Swarajists and the Nationalists alleged that they were aggrieved by what they termed a calculated insult to the council and walked out before the motion was taken up. In their absence the Council unanimously approved of the election of a committee. Next day, the Nationalist and the Swarajist parties combined to move a motion of no confidence-the first in the history of the Council-in the Minister of Education. The motion was carried by the casting vote of the president, Hon'ble Rai Bahadur Lala Sita Ram. Before exercising his casting vote in favour of the motion, the President observed as follows:

"This has cast on the Chair the duty of giving a casting vote. Under the law the Chair cannot shirk it and cannot avoid it. It must give a vote this way or that way, as the House has not given any clear verdict on the motion. I think I am right in saying that the 'Noes' votes include the vote of the Hon'ble the Minister for Education himself……………….If that vote, however is not taken into calculation as that of the person interested, the verdict of the House would be 57 for and 56 against ………………Hon'ble members ought to realize the grave responsibility which I am feeling in giving my casting vote at this juncture.

The chair is supposed to be the custodian of the freedom and liberty of the members of this House. The Chair is also supposed to interpret the wishes of this House as they are. The Chair has no conscience; the Chair has no convictions; the Chair cannot go into the personal merits of the case. I believe I am not wrong in thinking that the wishes of the House are in favour of the motion. I therefore, give my casting vote with the 'Ayes' under the circumstances."

The Council during its term passed important resolutions on unemployment, administration of jails, qualifications and appointment of Honorary Magistrates and education of depressed classes. It also discussed the attitude of Government and the conduct of its officers towards the civil Disobedience Movement launched by the Congress and the incidents at Lucknow on May 25 and 26, 1929. Eighteen Swarajist members resigned in obedience to the Congress mandate and nine other members in protest against the repressive policy of the Government in dealing with the movement.

Important legislative measures passed by the Council were the U. P. Land Revenue (Settlement) Act, 1929, the Naik Girls Protection Act, 1929 and the Minor Girls Protection Act, 1929.

The extended term of the Council ended on 31st August, 1930.

1930-1936

A new Council was elected in September-October, 1930 and it met on November 18, 1930. Rai Bahadur Lala Sita Ram was appointed Chairman of the meeting by the Governor. After the members had been sworn in, he was re-elected the President of the Council for the third time.

Nawabzada Muhammad Liaqat Ali Khan who in the Course of history later became the first Prime Minister of Pakistan, was elected the Deputy President. During 1931, five parties emerged in the House, viz., Nationalists, Independents, Progressive, Democratic and the Constitutionalists.

On November 3, 1932, a resolution was passed by the Council recommending to the Government to represent to the Government of India that in the new Constitution for the U. P. a Second Chamber should be established of the size and the functions as proposed by the Franchise Committee.

In March, 1933, the British Government published a White Paper containing the proposals of the British Government indicating the lines on which the future constitutional set-up of the country was to be based. The paper evoked a volume of vehement condemnation and adverse criticism in the country. Three days were allotted to a debate on the White Paper in the Council in which official members took no part.

In view of the fact that the new Government of India Bill had provided for a bi-cameral legislature for U. P. it was considered necessary to take steps to provide for additional accommodation for the two Houses of the Legislature.. With this end in view, a resolution was passed on 3rd July, 1935 recommending to the Government to undertake a programme for the extension of the Council Chamber at Lucknow.

As such, an extension of the Council House to provide accommodation for the Legislative Council (the existing Chamber was to be utilized for the Legislative Assembly, a bigger House) was constructed in 1937. Pending the completion of the extension, the sittings of the Legislative Council were held in the Congress Party Hall. In the newly constructed Hall of the Council there was provision for 60 seats only. Later on, when the number of members increased to 72 an adjustment in the accommodation was made, but in 1958, after the strength of the Council was raised to 108 the seating arrangement had to be completely changed to cope with the enhanced requirement. The Hall has recently been fully air-conditioned.

FIRST CASE OF 'LEGISLATURE VERSUS JUDICIARY'

An interesting episode, which throws some light on the rights of the then Legislature vis-a-vis the Judiciary happened in 1936. Rao Krishna Pal Singh asked a question relating to the Official Liquidators appointed by the Allahabad High Court during the last two years, their name qualifications and experience, etc. The question was admitted by the President and answered by the government on March 19, 1936 on the basis of a draft reply received from the High Court. In this answer the Government stated that, in so far as the names, qualifications and experience of liquidators were concerned, they had no information. On May 13, 1936, the 'Leader' of Allahabad published a statement containing the full text of the question along with the draft reply sent by the High court to the Government saying that is has received the same for insertion in the paper from the Registrar of the High Court. The statement showed the strong exception taken by the High Court to the part of the question asking for the names, qualifications and experience of the liquidators on the ground that the appointments were made under judicial orders passed by the Company Judge in open court. Since the exercise of those judicial powers was beyond the control of the Government and rule 33(1) of the Manual of Business and Procedure of the U. P. Legislative Council also seemed to prohibit such a question, the Chief Justice regretted that he must decline to answer the question. A reference to this matter was made by the President in the House on June 16, 1936 and he observed that "The mere asking of information cannot be said to be any interference in the judicial powers of the Hon'ble Company Judge." He regretted "that a press communiqué issued by the Registrar of the High Court should have contained a reflection on the Chair." He further observed as follows:

"The Chair is also compelled to take exception to the withholding by the Hon'ble High Court of information from the Legislature where both the government and the public are represented, while a part of it was subsequently communicated to the press. The Chair hopes that this unfortunate incident will now be taken as closed."

The matter came up again in the House on November 10, 1936 when the President made the following observation:

The Legislature has no direct connection with the High Court which, under the Constitution, is called upon to interpret and administer laws made by the Legislature, both being independent of each other in their respective spheres. While there is not the least desire on the part of the Chair or of anybody else in the Council to trespass in any way on dignity and the independence of the Hon'ble High Court, the Chair would be failing in its duty to the House were it not to see that the dignity and independence of the Legislature are also not impaired and that the privileges of the members of the House are respected."

On 4th December, 1936, the Council held its last sitting and was prorogued under the orders of the Governor until 1st April, 1937.

Some of the important Legislative measures enacted during 1930-36 were, the U. P. Special Powers Act, 1932, the U. P. Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act, 1933 and the U. P. Agriculturists Relief Act, 1934.

Some of the Indian members who took an active part in the proceedings of the House were Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant, Sheikh Habibulla, Hafiz Hidayat Hussain, Nawabzada Muhammad Liaqat Ali Khan, C. Y. Chintamani, Iqbal Narain Gurtu, Brijnandan Prasad Misra, Vikramajit Singh, Hirday Nath Kunzru, Moh. Ahmad Said Khan, Jagnnath Baksh Singh, Rajeshwar Bali and Thakur Rampal Singh.

U. P. LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY UNDER THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA ACT, 1935

The next step forward in the growth of the legislature in U. P. was ushered in by the Government of India Act of 1935. The provincial legislature constituted under the Act enjoyed larger powers and were more representative in character. The Legislature constituted for U. P. was bicameral. The Governor was a part of it, as heretofore. The Legislative Assembly consisted of 228 members and the legislative Council of 60 members. The composition of the Legislative Assembly was on the same lines as before except that there were to be no nominated members in the Legislative Assembly." Seats were reserved in the Assembly for minority communities as well as certain other sections of the society. The tenure of the Assembly was fixed for five years and the term of a member of the Council was nine years with one-third of its members retiring after every three years. The Houses enjoyed the right of electing their Presiding Officers known as the speaker and the President in case of the Assembly and the Council respectively. The Council of Ministers was to be collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly.

Before the introduction of the Act of 1935 elections were held all over the country. The Congress party contested the elections and secured a majority in nine provinces including the U. P. The party won about 143 seats out of 228 in U. P. The Independent Party won 32 seats. The Muslim League won 28 seats and 25 members were independent. The first Congress Ministry headed by Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant was formed in July, 1937.

The first meeting of the Legislative Assembly was held on 29th July, 1937. Sri Purushottam Das Tandon and Sri Abdul Hakim were elected the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker respectively on 31st July, 1937. In the Legislative Council Dr. Sir Sitaram and Begum Aijaz Rasul were elected the President and the Vice-President respectively on the same day.

SPEAKER AND PARTY POLITICS

One high tradition of the speakership has been that from the moment of his election to the Chair he severs his connexion with his political party and becomes a non-party man. On the day of his election as Speaker Sri Tandon made a momentous declaration pledging to continue to work for the political independence of the country, as he observed that his presence in the Assembly was only a step in that direction. However, he assured that on the floor of the House, the opinions, which he would express, would be absolutely impartial. Accordingly he continued taking part in active politics outside the House. This raised a certain amount of interest in the country and a great deal of criticism on the part of some Opposition members. On 19th January, 1938 Mr. Z. H. Lari, a member of the Muslim League, sent a notice of an adjournment motion seeking discussion on "the active participation of the Speaker in party politics". The Speaker while ruling the motion out of order on the ground that the Speaker could not be discussed in the House, said that he had always felt that the Speaker must have the support of the whole House and that he had never believed in occupying a position of importance by mere majority support. He made the sporting offer to the Opposition that if they did not want him, a substantial number of them had simply to sign a chit and pass it on to him and they would have his resignation the same day. That no motion of no-confidence was ever brought against him shows that he achieved singular success in carrying out his pledge.

PRIVILEGES OF THE HOUSE

Prior to the Government of India Act, 1919, there was no statutory recognition of the privileges of Provincial Legislatures. The Government of India Act, 1935 provided for the first time for (1) freedom of speech to members in the House, (2) immunity from liability in respect of publication of any matter in the proceedings of the House, (3) power to define the privileges of members by enactment, (4) power to remove or exclude persons infringing the rules or standing orders, or otherwise behaving in a disorderly manner in the House and (5) power to make enactment for the punishment, on conviction before a court of persons who refuse to give evidence or produce documents before a committee of a House.

"The Act of 1935 marked an advance also in the field of privileges in as much as the Legislature could now by law define their privileges. There was however, the major handicap that they could not exercise the power to punish the offenders. So the enforcement of privileges under this Act was always to remain in the hands of the Judiciary."

IMPORTANT ENACTMENTS AND RESOLUTION ETC.

Of the Legislative measures passed by the Legislature during 1937-39, the U. P. Ministers Salaries Act, 1937, the U. P. Legislature (Officers Salaries) Act, 1937, the U. P. Legislative Chambers (Members Emoluments) Act, 1938, the U. P. Maternity Benefit Act, 1938, and the U. P. Agriculturists Relief Act, 1937, were some of the important ones.

One of the important resolutions adopted by the Assembly was that "the Government of India Act, 1935 be repealed and replaced by a Constitution for a free India framed by a Constituent Assembly elected on the basis of Adult franchise'. The resolution was passed on October 2, 1937.

The question of language gave rise to heated controversy in the Assembly and certain members who were unable to speak in English should be allowed to speak in Hindustani. The Speaker, Sri Tandon, on August 3, 1937 interpreting the Assembly rule regarding language gave decision, which in effect enabled all members to speak in Hindi or Urdu.

THE WORLD WAR

The Ministry had hardly functioned for about two years when the World War II broke out in 1939. India was declared a belligerent country by the Viceroy and an amending Act was passed by the British Parliament giving wide emergency powers to the Central Government and the bureaucracy in India. The Hon'ble Speaker made a statement in the House on October 3, 1939 drawing the attention of the members to the fact that all powers conferred on the provincial legislatures by the Act of 1935 had been withdrawn. This situation ultimately led Pandit G. B. Pant, the Premier to move a resolution on the subject in the Assembly on October 27, 1939, which with a minor amendment was passed on October 30, 1939. The text of the resolution was as follows:

"This Assembly regrets that the British Government have made India a participant in the war between Great Britain and Germany without the consent of the people of India and have further, in complete disregard of Indian opinion, passed laws and adopted measures curtailing the powers and activities of the Provincial Governments. This Assembly recommends to the Government to convey to the Government of India and through them to the British Government that in consonance with the avowed aims of the present war, it is essential in order to secure the co-operation of the Indian people that the principles of democracy, with effective safeguards for the Muslims and other minorities, be applied to India and her policy be guided by her people; and that India should be regarded as an independent nation entitled to frame her own constitution and further that suitable action should be taken in so far as it possible in the immediate present to give effect to that principle in regard to present Government of India. This Assembly regrets that the situation in India has not been rightly understood by His Majesty's Government when authorizing the statement that has been made on their behalf in regard to India. And in view of this failure of the British Government to meet India's demand, this Assembly is of opinion that the Government cannot associate itself with British policy.

Shortly after the passage of the above resolution the Congress Ministry resigned. As no alternative Ministry capable of commanding the confidence of the Assembly could be formed, the Governor suspended the constitution by a proclamation on November 3, 1939. Consequently the Assembly was also suspended forthwith.

After the war was over the British Government entered into negotiations with Indian Political leaders and later a conference of the Governors was held at New Delhi in August, 1945, wherein it was decided to hold general elections in India. In order, therefore, that the provincial legislature might be reconstituted the Governor dissolved the U. P. Legislative Assembly with effect from September 8, 1945. Elections were held. There was no contest for 89 seats of the U. P. Legislative Assembly, 79 of which were secured by the Congress, 9 by Independents and one by the Muslim League. In the remaining 139 seats, the Congress secured 73, the Muslim League 53, the Nationalist Muslims 7, Independents 5 and Abrars 1. Thus, the ultimate party position in the Assembly was Congress 152, Muslim League 54, Independents 14, Nationalist Muslims 7 and Abrars 1.

The Suspension of Legislature was cancelled by an order of the Governor on April 1, 1946 and Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant was invited by the Governor to form the Ministry. Pandit Pant accepted the invitation and the Ministry headed by him was installed in office.

The newly elected Assembly met in the Assembly Hall at Lucknow at 11 a.m. on April 25, 1946 and Sri Tandon was again elected the Speaker on April 27, 1946.

After passing a few Bills the session adjourned. The Budget session commenced in July, 1946, when an important resolution regarding the abolition of the Zamindari system in U. P. and asking the Government to prepare a scheme for the purpose was passed.

Sri Nafisul Hasan was elected the Deputy Speaker on August 15, 1946. Sri Alhaj Sheikh Masood-uz-zaman was elected the Deputy President of the Council on January 18, 1947.

INDIA ATTAINS FREEDOM

In 1946-47 the Labour Government in England made earnest efforts to transfer power to India. The Governor General, after consultations with important political leaders in India and subsequently with the approval of the British Government, declared his plan for transfer of power. On the basis of the plan, the Indian Independence Act was passed by the British Parliament in July, 1947, and India became free on 15th August, 1947.

Under the provisions of the Indian Independence Act, the Act of 1935, with certain adoptations and modifications, remained in force both at the center and provinces pending the framing of new constitution by the Constituent Assembly of India. As such, the privileges and immunities of the members of provincial legislature continued to be the same as they were under the Government of India Act of 1935.

After Independence, the U. P. Legislative Assembly met for the first time on November 3, 1947. Oath was taken by all the members present admist great enthusiasm and in an atmosphere of ceremonial gaity. At its meeting on November 4, 1947, the Legislative Assembly adopted a resolution for the use of Hindi for the transaction of all its business and proceedings and accordingly all the business of the House was thereafter transacted in Hindi. Several amendments were made to the rules of the Legislative Assembly including one which provided that the entire work of the Assembly would be done in Hindi. Accordingly while presenting the Budget for 1947-48, the Hon'ble Finance Minister delivered his Budget speech in Hindi.

Consequent upon the passing of the Indian Independence Act, the special European seats in the Legislature were abolished and the strength of the Legislative Assembly was thus reduced by two.

On February 25, 1948, the Assembly passed a resolution requesting the Governor to submit to the Governor General the request of the Assembly to the effect that the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad and the Oudh Chief Court be amalgamated.

Another important Resolution passed by the House on October 18, 1948 congratulated the Government of India, the military commanders and the soldiers on their successful police action against the Hyderabad State.

In the Council, Sri Chandra Bhal was elected the Deputy President on November 5, 1948. He was later elected the President of the Council, on March 10, 1949. Sri Akhtar Husain was elected the Deputy President on July 16, 1949.

The year 1949 was marked by the introduction of two epochmaking Legislative measures, viz. the U. P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Bill, 1949 ,and the U.P.Agricultural Tenants (Acquisition of Privileges) Bill,1949, of which the later was enacted in december,1949, and the former in 1951.

INDIA BECOMES REPUBLIC

The Constituent Assembly, constituted on December 9, 1946, took about three years in framing the Constitution of free India and the new Constitution came into force on January 26, 1950.

The first session of the U. P. Legislature (a provisional legislature) under the new Constitution, began on February 2, 1950 with an address by the Governor to both the Houses assembled together in the Assembly Hall. Prior to the commencement of the session, the Governor administered the oath to Hon'ble Sri P. D. Tandon and Hon'ble Sri Chandra Bhal respectively in their respective chambers. Thereafter all other members present took oath or made affirmation, as required by the Constitution, in their respective Houses.

An important legislative measure passed in 1950 was the U. P. Language (Bills and Acts) Act, 1950, which provided that the language to be used in Bills and Acts shall be Hindi in Devanagri script. In 1951, the U. P. Official Language Act was passed adopting Hindi in Devanagri script as the language to be used for official purpose of the State.

On 11th August, 1950 the Hon'ble Speaker Sri Purshottam Das Tandon resigned from his office. On 21st December, 1950 the Deputy Speaker, Hon'ble Sri Nafisul Hasan was elected the Speaker. During the course of his reply to the congratulatory speeches on the occasion, he declared that unlike his predecessor, he would not be taking part in politics as long as he remained the Speaker.

Sri Hargovind Pant was elected the Deputy Speaker on January 4, 1951.

LEGISLATURE UNDER THE CONSTITUTION OF FREE INDIA

The year 1952 opened with millions in India going to the polls to exercise the democratic right granted to them by the Constitution of India of choosing the country's legislators for the next five years in the biggest General Elections on the basis of adult franchise ever held in the whole world. Under the provisions of the new Constitution the strength of the U. P. Legislative Council was fixed to be 72 and that of the Assembly 431. Elections were held to 430 Assembly seats one seat was reserved for nomination of an Anglo-Indian member. In U. P. there were 347 constituencies of which 264 were single membered and 83 were double membered.

The newly elected Assembly of Uttar Pradesh met on May 19, 1952. On May 20, 1952, Hon'ble Sri Atma Ram Govind Kher was elected the Speaker. During the course of his reply to the congratulatory speeches made on the occasion, he said that of the two different conventions set by his two predecessors in office in the matter of taking part in politics he would like to follow neither but would strive to follow a middle course in this regard. He said that he would not take part in active politics nor hold any office in the Congress Party to which he belonged, but at the same time he would continue to be a member of that party and take part in non-controversial activities, particularly relating to social and developmental work.

After the enforcement of the new Constitution Sri Chandra Bhal was re-elected the Chairman of the Legislative Council and continued in office till May 5, 1958. Sri Nizamuddin was elected the Deputy Chairman of the Council on May 27, 1952. He continued in office till 1964.

The rules regulating the election, constitution and procedure of Standing Committees for advising Ministers were also revised and adopted by both the Houses.

On September 13, 1954, the Assembly authorised the Hon'ble Speaker to constitute a Business Advisory Committee to advise about the business of the House and another Committee to suggest amendments in the Rules of Procedure of the House.

The reports of the Estimates Committee and the Public Accounts Committee were first placed on the table of the House during 1954.

In 1955 the Assembly discussed the Report of the State Reorganisation Commission, as also the progress of the First Five-Year Plan and the Draft Second Five-Year Plan.

In 1956 the Speaker appointed a Committee on Delegated Legislation and another on Government Assurances.

The socially important legislative measures passed by the Legislature during the period from 1952-57 related to Bhoodan Yagna, Consolidation of Holdings, Land Reforms, Industrial Housing, Panchayat Raj, Temple Entry and Zamindari Abolition. Some of the important resolutions adopted by the Assembly were on the subjects of increase in the membership of the U. P. Legislative Council from 72 to 108 and formation of a provincial branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. After the reorganisation of Uttar Pradesh in November 2000 the strength of U.P. Legislative Council has decreased to 100.

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