DMPQ- Comment on the composition of constituent assembly and critically evaluate the role of constituent assembly.

The Constituent Assembly was constituted in November 1946 under the scheme formulated by the Cabinet Mission Plan. The features of the scheme were:

  • The total strength of the Constituent Assembly was to be 389. Of these, 296 seats were to be allotted to British India and 93 seats to the Princely States. Out of 296 seats allotted to the British India, 292 members were to be drawn from the eleven governors’ provinces and four from the four chief commissioners’ provinces3, one from each.
  • Each province and princely state (or group of states in case of small states) were to be allotted seats in proportion to their respective population. Roughly, one seat was to be allotted for every million population.
  • Seats allocated to each British province were to be decided among the three principal communities—Muslims, Sikhs and general (all except Muslims and Sikhs), in proportion to their population.
  • The representatives of each community were to be elected by members of that community in the provincial legislative assembly and voting was to be by the method of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote.

The critics have criticised the Constituent Assembly on various grounds. These are as follows:

Not a Representative Body

The critics have argued that the Constituent Assembly was not a representative body as its members were not directly elected by the people of India on the basis of universal adult franchise.

Not a Sovereign Body

The critics maintained that the Constituent Assembly was not a sovereign body as it was created by the proposals of the British Government. Further, they said that the Assembly held its sessions with the permission of the British Government.

Time Consuming

According to the critics, the Constituent Assembly took unduly long time to make the Constitution. They stated that the framers of the American Constitution took only four months to complete their work.

 

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