New Digital Library of India.
Summary of the Proceedings of the Working Committee which met at Taj Mahal Hotel, Bombaby, 15th May 1927 and the following days.
On the 20th March, however, certain important Muslim leaders met and after long and anxious deliberations, decided to put forward specific proposals on the Hindu- Muslim problem for the acceptance of the Hindus and of the country, and communicated their desire through Mr. Jinnah that the Congress should consider and agree to the said proposals.
The Working Committee which met a day after those proposals were 'made, resolved "that the committee cordially appreciates the decision arrived at by the Muslim Conference to accept the institution of joint electorates all over the country with reciprocal concessions in favour of minorities and appoints the following Sub-Committee to discuss details with representatives of the Muslim Conference and of the Hindu community :—
Sub-Committee :—Mrs. Sarojini Naidu, Pandit Motilal Nehru, Syt. Srinivasa Iyengar and Maulana Mohamad Ali."
The Sub-Committee appointed by the resolution subsequently met and had various discussions and it was decided that the Working Committee should meet and formulate its conclusions after discussing details with representatives of both Communities, and has since received communications from several conferences on this matter. Among these are the resolutions of the Hindu Maha Sabha at Patna and the resolutions of the Maharashtra Congress Committee, which have appeared in the Press.
The Working Committee have also had the benefit of full and frank discussions with important Mohammadan leaders here in Bombay, yesterday, and opinion was generally in favour of the acceptance of the Muslim proposals. After considering all the materials placed before them and having had discussions with leading members of the Hindu and Mohammadan as well as other communities, the Working Committee resolved to recommend to the All India Congress Committee the following:—
The Working Committee having considered the proposals made by representative Muslim leaders who met in Delhi on the 20th March last, as well as the opinions of other leaders and representatives of both communities, is of opinion :—
(1) That in any future scheme of Constitution, so far as representation in the various legislatures is concerned, joint electorates in all the provinces and in the Central Legislature be constituted.
(2) That, with a view to giving full assurances to the two great communities that their legitimate interests will be safeguarded in the Legislatures, for the present, and if desired, such representation of the communities should be secured by the reservation of seats in joint electorates on the basis of population in every province and in the Central Legislature ;
Provided that reciprocal concessions in favour of minorities including the Sikhs in the Punjab may be made by mutual agreement so as to give them representations in excess of the proportion of the number of seats to which they would be entitled on the population basis in any province or provinces ; and the proportions so agreed upon for the provinces shall be maintained in the representation of the two communities in the Central Legislature from the provinces.
(3) a.—The proposal made by the Muslim leaders that reforms should be introduced in the N. W. F. Province and British Baluchistan on the same footing as in other provinces is, in the opinion of the Committee, a fair and reasonable one.
(3) b.—The proposal that Sind should be separated from the Bombay Presidency and constituted into a separate province is one which has already been adopted in the Constitution of the Congress on the principle of the redistribution of provinces on a linguistic basis and the Committee is of opinion that the proposal may be given eftect to.
(4) That in the future Constitution, liberty of conscience shall be guaranteed and no legislature, central or provincial, shall have power to make any laws interfering with liberty of conscience.
"Liberty of conscience" means liberty of belief and worship, freedom of religious observances and associations and freedom to carry on religious education and propaganda with due regard to the feelings of others and without interfering with similar rights of others.
(5) No Bill, Resolution, Motion or Amendment regarding inter-communal matters shall be moved, discussed or passed in any Legislature, Central or Provincial, if a three-fourths majority of the members of either community affected thereby in that legislature oppose the introduction, discussion or passing of such Bill, Resolution. Motion or Amendment.
Inter-Communal Matters" means matters agreed upon as such by a joint Standing Committee of both communities, of the Hindu and Moslem members of the legislatures concerned, appointed at the commencement of every session of the legislature.
The A. I. C. C. approves and adopts the Report of the Working Committee on the Hindu-Muslim question and the recommendations contained therein and calls upon all Congress organisations to take necessary steps to have the said recommendation carried out.
The question of framing a constitution for India was then brought up and after some discussion the meeting was adjourned.