Rai Bahadur Pt.
Prime Minister, Jammu &
to Mirza Afzal Beg, Minister
for Public Works.
Letter No. 25-CC/D.O.
March 14, 1946
Legal Document No
My dear Mr. Beg,
I write to acknowledge receipt of your demi-official letter No. 30-P/46
dated the 23rd February 1946, and to say that I have carefully perused
it. I find that in substance it is practically a reiteration of what you
had stated in your previous letter to which I have already sent a reply.
I shall, therefore, deal with it as briefly as possible,
1. With regard to the question of voting and this applies also to speaking-
it is not possible to allow an individual member of the Government to act
in a manner which is at variance with the policy of the Government. No
Government can satisfactorily be carried en this basis. The position that
may arise in case such freedom of action is recognised has only to be stated
to demonstrate how untenable it is. For example, if your suggestion were
accepted, five members of the Government would on occasion be divided into
three units each pulling in a different direction. This you will surely
agree would be a ludicruous and anomalous position which would be fatal
to the success of the experiment initiated by His Highness. Every Minister
can of course (as both you and Wazir Gangaram have done repeatedly) advocate
and influence policies within the Council.
So far as the interpretation of His Highness's Message is concerned,
I report, what I stated previously, that I am authorised to inform you
that it was not the intention of the Message (and ipso facto of the consequential
amendment to the Constitution Act) that Ministers appointed in pursuance
thereto should have the choice of independent voting and speaking.
2. As regards the Secretariat no further remarks are necessary as the
matter was fully considered in the Council in your presence and action
taken in accordance with their decision which was confirmed by His Highness.
Your position is exactly that of other Ministers in relation to the Secretariat.
Incidentally I may mention that the parallel you have drawn between
your Personal Assistant and the Parliamentary Under Secretaries does not
hold good as-the latter function only during the Session of the Praja Sabha
and in regard only to matters pertaining to the Praja Sabha, whereas your
Personal Assistant is a whole time officer who is always at your disposal.
In any case, should you desire it, I am prepared to place my Parliamentary
Under Secretary at your disposal for the work which Parliamentary Under
Secretaries usually perform.
3. With regard to the delegation of powers under the Municipal Act,
it is correct that the Law Department gave an opinion which they modified
later. The Law Secretary tells me that modification was due to further
consideration on a reference from the then Chief Secretary. In any case
l have already told you that the matter will be put up to the Council for
4. As regards the application of Rule 50 and other Emergency Powers,
you have agreed that what said in regard to tile exercise of these powers
by the Magistracy and the Police is "technically" correct. But you suggest
that subsequent investigation should be made to ascertain whether the exercise
of such powers was necessary in the circumstances. Naturally where it is
felt that Emergency Popovers have been wrongly applied by the Magistrates,
Government will take such action as circumstances may warrant, but it is
obvious that any interference by the Government with the discretion of
the Magistrates in the discharge of their duties in regard to the maintenance
of law and order will entail grave consequences, as I have already pointed
out to you, and must therefore be avoided as far as possible.
5. As regards distribution of controlled commodities, this matter is
fraught with difficulties which are not peculiar to this State. I repeat
that any suggestion placed before me, which will meet with general acceptance
and work in practice, will have my support.
6. I trust that I have made the whole position clear to you. I should
like to add that you were selected in consideration of support which members
of the Sabha, majority of them 'widely differing from the policies favoured
by your group, gave you. It was and is His Highness' hope and aim-and this
was generally recognised by the members of Sabha and by Else large number
of members outside your group who supported you that the Ministers selected
from amongst the members of the Praja-Sabha act in the common interest
of all; and by influencing the decision of the Government on the one hand
and by explaining to the people the aims and objects of the policies of
the Government the difficulties confronting it on the other, promote an
"entente cordiale" which would benefit the State as whole, I sincerely
trust that this hope will be fulfilled.