Dyarchy Statement of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah
The proclamation of October, 1944 by which His Highness had indicated his willingness to associate non-official members of the legislature with the task of administration through the parties in the legislature sending their nominees into the Cabinet, two in number, was naturally welcomed by the National Conference. Even though the transference of responsibility was partial it at least was an opportunity for us to come forward and assist in steering the boat of the State at a time, when the lives of our people were storm-tossed through the distressing problems of hunger, poverty and slavery.
For the last eighteen months we gave a trial with patient persistence and have looked upon the functioning of the experiments from all angles, till we are finally force to the conclusion that no good can come out of sharing responsibility in the cabinet in which the irresponsible elements dominate decisions and policy. The popular Ministers Mirza Mohammad Afzal Beg, had to face unfair administrative, non co-operative indifference of the old type Cabinet members, and found himself fettered by intolerable bureaucratic red-tapist restrictions even in the functioning of their own departments. Besides all this, a debate one constitutional issue which had remained a moot point between him and the Prime Minister crystallised the situation. Hence our considered decision that he should resign.
To start with, every unfair attitude was shown in the allocation of portfolios. The nominee of the National Conference was given the Departments of P.W.D. and Municipalities leaving out control on the panchayats. He was given charge of Stationery and Printing and charge of the State property in British India. The allocation of these portfolios to the nominee of the people’s biggest representative organization seems to be a huge joke. Successive Prime Ministers admitted the unreasonableness of such an allocation and had promised to reshuffle But nothing happened. Mirza Mohammad Afzal Beg’s exclusion from the administering of vital departments directly baking him with the people was not a mere accident, but now I could say with emphasis, was part of a deliberate line of action which unfolded itself as time went on. Could it ever be imagined that a Minister could function efficiently and effectively without any Secretariat at his disposal directly responsible to him ? This is exactly What happened. Further the civic life of the measures of far reaching importance to people in the form of the Municipal Act were proposed by our Minister. These were intended to democratise the Municipal machine. These measures have remained in cold storage.
In administering law and order, restrictive ordinances hitting the basic civil liberties of the people had been promulgated without Mirza Mohammad Afzal Beg knowing anything about them. The measures were adopted in the constituency which the Minister himself was representing and he himself knew nothing about it. Therefore, under these circumstances, it was ridiculous to expect the Popular Minister to side with the Cabinet of ministers in the legislature on all points surrendering his right to disagree and indicate his differences on the floor of the House or even to remain neutral. This would eve meant in effect a betrayal of the people’s interest and of the policies of the party whose nominee he was. Constitutionally speaking, by an amendment to the Constitution Act, the popular minister had retained their status as elected members of the Assembly and their responsibility to the electorate could’ not be ignored. During the time of Sir B.N. Rau, the late Prime Minister, a somewhat workable formula had been discussed by which a dissenting minister could speak on the floor of the House expressing his view-point, and then stay neutral In voting. The new Prime Minister, Rai Bahadur Pandit, R.C. Kak repudiated the Rau formula and thus precipitated the constitutional deadlock.
It is a contradiction in terms to keep Ministers responsible to the electorate and to compel them to support every measure of an irresponsible government.
It augres ill for the future that we are entering the tumultuous times that lie ahead with a discredited constitutional experiment at our back. In the name of the National Conference I appeal to the Maharaja Bahadur to end this farce of diarchy and grant truly Responsible Government to the people of Kashmir. To the members of the British Cabinet Mission I would say: “Judge the constructive strength of our people s urge to freedom by the patient and persistent uphill struggle of our movement, including our attempt to give a fair trial to the constitutional experiment to our fellow patriots In British India. I would say, with your freedom is hnked our destiny and our freedom is the ultimate guarantee of the stability of independent India.”