Letter of R.C. Kak, Prime Minister, Jammu & Kashmir to Mirza Afzal Beg, Minister for Public Works. on March 14, 1946
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 decision.
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.
Yours sincerely,
Sd/-(R.C. Kak)

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