Recently, the Parliament passed the Constitution (126th Amendment) Bill, extending reservation for SC/STs but doing away with the provision for nomination of Anglo Indians to Lok Sabha and some state Assemblies.
Who are Anglo-Indians?
- The Anglo-Indian community in India traces its origins to an official policy of the British East India Company to encourage marriages of its officers with local women.
- The term Anglo-Indian first appeared in the Government of India Act, 1935. In the present context, Article 366(2) of the Constitution Of India states: “An Anglo-Indian means a person whose father or any of whose other male progenitors in the male line is or was of European descent but who is domiciled within the territory of India and is or was born within such territory of parents habitually resident therein and not established there for temporary purposes only…”
The idea of nominations is traced to Frank Anthony, who headed the All India Anglo-Indian Association. Article 331 was added in the Constitution following his suggestion to Jawaharlal Nehru.
What is the Anglo-Indian population?
The number of people who identified themselves as Anglo-Indian was 296, according to the 2011 Census. The All India Anglo-Indian Association, on the other hand, has objected to Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s claim that the community has just 296 members.
Under what provisions was reservation in legislature granted?
- Provision for nomination of two Anglo-Indians to Lok Sabha was made under Article 331 of the Constitution. It says: “Notwithstanding anything in Article 81, the President may, if he is of opinion that the Anglo-Indian community is not adequately represented in the House of the people, nominate not more than two members of that community to the House of the People.”
- Article 333 deals with representation of the Anglo-Indian community in Legislative Assemblies. It says: “Notwithstanding anything in Article 170, the Governor of a State may, if he is of opinion that the Anglo-Indian community needs representation in the Legislative Assembly of the State and is not adequately represented therein, [nominate one member of that community to the Assembly].”
- Currently 14 Assemblies have one Anglo-Indian member each: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal. The 126th Amendment does away with this as well.
- According to the 10th Schedule of the Constitution, Anglo-Indian members of Lok Sabha and state Assemblies can take the membership of any party within six months of their nomination. But, once they do so, they are bound by their party whip.
- The Anglo-Indian members enjoy the same powers as others, but they can not vote in the Presidential election because they are nominated by the President.
Source – The Indian Express