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THE ANGLO-INDIAN COMMUNITY LOOSES ITS NOMINATIONS IN PARLIAMENT & STATE LEGISLATURES

Updated: Jun 27, 2021

Parliament passed the Constitution (126th Amendment) Bill, extending reservation for SC/STs but did not mention anything about the provision for nomination of Anglo Indians to Lok Sabha and some state Assemblies.


The Constitution Amendment passed by Parliament effectively does away with reservation for Anglo-Indian members in Lok Sabha and State Assemblies.


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…”


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.”


The idea of such 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.


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, some Assemblies have one Anglo-Indian member each: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, 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 cannot vote in the Presidential election because they are nominated by the President.


296: The number of people who identified themselves as belonging to the Anglo Indian Community, according to 2011 Census data cited by the Government. The leaders of the community assert that there are many more Anglo-Indians in the country.According to the Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s claim the community has just 296 members. This number is according to the 2011 Census and is the number of people who identified themselves as Anglo-Indian somewhere in the Census form. We must state here that there is no provision or column in the censes form to enter such data.


When this government data from 2011 census is seen closely It shows nine Anglo-Indians in West Bengal. Also it shows zero (no Anglo-Indians) in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand yet both those Assemblies right now have sitting members from the community. From where did these two gentleman come? Did the state government then nominate non Anglo-Indians?

With this the curtains came down on the nominations. The community has made a lot of noise about this and there have been protests and numerous petitions and memorandums given to the government the Prime Minister and even the President of India sadly not even a response has been received from any of these offices.


Even today there is activity to try and revive this privilege but it will take a strong united appeal which will give a push to this but this seems a distant dream. The community must come together if we are to make an appeal to the government



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