Considering separate electorates to be the main hindrance in improving Hindu-Muslim relations, Quaid-i-Azam proposed that if the Hindus agreed to provide certain safeguards, the Muslims would give up this demand. Consequently, the proposals were formally approved at a conference held by the Muslims in 1927 at Delhi, and are now called “The Delhi-Muslim Proposals”. Following are the safeguards that were proposed:
- The formation of a separate province of Sindh.
- Introduction of reforms in the North West Frontier Province and in Baluchistan on the same footing as in other provinces.
- Unless and until the above proposals were implemented, the Muslims would never surrender the right of their representation through separate electorates. Muslims would be willing to abandon separate electorates in favor of joint electorates with the reservation of seats fixed in proportion to the population of different communities, if the above two proposals were implemented to the full satisfaction of Muslims and also if the following proposals were accepted.
- Hindu minorities in Sindh, Baluchistan and the North West Frontier Province be accorded the same concessions in the form of reservation of seats over and above the proportion of their population as Muslims would get in Hindu majority provinces.
- Muslim representation in the Central Legislature would not be less than one-third.
- In addition to provisions like religious freedom, there was to be a further guarantee in the constitution that on communal matters no bill or resolution would be considered or passed if three-fourth of the members of the community concerned were opposed to it.
These proposals were to be accepted or rejected in toto. So, in effect, the Muslims agreed to give up the separate electorates in form of the reservation of seats. Unfortunately, the Congress first accepted but later rejected the proposals.
This article was last updated on Sunday, June 01, 2003