Context: Anglo-Indians are unlikely to be nominated to Lok Sabha and state Assemblies from now on with the government recently introducing a bill to amend the Constitution seeking to not to extend the provision that is in place for the past 70 years but expires in January next year.
Prelims: Current events of national and international importance.
Mains: GS I & II-
- Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India. Role of women and women's organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems, and their remedies. Effects of globalization on Indian society Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.
Meaning of Anglo Indians in India:
- The term Anglo Indian is defined as per the article 366 (2) of the Indian constitution; “a person whose father or any of whose other male progenitors in the male line is or was of European descent but who is a native of India.”
- This term is mainly used for British people who are working in India and belong to the Indian origin community.
- The Anglo-Indian term was defined in the Government of India Act, 1935.
History of Anglo Indians:
- The arrival of Anglo-Indians in India was reported when the British were laying rail tracks and telephone lines in India.
- Due to technological knowledge, the people of European society were called in India for the rail track deployment. These people later on married Indian girls and settled here.
- Most of the Anglo-Indian families had relations with Indian railways that is why they still call themselves 'Railway Children'.
- 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 Anglo-Indian community created its organization known as 'The All India Anglo-Indian Association’ in 1876.'Frank Anthony’ born in Jabalpur was the chairman of this organisation who later became a member of the Constituent Assembly.
- It is worth to mention that article 331 was added in the Indian constitution because of his efforts. Frank Anthony was nominated to the Lok Sabha 7 times just because of article 331.
Who are Anglo-Indians?
- 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.
Provisions for reservation:
- 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 14 Assemblies have one Anglo-Indian member each: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, MP, Maharashtra, TN, Telangana, UP, 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.
- The All India Anglo-Indian Association has contested the population figures given by the 2011 census.
- 296 number is very low and how come there can be nominated members in Assemblies when the census shows no Anglo-Indians in those states.
- There is an urgent need to relook into the issue and find out the actual population of the community
- There was no need to end the nomination to the Lok Sabha and the state Assemblies of Anglo Indians if they were not fairly represented.
- India is a country of huge cultural diversity. Here, people of every society and culture get respect and representation. This is probably the reason that from 1951 to 2014, people of the Anglo-Indian community have been sent to the Parliament so that they can represent the people of their community.