LONDON, June 3, 1932 (UP) - Rejecting the demands of the Mahatma M.K. Gandhi, the Indian franchise committee today published a report recommending the foundation for a responsible system of government in India.
The report proposed huge increases in the number of qualified voters in the provinces and made special provisions to guarantee representation for women and the "untouchables," lowest in the castes of India.
The demands of Gandhi and his nationalist rebels were rejected, however, and the mahatma's party - which has kept India's 257,000,000 population in turmoil for many months - did not co-operate with the committee. Lord Lothian is chairman of the committee, which traveled 7689 miles in three months visiting India.
The report aimed at framing "a franchise which would be a suitable foundation for a system of responsible government." It proposed that provincial legislature be chosen by an electorate of 29,382,000 men and 6,620,000 women as compared with 6,792,281 men and 315,651 women at present. It recommended a federal assembly electorate of 6,864,899 men and 1,578,151 women as compared with the present combined total of 1,142,948.
Between 2 per cent and 5 per cent of the seats in both provincial legislatures and the assembly should be reserved for women, temporarily at least, the report said. It proposed educational and property qualifications for voters, with special qualifications to insure the necessary enfranchisement of women and untouchables and labor or other minorities.
The report dealt exclusively with British India, and the princes of the various states were left to decide on the method of election of their representatives to the federal assembly. Less than 12,000,000 persons, including 1,225,000 women, in India are literate.
The committee said it was aided by all political factions in India except the Gandhi nationalists. The Gandhi demand for universal adult suffrage was rejected because it was not feasible and because illiteracy makes it undesirable, the committee said.
Gandhi's ideas for indirect election also were rejected in favor of the present direct election system.