This independence day, I thought I’d post the full text of the Karachi Resolution, 1931. This was a landmark as it incorporated a list of Fundamental Rights, that ANY constitution of an independent India should gaurantee for its citizens. This included the “Right to Keep and Bear Arms” (RKBA). It may be pertinent to note here that the Motilal Nehru Report of 1928 had for the first time introduced a list of Fundamental Rights and this included, besides other rights, the Right to Bear Arms.
THE KARACHI RESOLUTION : 1931
The Karachi Congress resolution on Fundamental Rights and Economic Programme, as varied by the All-India Congress Committee in its meeting held in Bombay on August 6, 7, and 8, 1931, runs as follows :
– This Congress is of opinion that to enable the masses to appreciate what ” Swaraj,” as conceived by the Congress, will mean to them, it is desirable to state the position of the Congress in a manner easily understood by them. In order to end the exploitation of the masses, political freedom must include real economic freedom of the starving millions. The Congress therefore declares that any constitution which may be agreed to on its behalf should provide, or enable the Swaraj Government to provide, the following :
FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND DUTIES
I. (i) Every citizen of India has the right of free expression of opinion, the right of free association and combination, and the right to assemble peacefully and without arms, for a purpose not opposed to law or morality.
(ii) Every citizen shall enjoy freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess and practise his religion, subject to public order and
(iii) The culture, language and script of the minorities and of the different linguistic areas shall be protected.
(iv) All citizens are equal before the law, irrespective of religion, caste, creed or sex.
(v) No disability attaches to any citizen by reason of his or her religion, caste, creed or sex, in regard to public employment, office of power or honour, and in the exercise of any trade or calling.
(vi) All citizens have equal rights and duties in regard to wells, tanks, roads, schools and places of public resort, maintained out of State or local funds, or dedicated by private persons for the use of the general public.
(vii) Every citizen has the right to keep and bear arms, in accordance with regulations and reservations made in that behalf.
(viii) No person shall be deprived of his liberty, nor shall his dwelling or property be entered, sequestered, or confiscated, save in accordance with law.
(ix) The State shall observe neutrality in regard to all religions.
(x) The franchise shall be on the basis of universal adult suffrage,
(xi) The State shall provide for free and compulsory primary education.
(xii) The State shall confer no titles.
(xiii) There shall be no capital punishment.
(xiv) Every citizen is free to move throughout India and to stay and settle in any part thereof, to acquire property and to follow any trade or calling, and to be treated equally with regard to legal prosecution or protection in all parts of India.
2. (a) The organization of economic life must conform to the, principle of justice, to the end that it may secure a decent standard of living.
(b) The State shall safeguard the interests of industrial workers and shall secure for them, by suitable legislation and in other ways, a living wage, healthy conditions of work, limited hours of labour, suitable machinery for the settlement of disputes between employers and workmen, and protection against the economic consequences of old age, sickness and unemployment.
3. Labour to be freed from serfdom and conditions bordering on serfdom.
4. Protection of women workers, and especially, adequate provision for leave during maternity period.
5. Children of school-going age shall not be employed in mines and factories.
6. Peasants and workers shall have the right to form unions to protect their interest.
TAXATION AND EXPENDITURE
7. The system of land tenure and revenue and rent shall be reformed and an equitable adjustment made of the burden on agricultural land, immediately giving relief to the smaller peasantry, by a substantial reduction of agricultural rent and revenue now paid by them, and in case of uneconomic holdings, exempting them from rent, so long as necessary, with such relief as may be just and necessary to holders of small estates affected by such exemption or reduction in rent, and to the same end; imposing a graded tax on net incomes from land above a reasonable minimum.
8. Death duties on a graduated scale shall be levied on property above a fixed minimum.
9. There shall be a drastic reduction of military expenditure so as to bring it dowu to at least one-half of the present scale.
10. Expenditure and salaries in civil departments shall be largely reduced. No servant of the State, other than specially employed experts and the like, shall be paid above a certain fixed figure, which should not ordinarily exceed ₹ 500 per month
11. No duty shall be levied on salt manufactured in India.
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL PROGRAMME
12. The State shall protect indigenous cloth; and for this purpose pursue the policy of exclusion of foreign cloth and foreign yarn from the country and adopt such other measures as may be found necessary. The State shall also protect other indigenous industries, when necessary, against foreign competition.
13. Intoxicating drinks and drugs shall be totally prohibited, except for medicinal purposes.
14. Currency and exchange shall be regulated in the national interest.
15. The State shall own or control key industries and services, mineral resources, railways, waterways, shipping, and other means of public transport
16. Relief of agricultural indebtedness and control of usury direct and indirect.
17. The State shall provide for the military training of citizens so as to organize a means of national defence apart from the regular military forces.