It may come as a surprise to many that B.R. Ambedkar, key architect of India’s Constitution, was the first to disown the parliamentary system.  In an astonishing admission in 1953, only three years after the adoption of India’s Constitution, Ambedkar said…

Sir, my friends tell me that I have made the Constitution.  But I am quite prepared to say that I shall be the first person to burn it out.  I do not want it.  It does not suit anybody…”

– Dr. Ambedkar in India’s Rajya Sabha (Council of States), 1953

Ambedkar was advocating that the Constitution be changed to give governors the powers of oversight.  This in spite of the fact that he had written to the Constituent Assembly arguing for a reversal of the decision to have directly elected governors.  Then, he had written to the Assembly that “the co-existence of a Governor elected by the people and a Chief Minister responsible to the Legislature might lead to friction.”

But now he told the Rajya Sabha: “We have inherited the idea that the Governor must have no power at all, that he must be a rubber stamp. If a minister, however scoundrelly he may be, if he puts up a proposal before the Governor, he has to ditto it.  That is the kind of conception about democracy which we have developed in this country.”

“But you defended it,” said a member.

Ambedkar snapped back: “We lawyers defend many things… People always keep on saying to me, “Oh, you are the maker of the Constitution.” My answer is I was a hack. What I was asked to do, I did much against my will.”


[Excerpted from Why India Needs the Presidential System (by Bhanu Dhamija; published by HarperCollins; pp. 323-324)]