M.R. Jayakar was the first to member speak; he introduced an amendment proposing that the debate on the Resolution be postponed till the Muslim League and the Princely States attended the Assembly’s proceedings. The League’s boycott and the absence of the States, two critical groups in the constitution-making process as envisaged in the Cabinet Mission Plan, had not stopped the Assembly from convening, or Nehru from moving the Resolution.
Jaykar did not buy Nehru’s position that the Resolution merely put forth broad ideas and principles for the future Constitution of India. He pointed out that ‘...it [Objectives Resolution] speaks of a Republic, of a Union, it talks of present boundaries and the status of Provincial Authorities...’ This, he argued, was akin to spelling out the fundamentals of a Constitution, that went beyond the scope of what the Cabinet Mission had proposed for the Assembly’s preliminary meetings.
Jayakar cautioned the Assembly:
‘…if the idea of some people is to ignore those limitations altogether and convert this Constituent Assembly into a force for gaining political power, irrespective of the limitations of this Paper, to seize power and thereby create a revolution in the country, that is outside the present plan, and I have nothing to say about it. But as the Congress has accepted this Paper in its entirety, it is bound by the limitations of that Paper…’
He anticipated responses from other members that the League would not really object to the Assembly moving forward on the Resolution: “…It is not a question of doing anything to which the Muslim league does not object. It is a question of giving it the right and the opportunity to be present here during the deliberations on this resolution…”. Further, he felt it was his “…duty is to tell you [Constituent Assembly] that the course you propose to adopt is wrong, it is illegal, it is premature, it is disastrous, it is dangerous…”
The debate on 16 December primarily revolved around Jayakar’s speech and some responses. Over the next two weeks, more and more members would pitch in on Jayakar’s proposal – while he did find some support, most members opposed him.