Indian Councils Act of 1909
- This Act is also known as the Morley- Minto Reforms.
- Direct elections to legislative councils; first attempt at introducing a representative and popular element.
- It changed the name of the Central Legislative Council to the Imperial Legislative Council.
- The member of Central Legislative Council was increased to 60 from 16.
- Introduced a system of communal representation for Muslims by accepting the concept of ‘separate electorate’.
- Indians for the first time in Viceroys executive council. (Satyendra Prasad Sinha, as the law member)
Government of India Act of 1919
- This Act is also known as the Montague-Chelmsford Reforms.
- The Central subjects were demarcated and separated from those of the Provincial subjects.
- The scheme of dual governance, ‘Dyarchy’, was introduced in the Provincial subjects.
- Under dyarchy system, the provincial subjects were divided into two parts – transferred and reserved. On reserved subjects, Governor was not responsible to the Legislative council.
- The Act introduced, for the first time, bicameralism at center.
- Legislative Assembly with 140 members and Legislative council with 60 members.
- Direct elections.
- The Act also required that the three of the six members of the Viceroy’s Executive Council (other than Commander-in-Chief) were to be Indians.
- Provided for the establishment of Public Service Commission.
Government of India Act of 1935
- The Act provided for the establishment of an All-India Federation consisting of the Provinces and the Princely States as units, though the envisaged federation never came into being.
- Three Lists: The Act divided the powers between the Centre and the units into items of three lists, namely the Federal List, the Provincial List and the Concurrent List.
- The Federal List for the Centre consisted of 59 items, the Provincial List for the provinces consisted of 54 items and the Concurrent List for both consisted of 36 items
- The residuary powers were vested with the Governor-General.
- The Act abolished the Dyarchy in the Provinces and introduced ‘Provincial Autonomy’.
- It provided for the adoption of Dyarchy at the Centre.
- Introduced bicameralism in 6 out of 11 Provinces.
- These six Provinces were Assam, Bengal, Bombay, Bihar, Madras and the United Province.
- Provided for the establishment of Federal Court.
- Abolished the Council of India.
Indian Independence Act of 1947
- It declared India as an Independent and Sovereign State.
- Established responsible Governments at both the Centre and the Provinces.
- Designated the Viceroy India and the provincial Governors as the Constitutional (normal heads).
- It assigned dual functions (Constituent and Legislative) to the Constituent Assembly and declared this dominion legislature as a sovereign body.
Points to be noted
- Laws made before Charter Act of 1833 were called Regulations and those made after are called Acts.
- Lord Warren Hastings created the office of District Collector in 1772, but judicial powers were separated from District collector later by Cornwallis.
- From the powerful authorities of unchecked executives, the Indian administration developed into a responsible government answerable to the legislature and people.
- The development of portfolio system and budget points to the separation of power.
- Lord Mayo’s resolution on financial decentralization visualized the development of local self-government institutions in India (1870).
- 1882: Lord Ripon’s resolution was hailed as the ‘Magna Carta’ of local self-government. He is regarded as the ‘Father of local self-government in India’.
- 1921: Railway Budget was separated from the General Budget.
- From 1773 to 1858, the British tried for the centralization of power. It was from the 1861 Councils act they shifted towards devolution of power with provinces.
- 1833 Charter act was the most important act before the act of 1909.
- Till 1947, the Government of India functioned under the provisions of the 1919 Act only. The provisions of 1935 Act relating to Federation and Dyarchy were never implemented.
- The Executive Council provided by the 1919 Act continued to advise the Viceroy till 1947. The modern executive (Council of Ministers) owes its legacy to the executive council.
- The Legislative Council and Assembly developed into Rajyasabha and Loksabha after independence.