THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA ACT, 1919
■ This act came into picture when the Indian National Congress became very active during the 1st World war and launched the ‘Home Rule’ movement.
■ This is also called Montagu – Chelmsford reforms.
■ Chelmsford was the then Viceroy.
■ Montague was the then Secretary of state.
■ On August 20, 1917 the British Government made a declaration that the policy of His Majesty’s Government is that of increasing association of Indians in every branch of administration and the gradual development of self-governing of institutions with a view to progressive realization of responsible government in British India as an integral part of the British empire.
■ Montagu-Chelmsford were entrusted with the responsibility of formulating proposals for the said policy and the GOI Act, 1919 gave a formal shape to the same.
■ The report of Montague-Chelmsford led to the enactment of GOI of 1919.
■ The GOI Act 1919 introduced diarchy or dual government.
■ The diarchy was introduced at the provinces and not at the centre.
■ This act demarcated the central and provincial subjects.
■ The provincial subjects were further divided into transferred subjects and reserved subjects.
■ Transferred subjects are those subjects that are administered by the Governor with the aid of ministers and responsible to the Legislative Council in which the proportion of elected members was raised to 70 percent.
■ Hence, the foundation of responsible government was introduced in the narrow sphere in the form of transferred subjects.
■ The reserved subjects on the other hand were to be administered by the Governor and his executive council without any responsibility to the Legislature.
■ The source of revenue was also divided into 2 categories, so that the provinces could run the administration with the aid of revenue raised by the provinces by themselves.
■ Provincial budget was separated from the Central budget.
■ The control of the Governor-General over provinces was retained by empowering the Governor to reserve the bill for the consideration of the Governor-General.
■ Through the GOI Act of 1919 bicameralism (two houses i.e. Upper and Lower House) was introduced at the centre.
■ The Upper House was called Council of state composed of 60 members of whom 34 were elected.
■ The lower House was called Legislative Assembly composed of 144 members of whom 104 were elected.
■ The powers of both the Upper and Lower Houses were equal except that the power to vote supply (budget) was given only to the Lower House.
■ The concept of elections was introduced.
■ The Indian Legislative council consists of the Upper House (Council of State) and the Lower house (Legislative Assembly).
■ The majority of the members from both the houses are elected directly.
■ The act of 1919 extended communal representation for Sikhs, Indian Christians, Europeans and Anglo-Indians.
■ This act provided for the establishment of Public Service Commission.
■ Accordingly the Public Service Commission was set up for recruiting Civil Servants.
■ The act of 1919 also provided for the separation of provincial budget from the central Budget. (Province means a smaller area, just like a present day state. Today we have 2 budgets in the country, central and state budgets, this started with the 1919 Act and even after the commencement of the Constitution we continued with the same).
■ The 1919 reforms failed to fulfill the aspirations of the people in India and this led to “Swaraj” or “Self-government” agitation under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi.
■ In the year 1927 a statutory commission was appointed under the chairmanship of Simon to inquire into and report on the working of the 1919 Act.
■ The Simon Commission was appointed by the British Government in November 1927.
■ This was a 7 member Commission.
■ The Chairman of the Commission was Sir John Simon.
■ The purpose of the commission was to report on the condition of India under the new constitution (GOI 1919).
■ All the members of the committee were British.
■ Hence all the parties boycotted the Commission.
■ The Simon Commission submitted the report in the year 1930.
■ The Simon Commission recommended for the abolition of diarchy.
■ This commission also recommended for the continuation of communal electorate.
■ The British government convened three round table conferences to consider the proposals of Simon Commission.
■ The conferences to be attended by the representatives of British Government, British India and Indian princely states. (Regarding the round table conferenceswe learn more during the study of National Movement).
■ The three rounds table conferences held between 1930 and 1932.
■ Mahatma Gandhi attended the second round table conference only.
■ On the basis of these discussions a white paper on constitutional reforms was prepared and the same was submitted to the Parliament.
■ The recommendations were incorporated in the GOI Act of 1935.
COMMUNAL AWARD OF 1932:
■ On August 4, 1932 the communal award was announced by Ramsay MacDonald (The then British Prime Minister).
■ This is meant for providing extending separate electorate to Scheduled Castes.
■ In fact the concept of separate electorate for depresses classes was raised by Dr. B.R.Ambedkar.
■ The proposal was accepted by the British and announced the Communal award.
■ Gandhi opposed this on the grounds that this proposal would disintegrate the Hindu society.
■ Mahatma Gandhi began indefinite hunger strike in Yeravada jail (Pune, Maharashtra) against the separate electorate for Scheduled Castes.