The government of India act 1935

The government of India act 1935

In the history of Indian law , one more landmark is the Government of India Act , 1935. This Act was passed on the basis of Bill introduced after incorporating the recommendations of the Joint Select Committee chaired by Lord Linlithgo . It was Act , 1935 recommended in this report that the Federation could be established by the Crown only when the ruler of states representing not less than one half of the total states signified their assent to accede to the Federation . It was proposed to implement responsible government in 11 Indian provinces , and it was also provided that adequate constitutional safety be provided to them . Main Provisions – The main provisions of the Government of India Act , 1935 were as follows : ( 1 ) Preamble – The Government of India Act , 1935 was an Act without a preamble . The main reason behind not prescribing preamble was to accept the preamble of the Act of year 1919 , as specified in Section 321 of this Act . Although the Act of 1919 was deleted but its preamble was not deleted . ( 2 ) Establishment of All India Federation – To remove dis – satisfaction of Indians and to maintain political unity of India , a provision was made in the Act to establish an Indian Federation composed of the Governor’s Provinces and the Chief Commissioner’s Provinces in British India and such of the Indian States , as may voluntarily accede to it . ( 3 ) Dyarchy in the Centre – The Government of India Act , 1935 introduced the dyarchy in the Centre , although it wasopposed by the Simon Commission. The Act dissolved the long established unity of the Government of India represented by the Governor General in Council and established dyarchy in its place. The federal subjects were divided into two parts namely (i) Reserved, and (ii) Transferred subjects. The reserved subjects were to be administered by the Governor General whereas the transferred subjects were administered by the Governor General with the aid and advise of the Council of Ministers. The important subjects like Defense, External Affairs, Ecclesiastical Affairs, etc. were included in the reserved subjects. (4) Provincial Autonomy – This Act sough to abolish dyarchy in Provinces and introduced Provincial Autonomy. The distinction between the reserved and transferred subjects was removed. For administration of the Provinces, the Governor was to be ‘aided and advised’ by a Council of Ministers who were collectively responsible to the Provincial legislature. (5) Protection to Minority – Appropriate provisions were made in the Government of India Act, 1935 for protection of the interests of minorities. (6) Establishment of a Federal Court – The Government of India Act, 1935 provided for the establishment of a Federal Court for India with original, appellate and advisory jurisdiction. (7) Supermacy of British Parliament- The right to make any amendment, substitution, deletion in the Government of India Act, 1935 was to British Parliament and not to any other authority. So, the Supermacy of British Parliament remained in tact. (8) Election System – Legislative assemblies, voting rights and communal election system were widely enhanced in this Act. The Federal Legislature participated of the Council of State and the Federal Assembly where the number of members was 270 and 375 respectively. The Council of State was to be constituted by Direct election and federal assembly by indirect election.
Right to vote enhanced to nine times. (i) Federal list (ii) Provincial list, and (ii) Concurrent list by direct election and Federal Assembly by indirect election. Federation and units, three lists were prepared in the Act (9) Division of Powers – For division of powers between 59 Subjects were included in Federal list, 54 subjects in Provincial list, and 36 subjects in the Concurrent list. Residual Powers were vested with the Governor – General. The Governor general was the arbitor of the conflicting claims of the Federal and Provincial legislatures in the sphere of the concurrent subjects. (10) Abolishment of India Council – To aid and advise the secretary of state for India, a provision for appointment of minimum three and maximum six members was made by abolishing the approx 80 years old India council. (11) Status of Burma, Berar and Adan – The Status of Burma, Berar and Adan was changed by the Act of 1935. The Province of Burma was separated from British India and Berar was merged in middle provinces with a view of administration likely, The Adan was subjected to colonial office of England by separating it from the Indian Administration. Powers of the Governor – General – Exclusive powers were delegated to the Governor – General by the Government of India Act, 1935 and made his position overwhelmingly important in the constitution. It was rightly to say that he became the cornerstone of the entire constitution. His powers may be detailed in the following heads: (1) Supreme status was given to him in constitution. (ii) Legislative, financial and administrative powers were delegated to him. (iii) He could pass the Ordinance.
(iv) Residuary Powers were given to him by which he at his discretion could provide to the Council of State or Federal Assembly. (v) He was authorized to appoint or dismiss the ministers. (vi) Appointment of Chief Commissioner was done by him. (vii) Fixation of salary, tenure of service, terms and condition of service of the members of Federal Public Service Commission was under his Jurisdiction. (viii) He was empowered to summon, provogue or dissolve the legislative assembly. (ix) He had the powers to hold the undesired Bills. (x) He could suspend the constitution during emergency. (xi) He was empowered to put proposal for imposing a tax and to expend, and (xii) In many cases, he may function at his discretion. Due to over centralization of powers, the Governor – general assumed the role of a dictator. Not only this, but these powers were in contravention to the principles of responsible government. Evaluation – For the provincial autonomy, there was too expectation of Indians from the Government of India Act, 1935 but they were not acceded to. Main reasons for it are (i) Extra ordinary delegation of powers to the Governor and Governor general became an hinderance in the progress of Provincial autonomy. (ii) Establishment of All India Federation was fictituous because the participation of Princely States in it was voluntarily; The resulting federation was not formed, resulting in these due to non entrance of princely states in prescribed number. (iii) Separate electoral for each Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Anglo – Indian, European etc. injured the Indian unity.(iv) Due to excessive powers, the Governor – General became arbitrary, (v) Provision for protection of interests of minorities were actually the medium of protection of interest of the British Empire. According to A.B. Rudra, “This protective armor was only a hinderance in the way of responsible government and self government. “In the words of ex – prime minister Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru,” This Act was a new charter of slavery. It was just such an instrument whose breaks were hard but there was no engine. “Even after, this Act has its constitutional importance due to implementation of direct election system, commencement of responsible representative governance system etc.

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