20 December 2010

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Part 36 – Indian Legal history – Act of 1909 Minto Morlay Reforms

Part 36 – Indian Legal history –
Act of 1909 Minto Morlay Reforms

In 1906, Lord Morley, the Secretary of State for Indian Affairs, announced in the British parliament that his government wanted to introduce new reforms for India, in which the Indian locals were to be given more powers in legislative affairs.

George Nathaniel Curzon was the Viceroy of India and Foreign Secretary.
In January 1899 he was appointed Viceroy of India.
The province of Bengal had an area of 189,000 miles2. and a population more than 80 million , area and population both were more compared to a France.
in August 1904 he became the Governor general of India.
Partitioning Bengal was first considered in 1903
The Partition of Bengal in 1905 was made on October 16 by then Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon.
Bengal was larger than France and larger in population compared to France.
But upper caste Hindus as well as rich Muslim people of Bengal did not like this idea and they started to oppose the partition.
Partition means reduction in their powers over local people and area.
Remember Mahabharata , Kourava did not give a single village to pandava which would have solved the problem.

A major famine coincided with Curzon's time as viceroy in which 6.1 to 9 million people died.

East Bengal got more Muslim population and West Bengal got the more Hindu population.
Indian National congress started to oppose the division of Bengal.
Indian population was uneducated that time and now also situation is same.

I am not writing on how the area was divided, today it is not important.

Due to violent protests the two parts of Bengal were reunited in 1911.
After this the Era of division based on the language started in India which people call it as a linguistic division.

The Indian Councils Acts of 1909, also known as the Morley Minto reforms by its provision, enlarged the size and their functions of the legislatures both at the center and Provinces

The following were the main features of the Act of 1909:

1.The number of the members of the Legislative Council at the Center was increased from 16 to 60. The Legislature was thus consisted of 69 members, of which 37 were to be officials while the remaining 32 non-officials.

2.The Morley Minto Reforms introduced an electoral policy for the elected members.

3.The number of the members of the Provincial Legislatives was also increased. It was fixed as 50 in the provinces of Bengal, Madras and Bombay, and for the rest of the provinces it was 30.

4.Right of separate electorate was given to the Muslims, which increased the gap between Hindu and Muslim population

5.The system of election led by the Acts of 1909 was very indirect. The people elected the members of the local bodies, which elected members of the electoral college, which in turn elected the members of the provincial Legislatures.

6.The members of the provincial legislature finally elected the members of the Central Legislature.

7.In this type of election process again for the name sake there was a voting system and people did not get any political knowledge or understanding of government working. Very skillfully rich and educated class kept the uneducated class away from all this.

8.The Secretary of State for India was empowered to increase the number of the Executive Councils of Madras and Bombay from two to four.

9.The Governor General was empowered to nominate one Indian member to his Executive Council.

10.Two Indians were nominated to the Council of the Secretary of State for Indian Affairs.

The Delhi Durbar was held in December 1911 to commemorate the coronation of King George V and Queen Mary as Emperor and Empress of India.
The necklace was presented to Queen Mary by the Maharani of Patiala

On December 15, 1911 King George V laid the foundation stones for the new capital city of New Delhi.

After the Minto Morlay reforms participation of Indians increased and as well as degradation of political process started and corruption also increased.

Continue -

Suggested Reading –

Below are the links for Part 1 to last Part 38
Complete Indian Legal History from year 1600 to 1935


Reality views by sm –
Monday, December 20, 2010


Amrit December 21, 2010  

As usual very comprehensive post. I did not know Bengal was divided and united...