31 December 2010

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Part 37 – Indian Legal history – Government of India Act 1919 –

Part 37 – Indian Legal history – Government of India Act 1919 –

Secretary of state, Edwin S.Montagu and the viceroy of India Lord Chelmsford wrote an inquiry report regarding participation of Indians and responsible government in India, this report was published in 1918, Report on Indian constitutional Reform.
This report served as the basis for the creation of the legislation.

The government of India Act 1919 was passed by the British Parliament
To increase participation of the Indians in the government of India.
The Act embodied the reforms recommended in the report of the Secretary of State for India, Edwin Montagu, and the Viceroy, Lord Chelmsford.
The Act covered ten years, from 1919 to 1929.
The act was enacted for ten years from 1919 to 1929.

The Act provided a dual form of government (a "dyarchy") for provinces.

Matters of administration were first divided between the centre and the provinces and then the provincial subjects were further bifurcated into transferred and reserved subjects.

The transferred subjects were to be administered by the governor with the help of ministers responsible to the legislative council composed mainly of elected members.

The Transferred subjects are:

(1) Education, (2) Libraries, (3) Museums, (4) Local Self-Government, (5) Medical Relief, (6) Public Health and Sanitation, (7) Agriculture, (8) Cooperative Societies, (9) Public Works, (10) Veterinary, (11) Fisheries, (12) Excise, (13) Industries, (14) Weights and Measure, (15) Public Entertainment, (16) Religion and Charitable Endowments, etc.

The reserved subjects were to remain the responsibility of the governor and his executive council which was not responsible to the legislature.
Governor got the power to override ministers and executive council.

The Reserved Subjects are:

(1) Land Revenue, (2) Famine Relief, (3) Justice, (4) Police, (5) Pensions, (6) Criminal Tribes, (7) Printing Presses, (8) Irrigation and Waterways, (9) Mines, (10) Factories, (11) Electricity, (12) Labour Welfare and Industrial Disputes, (13) Motor Vehicles, (14) Minor Ports, etc.

The effect of government of India Act 1919 –
(1) To introduce the bicameral or two chamber system in the Indian legislative council
(2) To increase the size of the provincial legislative council , to increase number of the elected members in each
(3) To substitute direct for indirect election
(4) To enlarge the electorate

This act applied the principal of communal representation to Muslims, Sikhs, Anglo-Indians, and Indian Christians etc.

The Indian legislature council was to be called as the Indian legislature.

The Indian legislature consisted of governor general and two chambers, the council of state and the legislative assembly.
The council of state consisted of 60 members nominated or elected under the rules, of whom not more than twenty were to be official members.
Thus council got 33 elected members and 27 nominated by the governor general of whom not more than 20 could of officials.

The legislative assembly consisted of 143 members.
The number of non elected members was 40 of whom 25 were official members and 15 non officials.
The number of elected member was 103.
To pass a law, including financial bills consent of both houses was required.

The power of both houses were same exception was power to vote supply was allowed only to the Legislative assembly.

The duration of council was fixed at 5 and of the assembly at three years.
The governor general got the power to dissolve either house or to extend its existence if necessary.

The members were elected by a process of direct election, in hope that the people will choose people to represent them.

Thus Hindus started to elect Hindus and Muslims elected Muslims and also there was communal representation.

The act of 1919 did not introduce federalism in India.
Governor General in council got the power and authority to decide whether a particular subject was central or provincial subject.

Continued -

Reality views by sm –
Friday, December 31, 2010

Suggested Reading –

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



Kirtivasan Ganesan December 31, 2010  

The then Indian National Congress rejected this act.
The atmosphere in India was of non-cooperation with British empire.
Mahatma Gandhi was able to move the masses to join for non-cooperation, thus laying a foundation for democratic laws which had people support and not one coming out of British Parliament.

sm,  December 31, 2010  


Amrit December 31, 2010  

Excellent information once more

Amrit December 31, 2010  

Happy New Year 2011

chitra December 31, 2010  

Happy New Year sm, see you.

NRIGirl December 31, 2010  

Hi @sm! Greetings!

Just to let you know you are a winner of the Coffee with Jesus giveaway.

Please check out the announcement page by: clicking here

To claim your teddy bear please email me your mailing address.

Also wishing you a Blessed New Year 2011!


~ NRIGirl

irfanuddin December 31, 2010  

A very happy new year to you....:)

read more at my blog and give your view plz.

sm,  January 01, 2011  


sm,  January 01, 2011  

thanks for award.

sm,  January 01, 2011  


Neha January 01, 2011  

wonderful info..

wish you a very happy new year SM :)

Punam January 01, 2011  

SM, Wishing you a very Happy New Year.. (and I am sorry I did not read the blog about legal history).. Have good fun this year!!

sm,  January 01, 2011  


sm,  January 01, 2011  


Usha January 02, 2011  

sm, Your Indian Legal History series is very informative and interesting read..I have not read all the parts but catching them one at a time.

Wishing you a wonderful year ahead filled with new hope and Joy. :)

sm,  January 02, 2011