03 January 2011

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Part 38 - Last Part – Indian Legal history – Government of India Act 1935

Part 38 - Last Part – Indian Legal history – Government of India Act 1935

The government of India Act 1919, section 84 provided that a commission of inquiry should be established for the development of representative institution in British India.

Under Section 84 of the said Act, a statutory commission was to be appointed at the end of ten years, to determine the next stage in the realization of self-rule in India.

Thus a commission of inquiry was established in 1927 which was called as Simon commission.

The commission consisted of Sir John Simon and six other members. All of them were members of the British Parliament who came to India.

The commission was sent to investigate India's constitutional problems and make recommendations to the government on the future constitution of India.

No Indian was the member of the Simon commission this angered the Indians and they started to oppose the Simon commission.

An All-India Committee for Cooperation with the Simon Commission was established by the Council of India and by selection by the Viceroy the Lord Irwin.

The members of the committee were: Sir C. Sankaran Nair (Chairman), Sir Arthur Froom, Rajah Nawab Ali Khan, Sardar Shivdev Singh Uberoi, Nawab Sir Zulfiqar Ali Khan, Sir Hari Singh Gour, Sir Abdullah Al-Mamun Suhrawardy, Kikabhai Premchand and Rao Bahadur M. C. Rajah.

On February 3, 1928, the Simon Commission arrived in Bombay.
The Commission published its 17-volume report in 1930.

Dominions originally referred to any land in possession of the British Empire.
1928 - Nehru Report – was prepared by a committee of the All Parties Conference chaired by Motilal Nehru with his son Jawaharlal acting as secretary.
There were nine other members in this committee including two Muslims.
The Nehru report was approved by the congress at Calcutta in December 1928.
Muslim Political partied opposed the Nehru Report.

The three Round Table Conferences of 1930–32 were a series of conferences organized by the British government to discuss constitutional reforms in India.
They were conducted as per the recommendation by the report submitted by the Simon Commission in May 1930.
The Labor Government returned to power in Britain in 1931 after that
The government decided to hold a Round Table Conference in London to consider new constitutional reforms.
All Indian politicians; Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians were summoned to London for the conference.

First Round Table Conference (November 1930 – January 1931)
B. R. Ambedkar demanded a separate electorate for the Untouchables.
Congress did not attend First Round Table Conference
89 members attended the conference

Second Round Table Conference (September – December 1931)
Gandhi-Irwin Pact –
The agreement between Gandhi and Irwin was signed on March 5, 1931.
On August 29, 1931, Gandhi sailed for England in the SS Rajputana to attend the Second Round Table Conference; He went as the sole representative of the Indian National Congress.
The second session of the conference opened in London on September 7, 1931

Congress, Gandhi said that Congress alone represented political India and there is no need for special electorate or minority status for Muslims or Untouchables.

Third Round Table Conference (November – December 1932)
Poona Pact – 1932 – Congress agreed with Ambedkar and problem of untouchable electorate was solved.

The Labour Party from Britain and the Indian National Congress refused to attend.

Thus 3rd round table conference finished with the deadlock without any final conclusions.

Mahatma Gandhi launched a Civil Disobedience Movement on the 12th of March 1930
This movement started, then was stopped and then again started.

The Government of India Act 1935 first time introduced federalism in India comprising of the provinces and the Indian states.

Meaning –
Federalism - A system of government in which power is divided between a central authority and constituent political units.

Provinces - A territory governed as an administrative or political unit of a country or empire.

The principle of bicameralism was introduced at the Centre and some of provinces.

Two houses were known as Federal Assembly and the council of state.
The council was permanent body consisting of 260 members and 1/3rd of its members retiring every 3 years. The council has 156 members for the British India and up to 104 members for the states.
Federal Assembly had a maximum duration of 5 years.
Federal Assembly was consisted of 250 representatives from the British India and not more than 125 members from the Indian states.
The election seats were divided as General Seats, Sikh Seats, and Muslim seats and reserved seats for scheduled castes and women, Anglo-Indian, Europeans and Indian Christians, commerce and industry, landholders and labor.

Introduced direct elections, thus increasing the franchise from seven million to thirty-five million people and governor general got right to nominate 6 members from scheduled classes, women and minority communities.

Every type of bill was allowed to be introduced in any house exception was finance bill.
Financial bill can only originate in the Assembly.
A financial bill could not be introduced without the recommendation of the governor general.
When two houses got divided or got different opinion regarding bill, the governor general got power to summon a joint sitting of the two houses for the purpose of voting on the bill.

The Federal Court was established in the Center.
The Reserve Bank of India was established.

Under the act of 1935 first elections were held and congress won the elections.

The central legislature was never constituted because Indian states showed no interest to join federation of India.
Later 2ND World war started
Viceroy Lord Linlithgow declared that India was at war with Germany in 1939.

Congress Ministers resigned in year 1939 to gain full independence from British Raj.
And also they were upset and angree that without their consultation UK took the war decision about India’s participation.

They resigned but they supported the British Government in 2nd world war.
Just one No was required and India would have got independence in year 1941
In 1941 Japan threw British People out of Malaya, Singapore, Burma and threatened to end their empire in India.

Subhash Chandra Bose the great son of India formed Azad Hind Fauj (Indian National Army – INA) in Singapore, and gave his famous slogan “Give me blood and I’ll give you freedom”

Japan was defeated in year 1945.
How or who killed or murdered Bose only nature knows how the great son of India died.
History books say he died in Air crash.
The military tribunal held the INA officers guilty and condemned them to harsh punishments. But Government of India understood the feelings of Indian population and cancelled the punishment.

Bicameral Legislature – such a legislature consisted of two houses, house of assembly and a legislative council.

On December 9, 1946 constituent Assembly was set up to draft a constitution for Independent India.

British Government passed the law Indian Independence Act 1947 and after passing of this act central legislature ceased to exist on 14th august 1947.
Constituent Assembly was to work as the Central Legislature of India.

The Government of India Act 1935 is the biggest act made by British Parliament.
The Government of India Act 1935 was the longest bill among the Acts which were passed by the British Parliament. Compared to the constitution of the USA, it had fewer than 8,000 words.
The Government of India Act 1935 is important because it is one of the foundation stones of the current Republic of India.
Government of India Act 1935 PDF consists of 341 Pages.

This is the final and last constitution of British India and in 1947 few amendments were made into this government of India Act 1935 and this became the functioning interim constitutions of India and Pakistan.

The constitution of India was adopted on November 26, 1949 and it became fully operational with effect from January 26, 1950.

End of the Indian Legal History.

Thank you for your comments and support.

Reality views by sm –
January 3, 2011

Suggested Reading - Read Indian Legal History from Part One

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



Kirtivasan Ganesan January 03, 2011  

The man behind non-cooperation, Mahatma Gandhi decided to cooperate with the British. Possibly with the World War he decided to cooperate with the British.

Kirtivasan Ganesan January 03, 2011  

But looking at the fact that violence was spreading in India and people were being killed due to communal feelings, he probably did not have any other option but to cooperate with British.
Maybe if Nehrus decided to persuade and make Gandhi the Congress leader, history may have been different. I feel this is the most important thing in the freedom struggle.

Tanishka January 03, 2011  

Do you have some other blog too?

sm,  January 03, 2011  


sm,  January 03, 2011  

yes i got other blogs.
and i am thinking on them.

Milind January 04, 2011  

thank you very much
i am a law student
legal history is a hard subject to understand
your blog helped me so much
your notes are point wise which make subject easy
because of your notes i was successfully passed first sem, and for second semester i m using your notes
please can you give your mobile number?
and again thank you very much

Milind Kurbetkar
my email id is milindkurbetkar@rediffmail.com

sm,  January 04, 2011  

Regarding law topics always feel free to ask.

Treatment for Eczema January 05, 2011  

A good informative post and thanks for sharing it.
Really like to red matters related to the laws and other stuff, for which your blog was a interesting one.
Thanks for the post and really appreciate your work.

sm,  January 05, 2011  

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Anonymous,  March 24, 2012  

can you plz share the info on government of india act 1935

Anonymous,  June 02, 2015  

Hi, I always trouble in understanding the difference between common law (English) system and Civil Law (Continental) system. Can you explain the difference?