Evolution of Indian Constitution: Part 3

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Evolution of Indian Constitution: Part 3


Administrative & Legislative Reforms (1919-1947)

Government of India Act,1919:

  • This Act is also known as the Montague-Chelmsford Reforms as Montague was secretary of state and Chelmsford was the Viceroy of India at that time
  • The Central subjects were demarcated and separated from those of the Provincial subjects.
  • The scheme of dual governance, ‘Dyarchy’, was introduced in the Provincial subjects.
  • Under dyarchy system, the provincial subjects were divided into two parts – transferred and reserved. On reserved subjects, Governor was not responsible to the Legislative council.
  • The Act introduced, for the first time, bicameralism at center.
  • Legislative Assembly with 140 members and Legislative council with 60 members.
  • Franchise was granted to a limited people on basis of property, tax and education.
  • Separation of central budget from provisional budget.
  • Direct elections.
  • The Act also required that the three of the six members of the Viceroy’s Executive Council (other than Commander-in-Chief) were to be Indians.
  • Provided for the establishment of Public Service Commission.

Government of India Act, 1935:

  • The Act provided for the establishment of an All-India Federation consisting of the Provinces and the Princely States as units, though the envisaged federation never came into being.
  • Three Lists: The Act divided the powers between the Centre and the units into items of three lists, namely the Federal List, the Provincial List and the Concurrent List.
  • The Federal List for the Centre consisted of 59 items, the Provincial List for the provinces consisted of 54 items and the Concurrent List for both consisted of 36 items
  • The residuary powers were vested with the Governor-General.
  • The Act abolished the Dyarchy in the Provinces and introduced ‘Provincial Autonomy’.
  • It provided for the adoption of Dyarchy at the Centre.
  • Introduced bicameralism in 6 out of 11 Provinces.
  • These six Provinces were Assam, Bengal, Bombay, Bihar, Madras and the United Province.
  • Provided for the establishment of Federal Court.
  • Abolished the Council of India.

Indian Independence Act, 1947:

  • It declared India as an Independent and Sovereign State.
  • Established responsible Governments at both the Centre and the Provinces.
  • Designated the Viceroy India and the provincial Governors as the Constitutional (normal heads).
  • It assigned dual functions (Constituent and Legislative) to the Constituent Assembly and declared this dominion legislature as a sovereign body.

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