The Government of India Act of 1935
The Government of India Act of 1935 was passed on the basis of the report of the Simon Commission, the outcome of the Round Table Conferences and the White Paper issued by the British Government in 1933. This Act contained many important changes over the previous Act of 1919.
Following were the salient features of this Act.
Provision for the establishment of an All India Federation at the Centre, consisting of the Provinces of British India and the Princely States. (It did not come into existence since the Princely States refused to give their consent for the union.)
Division of powers into three lists: Federal, Provincial and Concurrent.
Introduction of Dyarchy at the Centre. The Governor-General and his councillors administered the 'Reserved subjects'. The Council of Ministers were responsible for the 'Transferred' subjects.
Abolition of Dyarchy and the introduction of Provincial Autonomy in the provinces. The Governor was made the head of the Provincial Executive but he was expected to run the administration on the advice of the Council of Ministers. Thus provincial government was entursted to the elected Ministers. They were responsible to the popularly elected Legislative Assemblies.
Provincial Legilatures of Bengal, Madras, Bombay, United Provinces, Bihar and Assam were made bicameral.
Extension of the principle of Separate Electorates to Sikhs, Europeans, Indian Christians and Anglo Indians.
Esatblishment of a Federal Court at Delhi with a Chief Justice and 6 judges.
The working of the provincial autonomy was not successful. The Governors were not bound to accept the advice of the ministers. In reality, the real power in the Provincial Government was with the Governor. But, despite these drawbacks in the scheme, the Congress decided to take part in the elections to the Provincial Legislatures with the consideration that it was an improvement over the previous Acts.
In accordance with the provisions of the Government of India Act of 1935 elections to the Provincial Legislatures were held in February 1937. The Congress had virtually swept the polls. On 7 July 1937, after the Viceroy Lord Linlithgow, assured the Congress of his cooperation, the party formed its ministries in seven provinces.
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