- TheNehru Report of 15 August 1928 (approved on 28 August) was a memorandum to appeal for a new dominion status and a federal set-up of government for the constitution of India
- In November 1927, the British government appointed the Simon Commission to review the working of the Government of India Act 1919 and propose constitutional reforms for India.
- The Commission did not have a single Indian member which irked leaders of the nationalist movement.
- While the British acknowledged the discontent, it did not change the composition of the Commission and instead asked Indians to prove that they could draw up a constitution themselves.
- A similar challenge was made in 1925 by Lord Birkenhead, then Secretary of State for India, in the House of Lords
- As a result, Leaders of the nationalist movement responded to the challenge by drafting theNehru Report 1928
- In December 1927, at its Madras session, the Indian National Congress set up an All Parties Conference to draft a Constitution for India
- On May 19, 1928 at its meeting at Bombay, the All Parties Conference appointed a committee with Motilal Nehru as its chairman
Recommendations of Nehru Report
- India should be given Dominion Status with the Parliamentary form of Government with bi-cameral legislature that consists of senate and House of Representatives
- It recommended Responsible government at the Centre and in provinces—
- The senate were to comprise of two hundred members elected for seven years, while the House of Representatives should consist of five hundred members elected for five years. Governor-General will act on the advice of executive council. It was to be collectively responsible to the parliament
- Provincial councils to have a 5-year tenure, headed by a governor acting on the advice of the provincial executive council
- There should be Federal form of Government in India with Residuary powers to be vested in Centre.
- There were to be no separate electorate for minorities because it awakens communal sentiments therefore it should be scrapped and joint electorate should be introduced
- It recommended Nineteen fundamental rights including equal rights for women, right to form unions, and universal adult suffrage
- Full protection to cultural and religious interests of Muslims.
- Complete dissociation of State from religion
Muslim League reaction to the Nehru Report
- The process of preparing the Constitutional framework began enthusiastically. However, communal differences crept in and Nehru report got involved in controversies over the issue of communal representation
- Muslim League reaction
- The league’s leaders rejected the Nehru proposals
- In reaction Mohammad Ali Jinnah drafted his Fourteen Points in 1929, which became the core demands the Muslim community put forward as the price of their participating in an independent united India
- The Main objection of Muslim league were:
- The 1916 Congress-Muslim League agreement Lucknow Pact provided separate electorates and weightage, to the Muslim community whereas they were rejected by the Nehru Report
- The League realized that while they would be a majority in the provinces of the North-East and North-West of India, and hence would control their provincial legislatures, they would always be a minority at the Centre. Thus they demanded, contrary to the Nehru Report, that residuary powers go to the provinces
- Younger section of Congress Reaction
- The younger section of the Congress led by Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhash Bose were angered
- The younger section regarded the idea of dominion status in the report as a step backward, and the developments at the All Parties Conference strengthened their criticism of the dominion status idea
- Further, Nehru and Subhash Bose rejected the Congress’ modified goal and jointly set up the Independence for India League
- The Nehru Report demanded that the Fundamental Rights for the people of India wouldn’t be subjected to forfeiture.
- The report was an inspiration from the American bill of rights, which laid to the foundation of Fundamental Rights provision in the Indian Constitution
- Unfortunately, the Nehru Report was not adopted by the All Party Convention in Calcutta in December 1928. Some communal leaders from the Muslim League, the Hindu Mahasabha, and the Sikh League objected