Government of India Act of 1919

  • It laid the foundations for many features that we associate with Indian constitution in the present times
  • Important features of the act are:
    • Objective: Gradual introduction of responsible government in India
    • It relaxed the control of centre over the provinces by demarcating and separating the central and provincial subjects
    • Dyarchy: provincial subjects were divided into- transferred list and reserved list. Reserved lists were administered by the governor and his executive council that were not answerable to the legislature whereas transferred lists were administered by governor on the advice of the ministers responsible to the council.
    • Bicameralism and direct elections were introduced for the first time
    • The act mandated that the three of the six members of the Viceroy’s executive council were to be Indian
    • Principle of separate electorates was extended to Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo-Indians and Europeans
    • It granted franchise to a limited number of people on the basis of property, tax or education
    • High commissioner of India position created. Some powers of Secretary of State was transferred to the commissioner
    • Provincial budgets was separated for the first time from central budget
    • Central public service commission was established
    • Statutory commission to analyze the impact of this act after 10 years

Simon Commission: Major recommendations

  • Abolition of dyarchy
  • Extension of responsible government in provinces
  • Continuation of communal representation
  • Establishment of  a federation of British India and princely states