Go through these RBSE Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 17 Background of Constitutional Development in India contain important concepts so that students can score better marks in the exam.
Rajasthan Board RBSE Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 17 Background of Constitutional Development in India
Acts of 1909 and 1919
- India has a long historical background of constitutional development which started in 1600, A.D. along with the arrival of the British.
- The British came to India in the form of a trading company- East India Company. It was established on 31th December 1600.
- The British Government made several laws to exercise control over East India Company with which the process of constitutional development started in India.
- With the implementation of the Regulating Act of 1773, the British Parliament started controlling the East India Company.
- In 1858, the governance of India was taken away from the East India Company and brought under the control of British Emperor. To improve the governance, British Parliament passed many acts, in which the Government of India Acts of 1909, 1919 and 1935 are very important.
Indian Councils Act, 1909
- Indian Council Act, 1909 is an important phase in the history of constitutional development in India.
- After taking the assent of the British Emperor in 1909, the Indian Councils Act was implemented on November 15th, 1909. This Act is also known as Morley-Minto Reforms.
- Major provisions of the Indian Council Act of 1909: (i) Reform in the central legislative assembly, (ii) Organization and rights of provincial legislative assemblies, (iii) Enhancement of executive councils, (iv) Provisions regarding voting rights and representation in the council.
- It considerably increased the size of the legislative councils-both central and provincial.
- The number of members in central council was raised from 16 to 60, out of which there were 37 government members and 23 non-government members.
- The number of members in provincial council was fixed between 30 to 50.
- It provided (for the first time) for the inclusion of Indians in the executive councils of the Viceroy and Governors.
- Satyendra Prasad Sinha was the first Indian who joined the Viceroy’s executive council.
Indian Councils Act 1909: Evaluation
The criticism of Indian Councils Act 1909 is made on the following basis:
- Beginning of communal electorate system
- Limited powers of legislative councils and majority of government members
- Government majority in the central legislative assembly
- Majority of non-government members in the provincial legislative councils was a mere pretension
- Limited and restricted right of voting
- Encouragement and importance to British self-interests
- No efforts for establishment of a responsible government.
Government of India Act 1919
The Indian Councils Act, 1909 could not satisfy aspirations of the people of India. As a result, to stop and end the outrage of Indians against the British Government, the Government of India Act, 1919 was implemented on 23 rd December 1919.
Main points included in the preface of Government of India Act, 1919 were:
- Increasing association of Indians in every branch of administration.
- India will remain an integral part of British Empire.
- Gradual development of self-governing institutions.
- British policy in India was to establish a responsible government.
- Progressive establishment of a responsible government and autonomous institutions.
- The progress towards the goal of formation of a responsible government will be decided by the British parliament.
- An effort to make provincial governments free from the control of central government.
Main Characteristics of Government of India Act, 1919.
- Change in home governance and India Council.
- Reduction in the control of home governance over Indian administration.
- Establishment of partially responsible governance and dual governance in the provinces.
- Greater representation of Indians in the Provincial Executive Councils.
- Irresponsible rule in the centre.
- Restructuring of provincial legislative councils.
- Formation of bicameral legislature.
- Greater inclusion of Indians in the central executive council.
- Power division.
- Encouragement to Decentralisation.
- Provisions regarding election and right for voting.
- Minimum 8 and maximum 12 members were included under India Council in the Act of 1919.
- It relaxed the central control over the provinces by separating the central and provincial subjects.
- The act further divided the provincial subjects into two parts transferred and reserved. The transferred subjects were to be administered by the Indian ministers. The reserved subjects were to be administered by the governor in consultation with his executive council.
- It, for the first time, introduced bicameral system and direct election in the country.
- The term of the central legislative assembly was fixed for 3 years and that of the council of state was fixed for 5 years.
- The first speaker of the assembly was nominated by the government. Later on, the speaker were elected by the members of the assembly.
- Indirect election was recommended to the Central Assembly. But later, it was changed to direct elections for both houses of the central legislature.
- The governor-general was given the power to summon the speaker and dissolve the legislative houses.
Extensive powers were given to the central legislature. It could make laws for entire British India.
- The central subjects included defence, foreign and political relations, etc.
- The provincial subjects inicluded local self-government, public health and sanitation, education, public works, etc.
- Apart from this, the strength of provincial legislative council was increased.
- It could not be dissolved earlier by the Governor. The members could reject the budget but the governor could restore it, if necessary.
- The provincial governor was not a mere constitutional head. He was given various special responsibilities.
- Apart from this, the act provided that, in the future, the India Secretary was to be paid out of the British treasury.
- He acted as the agent of the Governor-General in council.
- The India secretary possessed and exercised the power of superintendence, direction and control over the affairs of India.
Diarchy in the Provinces
On the demand of Indian people towards the formation of responsible governance, diarchy system of dual Government was introduced by the government of India Act, 1919 for the provinces of British India.
- Under this act. the diarchy system was applied at the provincial level and the provincial subjects were divided into transferred subjects and reserved subjects.
- The diarchy system was applied in 8 provinces: Bengal, Bihar, Madras, Assam, Bombay, Punjab, United Provinces and Central Provinces on April 1st, 1921.
- On April 1st, 1937 this diarchy system established in the provinces was ended. The following inherent and external reasons were responsible for the failure of diarchy system:
The underlying deficiency of system:
- Defective in principle.
- Unwise and impractical division of subjects.
- Arbitrary powers of the Governor.
- No separate financial provisions for the transferred subjects.
- Lack of collective responsibility principle.
- Faulty organisation of legislative council.
- There was no control of ministers over civil services’ officers.
Other External Circumstances
- Unfavourable political environment at that time.
- Economic plight and Maston arbitration.
- Non-cooperative behaviour of bureaucracy.
- Non-cooperation of Congress and Muslim League.
Importance and Utility of Diarchy
- Extension of right for voting.
- Political awareness among Indian people.
- Encouragement to Indianization of public services.
- Successful in eradication of social evils and improvement in various fields.
Evaluation of Government of India Act, 1919
There were many defects in the Government of India Act, 1919, so it was broudly criticized:
- Diarchy system in the provinces was not satisfactory.
- Lack of powerful legislative council in the centre.
- Autocracy of governor remained as it was before.
- An inappropriate extension of communal electorate system.
- Unsatisfactory control of home governance over Indian administration.
Importance of Government of India Act, 1919
- Expansion of legislature of centre and provinces.
- An initiation in the direction of responsible provincial governance.
- Provision of right for voting to a greater section of population.
- Beginning of the process of power-decentralization.
- Greater Indian representation in the executive council of Governor-General.
Background of Constitutional Development in India Notes Important Terms
→ East India Company: East India Company was established on December 31st, 1600, for trade during India, in the reign of British Queen Elizabeth I. There were 217 partners in this company. The arrival of British in India started with this company. With the course of time, this company became powerful in the fields of politics and administration, besides trade and business.
→ Viceroy: On November 1st, 1858, the governance of East India company was ended and it directly came under control of British Queen. The supreme British administrator in India was called the Viceroy. Lord Canning was the first Viceroy of India.
→ Budget: An estimate of income and expenditure of an institution or a government for a set period of time (generally a year) is called budget. It also expresses the future financial conditions, goals and plans of action for achieving quantified objectives.
→ India Secretary: The Secretary of state for India was a British cabinet minister, responsible for the governance of the British Colonial India.
→ Right of voting: The right to vote in an election is called the right of voting.
→ Zamindar: The governmental tax collectors on behalf of the state in colonial India.
→ Chamber of Commerce: A local association of traders formed to promote and protect the interests of the business community. In the Act of 1919, they were given a separate representation.
→ Veto Power: The literal meaning of‘veto’ is the right to refuse. As per 1909 Act, the Governors were empowered with veto power on various subjects.
→ Montague-Chelmsford Report: India secretary Lord Montague declared in the British parliament on August 20 th, 1917, that the main object of British governance to establish responsible rule in India. In November 1917, India secretary Montague visited India and discussed with the viceroy Chelmsford and other administrative officials and formed a committee. The committee submitted its report in 1918. This report is called Montague-Chelmsford report. On the basis of this report, the Government of India Act, 1919 was made.
→ Governor-General’s Council: Governor-General’s Council means the executive council of Governor-General which aided him in the discharge of his duties.
→ Council of India: The council of ‘India secretary’ was known as India council or the Council of India.
→ Reserved Subjects: Under the provincial governance, the reserved subjects were kept with the governor and his executive council. All administrative functions like land-revenue, police, jail, judiciary, etc. were included in reserved subjects.
→ Transferred Subjects: The transferred subjects were kept under Indian ministers. Main departments were local administration, technical education, agriculture, etc.
→ Chamber of Princes: An organisation of native states, rulers was formed on February 9th, 1921. The total number of members in this organisation was 121. It was formed on the basis of Goverment of India Act, 1919.
→ Diarchy System: Diarchy system of dual government was introduced by the Government of India Act, 1919 for the provinces of British India. It was meant to divide the provincial governance into two sections and the administration of both these sections was to be performed by different officials with difference in their powers and responsibilities.
→ Swaraj Dal: Swaraj Dal or Swarajya Party was estalished in March 1923 at Allahabad by Chittaranjan Das and Motilal Nehru. It was presented and advertised as an integral part of Congress committee. They showed their commitment to non-violence and non-cooperation. Chittaranjan Das was elected the president and Moti Lai as the secretary of the committee. The British writer Copeland considered the Congress and the Swaraj Party as responsible factors for the failure of diarchy system.
→ Civil Servant: A civil servant or public servant is a person employed in the public sector for a government department or agency.
→ Lord Minto: He became the Viceroy of India in 1905. His most important work was the introduction of Indian Councils Act, of 1909 with the cooperation of Lord Morley.
→ Lord Morley: India Secretary. He presented a bill related to increase in Indian participation in British India’s governance on Feb 17 th, 1909. On the basis of this bill, Indian Councils Act was formed.
→ Kelkar: The minister of Central Provinces, who criticized the diarchy system, established under the Act, of 1919. He also criticized the powers of Governor.
→ Chintamani: The minister of United Provinces. He wrote about diarchy system, that there was no financial provisions for the transferred subjects and their administration, and hence, diarchy system, failed.