The position of the Council of Ministers was only ornamental rather than useful. However, Indian politicians were quick to note that provincial authorities retained the technical ability to act independently of their largely Indian legislatures in certain cases. Provincial autonomy proved a farce. Safeguards and Reservations A controversial feature of the Government of India Act, 1935 was the safeguards and reservations provided in the Act, would serve as checks and limitations on such undesirable tendencies which might lead to the failure of the responsible government in India. But for Burma, there was a separate set of Events.
This would be done at a Round Table Conference in London. It was to be made of 375 members who which 250 representatives of British India and not more than 125 members from princely states. The Reserved list comprised of subjects such as administration of defence, external affairs, ecclesiastical affairs and matters related to tribal areas. Parliamentary institutions, even if in a weakened form, were the frame work of the new Governmental set up. Its life was 5 years unless dissolved earlier by the Governor General. The States were absolutely free to join or not to join the proposed Federation. It was to be made of 375 members who which 250 representatives of British India and not more than 125 members from princely states.
The representatives of the princely states were to be nominated by the rulers and not elected. The Governor General by his special powers and responsibilities could dominate the ministers. The Government of India Act 1919 was an act of the British Parliament that sought to increase the participation of Indians in the administration of their country. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was in favour of contesting the elections but not of taking part in any provincial Government. Extension of Franchise The act extended the franchise.
The Act made the Governor-General the pivot of the entire constitution. The members of this authority reported directly to Governor General. In all likelihood, these representatives would be largely Congressmen. The electoral procedure was governed by the Communal award of the British Government as modified by the Poona Pact in respect of Scheduled Castes. This act by providing separate electorates for Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Europeans, Anglo Indians, Indian Christians etc. Defence, External Affairs, Ecclesiastical Affairs and the administration of the Tribal Areas were reserved in the hands of the Governor-General to be administered by him with the assistance of maximum of three Councilors to be appointed by him. The Crisis of Indian Unity, 1917—1940.
After the Royal assent the Act was enforced in the country as Government of India Act 1935. The Secretary was normally not expected to poke his nose in the Indian affairs which were to be carried on by Governors. All powers of the Privy Council regarding appeals from the High Court were conferred to the Federal Court. The Governor did not only act as the constitutional head of the province merely acting on the advice of the Council of Ministers, he had some special responsibilities regarding the maintenance of peace or tranquility of the province or any part thereof. The administration of the Provincial affairs was to be ordinarily carried on by a council of ministers appointed by the Governor from among the elected members of the Provincial Legislature and responsible to them only. He also had veto power and could issue ordinances also. This led directly to the resignation of the Congress provincial ministries.
However on the suggestions of Round Table Conferences white paper was issued in 1933 and efforts were started to make the constitution of India. Considering the balance of power in the Conservative party at the time, the passing of a Bill more liberal than that which was enacted in 1935 is inconceivable. Joining the federation was compulsory for the British Provinces and chief commissioners provinces. The declared Congress policy was to combat the new Act and end it. The Montague-Chelmsford Reforms of 1919 had brought a large scale discontentment among the people of India.
The administration of the transferred subjects was to be done by Governor General on advice of the Council of Ministers whose number could not exceed 10. Three lists of subjects for legislation i. It introduced Diarchy in the Centre and granted provincial autonomy. They were not responsible to legislative. A committee was setup under the chairmanship of Lord Linlithgow, the viceroy of India, to consider the recommendations of the white paper. Thus, in the provincial sphere, the Act of 1935 made a fundamental departure from the act of 1919. It envisaged an administrative set-up for India such as : 1.
Now about 70% of the members were elected. The ruler was however authorized to extend the functions of the federal authority in respect of his state by executing another instrument in its internal affairs. A plea was given that those safeguards and reservations were necessary for the interests of the country. First, the Provincial Governments were wholly, responsible to the provincial legislatures and secondly, provinces, were free from outside control and interference in a large number of matters. Despite his success in broadcasting to America for the first time, and even after achieving some success in the depressed British midlands that had been deeply affected by his boycott efforts at home, the Second Round Table Conference ended unsuccessfully, and Gandhi returned home. The provincial autonomy means two things. A Federal Court was established at the Centre.
Jinnah immediately felt foul of the suggestion and assured of the backing of the Government began a series of attacks describing it as chimerical. Moreover, the goal of Dominion Status still remained a distant dream. The Round Table Conferences considered the Simon Commission Report discussed the possibilities of further legislative reforms in India. The Congress rejected the Act because the Indian people were not consulted in its enactment and thus not being representative of their will. At the Centre the Federal Legislature consisted of two Houses, the Council of States and Federal Assembly consisting of 260 and 375 members respectively. Birla wanted the Viceroy to help Gandhi by persuading a number of Princes to move towards democratic election of representatives. After much deliberation and discussion the Government of India Act 1935 was passed.