Chapter 35: CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
influenced our constitution and polity during the east
India Company rule:
Government of India Act,
of India became the Viceroy of India. The board of control
and court of directors were abolished and a new office of
Secretary of State for India and his Indian council were
created. They had supreme power to regulate all affairs.
rule ended and Indian administration came under the direct
control of the crown. The court of proprietors was
Indian Council Act, 1861:
of Indians to the central legislative council.
a portfolio system for convenient transaction of
could issue ordinances without consulting the
legislative council [lifetime of ordinances = 6 months].
of decentralization of legislative powers to the
council could conduct legislative business and it would
be called central legislative council when it handles
legislations. The governor general could nominate non
officials to this. Thus entry of Indians was permitted.
But the powers of these members were limited.
were made in the provinces.
Indian Council Act, 1892:
of non-official members to the central and provincial
majority was retained; however more powers were granted to
members like discussing budget and criticize financial
policy of the government.
non official members to the Central legislative assembly
were nominated from provinces and Bengal chamber of
commerce. Also non official members of the provincial
assemblies were nominated from local bodies.
Limited franchise was introduced in India.
Indian Council Act, 1909
[Morley – Minto Reforms]:
non-official majority in the provinces but not in the
central legislative council.
increased number of members in the legislative councils.
The councils could now pass resolutions and discus budget.
for a system of separate electorate [communal
representation] for Muslims.
were for the first time appointed to the Central
Executive council. Indians were nominated to the Indian
council in London.
Government of India Act, 1919
[Montague and Chelmsford reforms]:
Subjects on which legislation can
be made were divided into central and provincial.
Provincial were further divided into reserved and
transferred. The reserved subjects were administered by
Governors of provinces and their executive councils.
Transferred subjects were to be administered with the help
of ministers responsible to the provincial legislative
The central legislative
council was replaced by a bicameral legislature. Majority
of members of both houses were non-official and chosen by
council to have 3 Indian members out of six. Made
provision for a public service commission.
limited franchise based on education and property.
statutory body to inquire into and report on the working
of the act in 10 years of its coming into force.
Government of India Act,
provided for establishment of All India federation of
provinces and princely states. It divided legislative
powers into Central, Provincial and Concurrent. Residuary
powers were with the viceroy. However, the federation
never came into existence as princely states didn’t join
diarchy in provinces with provincial autonomy. At
provinces, governor would act with aid and advice of
ministers responsible to the provincial legislative
diarchy at the centre as central subjects were divided
into reserved [Viceroy and executive council] and
transferred [Viceroy with aid and advice of legislative
council]. However this too never became operational.
a Reserve bank, provincial public service commission and
Joint Public Service Commission. Establishment of a
federal court. Extended franchise to Indians, separate
representation to dalits. Replaced Indian council with an
advisory team to the secretary of state.
Indian Independence Act,
British rule in India on 15 august 1947.
viceroy, secretary of state offices. British emperor would
no longer be emperor of India. Provision for partition of
India into India and Pakistan. Princely states given
choice to accede or remain independent. Constituent
assemblies to frame constitution for their dominion. GoI
Act, 1935 would be enforced till new constitution was
ready. Governor General of Centre and provinces would be
nominal heads and act on aid and advice of Ministers.
could enact, repeal, and amend any law. Thus it was made
a legislative body too. When it worked a legislative
body it was chaired by GV Malwankar till 1949.