GOI Act 1935 UPSC GS2

After the failing of the Simon Commission. Then Gandhi launched the Civil Disobedience Movement which ended with the Gandhi- Irwin Pact of 1931. After this there were three sessions of Round Table Conferences to decide the issue of independence. But these were unsuccessful. Then in 1935 was introduced the Government of India Act which was meant to replace the Government of India Act of 1919.
This Act was meant to apply to both the provinces and the princely states.
Features of the Act
  • It ended the system of dyarchy which had been brought in by the Government of India Act of 1919. Under the system of dyarchy, the provincial governments had been divided into two parts, one part being responsible to the Secretary of State for India and the other part being responsible to the voters in the provinces.  The subjects of administration were divided into Central and provincial, which contained subjects of national and local importance respectively. But this was found to be highly inefficient and inconvenient. Government of India Act of 1935 ended this system of one part of the government being responsible to the Secretary of State and the other part being responsible to the voters. Now what happened was that the Government of India Act, 1935 created a Federation, and this Federation was to derive its powers from the Crown and the British Parliament. This federation was proposed to be constituted of both the provinces and the princely states.
    GOI Act,1935 made provision for separate electorates on the basis of religion, profession etc. which was meant to promote the feelings of division on communal lines and to check the feelings of nationalism.
    While the Upper Chamber of the Federal Legislature was to be directly elected the Lower Chamber of the Federal Legislature was meant to be indirectly elected by the Provincial Legislatures.
    while the powers of administration of various subjects were divided clearly between the Federal Government and the Provinces, in the matter of residuary subjects it was left to the mercy of the Governor- General to decide who should exercise power in such subjects.
    Also, there was the provision of safeguards, certain powers and special responsibilities being given to the Governor- General and the Provincial Governors. And the power of amending the constitution was not given to the Federal Legislature but it was kept with the British Parliament.
    This Act provided for the setting up of a Federal Legislature, which was to consist of members from the Provinces and the princely states, the ones from the provinces being elected by the people and the ones from the princely states being nominated by the princes. With regard to administration, it provided for three lists called the Federal, Concurrent and the Provincial Lists on which the Federal Legislature and the Provinces could legislate. In the matter of conflict of laws of the Federal Legislature and the Provinces on a Concurrent subject the law of the Federal Legislature was to prevail normally.
    The Governor- General was to choose a Council of Ministers from the Federal Legislature. If any person was not a member of the Federal Legislature he had to become one before the expiry of six months. They were to aid and advise him in the exercise of powers conferred on him under this Act. In case of the failure of the constitutional machinery he could issue a promulgation regarding carrying on the work of administration. Under this Act he was empowered to declare in his discretion a state of emergency and then the Federal Legislature would become entitled to legislate on any matter in the Provincial List. And he was not bound by the advice of his ministers.
    This Act also provided for the creation of a Federal Court which was to be the highest court in the country, supervising the work of even the various High Courts operating till then but inferior to the Privy Council
  • Thus we see that there were some provisions which were supposed to be a change from the defects of the Morley- Minto Reforms, such as the removal of dyarchy, but in reality this Act still did not address the real demands of the Indians. It satisfied neither the people of the provinces nor the princes.

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