File Name: transfer of power and indian independence act 1947 .zip
British Broadcasting Corporation Home. How was the Raj transformed from the jewel in Britain's imperial crown to the independent nations of India and Pakistan?
On this, the 65th Anniversary of the birth of Pakistan, it would not be out of place to pay some attention to the means by which it all came about. That pithy instrument by which the path of two nations diverged. The document which set in motion the wheels to transport two societies apart.
I desire to make an important statement on Indian policy. A similar statement is being made at the same time in another place, and by the Viceroy in New Delhi. The statement, in the form of a White Paper, will be available this afternoon. I am glad to inform the House that the plan contained in the announcement which I am about to make, including the offer of Dominion status to one or two successor authorities, has been favourably received by all three parties represented at the Conferences held by the Viceroy with the Indian leaders during the past two days.
Before making this statement, I would like to express the gratitude and appreciation of His Majesty's Government for the great services which the Viceroy has rendered.
His Majesty's Government had hoped that it would be possible for the major parties to co-operate in the working-out of the Cabinet Mission's Plan of 16th May, , and evolve for India a constitution acceptable to all concerned. This hope has not been fulfilled. On the other hand, the Muslim League Party, including in it a majority of the representatives of Bengal, the Punjab and Sind, as also the representative of British Baluchistan, has decided not to participate in the Constituent Assembly.
It has always been the desire of His Majesty's Government that power should be transferred in accordance with the wishes of the Indian people themselves. This task would have been greatly facilitated if there had been agreement among the Indian political parties.
In the absence of such an agreement, the task of devising a method by which the wishes of the Indian people can be ascertained has devolved on His Majesty's Govern- 36 meat. After full consultation with political leaders in India, His Majesty's Government have decided to adopt for this purpose the plan contained in this announcement.
His Majesty's Government wish to make it clear that they have no intention of attempting to frame any ultimate Constitution for India; this is a matter for the Indians themselves. Nor is there anything in this plan to preclude negotiations between communities for an united India.
It is not the intention of His Majesty's Government to interrupt the work of the existing Constituent Assembly. Now that provision is made 'for certain Provinces which I will specify. His Majesty's Government trust that, as a consequence of this announcement, the Muslim League representatives of those Provinces, a majority of whose representatives are already participating in it, will now take their due share in its labours.
At the same time, it is clear that any Constitution framed by this Assembly cannot apply to those parts of the country which are unwilling to accept it, His Majesty's Government are satisfied that the procedure which I will outline, embodies the best practical method of ascertaining the wishes of the people of such areas on the issue whether their Constitution is to be framed— a in the existing Constituent Assembly; or b in a new and separate Constituent Assembly consisting of the representatives of those areas which decide not to participate in the existing Constituent Assembly.
When this has been done, it will be possible to determine the authority or authorities to whom power should be transferred. The Provincial Legislative Assemblies of Bengal and the Punjab excluding the European members will therefore each be asked to meet in two parts, one representing the Muslim majority districts and the other the rest of the Province. For the purpose of determining the population of districts, the census figures will be taken as authoritative.
The Muslim majority districts in these two Provinces are set out in the appendix to the White Paper of which copies will be available when I sit down. The members of the two parts of each Legislative Assembly sitting separately 37 will be empowered to vote whether or not the Province should be partitioned.
If a simple majority of either part decides in favour of partition, division will take place and arrangements will be made accordingly. Before the question as to the partition is decided, it is desirable that the representatives of each part should know in advance which Constituent Assembly the Province as a whole would join in the event of the two parts subsequently deciding to remain united.
Therefore, if any member of either Legislative Assembly so demands, there shall be held a meeting of all members of the Legislative Assembly other than Europeans at which a decision will be taken on the issue to which Constituent Assembly the Province as a whole would join if it were decided by the two parts to remain united. In the event of partition being decided upon, each part of the Legislative Assembly will, on behalf of the areas they represent, decide whether their constitution is to be framed— a in the existing Constituent Assembly; or b in a new and separate Constituent Assembly.
For the immediate purpose of deciding on the issue of partition, the members of the Legislative Assemblies of Bengal and the Punjab will sit in two parts according to Muslim majority districts as laid down in the Appendix to the White Paper and non-Muslim majority districts.
This is only a preliminary step of a purely temporary nature as it is evident that for the purposes of final partition of these Provinces a detailed investigation of boundary questions will be needed; and, as soon as a decision involving partition has been taken for either Province, a Boundary Commission will be set up by the Governor-General, the membership and terms of reference of which will be settled in consultation with those concerned.
It will be instructed to demarcate the boundaries of the two parts of the Punjab on the basis of ascertaining the contiguous majority areas of Muslims and non-Muslims. It will also be instructed to take into account other factors. Similar instructions will be given to the Bengal Boundary Commission. Until the report of a Boundary Commission has been put into effect, the provisional boundaries indicated in the Appendix to the White Paper will be used.
The position of the North-West Frontier Province is exceptional. Two of the three representatives of this Province are already participating in the existing Constituent Assembly. But it is clear, in view of its geographical situation, and other considerations, that, if the whole or any part of the Punjab decides not to join the existing Constituent Assembly, it will be necessary to give the North-West Frontier Province an opportunity to reconsider its position.
Accordingly, in such an event, a referendum will be made to the electors of the present Legislative Assembly in the North-West Frontier Province to choose whether the constitution of the Province is to be framed— a in the existing Constituent Assembly; or b in a new and separate Constituent Assembly.
British Baluchistan has elected a member but he has not taken his seat in the existing Constituent Assembly. In view of its geographical situation, this Province will also be given an opportunity to reconsider its decision and to choose whether its constitution is to be framed— a in the existing Constituent Assembly; or b in a new and separate Constituent Assembly. Though Assam is predominantly a non-Muslim Province, the district of Sylhet which is contiguous to Bengal is predominantly Muslim.
There has been a demand that, in the event of the partition of Bengal, Sylhet should be amalgamated with the Muslim part of Bengal. Accordingly, if it is decided that Bengal should be partitioned, a referendum will be held in Sylhet district, under the aegis of the Governor-General and in consultation with the Assam Provincial Government.
If the referendum results 39 in favour of amalgamation with Eastern Bengal, a Boundary Commission with terms of reference similar to those for the Punjab and Bengal will be set up to demarcate the Muslim majority areas of adjoining districts, which will then be transferred to Eastern Bengal.
The rest of the Assam Province will in any case continue to participate in the proceedings of the existing Constituent Assembly. If it is decided that Bengal and the Punjab should be partitioned, it will be necessary, to hold fresh elections to choose their representatives on the scale of one for every million of population according to the principle contained in the Cabinet Mission's plan of 16th May, Similar elections will also have to be held for. Sylhet in the event of its being decided that this district should form part of East Bengal.
The number of representatives to which each area would be entitled is set out in full in the White Paper. In accordance with the mandates given to them the representatives of the various areas will either join the existing Constituent Assembly or form the new Constituent Assembly. Negotiations will have to be initiated as soon as possible on administrative consequences of any partition that may have been decided upon:— a Between the representatives of the respective successor authorities about all subjects now dealt with by the Central Government, including Defence, Finance and Communications.
Agreements with tribes of the North-West Frontier of India will have to be negotiated by the appropriate successor authority. His Majesty's Government wish to make it clear that the decisions which I have announced relate only to British India and that their policy towards Indian States contained in the Cabinet 40 Mission Memorandum of 12th May, , remains unchanged.
In order that the successor authorities may have time to prepare themselves to take over power, it is important that all the above processes should be completed as quickly as possible. To avoid delay, the different Provinces or parts of Provinces will proceed independently as far as practicable within the conditions of this Plan, the existing Constituent Assembly and the new Constituent Assembly if formed will proceed to frame Constitutions for their respective territories; they will of course be free to frame their own rules.
The major political parties have repeatedly emphasised their desire that there should be the earliest possible transfer of power in India. With this desire His Majesty's Government are in full sympathy, and they are willing to anticipate the date of June , for the handing over of power by the setting up of an independent Indian Government or Governments at an even earlier date.
Accordingly, as the most expeditious, and indeed the only practicable, way of meeting this desire, His Majesty's Government propose to introduce legislation during the current session for the transfer of power this year on a Dominion status basis to one or two successor authorities according to the decisions taken as a result of this announcement. This will be without prejudice to the right of Indian Constituent Assemblies to decide in due course whether or not the part of India in respect of which they have authority will remain within the British Commonwealth.
His Excellency the Governor-General will from time to time make such further announcements as may be necessary in regard to procedure or any other matters for carrying out the above arrangements.
Churchill rose —. On a point of Order. When a long statement of this kind is being made, Mr. Speaker, which it is impossible to follow, and when the Leader of the Opposition has a copy of it in his hand, is it not within the right of Members of Parliament that they, too, should have a copy so that they may follow it properly?
It has always been the custom of this House that the Leader of the Opposition should be made acquainted 41 with such a statement, Hon. Members hear the statement read. I understand that it is now in the. Vote Office, and any hon. Member who wishes to have a copy can get one. It is, of course, impossible for the House to weigh and measure the full meaning of the most important statement which has just been made to us by the Prime Minister.
I am bound to say that it seemed very difficult to understand, but the White Paper which is in the Vote Office will have to be studied with attention and will probably carry the largest measure of proof to those who are best instructed.
No doubt we shall have a Debate at a suitable moment on this question. I am not asking for any particular date to be fixed at the present moment. I am bound to say, however, that the two conditions foreseen at the time of the Cripps Mission, which was set up under my Administration—namely, first, agreement between the Indian parties and, secondly, a period of Dominion status in which India or any part of it may freely decide whether or not to remain within the association of the British Commonwealth of Nations—seem to be fulfilled.
On a point of Order, Mr. May I ask whether there is any Motion before the House? Surely, this is developing into a Debate and is out of Order. May I respectfully say that this is a matter of considerable importance? Surely, the Opposition party should be permitted to make some passing and brief comments.
I was watching the matter. Of course, it is perfectly true that there is no Motion before the House, but I do think that at this moment there should be a slight amount of latitude. I feel sure hon. Members will not abuse it and I think it is only right. As I was saying, the two principles on which the Cripps Mission stood—namely, agreement and a period of Dominion status with perfect freedom to choose—appear to be fulfilled, as far as I can see from the copy of the White Paper which is now in the Vote Office and which, through the courtesy of the Prime Minister, I received an hour ago.
Even in Russia there are distinctions between the grades which different people occupy. If it should prove to be the case that these two conditions have been maintained in fact and in form, then I say that all parties in this House are equally pledged by the offer and the declaration that we have made, and on these points we can only be well assured by the course of events in the next few weeks and months.
It is quite true that the agreement of the various parties in India has only been achieved on the basis of partition. I gather that is the foundation. Nevertheless, after a reasonable period of deliberation and responsibility, should all these parties decide to remain within the British Commonwealth of Nations, the theme of the unity of India will be preserved, and the many nations and States of India may find their unity within the mysterious circle of the British Crown, just as the self-governing Dominions have done for so many years after all other links with the Mother Country, save those of sentiment, have been dissolved.
It may, therefore, be that through a form of partition, the unity of India may, none the less, be preserved. I do not wish to trespass upon the indulgence of the House but, finally, we must ask ourselves even at this early moment whether, after matters have proceeded thus far—and my opinions about them are well known—any better way can be found of saving India from the blood bath which may stand so near. I cannot doubt that, at first sight, and subject to the unknown factors working out in a favourable manner, it would seem that a settlement on these lines may offer to India some prospect of escape from one of the most hideous calamities which has ever ravaged the vast expanses of Asia.
Naturally, we cannot form opinions upon the very great outlines and the complicated details that have been given; nor can we form decided opinions without knowing what will be the correspondence of the actual facts with what is hoped for from them, by the Government, the Viceroy and others responsible for India.
However, I will say at once, with regard to the right hon. Gentleman's statement about impending legislation, that if the facts correspond to the outlines with which we have been presented this afternoon, and if it is necessary, as I gather it is, that legislation should be 43 introduced to implement speedily the transference of power, on Dominion status terms, to the various parts of India so that they can decide their future for themselves at leisure, it would not be right that such legislation should be deemed contentious, or that any long delays should elapse after it is introduced before it is passed into law.
Therefore, while reserving our full freedom to discuss points of detail, we shall not oppose any Bills to confer Dominion status on the various parts of India, which may be presented to us on the basis of the statement made this afternoon by the Prime Minister. These are matters about which it is extremely difficult to form decided opinions now, but if the hopes which are enshrined in this Declaration should be borne out, great credit will indeed be due, not only to the Viceroy but to the Prime Minister who advised His Majesty to appoint him.
I wish to associate myself with the tributes which have been paid by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodford Mr. In the first place, one would like to point out at once that the Viceroy has shown great gifts of statesmanship and a combination of patience, initiative and energy which is indeed rare.
The Indian Independence Act of was the last legislation of the British Parliament with the intent of creating independent India. Here through this article we are providing you a short note on Independence Act as well as a list of its provisions. The Government of India Act failed to satisfy the Indian demands. In the Congress reiterated its demand to form a Constituent Assembly to frame a Constitution for free India. This demand was raised by the British. The Indian National Congress was opposed to extend any help.
The Congress Party was successful in gathering most of the general electorate seats, but it could no longer effectively insist that it spoke for the entire population of British India. In Secretary of State Pethick-Lawrence personally led a three-man cabinet deputation to New Delhi with the hope of resolving the Congress—Muslim League deadlock and, thus, of transferring British power to a single Indian administration. Cripps was responsible primarily for drafting the ingenious Cabinet Mission Plan, which proposed a three-tier federation for India, integrated by a minimal central-union government in Delhi , which would be limited to handling foreign affairs, communications, defense, and only those finances required to care for such unionwide matters. The subcontinent was to be divided into three major groups of provinces: Group A, to include the Hindu-majority provinces of the Bombay Presidency, Madras, the United Provinces, Bihar, Orissa, and the Central Provinces virtually all of what became independent India a year later ; Group B, to contain the Muslim-majority provinces of the Punjab, Sind, the North-West Frontier, and Balochistan the areas out of which the western part of Pakistan was created ; and Group C, to include the Muslim-majority Bengal a portion of which became the eastern part of Pakistan and in the country of Bangladesh and the Hindu-majority Assam. The group governments were to be virtually autonomous in everything but matters reserved to the union centre, and within each group the princely states were to be integrated into their neighbouring provinces. Local provincial governments were to have the choice of opting out of the group in which they found themselves should a majority of their populace vote to do so. The Hindu-Muslim rioting and killing that started in Calcutta sent deadly sparks of fury, frenzy, and fear to every corner of the subcontinent, as all civilized restraint seemed to disappear.
The Indian Independence Act [ c. 30 (10 & Geo. 6.)] is an Act of the Parliament of The legislature of each dominion was given full powers to make laws for that dominion, including laws having extraterritorial operation. No Act of Indian Independence Bill, · "Indian Independence Act (c)" (PDF).
I desire to make an important statement on Indian policy. A similar statement is being made at the same time in another place, and by the Viceroy in New Delhi. The statement, in the form of a White Paper, will be available this afternoon.
A fter sensing the huge resistance to British rule in India, which undoubtedly emerged from the nonviolent mass movement for independence led by Mahatma Gandhi, the British took a political decision after World War II to leave India and began the decolonisation process. If it had done so, there would have been an anarchy. The British decided to transfer power by legal method, to avoid any discontinuity or hiatus even in the eyes of International law. However, the Indian Independence Act of ; though it constitutes a title to the Constitution of India being a source of power, is the least known even among students of Constitutional law.
Jump to navigation. The Indian Independence Act, which was based on the Mountbatten plan of June 3, was passed by the British parliament on July 5, and received royal assent or approval on July 18, After an extensive and almost a century-long freedom movement, the British were finally convinced that the government and the ruling authority had to be passed on to Indian hands. On February 20, , the British House of Commons had declared their intention of abandoning the authority over the Indian sub-continent. The then-British Prime Minister Clement Attlee announced that Lord Mountbatten will be sent to make the final arrangements to transfer the power.
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Indian Independence io & it GEO. 6. Act, (b) the territories which, at the date of the passing of this. Act, are have full power to make laws for that Dominion, including 4under the Ministers of the Crown (Transfer of Functions) Act.Kirk K. 18.03.2021 at 00:07
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He was asked to become the Governor-General of India after independence, which he accepted for a limited transitional period….