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Government of India Act 1919:

The Government of India act of 1919 was passed by the Parliament of the United
Kingdom in order to ensure the participation of natives in the Government of India.
The Secretary of State for India, Sir Edwin Montagu and the Viceroy, Lord
Chelmsford, jointly prepared a report, which served as the basis for creation of the
legislation, Government of India Act of 1919.
The Government of India Act of 1919 incorporated the idea of a dual form of
government referred as diarchy, for the major provinces. The Act involved a
complex set of instructions. An example can be set as the provincial legislative
council of each major province was instructed to monitor the activities of provincial
ministers. The Government of India Act of 1919 also stated that a High
Commissioner who resided in London and would represent India there in Great
Britain. The act was enacted for ten years from 1919 to 1929.
This reform was an idea of Sir Edwin Montagu and Lord Chelmsford. As a part of
reformation the imperial and provincial council was enlarged and a new system of
diarchy Government was introduced. As per the Act, the Viceroy controlled the
areas such as defense; communications and foreign affairs and the Government
responsible for the provincial Council would control Health and Education. Also there
was a bicameral legislature situated at the center, which consisted of legislative
assembly that had hundred and forty-four members out of which forty-one were
nominated. There was also Council of States that consisted of thirty-four elected
and twenty-six nominated members. The Princely States used to check political
parties. The Indian National Congress was not satisfied with this law and termed this
as `disappointing`. A special session was held in Bombay under Hasan Imama and
the reforms were reprobated. However, some other leaders like Surendranath
Banerjee welcomed the reforms and left Congress to form Indian Liberal Federation
that played a minor role in subsequent Indian political affairs.
Some highlighted Features of the Act
The salary of Secretary of State was transferred from Indian to British Exchequer.
Some of the functions of Secretary of State were taken away and given to the High
Commissioner of India who was to be appointed and paid by the Government of
India.
The number of the Indians in the Governor General's Executive Council was raised
to three in a Council of 8. The Indian members were entrusted with departments like
that of law, education, labour, health and industries.
The new scheme of Government envisaged a division of subjects into the Central
List and the Provincial List.

Instead of single-bicameral house was created: the Council of State and the
Legislative Assembly, Diarchy was introduced in Provinces: Subject of
Administration was divided into two lists: (i) Transferred and (ii) Reserved.
The Transferred list was administered by the Governor acting with ministers
appointed by him from among the elected members of the legislature and who were
to be responsible to the legislature and were to hold office during his pleasure. The
Transferred Lists are:

(1) Education, (2) Libraries, (3) Museums, (4) Local Self-Government, (5)
Medical Relief, (6) Public Health and Sanitation, (7) Agriculture, (8)
Cooperative Societies, (9) Public Works, (10) Veterinary, (11) Fisheries, (12)
Excise, (13) Industries, (14) Weights and Measure, (15) Public Entertainment,
(16) Religion and Charitable Endowments, etc.

The reserved subjects were administered by the Governor with the help of the
members of the Executive Council who were nominated by him and who were not
responsible to the legislature. The Reserved Items are:

(1) Land Revenue, (2) Famine Relief, (3) Justice, (4) Police, (5) Pensions, (6)
Criminal Tribes, (7) Printing Presses, (8) Irrigation and Waterways, (9) Mines,
(10) Factories, (11) Electricity, (12) Labour Welfare and Industrial Disputes,
(13) Motor Vehicles, (14) Minor Ports, etc.

Changes on the Legislative Side: Now the Provincial Legislatures was to be called
Legislative Councils.
Of the total number of a members of a Provincial Council, at least 70% were to be
elected, while not more than 20 per cent were to be officials; the remaining 10 per
cent were to be nominated non-officials.
Powers of Governor-General: The prior sanction was required to introduce Bills
relating to certain matters.
He had the power to veto or reserve for the consideration of crown any Bill passed
by
the
Indian
legislature.
He had the power of certifying any Bill or any grant refused to be passed or made
by
the
legislature.
He could make ordinances, He had the power to amend, refuse, and accent but
Governor General in Council could restore it by simply declaring that it was essential
to discharge of his responsibilities.
So far as transferred subjects in the provinces were concerned, the power of
superintendence, direction and over local Governments, vested in the Governor

General in Council could be exercised only by specific purposes mentioned in the


rules.