DR Ambedkar IAS Academy

Government of India Act 1935

Government of India Act of 1935

  • The Act marked a second milestone towards a completely responsible government in India. It was a lengthy and detailed document having 321 Sections and 10 Schedules.
  • Provision for the establishment of an All India Federation to be based on a union of the provinces of British India and the Princely States (It did not come into existence since the Princely States did not give their consent for the union).
  • Division of powers into three lists—Federal, Provincial and Concurrent,
  • Residuary Powers with the Governor-General. 
  • The Act divided the powers between the Centre and units in terms of three lists—Federal List (for Centre, with 59 items), Provincial List (for provinces, with 54 items) and the Concurrent List (for both, with 36 items).
  • It abolished dyarchy in the provinces and introduced ‘provincial autonomy’ in its place. The provinces were allowed to act as autonomous units of administration in their defined spheres. Moreover, the Act introduced responsible governments in provinces, that is, the governor was required to act with the advice of ministers responsible to the provincial legislature. This came into effect in 1937 and was discontinued in 1939.
  • ‘Discretionary Powers’ of the Governor-General and the Governors.
  • Provincial Autonomy—the introduction of responsible government in the provinces and abolition of Dyarchy in them. Provincial Legislatures were made bicameral.
  • It introduced bicameralism in six out of eleven provinces. Thus, the legislatures of Bengal, Bombay, Madras, Bihar, Assam and the United Provinces were made bicameral consisting of a legislative council (upper house) and a legislative assembly (lower house). However, many restrictions were placed on them.
  • It provided for the adoption of dyarchy at the Centre. Consequently, the federal subjects were divided into reserved subjects and transferred subjects. However, this provision of the Act did not come into operation at all.
  • It abolished the Council of India, established by the Government of India Act of 1858. The secretary of state for India was provided with a team of advisors.
  • It extended franchise. About 10 per cent of the total population got the voting right. 
  • Extension of the principle of separate electorates to Sikhs, Europeans, Indian Christians and Anglo-Indians. 
  • It further extended the principle of communal representation by providing separate electorates for depressed classes (scheduled castes), women and labour (workers).
  • It provided for the establishment of a Reserve Bank of India to control the currency and credit of the country.
  • It provided for the establishment of not only a Federal Public Service Commission but also a Provincial Public Service Commission and Joint Public Service Commission for two or more provinces.
  • It provided for the establishment of a Federal Court, which was set up in 1937, with a Chief Justice and not more than 6 judges. 

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