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The ‘Parliament of the United Kingdom’ passed the ‘Indian Independence Act’ 1947, which was

sanctioned by the British crown on July 18, 1947. The act was one of the final formalities that
had to be completed before the inevitable split of British India, which would give rise to
Pakistan on August 14 and to the dominion of India on August 15. The act was the direct result
of the ‘3rd June Plan,’ which was proposed by Lord Mountbatten. According to what was also
known as the ‘Mountbatten Plan,’

1. the British Government was in accordance with the partition of British India
2. and that the two governments thereafter would be granted dominion status.

The Partition

His Majesty’s Government hoped for the co-operation of two major political parties in working
out the Cabinet Mission Plan of May 16, 1946, but the hopes remained unfulfilled. The Muslim
League members elected from the Punjab, Bengal and Sind boycotted the Constituent
Assembly, hence there was no justification of applying the Constitution, framed by the
Constituent Assembly to those parts of the country which were reluctant to accept it. In the
later lines, the procedure for ascertaining the wishes of such areas on the issue as to how their
Constitution was to be framed was laid down.

 The Legislative Assemblies of Bengal and the Punjab (excluding the European members)
were to meet each in two parts, one representing the Muslim majority districts and the
other the rest of the provinces. Each part was to decide by a simple majority whether
the province was to be partitioned or not. If either party favored, partition was to be
effected accordingly.

 If partition of the province was opted for, each part of the Assembly had to determine if
it would like to join the Constituent Assembly already established or a new Constituent
Assembly separately established and composed of representatives of those areas which
decided not to participate in the existing Assembly.

 The Legislative Assembly of Sind had to decide at a special meeting whether Sind as a
whole should join the Constituent Assembly at Delhi or a new Constituent Assembly of
areas which did not join it. The Muslim majority area of Sylhet in Assam had to decide
by referendum whether the district in question would like to remain a part of Assam or
join East Bengal which would constitute a part of Pakistan.

 Referendum was to be held in the N.W.F. Province to decide whether that province
would like to join Pakistan or India.
 Baluchistan was also given the right to decide whether or not to remain in the Indian

In case Bengal, Punjab and Assam opted for partition, independent Boundary Commission
was to be appointed to fix the dividing lines between the two parts of the provinces. An
agreement was also to be entered into for dividing the assets and liabilities between the
two Dominions of India and Pakistan. Both the states were to be accorded Dominion Status
in the beginning and were to be entitled to leave the British Commonwealth at a later date
if they so desired.

Indian Independence Act

The Act provided for partition of India and the establishment of two dominions of India and
Pakistan from the 15th day of August 1947. The Indian Independence Act 1947 did not provide
for any new constitution of India. It was an enabling Act - an Act "to enable the representative
of India and- Pakistan to frame their own constitutions and to provide for the exceedingly
difficult period of Transition.

Provisions of the Act

1. The act provided for the end of the British Rule in India on 15 August 1947 and the
establishment of two Dominions of India and Pakistan. The two Dominions were given
the right to secede from the British Commonwealth.
2. The Act abolished the office of the secretary of State for India and transferred his
functions to the secretary of state for commonwealth Affairs.
3. It provided for the appointment of the Governor-General in each of the Dominions. The
Governor-General was to be appointed by the British King on the advice of the cabinet
of the concerned Dominion.
4. Governor-General and the Governors of the provinces were expected to Act on the
advice of the ministers in all matters, including those matters where they could exercise
their special and discretionary powers. Thus they were reduced to the position of
constitutional heads.
5. The Act deprived the Monarch of the right to Veto laws or to ask for greservation of
certain laws for his approval. However, this right was reserved for the Governor-
6. The British king was to drop the title of the Emperor of India.
7. With the creation of the Dominions of India and Pakistan the appointment of civil
services and reservations of seats by the secretary of state was discontinued.
8. The British Government was to transfer all the powers to the Constituent Assemblies of
the two Dominions. No Act of the British parliament could be extended to any Dominion
unless it was adopted by the Legislature of the respective Country as part of its laws.
9. Till a new constitution was framed by each Dominion, all the provinces were to be
administered in accordance with the provisions of the Government of India Act, 1935.
10. The severity of the crown over the Indian states as well as regard to the tribal areas
came to an end with effect from 15 August 1947.

The Indian Independence Act is a landmark in the constitutional history of India. It is the
culminating point in a long Course of events. Lord Samuel described the Act, in the House of
Lords, as “a treaty of peace without war”. it closed the chapter of British rule In India and
ushered the dawn of a free India.