Government of India Act, 1935 is a significant constitutional instrument which played a vital role in shaping the politics of the then sub-continent ruled by the British. This was the Act which inherited Pakistan after coming into being in 1947 which subsisted till the our own Constitution of 1956 was created. The state affairs were run in the light of this important instrument during the interregnum period. The Government of India Act 1935 was an extensive constitutional reform that aimed to restructure the governance of British India. It was the fourth major constitutional enactment passed by the British Parliament for India, and it was designed to introduce a federal system in India. An overview of the key aspects of the Act is given below:
The Act introduced a federal system consisting of two tiers: British Indian Provinces and Princely States. The provinces were further classified into Governer’s provinces and Chief Commissioner’s provinces.
The Act also granted more Provincial Autonomy to than before which substantially pushed the British rule back and the indigenous leadership started enjoying more power and control over the state affairs. The British only retained control over the defense, and foreign affairs.
The Act also provided for a legislature at federal level which was consisting of two houses: upper house and lower house. Most of the members of the federal legislature were elected but certain number of seats were also reserved for members from princely states.
Governors at the provincial level were introduced who duty was to oversee the administrative affairs of the province and represent the British in the province. In fact the governor was a representative of British rule in the provinces.
A diarchy system at the provincial level was introduced in the Act which divided the affairs of the provinces between the elected ministers and the governor as a representative of British rule. However, the subjects reserved for the governor were limited and defined. These were some key aspects of the 1935 Act, however this not he exhaustive list. For better understanding, kindly give a read to the text of the Act. The actual text of the Act is given below:1935 (1)