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Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms (An Old and Rare Book)

Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms (An Old and Rare Book)
Item Code: NAI484
Author: V.P. Menon
Publisher: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
Language: English
Edition: 1965
Pages: 60
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
weight of the book: 150 gms

About the Author

VAPAL PANGUNNI MENON found himself placed in the midst of the active life of the Government Secretariat at Delhi, when he joined service in 1914. In the years that followed, as he rose steadily in the ladder of official gradation and came to shoulder increasing responsibilities, the keen intellect behind his genial-looking face developed political sagacity and legal acumen of a rare order.

Thus in the fateful years during the World War II and after the end of it, he had the duty of advising the Governor-General on the problems confronting him over the transfer of power into Indian hands. Lord Wavell appointed him as Secretary to the Governor-General (Public) and later as Secretary to the Cabinet. As Secretary to the Governor-General (Public), he was the only Adviser to the Governor-General as to the manner in which he should exercise his control over the Governors of Provinces and also with regard to filling up of appointments which the Governor- General was to make under the provisions of the Government of India Act, 1935.

Lord Mountbatten, who attached great importance to Sri Menon's advice, acknowledged his work with profuse appreciation. For instance, at the banquet in Rashtrapati Bhavan which the Prime Minister gave to Lord Mountbatten during his recent visit (May 1965), Lord Mountbatten, in his speech, paid a most moving tribute to Sri Menon for what India owed to him during the Transfer of Power, 1947-48.

After the advent of independence, it was Sri Menon who, as Secretary and Adviser to the Ministry of States, bore the brunt of the stupendous task of the integration of the various princely states into the Union of India under the able directions of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

It was Sri Menon's intention to write a companion volume on the Government of India Act, 1935. Unfortunately, he passed away on January 1, 1966, before he could do so.



Our country is carrying out a fateful experiment in democratic government, and light from any source on its history and principles should be welcome. I have, therefore, undertaken to publish compact but fairly detailed accounts of the principal stages in recent constitutional history. My Birla Endowment Lectures, given in Bombay in December 1963, under the auspices of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, dealt mainly with politics and only briefly with constitutional arrangements. These accounts will supplement the lectures.

The present volume deals with the Montagu-Chelmsford reform scheme, which came into force in 1920 and remained in force as regards the Provinces until 1937 and as regards the Government of India till 1947. This constitution was a definite landmark in our constitutional history. It represented a decisive step forward from the Morley-Minto constitution which preceded it, in that it introduced the vital principle of the responsibility of part of the executive to an Indian electorate. After it there could be no going back to despotism; there could only be further advance, however slow or fast it might be, towards full democracy.

The Montagu-Chelmsford scheme is, therefore, of considerable interest. But little is generally known about it. The text-books quote from the Government of India Act, 1919, but the Act gives only half the story, or less than half, for it does not include the Rules framed under the Act, and passed by Parliament, which went a long way to determine how the Act should operate in practice. The present account covers the Act and also the Rules, and touches upon all points of importance.




  Introduction 3
1 The Government of India Act, 1919 9
2 The Morley-Minto Reforms 9
3 Earlier Steps to be taken in Provinces 10
4 Classification of Subjects 11
5 Reserved and Transferred Subjects 12
6 The Governor 13
7 The Executive Council 13
8 The Governor in Council 14
9 The Ministers 14
10 Aid to the Governor 15
11 Resignation and Removal of Ministers 16
12 Joint Working of the parts of the Government 17
13 Corporate Responsibility of Ministers 18
14 Freedom of Opinion 18
15 Financial Arrangements 19
16 Public Account 20
17 Allocation of Revenues 21
18 Taxation 22
19 Loans 23
20 Advances from the Government of India 23
21 Expenditure on Transferred Subjects 24
22 Finance Department 25
23 Committee on Public Accounts 26
24 Audit 27
25 The Public Services 28
26 Classification of Services 28
27 Recruitment, Conditions of Service and Control 29
28 Public Service Commission 31
29 Control by the Government of India and Secretary of State 32
30 Control by Governor-General 33
31 Agency 34
32 The Provincial Legislature 34
33 Voting 36
34 Validity of Elections; Corrupt Practices 36
35 Penalisation of Election Offences... 39
36 Legislative Powers of Local Legislatures 40
37 Introduction of Bills; Previous Sanction 41
38 Assent to Bills and Reservation of Bills... 42
39 Financial Powers of Provincial Legislatures 43
40 Legislation on and Financial Provision for Reserved Subjects 44
41 Procedure of Councils 45
42 President 48
43 Duration of Councils 48
44 Backward Tracts 48
45 45.The Central Executive 49
46 Executive Council of Governor-General 50
47 Control of Parliament 50
48 Agency Work 51
49 Council of Secretary of State 51
50 The Indian Legislature 52
51 Council of State 53
52 Election Procedure 55
53 Financial Powers 55
54 Legislation 56
55 Demarcation of Spheres 57
56 Assent to Bills 58
57 Conduct of Business 59
58 Duration of Legislative Assembly and of State Council 59
59 Statutory Commission 60
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