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Q1. The Government of India Act 1935 had the provision for the establishment of an All India Federation at the centre, consisting of Provinces of British India and the Princely states. Discuss. (200 words)

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  • Osho Korde

    • The Act provided for the establishment of an All-India Federation consisting of the Provinces and the Princely States as units.
    • Three Lists: The Act divided the powers between the Centre and the units into items of three lists, namely the Federal List, the Provincial List and the Concurrent List.
    • The Federal List for the Centre consisted of 59 items, the Provincial List for the provinces consisted of 54 items and the Concurrent List for both consisted of 36 items
    • The residuary powers were vested with the Governor-General.
    • The Act abolished the Dyarchy in the Provinces and introduced ‘Provincial Autonomy’.
    • It provided for the adoption of Dyarchy at the Centre.
    • Introduced bicameralism in 6 out of 11 Provinces.
    • These six Provinces were Assam, Bengal, Bombay, Bihar, Madras and the United Province.
    • Provided for the establishment of Federal Court.
    • Abolished the Council of India.

    The term on which a state joined the Federation were to be laid down in the Instrument of Accession. Joining the federation was compulsory for the British Provinces and chief commissioners provinces.

    However, the degree of autonomy introduced at the provincial level was subject to important limitations:
    • The Provincial Governors retained important reserve powers, and
    • The British authorities also retained a right to suspend responsible government.
    The parts of the Act intended to establish the Federation of India never came into operation, due to opposition from rulers of the princely states. The remaining parts of the Act came into force in 1937, when the first elections under the Act were also held.