The Indian Independence Act 1947 was the statute (10 and 11 Geo VI, c. 30) enacted by the Parliament of the United Kingdom promulgating the partition of India and the independence of the dominions of Pakistan and India. The Act received royal assent on 18 July 1947.
The legislation was formulated by the government of Prime Minister Clement Attlee, after representatives of the Indian National Congress, the Muslim League, and the Sikh community came to an agreement with the Viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten of Burma, on what has come to be known as the 3 June Plan or Mountbatten Plan. Principal points
Passed on 15 June 1947, the Act stipulated that:
* Two independent dominions, India and Pakistan shall be set up in India . * The dominions would be set up on a fixed date: the fifteenth of August 1947. * The responsibility as well as suzerainty of the government of the United Kingdom shall cease on fifteenth of August 1947. * That all Indian princely states shall be released from their official commitments and treaty relationships with the British Empire, and will be free to join either dominion. * Both Dominions will be completely self-governing in their internal affairs, foreign affairs and national security, but the British monarch will continue to be their head of state, represented by the Governor-General of India and a new Governor-General of Pakistan. Both Dominions shall convene their Constituent Assemblies and write their respective constitutions.
* Both Dominions will be members of the British Commonwealth, but free to leave whenever they please.
* The British monarch shall be permitted to remove the title of Emperor of India from the Royal Style and Titles. King George VI subsequently removed the title by Order in council on 22 June 1948.
Salient features of the act
1. Two new dominions: Two new dominions were to emerge from the Indian Union, Pakistan and India. 2. Appointed Date: 15 August 1947 was declared as the appointed date for the partition. 3. Territories:
1. Pakistan: East Bengal, West Punjab, Sind, and Chief Commissioner’s Province of Baluchistan. 2. The fate of North West Frontier Province was subject to the result of referendum. 3. Bengal & Assam:
1. The province of Bengal as constituted under the Government of India Act 1935 ceased to exist; 2. In lieu thereof two new provinces were to be constituted, to be known respectively as East Bengal and West Bengal. 3. The fate of District Sylhet, in the province of Assam, was to be decided in a referendum. 4. Punjab:
1. The province as constituted under as constituted under the Government of India Act 1935 ceased to exist; 2. Two new provinces were to be constituted, to be known respectively as West Punjab & East Punjab 4. The boundaries of the new provinces were to be determined by, whether before or after the appointed date, by the award of a boundary commission to be appointed by the Governor General. 5. Constitution for the New Dominions: until the time of framing of new constitution, the new dominions and the provinces thereof were to be governed by the Government of India Act 1935. (Temporary Provisions as to the Government of Each New Dominion.) 6. The Governors General of the new dominions:
1. For each of the new dominion a new Governor General was to be appointed by the Crown, subject to the law of the legislature of either of the new dominions. 2. Same person as Governor General of both dominions: if unless and until provision to the contrary was made by a law of the legislature of either of the new dominions, the same person could be the Governor General of both. 7. Powers of Governor General: (Section-9)
1. The Governor General was empowered to bring this Act in force. 2. Division of territories, powers, duties, rights, assets, liabilities, etc., was the responsibility of Governor General 3. To adopt, amend, Government of India Act 1935, as the Governor General may consider it necessary. 4. power to introduce any change was until 31 March 1948, after that it was open to the constituent assembly to modify or adopt the same Act. (Temporary Provisions as to the Government of Each New Dominion.) 5. Governor General had full powers to give assent to any law. 8. Legislation for the new dominions:
1. The existing legislative setup was allowed to continue as Constitution making body as well as a legislature. (Temporary Provisions as to the Government of Each New Dominion.) 2. The legislature of each dominion was given full powers to make laws for that dominion, including laws having extraterritorial operation. 3. No Act of Parliament of UK passed after the appointed date would be extended to the territories of new dominions. 4. No law and provision of any law made by the legislature of the new ominions shall be void or inoperative on the ground that it is repugnant to the law of England. 5. The Governor General of each dominion had full powers to give assent in His Majesty’s name to any law of the legislature. [Configuration of Pakistan’s Constitution Assembly (CAP I): 69 members of the central legislature + 10 immigrant members= 79] 9. Consequences of setting up of the new dominions:
1. His Majesty’s Government lost all the responsibility to the new dominions 2. The suzerainty of His Majesty’s Government over the Indian States lapsed. 3. All the treaties or agreements in force at the passing of the Act lapsed. 4. The title of “Emperor of India” was dropped from the titles of British Crown. 5. The office of Secretary of State for India was abolished and the provisions of GOI Act 1935 relating to the appointments to the civil service or civil posts under the crown by the secretary of the state ceased to operate 10. Civil servants: Section 10 provided for the continuance of service of the government servants appointed on or before 15 August 1947 under the Governments of new Dominions with full benefits. 11. Armed Forces: Sections 11, 12, & 13 dealt with the future of Indian Armed Forces. A Partition Committee was formed on 7 June 1947, with two representatives from each side and the viceroy in the chair, to decide about the division thereof. As soon as the process of partition was to start it was to be replaced by a Partition Council with a similar structure. 12. First and Second Schedules:
1. First Schedule listed the districts provisionally included in the new province of East Bengal: 1. Chittagong Division: Chittagong, Noakhali & Tippera.
2. Dacca Division: Bakarganj, Dacca, Faridpur, & Mymensingh. 3. Presidency Division: Jessor, Murshidabad & Nadia
4. Rajshahi Division: Bogra, Dinajpur, Malda, Rajshahi & Rangpur. 2. Second Schedule listed the districts provisionally included in the new province of West Punjab: 1. Lahore Division: Gujranwala, Gurdaspur, Lahore, Sheikhupura & Sialkot. 2. Rawalpindi Division: Attock, Gujrat, Jehlum, Rawalpindi & Shahpur. 3. Multan Division: Dera Ghazi Khan, Jhang, Lyallpur, Montgomery, Multan & Muzaffargarh 13. Princely States of India: there were a total of 562 princely states in India. Mountbatten in his press conference on 4 June 1947 gave the framework on their fate: 1. Indian States were independent in treaty relations with Britain 2. On 15 August 1947 the paramountancy of British Crown was to lapse 3. Consequently the princely states would assume independent status 4. The states would be free to choose one or other constituent assembly