enabled certain recognised bodies and associations to recommend candidates
who, even though there was no obligation to accept them, were in practice
rarely rejected. Provision was also made for some members to be elected in
accordance with regulations made under the Act with regard to the principle
of representation. A necessary corollary of this was the provision for separate
electorates for Muslims, landholders, chambers of commerce and universities
on the plea that ‘with varying and conflicting interests, representation in the
European sense was an obvious impossibility’. The separate electorates thus
introduced for Muslims were later viewed by the Simon Commission as ‘a
cardinal problem and ground of controversy at every revision of the Indian
electoral system’.
    Apart from their constitution, the functions of the councils also underwent
a change. They could now, for instance, discuss the budget before it was
finally settled, propose resolutions on it and divide upon those resolutions.
The budget apart, members could discuss matters of public importance
through resolutions and divisions. Additionally, the right to ask questions was
enlarged and supplementaries allowed. It may be noted that the resolutions
were in the nature of recommendations and were not binding on the
    A much trumpeted change was the appointment of an Indian to the
Executive Council of the Governor-General; Indians were also appointed to
the councils in Madras and Bombay. Satyendra Prasanna Sinha, later Lord
Sinha, was the first Law Member. Two Indians were appointed to the Council
of the Secretary of State in London. In Madras and Bombay, the Executive
Councils were enlarged from 2 to 4. Such councils were also to be formed in
provinces ruled by Lieutenant Governors. An executive council was thus
constituted in Bengal (1909), Bihar, Orissa (1912) and the United Provinces
Evaluation of the Act
The 1909 Reforms did not envisage a responsible government. The executive
could not be driven out of office by an adverse vote of the legislature and the
Governor-General-in-Council remained responsible to the British Parliament
through the Secretary of State for India. It was this bottleneck which made