in an atmosphere of boycott and non-
• Meanwhile, Lord Irwin’s announcement on Dominion Status as the
goal of India’s political aspirations and the decision to call a Round
Table Conference made the Simon report look irrelevant.
• After the last session of the Round Table Conference was over, the
Secretary of State affirmed that (i) the new constitutional structure
would be a federation if 50 per cent of Indian States, in terms of
number and population, acceded; (ii) Muslims would be assured one-
third of British India’s representation in the central legislature; (iii)
Sind and Orissa would be separate provinces.
• Later, in 1933, these proposals were embodied in a White Paper. It
rested on three major principles as the bases for the proposed
constitutional set-up: a federation, provincial autonomy and special
responsibilities and safeguards vested in the executive, both at the
center and in the provinces.
Longest and Most Complicated Legislation The White Paper proposals
provided the basis for the new legislation which, insofar as it stirred up
controversy, was handed over to a Joint Select Committee of both Houses of
Parliament, with Lord Linlithgow as chairman. Twenty-one delegates from
British India and the Indian States were associated as assessors. The
Committee submitted its report in November 1934.
• The Government of India Bill, based on its recommendations, was
passed by the Parliament and received Royal assent on 2 August,
• The new Act comprised 451 clauses with 15 schedules, making it the
longest and the most complicated piece of legislation ever adopted by
the British Parliament.
• Its two notable features were: absence of a preamble and a proposal to
prescribe the franchise, subject to Parliament’s approval.
The Act of 1935 visualised the creation of a federal structure of government.
In order to do so, it wanted first to break the existing British Indian
government into autonomous provinces and then unite them in a federal
framework expected to include