At the eve of Golden Jubilee celebration of King Edward in 1908, the British Government announced that it desired to see democracy progressing in India by offering more rights to Indian people. Reforms introduced by the British Government under this vision in 1909 are called Minto-Morley Reforms.
To suggest Constitutional reforms for India, a committee under the leadership of Viceroy Lord Minto and Secretary of State for India, Lord Morley was setup. The reforms suggested by the committee were presented in a Bill to British parliament which were approved in a short span of time and were enforced in India in 1909 after receiving royal assent. These reforms are called Minto-Morley Reforms 1909 or Indian Council Act 1909.
Provision Of Minto-Morley Reforms/Indian Council Act 1909
The provisions of Indian Council Act 1909 are present below in headings form. There were total Nine provisions.
- Acceptance Of Muslims Separate Electorate Demand
- Preparation Of Separate Electorate Rolls
- Expansion Of Legislative Councils
- Increased Council Authority
- Viceroy Council’s Membership (60)
- Membership Of Provinces (Bengal, UP, Bihar, Bombay, Madras, Orissa = 50 members), (Punjab, Burma, Assam = 30 members)
- Inclusion Of Indians In Viceroy And Provincial Executive Councils
- Allowed Local Bodies, Trade Unions And Universities To Elect Their Members
- Appointment of Lieutenant Governors (Bombay, Bengal, Madras). Form Own Councils
Defects In Minto-Morley Reforms
The Indian Council Act 1909 was not free of defects. It had some inherent defects which are given below.
- Mode of electing representatives was not present
- Could not developed sense of accountability among representatives
- Squeezed voting rights made electorate too narrow and restricted
- Real authority of legislation was in the hands of nominated members and government
- No control of legislative bodies over government agencies
- Vast authority of central government in financial sphere
- Central government controlled provincial expenditures which could cut expenditures at will
Importance Of Indian Council Act 1909
Though Minto-Morley Reforms 1909 had many defects but its importance cannot be ignored simply because of these inherited flaws. The importance of Minto-Morley Reforms 1909 both for Muslims, Hindus and India have been given below.
- It helped a lot in easing down the mounting turmoil in the country
- The British government admit the importance of Muslim community and an important status was given to them in Subcontinent politics
- The long standing demand of separate electorate of Muslim community of India was accepted
- Muslims were given the right of double vote. They could vote in general constituencies as well.
- Minto-Morley Reforms gave impetus to constitutional development in India