Nehru Report, 1928

The Nehru Report of 28-30 August 1928 was a memorandum outlining a proposed new dominion status constitution for India. It was prepared by a committee of the All Parties Conference chaired by Motilal Nehru with his son Jawaharlal Nehru acting as secretary. There were nine other members of this committee. The final report was signed by Motilal Nehru, Ali Imam, Tej Bahadur Sapru, Madhav Shrihari Aney, Mangal Singh, Shuaib Qureshi, Subhas Chandra Bose, and G. R. Pradhan. Qureshi disagreed with some of the recommendations.

 

The constitution outlined by the Nehru Report was for Indian enjoying dominion status within the British Commonwealth. Some of the important elements of the report:

  • Unlike the eventual Government of India Act 1935, it contained a Bill of Rights.
  • All power of government and all authority – legislative, executive and judicial – are derived from the people and the same shall be exercised through organizations established by, or under, and in accord with, this Constitution.
  • There shall be no state religion; men and women shall have equal rights as citizens.
  • There should be the federal form of government with residuary powers vested in the center.(Some scholars, such as Moore 1988 considered the Nehru Report proposal as essentially unitary rather than federal);
  • It included a description of the machinery of government including a proposal for the creation of a Supreme Court and a suggestion that the provinces should be linguistically determined.
  • It did not provide for separate electorates for any community or weightage for minorities. Both of these were liberally provided in the eventual Government of India Act 1935. However, it did allow for the reservation of minority seats in provinces having minorities of at least ten percent, but this was to be in strict proportion to the size of the community.

  • The language of the Union shall be Indian, which may be written either in Devanagari (Hindi/Sanskrit), Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali or Tamil in character. The use of the English language shall be permitted.