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.
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Morley-Minto Reforms (Indian Councils Act 1909)

To restore the stability of British Raj after Lord Curzon’s Bengal partition, INDIAN COUNCILS ACT 1909 also known as Morley Minto reform, passed in British parliament in leadership of John Morley, the Liberal Secretary of State for India,

Major Provisions of Morley-Minto Reforms

The Act amended the Indian Councils Act 1861 and the Indian Councils Act 1892:

1. The members of the Legislative Councils, both in the centre and in the provinces, were to be of four categories: ex officio members (Governor General and the members of their Executive Councils), nominated official members (those nominated by the Governor General and were government officials), nominated non-official members (nominated by the Governor General but were not government officials) and elected members (elected by different categories of Indian people).

2. The maximum number of nominated and elected members of the Legislative Council at the Center was increased from 16 to 69, excluding ex officio members.

3. The maximum number of nominated and elected members of the provincial legislative councils, under a governor or lieutenant governor, was also increased. It was fixed as 50 in Bengal, Bombay, Madras, United Provinces, and Eastern Bengal and Assam, and 30 in Punjab, Burma, and any lieutenant-governor province created thereafter. Legislative councils were not created for provinces under a chief commissioner.

4. The right of separate electorate was given to the Muslims.

5. Official members were to form the majority but in provinces, nonofficial members would be in majority.

6. The members of the Legislative Councils were permitted to discuss budgets, suggest amendments and even vote on them except items that were included as non-vote items. They were also entitled to ask supplementary questions during the legislative proceedings.

7. The Secretary of State for India was empowered to increase the number of the Executive Councils of Madras and Bombay from two to four.

8. Two Indians were nominated to the Council of the Secretary of State for Indian Affairs.

9. The Governor-General was empowered to nominate one Indian member to his Executive Council.