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Old Sunday, July 10, 2011
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Government Of India Act 1935

Main Features Of The Act 1935
i) Provincial Part
ii) Federal Part
Drawbacks/Critical Analysis


After the failure of Round Table Conference, the British government became much clear about the Indian problems. In this regard, in 1935, a bill was furnished in British parliament which was passed immediately. It was known as Government Of India Act 1935. This Act contained 14 parts (32 section) and 10 schedules and consisted of Two parts. Part I pertained the provincial subjects and Part II contained federal list of subjects. This Act came into operation on 1st April, 1937 except part II.

Main Features Of The Indian Act 1935:

a) Provincial Part Of The Act:
i) Provinces were given more power and authority and for the first time provinces were made separate entities.
ii) The system of Dynasty was abolished from the Provinces and introduced in the centre.
iii) Three lists of Subjects were drawn up:
a) The Federal List
b) The Provincial List
c) The Concurrent List

iv) Provincial legislatures were given the power of legislation in the provincial and concurrent subjects.
v) Provincial executive was handed over to the representatives of the people who were accountable before the provincial legislatures.
vi) The country was divided into 11 provinces.
vii) Responsible Parliamentary system was introduced in the provinces. Provinces were given full autonomy. ministers were to be chosen by the representatives of the people.
viii) Every province was given a council of ministers whose advice was binding on the Governor. However, in the discharge of his duties the governors were responsible before Governor-General.
ix) Governors were given special powers for the protection of the rights of minorities.

b) Federal Part:

i) Diarchy was introduced at the centre.
ii) At the centre a bicameral federal legislature was proposed and its members were to be elected indirectly by the Provincial Legislatures.
iii) For the Council of State direct election was proposed.
iv) Communal electorate were to be continued and allocation of seats was to be proposed.
v) Governor-General was given the special powers of issuing ordinance and suspension of constitution if time demanded.
vi) Defence, Finance and Foreign Affairs departments were kept reserved to be administered by Governor-General with the advice of three advisors to be appointed by the Governor-General and responsible to him and not to the legislature.
vii) The Cabinet of Ministers must also be represented by the important minority communities.

Drawbacks Of The Act/Critical Analysis

The federal system which was introduced by the Act of 1935 was defective in many ways:
i) There was no guarantee to the individual liberties neither it could give a workable dominion status.
ii) The people were not given their rights.
iii) The system of diarchy which had failed in the provinces was introduced in the centre without any perspective results.
iv) All authority was vested in the Parliament which was under the British influence.
v) Vast authority was given to the Governors in the provinces and to the Viceroy in the centre which was against the principles of democracy and provincial autonomy.
vi) The Ministers of State could interfere in the Government services without any reason.


The Act of 1935 failed to satisfy various sections of the country. The political leaders of India rejected it as it could not meet the demands of different political factions. Quaid-e-Azam called it as a defective document. Rajagopalachari, too, considered it as worse than the system of diarchy.
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