In this article we will discuss about the Indian Independence Act, 1947.
Once the whole partition scheme was agreed by major political parties, stage was set for introducing Independence Bill in the House of Commons, which was introduced on July 4, 1947. This was the culmination of India’s struggle against colonialism and imperialism.
It was also the victory of communal forces in our national struggle, because the Act provided for the partition of India and formation of an independent and sovereign state of Pakistan. It was also the victory of forces which followed the policy of ‘Divide and Rule’ on the one hand and ‘Divide and Quit’ on the other.
The Act established that by deliberate manoeuvring a ruling party with the co-operation of minority could veto very effectively the will and wishes of even a strong majority, on one pretext or the other. The Act of 1947 was not a constitution in any manner or even did not provide for any constitution on broad basis. On the other hand, it was an Act which enabled the British government to withdraw from India.
The main provisions of Indian Independence Act, 1947 were as under:
(a) The British government will leave India on 15th August, 1947.
(b) India will be divided into two sovereign states of India and Pakistan and both these states will become sovereign on this very day.
(c) The powers previously exercised by the British government in India will be transferred to both these states.
(d) Punjab and Bengal will be divided and its territories will be demarcated by a boundary commission to be headed by Mr. Redcliff.
(e) Office of the Secretary of State for India will be abolished.
(f) Provision was made for the Governor-General for each dominion, who was to be appointed by the Queen of England on the advice of the Dominion government. He was not to act in his individual judgment or discretion but will act merely as constitutional head of the state.
(g) Each Dominion was to have a sovereign legislature for rule making purpose. No law made by British Parliament was automatically to apply to India.
(h) A bill passed by the Dominions legislature could not be disallowed by His Majesty.