General Studies IIConstitutionHistorical Background

Government of India Act of 1919

image 1

Government of India Act of 1919 also known as Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms/Montford

Historical Background:

  • Aggressive policy of Indian Leaders like Lokamanya Tilak’s Swaraj Movement
  • Immense pressure from Indian masses for the Indian autonomy.
  • Lucknow Pact: Agreement between INC and Muslim League in December 1916
  • Demand by INC and ML to increase the number of elected seats on the councils.
  • Demand of Separation of the executive from the judiciary
  • On August 20, 1917, the British Government declared, for the first time, that its objective was the gradual introduction of responsible government in India.
  • The sole purpose of this Act was to ensure Indians of their representation in the Government.

Provisions of Government of India Act of 1919

  • Demarcating and separating the central and provincial subjects, it relaxed the central control over the provinces
  • Division of Subjects’: Further divided the provincial subjects into two parts—transferred and reserved subjects 

The provincial subjects   
Transferred subjectsGovernor with the aid of ministersResponsible to the LCEducation, health, local government, industry, agriculture, excise ,etc
Reserved subjectsGovernor and his executive councilNot responsible to the LCLaw and order, finance, land revenue, irrigation ,etc

  • Diarchy“: The Act introduced diarchy (rule of two individuals/parties) for the executive at the level of the provincial government.
  • The diarchy was implemented in eight provinces:
    • Assam, Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, Central Provinces, United Provinces, Bombay, Madras and Punjab.

  • Bicameral Legislature: For the first time, bicameralism and direct elections in the country
  • CLC  divided into two—-    Upper House (Council of State) and Lower House (Legislative Assembly 145)
  • The majority of members of both the Houses were chosen by direct election
  • It granted franchise to a limited number of people on the basis of property, tax or education(17364)

  • Women were also given the right of vote  (not entitled to become its members)
  • Three members of the Viceroy’s executive Council (other than the commander-in-chief) were to be Indian.

  • Providing separate electorates for Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo-Indians and Europeans
  • Created a new office of the High Commissioner for India in London

  • The establishment of a public service commission
  • Central Public Service Commission was set up in 1926 for recruiting civil servants

  • The  formation of Public Account Committee (1921)

  • The appointment of a statutory commission to inquire into and report on its working after ten years of its coming into force

Simon Commission

  • November 8, 1927; Indian Statutory Commission
  • To review the  working of the Act of 1919
  • Head: Sir John Simon
  • Seven Members
  • All the parties boycotted the commission


  • Submitted its report in 1930
  • Recommended the abolition of dyarchy
  • Extension of responsible government in the provinces
  • Establishment of a federation of British India and princely states
  • Continuation of communal electorate and so on

Further Events:

  • Three round table conferences
  • ‘White Paper on Constitutional Reforms’
  • Joint Select Committee of the British Parliament
  • Government of India Act of 1935
  • Communal Award: In August 1932, Ramsay MacDonald extended it to the depressed classes (scheduled castes)
  • Poona Pact

Source: M. Laxmikant

THE COMPANY RULE (1773–1858)THE CROWN RULE (1858–1947)
1. Regulating Act of 17731. Government of India Act of 1858
2. Pitt’s India Act of 17842. Indian Councils Act of 1861
3. Charter Act of 18333. Indian Councils Act of 1892
4. Charter Act of 18534. Indian Councils Act of 1909
 5. Government of India Act of 1919
 6. Government of India Act of 1935
 7. Indian Independence Act of 1947


Leave a Reply

Open chat
Hello Dear Aspirant,
Join our whatsapp group here to get Daily Newspapers, Magazines, Monthly, Question Banks and much more..
Just ping us your Name..
See you then..!!!