The Indian Independence Act, 1947 - some interesting facts
August 20, 2016

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The Indian Independence Act, 1947 – some interesting facts

After a long and stubborn battle for Independence India finally got independence form a foreign power on 15th of August 1947. On out 70th Independence Day I would like to present some interesting parts of the Indian Independence Act, 1947 the Act that gave freedom officially to India.

Events preceding the Act –

·   On 20 Feb 1947 the then British Prime Minister Clement Atlee declared that the British rule in India would end by June 30, 1948

·   On this news Muslim League started agitation demanding the partition of the country.

·   On June 3, 1947 British Government made it clear that any Constitution framed by the Constituent Assembly of India( formed in 1946) cannot apply to the parts of the country that are not willing to accept it

·   Thus on the same day June 3, 1947 Lord Mountbatten put forth the partition plan known as Mountbatten plan (Dickie bird plan or Balkan plan etc.). the plan was accepted both by the Congress and the Muslim League

Some features of the Act –

1. Provided for the partition of India and creation of two independent dominions of India and Pakistan with right to secede from British Commonwealth. à It is to be noted that there was no different Act for the independence of Pakistanà Pakistan got independence with the same Act of British Parliament by which India got the independence.

2. Abolished the office of viceroy and provided for the office of governor general for each dominion, who were to be appointed by the British King on advice of the dominion cabinet. à Consequently British crown /British government now have no responsibility with respect to the Government of India and Pakistan.

3. The Act empowered the Constituent Assemblies of each dominion to frame and adopt any constitution for their respective nations and to repeal any act of the British Parliament including the Independence Act itself. à Perhaps this is the most interesting part of the Act à Indians ( and Pakistanis) were given freedom to relinquish their freedom.

4.No Act of the British Parliament now extended to the two dominions unless accepted by legislative bodies of the nation concerned.

5.It granted the freedom to the Indian Princely states either to join India or Pakistan or to remain independent à a provision which gave much headache to India and Sardar Patel.

So, finally at the stroke of midnight of 14-15 August, 1947, the British rule came to an end in India and two new independent dominions of India and Pakistan came into being.

Shringi Sharan

Jharkhand Finance Service

Disclaimer – I have dealt only with some of the provisions of the Act. All provisions can’t be dealt in a small article.