Thursday, January 12, 2012

Morley-Minto Reform, 1909

The British had enforced their colonial rule by three methods; 1. Repression cum reform, 2. Rally the moderates, and 3. Divide and rule; Neither Morley nor Minto looked upon ruthless repression as the sole means of restoring peace and order. They installed a reform in order to enlist the sympathy and support of the more moderate section of the people. The essential features of the reforms may be described as follows; 1. The appointment of Satyendra Prasanna Sinha as an Indian member as the Viceroy's Executive Council  (born at Raipur in March 1863. His father was a rich and aristocratic Kayastha. After Lincoln's Inn he was called to the Bar in 1886 and returned to Calcutta. While there he acquired a large practice and in 1903 became the Standing Counsel of the Government of India, overriding the claims of an English Barrister. He was the first Indian to become the Advocate-General of Bengal (1905), also the first Indian to enter the Governor General's Executive Council (1909) which for so long had been the preserve of Englishmen. This, however, meant a great financial loss to him. Due to a difference of opinion with the Government over the Press Bill he tendered his resignation but later withdrew it on request. He returned to the Bar in 1910.

Satyendra was a liberal in outlook. Due to the influence perhaps of the Tagore family, he became a supporter of the Brahmo Samaj. A moderate in politics, he was a firm believer in constitutional methods.). 2. The appointment of an Indian member in Provincial Exdecutive Councils, and sanctions for the creation of such Councilwhere they id not exist.3. The enlargement of Legislative Council, both at the centre and the provinces by an increase of both nominated and elected members.In the Act of 1909, the composition of the new Councils was based on two fundamental principles. First, that the Governor General's Legislative Council must have a 'substantial', though not an 'overwhlming', of officials. Secondly, such official majority was not necessaryfor Provincial Legislative Councils, partly because their powers were very limited, and partly because the Head of the Government had the power to withhold assent to any measure passed by the Council. But non-official majority does not specifically mean the majority of elected non-official majority.As a matter of fact there was no such majority in any province except  Bengal. Thus the Councils, as  constitutedunder the regulations framed by the  Government of India under the Act, could not exercise any effective authority in administration. On the other hand, the Introduction of Communal electorate, i.e., election of Muslim members by Muslims only , drove a permanent wedge between the two communities and made it impossible for them the two communities and made it impossible for  them to regard themselves as members of common nationality . Minto thus kept his pledge to the Muslim Deputationof 1906 -- a pledge which the Anglo-Indian officials regarded as a wise act of statesmanship, sufficient to to put back the cock of Indian national progress by at least half a century.
The regulations under the were issued about five weeks before the next session of the Congress held at Lahore in Dec, 1909, which  passed the  resolution appreciating the measures of Constitutional reforms embodie in the Indian Councils Act of 1909.