The Indian Independence Act of 1947 partitioned British India into India and Pakistan. Moreover, Pakistan was split into East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and West Pakistan. The Act enacted by the British parliament also recognized India as a free and independent nation. It annulled the use of the ‘Emperor of India’ title for the British Crown. The Act got Royal Assent on July 18th, 1947. Thereafter, India and Pakistan were formed. Jawarharlal Nehru was appointed as the first PM of India and Muhammad Ali Jinnah became the Governor General of Pakistan. Liaquat Ali Khan became the 1st PM of Pakistan. Keep reading to know more about the Indian Independence Act of 1947.
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The Royal Assent
The Indian Independence Act was passed on July 5th, 1947. The Act got royal assent from George VI, the British Monarch on 18th July 1947. The Act was instrumental in the abolition of the title ‘Emperor of India’ from the British Crown. Thus, it ended the existing treaties with the princely states. George VI issued the proclamation that the title will be omitted.
Indian Independence Act (1947) – Historical Background
On 20th February 1947, British PM Clement Atlee declared that the British Raj would come to an end. However, it was expected to end by 30th June 1948. Later on, the power would be transferred to India. However, the announcement led to the agitation by the Muslim League demanding partition. Therefore, the British government made it clear that the Consitution framed by the Constituent Assembly of India would not be applicable to the parts of the country that do not want to accept it. On June 3rd, 1947 Lord Mountbatten (Viceroy of India) put forth the Mountbatten Plan. It was the plan to partition India. This was accepted by the Muslim League and the Congress. Thus, the Indian Independence Act 1947 came into effect.
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Features of the Indian Independence Act 1947
The Indian Independence Act mainly declared India as an independent and sovereign state. However, there are several other important features of the Indian Independence Act 1947. These are listed below:
- The Indian Independence Act ended British rule in India. Thus, India became an independent and sovereign state on 15 August 1947
- The Act resulted in the partition of India and the creation of 2 dominion states: India and Pakistan with the right to secede from Britain
- It abolished the office of the Viceroy and provided for each dominion a Governor General. The Governor General would be appointed by the King of Britain on the advice of the Dominion cabinet. However, the Governor General would have no responsibility towards the government of India (GOI) or Pakistan.
- The Act empowered the two dominions to frame any constitution for their respective country. It allowed them to repeal any Act of the British Parliament including the Indian Independence Act itself!
- Constituent Assemblies of both dominions were granted the power to legislate for their respective territories till the new constitutions were drafted. Moreover, no Act of the British Parliament would be passed unless it is approved by the dominion legislature.
- The Office for the Secretary of State for India was abolished. The functions were transferred to the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs
- The Act resulted in the lapse of the British Paramountcy over the Indian princely states and treaty relations with the tribal areas from 15th August 1947.
- The freedom was given to the Indian princely states to either join either of the 2 dominions or remain independent
- Each of the dominions would be governed by the Indian Independence Act 1947 till the new constitutions were framed. The dominions were also given the authority to make changes to the Act
- The British Monarch was deprived of the right to veto bills or ask for reservation of certain bills for his approval. However, this right was provided to the Governor General
- The Governor Generals of India and the provisional governors were made nominal heads of the state. However, they have to act on the advice of the respective councils of ministers in all matters
- The title Emperor of India was dropped from the Royal titles of Kings of England
- The Secretary of State for India would no longer appoint civil servants or be involved in the reservation of posts. However, the members of the civil service would continue to enjoy the benefits
- On the 14-15 August, the British rule came to an end. The power was transferred to the new dominions: India and Pakistan
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The Impact of the Indian Independence Act 1947
Clement Attlee defined the Indian Independence Act:
‘’the fulfilment of the British Mission’’ in India and the culmination of the long process of the event.”
The Indian Independence Act 1947 has several consequences. These are listed below:
- The Indian Independence Act was instrumental in the development of the Constitution. The Indian Constituent Assembly drafted a constitution in 1949. It came into force on January 26, 1950. Similarly, Pakistan became a republic on 23rd March 1956
- Lord Samuel described the Indian Independence Act as a peace treaty without war
- As per Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the period of British rule in India has ended. However, the relationship with Britain will be maintained on the basis of equality, goodwill, and mutual understanding
- The law marked the beginning of a new era of a free India. However, most leaders were not entirely satisfied with the law. For example, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad stated that “August 14 for Muslims in Pakistan is a day for Hindus and Sikhs, it is a day of mourning’
- The end of British rule in India provided the option to the Indian states to either join the dominion or maintain independence was a serious threat to the unity of states in India. However, most of the princely states signed the Instrument of Accession to one of the dominions. The decision was made mostly on the basis of geography. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel played a major role in uniting the princely states on the Indian side.
Repeal of the Act
The Indian Independence Act 1947 included several provisions. As per this, the repeal of the Act is as follows:
- The law empowered both provinces to repeal any act of parliament applicable to them. It included the Indian Independence Act. It was later on used by India and Pakistan by adopting their constitutions
- Section 395 of the Indian Constitution and Section 221 of the Pakistan Constitution of 1956 repealed the Act of 1947. That is, the adoption of the constitution of India abolished the status of India as a ‘dominion’ and it was declared a republic
- However, the British Parliament has not yet contributed to the repeal of the Act
- The new constitution does not have the power to repeal laws. However, it is done to make the Constitution an independent legal system
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Indian Independence Act 1947 PDF
The Indian Independence Act PDF is as follows. Going through the PDF can give a detailed understanding of the Act and its provisions.
A. The Indian Independence Act of 1947 was drafted by the British Parliament. The aim was to provide a constitutional framework/plan for the Independence of India. The Clemment Atlee government drafted the Indian Independence Act.
A. The British Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act 1947 on 18th July 1947. The Act received Royal Assent on 18th July 1947.
A. The purpose of the Indian Independence Act 1947 was to transfer the power from the British Crown to the 2 dominions: India and Pakistan. The Act ended the British power over Indian affairs. It was based on the Mountbatten Plan formed by Louis Mountbatten, the last Governor General of India.
The Indian Independence Act 1947 divided British India into India and Pakistan. It officially ended the British rule in India. To discover more articles like this one, consult the study abroad experts at Leverage Edu.