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Constitutional Framework
                                                                                                    October 14, 2013


  1. Regulating Act 1773
    • beginning of British parliamentary control over the East India Company
    • subordination of the presidencies of Bombay and Madras to Bengal
    • Governor of Bengal made Governal-General
    • council of Governor-General established
    • Supreme Court established in Calcutta
  2. Pitt’s India Act 1784
    • commercial and political activities of the Company separated
    • established a board of control over the Company
  3. Charter Act 1813
    • trade monopoly of the Company abolished
    • missionaries allowed to preach in India
  4. Charter Act 1833
    • Governor-General of Bengal becomes Governor-General of India
    • first Governor-General Lord William Bentick
    • ends commercial activities of the Company
  5. Charter Act 1853
    • legislative and executive functions of the Governor-General’s council separated
    • open competition for Indian Civil Services established
  6. Indian Council Act 1861
    • establishes legislative councils at the centre, presidencies and provinces
    • Governor-General’s executive council to have Indians as non-official members
    • restores legislative power to Bombay and Madras presidencies
    • recognises portfolio system of governance
  7. Indian Council Act 1892
    • introduces indirect elections
    • enlarges the function of legislative councils giving the power to discuss the budget and address questions to the executive
    • enlarges the size of the legislative councils
  8. Government of India Act 1898
    • administration taken over directly by the British crown
    • office of the Governor-General replaced by the Viceroy
    • first Viceroy is Lord Canning
  9. Indian Council Act 1909 (Minto-Morley Reforms)
    • first attempt to introduce representative and popular element to government
    • changed name of Central Legislative Council to Imperial Legislative Council
    • increased the non-official members in the Imperial and Provincial legislative councils
    • non-official members hold majority in the provincial legislative councils, but official members hold majority in the central
    • appointed Indians to the Viceroy’s Executive Council and provincial executive councils
    • established separate electorate for Muslims
  10. Government of India Act 1909 (Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms)
    • classified government subjects into central and provincial
    • established dyarchy in the provinces
    • provincial subjects divided into Reserved and Transferred. Reserved subjects administered by the Governor, Transferred subjects by Indian ministers
    • central legislature covered all central subjects and some provincial subjects
    • all bills of the legislatures required Governor-General’s assent, while the Governor-General could enact bills without assent from legislatures
    • established the Public Service Commission
  11. Government of India Act 1935
    • provided for the establishment of a Federation of India consisting of the Provinces and Princely States
    • dyarchy withdrawn from the provinces and established at the Centre. Introduced ‘provincial autonomy’
    • introduced direct elections
    • proposed the Federal Legislature to be bicameral
    • administrative subjects divided into Federal, Provincial and Concurrent
    • reserved subjects at the Centre to be administered by the Governor-General
    • Governor-General to be assisted by a Council of Ministers
    • provided for the establishment of a Federal Court with original, appellate and advisory jurisdiction. Appeals from the Federal Court went to the Privy Council in London
    • Burma and Aden separated from India
  12. Indian Independence Act 1947
    • sovereignty and responsibility of the British Parliament for India abolished
    • Governor-General and provincial Governors become constitutional heads
    • the British crown ceases to be the source of authority

The Constituent Assembly (1946 – 1950)

  • first met on 09 Dec 1946
  • consisted of 389 members. 292 were elected from the Provinces, 93 were nominated by the Princely States, and 4 were nominated from the Chief Commissioners Provinces
  • Dr. Sachidananda Sinha was the first President of the Constituent Assembly
  • The Preamble of the Constitution was a modification of the ‘Objective Resolution’ introduced Jawarharlal Nehru
  • The Assembly appointed 22 committees
  • The most important of these committees was the Drafting Committee, set up in Aug 1947
  • The Drafting Committee had 7 members. B.R. Ambedkar was its Chairman
  • The Drafting Committee published the Draft Constitution in Feb 1948, which was adopted on 26 Nov 1949
  • The Constitution came into effect on 26 Jan 1950. However, certain provisions regarding citizenship, elections, provisional parliament and presidential election procedures came into effect earlier, on 26 Nov 1949.
  • 26 Jan was chosen in significance of the informal ‘Independence Day’ observed in 1930
  • The term of the Constituent Assembly ended on 24 Jan 1950. However, it re-emerged as the Provisional Parliament on 26 Jan 1950, and remained so until the first Lok Sabha elections
  • The President of the Constituent Assembly, Rajendra Prasad, became the first President of India
  • Gandhi and Jinnah were not members of the Constituent Assembly