CABINET MISSION PLAN
- Factors which led to Cabinet Mission Plan can be summed up as:
- The Labour Government under Attlee assumed office in England replacing Conservative Government of Churchill in July, 1945.
- Wavell announced Labour Government’s decision to introduce early responsible government in India on 19 Sept. 1945.
- International pressures on England for early grant of independence to India.
- The Naval Mutiny of Feb. 1946 gave an indication of the difficulties that confronted British administrators in India.
- The depletion of Britain’s civil and military resources in India after World War II lent urgency to transfer of power to Indian hands.
- National spirit had permeated all wings of armed forces and even the police and their loyalty to Govemment of India was always doubtful.
- Indian elections of 1945-46 revealed that Muslim League dominated Muslim opinion as Congress dominated Hindu opinion.
- A British Parliamentary Delegation, after visiting India during the winter of 1945-46, recommended to Labour Government that Indian freedom could not be delayed.
- Attlee explained (on 15 March 1946) the British policy towards India:
- British Govemment aware of the rights and apprehension of Indian minorities.
- Minorities not to be allowed to place veto on the advance of Majority.
- Cabinet Mission to visit India to help India to attain freedom speedily.
- Cabinet Mission comprising Pethick-Lawrence, Cripps and Alexander reached India on 24 March 1946.
Recommendation of Cabinet Mission
A . Rejection of Demand for Pakistan
- Problem of communal minorities could not be solved because of large per cent of non-Muslims in the proposed north-west & north-eastern wings of Pakistan.
- Population of Muslim minorities in the rest of India would be 2 crores.
- Unitary nature of British Indian administrative, economic and military set-up was an argument against partition.
B. Union of India recornmended
- British India and Indian States to have a common union to deal with Defence, Foreign Affairs and Communications.
- Indian Union to have an Executive and a Legislature. Provision made for solution of communal issues.
- Indian States to retain all subjects and powers not ceded to the Centre.
- Residuary powers vested in provinces.
- Provinces free to form groups with separate sub-constitutions.
C. Provision for formation of Constituent Assembly
- Provincial Legislative Assemblies to elect representatives for Constituent Assembly.
- Constituent Assembly to conclude treaty with Britain.
- British Paramountcy over States to lapse.
D. Proposal for Interim Government
- Interim national government of India to be formed.
Merits of Cabinet Mission Scheme
- Constituent Assembly to be formed on democratic basis of population.
- Communal issues to be decided by simple majority.
- Demand for partition of India rejected.
- British Government and nonofficial Europeans denied representation in Constituent Assembly.
- Constituent Assembly given wide powers to frame a constitution for free India.
- Interest of Muslim minority looked after, but of Sikhs ignored.
- Formation of separate groups could trigger off separatist tendencies.
- Provision for separate sub-constitutions for provinces and groups encouraged those who wanted Pakistan.
- Muslim League rejected the Cabinet Mission Plan as also Constituent Assembly Plan on 29 July, 1946.
Why the Congress accepted Pakistan?
- On June 3, 1947, Mr Jawaharlal Nehru, wh- ile recommending the proposal for partition to the people said, “For generations we have dreamt and struggled for a free, independent and united In- dia. The proposal to allow certain parts to secede is painful for any of us to contemplate. Neverthel- ess, I am convinced that our present decision is the right one.”
- This shows that the Congress accepted Pakistan as a necessary evil.
The Indian Independence Act, 1947
- The Act gave legal shape to 3rd June 1947 Plan. It did not provide for any new constitution for India or Pakistan, but gave full powers to Constituent Assembly of each dominion to frame its own constitution.
- British Indian territories to be divided into two independent dominions of India and Pakistan w.e.f. 15 August 1947.
- Pakistan to include Sind, British Baluchistan, N.W.F.P., West Punjab and East Bengal (boundaries of last two provinces to be settled by Boundary Commission).
- Free India to include the rest of the provinces of the former British India.
- British Paramountcy over Indian States withdrawn.
- Indian States free to join India or Pakistan.
- Each dominion to have a Governor-General.
- Legislature of each dominion to be free to enact any laws for its own country.
- Constituent Assembly of each dominion to function as its legislature.
- Unless otherwise altered or omitted, Government of India Act, 1935 to be operative in each dominion.
- Governor-General of each dominion to be responsible for effective operation of Indian Independence Act.
- Provision made for safeguarding interests of former l.C.S. officers.
- Armed forces of British India to be divided between India and Pakistan.
- Provision made for exercise of functions of Secretary of State and Auditor of Indian Home Accounts.
Significance of Indian Independence Act
- It marked the end of British sovereignty over India.
- Crown of England ceased to be source of authority in India.
- Henceforth Governor-General and Governors to act as constitutional heads.
- It marked the end of colonial era in Indian sub-continent.