Indian Councils Act 1909

Features of the Act of 1909

This Act is also known as the Morley-Minto Reforms (Lord Morley was the then Secretary of State for India and Lord Minto was the then Viceroy of India).

  1. It considerably increased the size of the legislative councils, both Central and provincial. The number of members in the Central Legislative Council was raised from 16 to 60. The number of members in the provincial legislative councils was not uniform.
  2. It retained an official majority in the Central Legislative Council but allowed the provincial legislative councils to have a non-official majority.
  3. It enlarged the deliberative functions of the legislative councils at both levels. For example, members were allowed to ask supplementary questions, move resolutions on the budget, and so on.
  4. It provided (for the first time) for the association of Indians with the executive Councils of the Viceroy and Governors. Satyendra Prasad Sinha became the first Indian to join the Viceroy’s Executive Council. He was appointed as a law member.
  5. It introduced a system of communal representation for Muslims by accepting the concept of a ‘separate electorate’. Under this, the Muslim members were to be elected only by Muslim voters. Thus, the Act ‘legalized communalism’ and Lord Minto came to be known as the Father of Communal Electorate.
  6. It also provided for the separate representation of presidency corporations, chambers of commerce, universities, and zamindars.

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