The Indian Independence Act (July 1947)

The Indian Independence Act:

The British Parliament ratified the Mountbatten Plan on July 18, 1947, as the Indian Independence Act 1947. The Act was to be implemented on August 15, 1947. The office of the secretary of state was to be abolished.

Provisions of The Indian Independence Act:

The main provisions of the Indian Independence Act may be summarized as follows-

  • The Act provided for setting up two independent Dominions, to be known as India and Pakistan, from August 15, 1947.
  • The territories of the Dominion of India would include the whole of British India exclusive of the territories constituting Pakistan, i.e. West Punjab, Baluchistan, NWFP, Sind and East Bengal. The exact boundaries of the two Dominions would be determined by a Boundary Commission.
  • For each of the new Dominions, there was to be a Governor-General who would be appointed by His Majesty and would represent His majesty for the purposes of the government of the Dominion.
  • The legislatures of each of the Dominions would have full powers to make laws for that Dominion. The jurisdiction of the British Parliament over India would cease from that day.
  • With effect from August 15, 1947, His Majesty’s Government would cease to have any responsibility for the Government of British India. The words ‘Emperor of India’ would be omitted from his royal titles.
  • The Constituent Assembly of each Dominion would exercise the powers of the Central Legislature. The existing Central Legislative Assembly and the Council of State would be automatically dissolved.
  • The Governor-General had the power to make the Indian Independence Act Operational.
  • Provision was made for the division of the Armed Forces and the Civil Services between the new Dominions. Each Dominion would exercise authority over its armed forces and civil services.
  • The relationship between the princely states and the British government would terminate. These states would be free to decide whether to join India or Pakistan.
  • As per the provision of the Act, Pakistan became independent on August 14, 1947, while India became independent on August 15, 1947. M.A. Jinnah became the Governor-General of Pakistan, while Lord Mountbatten became the Governor-General of India. C. Rajgopalachari became the last Viceroy of Independent India on June 20, 1948.

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