Chapter 3 SIMON COMMISSION


The failure of dyarchy at the Province and the dissatisfaction among the Indian people resulted in an agitation against the British rule in India. This reached its highest level in 1927. The British Government being aware of this situation appointed a Commission called the Simon Commission. This Commission was charged with the duty to make enquiries into the actual working of the Government of India Act 1919 and also to point out ways and means to find out the possibility of establishing a responsible government, The Commission had no Indian representative.lt prepared a report in I929.lt was published in 1930. The Commission recommended that the Governor-General was to be given powers of an American President. He could become more powerful without being responsible to the legislature. The report of the Commission was declared as anti-national and all political parties in India condemned and boycotted it.The Commission was against an All India Federation. Indian demands had been ignored. In consequence, the Commission was a failure.


3.2 : Nehru Committee :

As a fitting reply to the Simon Commission, Mothilal Nehru formed a Committee to consolidate and to report to the British Government the Indian aspirations. The Simon Commission was an official body appointed by the British Government, but the Nehru Committee was a private political body self-appointed to express Indian feelings and demands. The Committee made the following recommendations.


(i) It strongly recommended the formation of an All India Federation and a Supreme Court in India.

(ii) It called for the immediate transfer of powers to the Indian hands.

(iii) The entire Indian Sub-continent should be considered as a single organic unit for the purpose of a political solution. Powers were divided between the Centre and the Provinces.

(iv) The linguistic, cultural and religious minorities should be viewed on the score of Indian unity.

(v) It listed 19 Fundamental Rights.

(vi) It recommended to abolish separate electoral system. This admirable report of the Nehru Committee had its own tremendous impact. In fact, it had truly reflected the aspirations of the Indian people.


3.3 : Round Table Conferences :

The failure of the Simon Commission and the impact of the Nehru Committee Report perhaps lent colour to the British thinking on India.

The first R.T.C. which met in England passed through a gloomy atmosphere. The civil disobedience movement in India had also created a tension as reports poured into London, from India. The Prime Minister Mcdonald suggested the topics 1. Federation 2. Provincial autonomy 3. Partial responsibility at the Centre. Discussions were made on these.The Maharaja of Bikaneer came out with a suggestion that he would co-operate in All India Federation. The British Parliament also approved of the Federation but it postponed matters. As a result the first R.T.C. was a failure.


The failure of the first led to the second R.T.C. which met in London. After the Gandhi-Irwin Pact, Gandhi was released from the Jail.He represented the Indian National Congress as its sole representative. The Princes represented the States. They had assured Gandhiji, when in India, about the cooperation for forming an Indian Federation.But, in the Round Table Conference at London there was a dramatic move by them. They stood against the idea of a Federation. Gandhiji was sorely disappointed and had to rest content with the meagre achievements of the conference. He returned to India with a sad heart deeply hurt. He reported to the Indian National Congress that he had achieved nothing, but, he said, he had not lowered the prestige and the honour of the Indian people.


The second conference was a failure. This led to the third R.T.C. The conference was condemned by the Indian National Congress and Gandhiji refused to attend. Added to this,the Labour Party in England also did not participate. The result was the conference made its deliberations and finally arrived at certain conclusions, to form a New Constitution for India, on the following basis.

(i) At least fifty percent of the Indian States should join the Indian Federation.

(ii) The Muslims should be given one third representation in the Central Legislature. These and other proposals were embedded in the white paper of 1933. The Joint Select Committee also declared in favour of a Federation. On the basis of this, the Government of India

Act was passed.

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