The Indian Independence Act 1947 was enacted for giving effect to the partition plan also known as Mountbatten Plan. The British Prime Minister Clement Atlee made a declaration on 20th February, 1947 that the rule of British in India would end by 30th June 1948. After the end of British rule in India, the power would be transferred to responsible hands in India.
The immediate effect of this declaration was that Muslim League intensified its demand for having a separate territory for Indian Muslims. This agitation led British Government to declare on 3rd June 1947 that whatever Constitution is framed by the Constituent Assembly of India would not be applicable to those parts of India which were not in favor of accepting the Constitution. On 3rd June 1947 the Viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten presented the partition plan famously known as Mountbatten Plan. This implementation of this plan led to Indian Independence Act 1947.
Indian Independence Act 1947 Features –
1. Indian Independence Act 1947 finished the rule of British Government in India and established India as a sovereign and independent country.
2. It changed the designation of Governor General of India and Governors of the Indian provinces and made them nominal or constitutional heads. This means that their discretionary powers were over now and they were made to act on the advice of their respective Council of Ministers in all matters.
3. Among the titles of the King of England there was the title ”Emperor of India‘. This title was removed.
4. Before Indian Independence Act 1947, appointment to Civil Services was made by Secretary of State for India. This power was snatched away. Also the office of the Secretary of State of India was abolished and his functions were transferred to the Secretary of State of Commonwealth Affairs. However civil servants appointed before 15th August 1947 were allowed to retain their posts.
5. Indian Independence Act 1947 announced the partition of India into dominion of India and dominion of Pakistan and gave the Indian princely states the freedom to remain independent or join dominion of India or dominion of Pakistan. This step may be considered as one to divide India into numerous parts. Even while leaving, Britishers made sure that India remains un-united.
6. Indian Independence Act 1947 declared that the administration of all the provinces formed after this act would be in accordance with the provisions of Government of India Act of 1935. However the units were allowed to make modifications in the Government of India Act of 1935 according to their convenience.
7. The Office of the Viceroy of India was abolished by the Indian Independence Act 1947. For both, Dominion of India and Dominion of Pakistan, a Governor General was to be appointed for its administration by the British Monarch on the advises of the respective cabinets of the independent dominions. The Government of Britain would be having no responsibility with respect to both the Governments – Government of India and Government of Pakistan.
8. Indian Independence Act 1947 empowered both the dominions to form their own constituent assemblies and frame their own constitution. They can also repeal any law formulated by the British parliament including the Indian Independence Act 1947. This meant that they still had the power to surrender their freedom in favor of British supremacy.
9. British Crown now had no right to veto or reserve bills passed in these constituent assemblies for his own consideration.
10. The new Constituent Assemblies formed were empowered by the Indian Independence Act 1947 to legislate for their respective territories unless a new constitution was formed. Also any law enacted by the British Parliament after the date of 15th August 1947 will have no applicability in India or Pakistan or any other province.
On the midnight of 14th August 1947 and the morning of 15th August 1947, India and Pakistan got their independence. The power was concentrated in the respective assemblies of India and Pakistan. For India, the first Governor General was Lord Mountbatten, who swore in the first Prime Minister of India, Jawahar Lal Nehru.