Government of India Act 1919


To get the maximum support of the Indian political elite for their war efforts, the British Government promised more representative governments for the Indians. Consequently, in 1918, the Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms were introduced to gradually introduce self-governing institutions to India and formed the basis of the Government of India Act 1919. Salient features of the Act were as follows:

  1. Preamble: This Act had a separate Preamble that declared that the Objective of the British Government is the gradual introduction of responsible Government in India. It read as follows“The Act which has now become law entrusts the elected representative of the people with a definite share in the Government and points the way to full responsible Government hereafter”.

Significance of the Government of India Act 1919

The Government of India Act 1919 was another important milestone in the history of the constitutional and political development of the Sub-continent.

  1. Through this Act, the British colonial government provided for a partial transfer of power to the electorate through the system of diarchy.

Indian nationalists considered that the reforms did not go far enough and did not satisfy political demands. At the grassroots level, many young Indians wanted faster progress toward Indian independence and were disappointed by the lack of advancement as Britons returned to their former positions in the administration. At the Indian National Congress annual session in September 1920, delegates supported Gandhi’s proposal of swaraj or self-rule — preferably within the British empire or outside it if necessary.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store