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where, it was allowed to do so. (4) It was finally laid down that the existing restrictions on the powers of the Boards with regard to budgated expenditure should be gradually relaxed with due regard to local conditions and requirements.
In the case of the Municipalities:-It was declared that they should have substantial elected majority, nominated members being onlyjust enough to provide for the due representation of minoorities and official experience This experiment was to be made in selected Municipalities and if any where its success seemed doubtful it was to be gradually introduced. (2) The Government of India was in perfect sympathy with the proposal of substituting non-official for official chairman. But the change was to be gradually introduced. Neither the Provincial Government was debarred from nominating a non-official chairman, nor were the Municipalities prevented from electing official chairman. (3) The policy of allowing the Municipalities to have a free hand with regard to their Budgets, subject to the condition of maintaining a minimum balance prescriced, was to be steadily kept in view and gradually realized.
(C) The Announcement of August 20th, 1917:-After this momentus announcement, laying down the ultimate aim of British rule in India, viz., the gradual development self governing institutions the Governments of India was compelled to make a "sustained effort to arouse local institutions from the stagnant conditions then charactarising them." They, therefore, issued their Resolution on the 16th May 1918. In this they declared their policy "of the gradual removel of un-necessary Government control and of differentiating the spheres,of action appropriate for government and for local bodies respectively." The Provincial Governments were now ex-pected to make a substantial advance on the basis laid down, except in specific cases and for specific reasons. The programme outlined marked a real advance in devolution and political education, and thus laid down the "solid foundation for the edifice of Responsible
Government. Its main principles were:- That the local bodies (rural as well as urban) should (i) be as representative as possible, (ii) have substantial elective majority, (iii) have elected nonofficial chairman instead of nominated official chairman, (iv) imitate the Bombay Corporation system, (v) be allowed to have free hand in their Budgets, and to vary their taxation within the limits laid down by the Acts, (vi) and lastly to control the services, if they paid for them, or else those services should be provincialised. This Resolution supported the idea of constituting and developing the Panchayats as suggested by the Royal Commission on Decentrabization.
Conclusion-These principles had hardly come into operation when the introduction of the Reforms transferred the subject of Local Self-Government to the Ministers. After this every Provincial Government has displayed its zeal to foster in every way the porgress of local institutions.
The Genesis and Principles of the Reforms
A. Necessity of a New Policy.
To understand the opinions and events that ultimately led to the new departure, foreshadowed in the Announcement of August 1917 and embodied in the Act of 1919, it is important for us to study the following problems:
(1) Unceasing Process of Constitutional progress:-It is indicated in the first Chapter of this book that from 1765 to 1833, even though the area of the Company's administration extended very rapidly, there was no corrective widening of their duties to the people of this country. This narrow policy gradually disappeared on account of the most laudable efforts of men like Elphinstone, Munro and Bentinck. Since than there was a clearer recognition on the part of the Company of their duties of Sovereignty, which continued to exist upto the beginning of Lord Ripon's Viceroyalty. His Lordship administration was remarkable in the Indian constitutional history for the simple fact that the idea of free and representative institutions began to dawn for the first time on the mind of both the rulers and the ruled." Political reform was in the air in India during the eightees. The policy laid down in Sir Charles Wood's despatch of 1854, the establishment of the Universities of Calcutta, Madras and Bombay in 1857, the admission into the Legislative Council, of a non official and Indian element in 1861, now began to bear fruit. In Indian middle class society, a generation which had received western education had grown up. The speed of education among this class favoured the growth of popular newspaper pressand this in turn served to increase the intellectual ferment. Nourished in the oratory of Burke and of Bright, fired by the patrotism
of Mazzini, impressionable minds began to dream of a new dispensation for India" (Ho. 31) Thus on the one hand the Indian National Congress was founded in 1885, under the leadership of A. O. Hume, and on the other, the failure of the Act of 1861 made Lord Dufferin appoint a Committee to enquire into the question of constitution and functions of the Councils. His despatch of 1888 and the views of his successior Lord Landsdowne led to the Councils Act of 1892, by which the representatives of the people were called into the Councils. "This period advanced to its culmination under Lord Curzon (1905) in three parallel lines, (i) Steady improvement in the machinary of the official government, (ii) a slow and reluctant admission of Indian influence in its working, (iii) and a growing feeling among the educated classes that the blessings of liberty were not and could not be effectively grafted upon the tree of despotism". (I. M. 89). This awakened a national spirit. The appointment of a few Indians here and there was, the leaders believed, but a halting response, specially as the elective principle was steadfastly refused. "The obvious dangers of the discontent which was surging though India left the Local authorities with no option but to advance at least an instalment of self-government", (Ibid. 91) This was embodied in the Act of 1909, which instituted Minto-Morley Councils.
(2) Estimate of the Minto-Morley Councils and their ultimate effect. Inspite of Lord Morley's own and very definite disclaimer of the Parliamentary principle quoted on page 184, it is a fact that the Minto-Morley Reforms were received "with a chorus of approval and gratitude by Indian Publicists," including the late Mr. Gokhale, .who expressed his appreciation of the Reforms at the Madras Congress. "When all is said, however, it must never be forgotten that during the ten years of their existence, the Morley Councils afforded an invaluable training ground, in which both Indian political leaders and British officials learned to accustom themselves to parliamentary usages
and the parliamentary standpoint; and in this respect if in no other, the Councils amply justified their existence" (Ho. 61) The Minto-Morley Reforms, with all their defects went probably as far as was possible in a time of transition, and indeed served their purpose by bringing to a speedy issue the real constitutional problem." (I. M. 92.) Nevertheless, leaving aside this kind of unexpected success that was never aimed at, the Montague-Chelmsford Report, after ten years, pronounced quite a different opinion:-(Vide Para 81.)
The Verdict of Montague-Chelmsford Report on Minto Morley Reforms: "Minto Morley Reforms in our view are the final outcome of the old conception which made the Government of India a benevolent despotism (tempered by a remote and only occassionally vigilant democracy) which might as it saw fit for purposes of enlightenment consult the wishes of the subjects. To recur to Sir Bartle Freer's figure, the Government is still a monarch in durbar, but his councillors are uneasy, and not wholly content with his personal rule and the administration in consequence has become slow and timid in operation,"
(2) "Parliamentary usagos have been initiate and adopted in the councils upto the point where they cause the maximum of friction." That point is necessary if the Councils can do good, provided they have real sanction behind them which is not the case with the Minto Morley Councils. "We have at present in India neither the best of the old system nor the best of the new."
(3) "Responsibility is the savour of popular government and that savour the present Councils wholly lack."
They concluded by stating: "We are agreed that our first object must be to invest them with it. They must have real work to do; and they must have real people to call them to account for their doing of it." (Para 81)