The Cabinet Mission Plan India
Cabinet Mission Plan
The rejection of the Cripps proposals was followed by the Quit India campaign, launched by the Congress in August 1942 and the conference convened by Lord Wavell the Governor-General, at Simla, where an attempt was made to bring about an agreement, between the two major political parties in India, Since no such agreement emerged from the Conference, another attempt was made by the British government in May 1946, when it sent a delegation consisting of three Cabinet Ministers to India with a plan known as the Cabinet Mission Plan. This was the last serious effort made by the British government to maintain the unity of India as one country. While rejecting the Muslim claim for a separate Constituent Assembly and a separate State, it gave ample scope to the Muslim majority provinces to organise themselves into an autonomous State, short of secession from the Union of India A Union of India, under the plan, comprising both British India and the Indian States, was to have jurisdiction over the subjects of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Communications, while all the residuary powers were to be left to the Provinces and the States. Moreover, though the Central Executive and the Central Legislature were to exercise control over the subjects so specified, any question raising a major communal issue in the Legislature could be passed only if it had been supported by a majority of the representatives of the two major communities separately. What really took away from the unitary character of the constitution envisaged under the Cabinet Mission Plan was that the Provinces were to be left free to form groups with their own Executives and Legislatures, and each group was to be competent to determine the provincial subjects which it decided to take up under its control. The proposals, however, were in the nature of a recommendation, and could have taken a concrete shape only by agreement between the two major parties.
The situation seemed to be hopeful for some time. The Muslim League agreed to elect candidates for the Constituent Assembly to frame a constitution for the Union of India. The position, however, soon became complicated on account of a statement issued by the British government on 6 September 1946 to the effect that in case the Constituent Assembly framed a constitution in which a large section of the Indian population had not been represented they would not force such a constitution upon any unwilling part of the country. The result was that when the Constituent Assembly met three days after the statement had been issued the Muslim League members refused to attend it. At the same time they raised the demand that since the Constituent Assembly no longer represented all sections of the Indian people it was to be dissolved. The Constituent Assembly of India proceeded to the task of framing a Constitution for the country without the Muslim League members. The British government made it clear in a statement on 20 February 1947 that they had decided to transfer power to the Indians by June 1948 and that, if a fully representative Constituent Assembly failed to work out an agreed constitution, the British government would have to decide to whom to hand over power on the due date whether as a whole to some form of Central Government for British India, or, in some areas to the existing provincial government in some other way, as seemed "most reasonable" to them and "in the best interests of the Indian people". The implication for 'Princely India' was clear : each Indian State was to be treated as sovereign. This strengthened the Muslim League in its resolve to refuse to join the Constituent Assembly and to continue to press its demand for another Constituent Assembly for 'Muslim India'.
India Towards Independence
- The Cripps mission
The British government (before Indian Independence) has finally committed to the principle that any decision about the future status of India would have to be taken by the Congress and the Muslim League...
- The Cabinet Mission Plan
The rejection of the Cripps proposals was followed by the Quit India campaign, launched by the Congress in August 1942 and the conference convened by Lord Wavell the Governor-General, at Simla, where an...
- The Mountbatten Plan
The next step taken by the British government was to send Lord Mountbatten to India as Governor-General in place of Lord Wavell in order to arrange how, and when, power was finally to be transferred into the...
- The Partition of India 1947
The Indian Independence Act, 1947, which marked the final stage in the constitutional evolution of the country from a dependency on the British Government to a fully independent nation, provided an interim...
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