Congress- League Scheme of Reforms (1916)

Introduction: The Indian National Congress led by B. G. Tilak and the Muslim League led by M. A. Jinnah held their annual session at the same time in Lakhnau in December 1916 and jointly adopted a reform scheme which was also referred to as „Congress-League Pact“. It provided for an over-representation of Muslims in the Muslim minority provinces which was compensated by their under-representation in the Muslim majority provinces (Bengal and Panjab). It was based on the presumption that the system of government introduced by the Morley-Minto Reform would continue. The „Pact“ did not fit in with the scheme of „responsible government“ introduced by the Montague-Chelmsford Reform of 1919 which established provincial governments „responsible“ to their legislatures. Under this reform the number of representatives was of crucial importance, a fact which could not be forseen by those who concluded the „Pact“ of 1916.
(see also AHOI, Ch. 6, section: The Montagu-Chelmsford Reform and responsible government)

I. Provincial Legislative Councils

1.Provincial Legislative Councils shall consist of four-fifth elected and of one- fifth nominated members.
2.Their strength shall be not less than 125 members in the major provinces and from 50 to 75 in the minor provinces.
3. The members of the Councils shall be elected directly by the people on as broad a franchise as possible.
4. Adequate provisions should be made for the representation of important minorities by election, and that the Mahomedans  should be represented through special electorates on the Provincial Legislative Council
            Punjab – One half of the elected Indian members
            United Provinces – 30 per cent       „           „
            Bengal-                   40 per cent      „            „
            Behar                      25 per cent      „            „
            Central Provinces   15 per cent      „            „
            Madras                   15 per cent      „             „
            Bombay                  One third        „             „
Provided further that no Bill, not any clause thereof, nor a resolution introduced by a non-official member affecting one or the other community, which question is to be determined by the members of that community in the Legislative Council concerned, shall be proceeded with if three-fourths of the members of that community in the particular Council, Imperial of Provincial, oppose the bill or any clause thereof or the resolution.
7. (a) Except customs, post, telegraph, mint, salt, opium, railways, army and navy, and tributes from Indian States, all other sources of revenue should be provincial.
    (b) There should be no divided heads of revenue. The Government of India should be provided with fixed contributions being liable to revision when extraordinary and unforseen contingencies render such revision necessary.

II. Provincial Governments

Not less than half of the members of the Executive Council shall consist of Indians to be elected by the elected members of the Provincial Legislative Council.

III. Imperial Legislative Council

1.The strength of the Imperial Legislative Council shall be 150.
2.Four-fifths of the members shall be elected
12. A resolution passed by the Legislative Council should be binding on the Executive Government, unless vetoed by the Governor-General in Council: provided, however, that, if the resolution is again passed by the Council after an interval of not less than one year, it must be given effect to.
15. The Imperial Legislative Council shall have no power to interfere with the Government of India’s direction of the military affairs and the foreign and political relations of India, including the declaration of war, the making of peace and the entering into treaties.

IV. The Government of India

1.The Governor-General of India will be the head of the Government of India.
2. He will have an Executive Council, half of whom shall be Indians.
3. The Indian members should be elected by the elected members of the Imperial Legislative Council.
7. In legislative and administrative matters, the Government of India, as constituted under the scheme, shall, as far as possible, be independent of the Secretary of State.

V. The Secretary of State in Council

1.The Council of the Secretary of State for India should be abolished.
2.The salary of the Secretary of State should be placed on the British Estimates.
4. The Secretary of State for India should be assisted by two permanent under-secretaries, one of whom should always be an Indian.

VI. Military and other matters of policy

1.The military and naval services of His Majesty, both in their commissioned and non-commissioned ranks , should be thrown open to Indians and adequate provisions should be made for their selection, training and instruction in India.
(A.B. Keith (ed.), Speeches and Documents on Indian Policy 1750-1921 (London, 1922), Vol. II, p. 124 f.)


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