Indian Councils Act 1909: The Indian Councils Act 1909 is also known as Marley-Minto Reforms. At that time, Lord Minto II was working as the then Viceroy and John Marley was the Secretary of India in England. In fact, before the passage of this Act, in 1906, a Muslim delegation under the leadership of Aga Khan met John Marley, the then Secretary of India in England, and demanded communal representation from him, but his demand was not considered. Later these demands were placed before the Viceroy of India, Lord Minto II, who accepted these demands.
Indian Councils Act 1909
The main features of this act are as follows-
- The size of the Central and Provincial Legislative Councils was substantially increased.
- The number of the Central Council was increased from 16 to 60.
- The numbers were not uniform in the provincial legislative councils.
- The central council retained an official majority but the provincial councils allowed a majority of non-official members.
- The process of direct election to the Legislative Council was also started.
- With this act, the scope of the discussion functions of the Legislative Council at the Central and Provincial levels was expanded. Like asking supplementary questions in the budget, keeping a resolution on the budget, etc. But the Viceroy was not bound to answer.
- Under this Act, for the first time, a provision was made for an Indian to form an association with the Executive Council of the Viceroy and the Governor.
- Satendra Prasad Sinha became the first Indian member of the Viceroy's Executive Council.
- He was made a law member.
- In this Act, for the first time, a provision was made for communal representation for Muslims on the basis of religion in elections.
- According to the provisions of this Act, only Muslim voters could vote for Muslim candidates.
- Arrangements were made to send more representatives to the Central and Provincial Council on the basis of the population of Muslims.
- The income eligibility for voting for Muslim persons was also kept lower than that of Hindus.
- Thus the act legitimized communalism. That is why Lord Minto II (II) is also known as the father of the communal electorate.
- It also made provision for separate representation for Presidency Corporation, Chambers of Commerce, Universities, and Zamindars.