CABINET MISSION PLAN – 1946


In 1946, the Cabinet Mission arrived in India to find a mutually agreed solution of the Indian Problem.

The Cabinet Mission consisted of Pethick Lawrence, Sir Stafford Cripps, and A.V. Alexander.

Lord Wavell, the Viceroy of India, did not participate.

The Cabinet Mission’s purpose:

Hold preparatory discussions with elected representatives of British India and the Indian states in order to secure agreement as to the method of framing the constitution.

Set up a constitution body.

Set up an Executive Council with the support of the main Indian parties.

The Mission held talks with the representatives of the Indian National Congress and the All-India Muslim League, the two largest political parties in the Constituent Assembly of India.

Muslim League under its leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah demanded the partition of India and formation of Pakistan.

But no compromise was possible between the views of the Congress and the Muslim League.

At last the Cabinet Mission announced it long-term plan of constitutional settlement for Indian on 16 May, 1946.

 

The plans and proposals of the Cabinet Mission:

(1) A federal type of Government was to be established in the center for the whole of India embracing both the British India and the Princely States.

(2) The central Government was to deal with foreign affairs, defence and communication; and other powers were to be vested in the provinces and states.

(3) The Union constitution was to be framed by a Constituent Assembly of 296 members elected on a communal basis by the Provincial Legislative Assemblies and the representetives of States which joined the Union.

(4) Every province was to have the right to leave the union in future, if it is so liked after election under its new constitution.

(5) An interim Government was to be set upon until the formation of the constitution.

The interim Government was to consist of fourteen members, out of whom six belonged to Congress, five to Muslim League, one to Indian Christian Community, one to Sikh and one to Parsi.

The objection of the Congress to the Plan was mainly its grouping; where as the League’s objection to the Plan was its rejection of the demand for establishment of a separate state of Pakistan.

The Congress rejected the Viceroy’s proposal for an interim Government, and agreed to participate in the Constituent Assembly in order to frame the constitution.

The Cabinet Mission left India on 29th June 1946. By the approval of the Mission a general election was held all over the country in July 1946.

In this election Congress came out with sweeping majority.

Out of 296 seats Congress got 212 whereas Muslim league got 73 only.

Rest eleven seats were won by the other smaller parties.

After a controversy the Muslim League formally withdrew its acceptance of the Cabinet Mission Plan.

The Viceroy there upon reconstituted his Executive Council without any representative of the league.