The Indian Statutory Commission was a group of seven British Members of Parliament of the United Kingdom that had been dispatched to India in 1928 to study constitutional reform.
It was commonly referred to as the Simon Commission after its chairman, Sir John Simon.
One of its members was Clement Attlee, who subsequently became the British Prime Minister.
The Government of India Act 1919 had introduced the system of dyarchy to govern the provinces of British India.
The Act of 1919 fell far short of the aspirations of the Indian people.
The Government of India Act 1919 itself stated that a commission would be appointed after ten years to investigate the progress of the government scheme and suggest new steps for reform.
In the late 1920s, the Conservative government then in power in Britain feared imminent electoral defeat at the hands of the Labour Party, and also feared the effects of the consequent transference of control of India to such an “inexperienced” body.
Hence, it appointed seven MPs to constitute the promised commission to examine the state of Indian constitutional affairs.
Some people in India were outraged and insulted that the Simon Commission did not include a single Indian member.
The Indian National Congress, at its December 1927 meeting in Madras, resolved to boycott the Commission and challenged Lord Birkenhead, the Secretary of State for India, to draft a constitution that would be acceptable to the Indian populace.
A faction of the Muslim League also decided to boycott the Commission.
An All-India Committee for Cooperation with the Simon Commission was established by the Council of India and by the selection of the Viceroy, Lord Irwin.
The members of the committee were: C. Sankaran Nair (Chairman), Arthur Froom, Nawab Ali Khan, Shivdev Singh Uberoi, Zulfiqar Ali Khan, Hari Singh Gour, Abdullah Al-Mamun Suhrawardy, Kikabhai Premchand, and M. C. Rajah.
Recommendations of the Simon Commission:
The Commission published its report in May 1930.
It proposed the abolition of dyarchy and the establishment of representative government in the provinces.
It also recommended that separate communal electorates be retained, but only until tensions between Hindus and Muslims had died down.
The Governor was to retain the special powers for the safety and tranquility of the province and for the protection of the minorities.
The Governor would also have full powers of intervention in the event of the breakdown of the constitution.
The Franchise was to be extended and legislatures were to be enlarged.
Burma should be separated from British India and should be provided a constitution of its own.