The Government of India Act 1919 was passed to expand the participation of Indians in the government of India.

The Act embodied the reforms recommended in the report of the Secretary of State for India, Edwin Montagu, and the Viceroy, Lord Chelmsford.

The Act covered ten years, from 1919 to 1929.


The Act provided a dual form of government for the major provinces.

In each such province, control of some areas of government, the “transferred list“, were given to a Government of ministers answerable to the Provincial Council.

The ‘transferred list‘ included Agriculture, supervision of the local government, Health and Education.

In case of failure of constitutional machinery in the province, the governor could take over the administration of “transferred” subjects also.

The Provincial Councils were enlarged.

At the same time, all other areas of government remained under the control of the Viceroy.

The ‘reserved list‘ included Defence, Foreign Affairs, and Communications.

The secretary of state and the governor-general could interfere in respect of “reserved” subjects while in respect of the “transferred” subjects; the scope for their interference was restricted.

The Imperial Legislative Council was enlarged and reformed.

It became a bicameral legislature for all India.

The lower house was the Legislative Assembly of 144 members, of which 104 were elected and 40 were nominated and tenure of three years.

The upper house was the Council of States consisting of 34 elected and 26 nominated members and tenure of five years.

The Government of India Act 1919 provided for the establishment of a Public Service Commission in India for the first time.

The system of communal and class electorates was further consolidated.

Women were also given the right to vote.

The Simon commission of 1927 was an outcome of this provision.


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