Q. In what ways did the Nehru Committee Report and the Government of India Act, 1935 shape the Indian Constitution?
Indian constitution is shaped by several events during the Indian national movement and incorporation of best features from several acts and constitution. Nehru report and GOI act 1935 are two of them which influenced Indian constitution in a major way.
Nehru report was prepared by INC sub-committee headed by Motilal Nehru as an answer to the Birkenhead’s challenge for congress to prepare constitution. This was the first major attempt by the Indians to draft a constitutional framework for the country. The committee included Tej Bahadur Sapru, Subhash Bose and others. The report was submitted in 1928.
The Government of India Act was passed by the British Parliament in August 1935. It was an outcome of 3rd round table conference and was majorly influenced by Simon commission report.
Nehru committee report shaping Indian constitution:
- Secularism as fundamental feature was established when the report rejected separate electorate. The report was cited when the constituent assembly took upon the topic of separate electorate while framing the constitution. It is provided under different parts of Indian constitution like the preamble, fundamental rights etc.,
- It provided full protection to cultural and religious interests of Muslims which was extended by Indian constitution to all religions safeguarded under Article 25- 30 as fundamental rights.
- It tried to allay the minority fears with the concept of reservation which was incorporated in the Indian constitution for Scheduled castes under article 334.
- Most of the 19 fundamental rights which was provided by the report was incorporated under Part-3 fundamental rights of Indian constitution.
- Universal adult suffrage was suggested by the report which, the Indian constitution provided under Article 326.
- Responsible government – both at the Centre and States was envisaged which is provided in the Indian constitution as per article 75 and article 164.
GOI act 1935 shaping Indian constitution:
-> 3 lists provided under the act- Federal, provincial and concurrent is defined in the Indian constitution under 7th schedule as Union, State an Concurrent list.
-> State representation in the Centre in the council of states (an evolution over Bicameralism provided by GOI act 1919) which was provided as Rajyasabha under the Indian constitution.
-> Office of governor: as provincial head is also provided under Indian constitution as per article 153.
- Judiciary: Federal court was established as per the act in 1937. An integrated judiciary with Supreme Court as the apex federal court is provided in the Indian constitution.
- UPSC, state public service commissions and joint public service commissions – bulwarks of Indian democracy, merit watch dogs are established borrowing from bodies envisaged under GOI act 1935.
- Emergency provisions: in part 18 to safeguard sovereignty, national unity and integrity is provided as per the provisions under GOI act 1935.
- Administrative setup: with All India service as the fountain head of administration is envisaged by the GOI act 1935. Protection to All India service under article 311, Split and tenure system etc., of Indian bureaucratic setup is influenced by the act and incorporated in Indian constitution.
Thus, GOI act provided the structure and as Ivor Jennings observed – it is the skeleton of Indian constitution. Nehru report upheld the ideals of Indian national movement and the same are seen in every part of the Indian constitution be it be socialistic nature of state, popular sovereignty and so on.