Minto-Morley Reforms, 1909

The Indian Councils Act of 1909 was also known as Minto Morley Reforms in the names of Lord Morley, the Secretary of State for India and Lord Minto, the Governor-General of India. Both were responsible for the passing of this Act. It was passed to win the support of the Moderates in the Congress.

The important provisions of this Act were:

1. The number of additional members of the Central Legislative Council was increased to a maximum of 60. Elected members were to be 27 and among the remaining 33 nominated members not more than 28 were to be officials.

2. The principle of election to the councils was legally recognized. But communal representation was for the first time introduced in the interests of Muslims. Separate electorates were provided for the Muslims.

3. The number of members in provincial legislative councils of major provinces was raised to 50.

4. The Councils were given right to discuss and pass resolutions on the Budget and on all matters of public interest. However, the Governor-General had the power to disallow discussion on the budget.

5. An Indian member was appointed for the first time to the Governor-General’s Executive Council. Sir S. P. Sinha was the first Indian to be appointed.

6. In Bombay and Madras, the number of members of the Executive Councils was raised from 2 to 4. The practice of appointing Indians to these Councils began.

7. Two Indians were also appointed to the India Council in England.

The principle of separate electorates had ultimately led to the partition of India in 1947.