Here we are going to discuss the historical background of the Indian Constitution. The fact that the Constitution of the Indian Republic is not a political revolution but an outcome of the research and reflections of renowned exemplary people who were looking forward to enhancing the existing system of administration. Post-independence, India was spilled up into two units—
(1) The British India.
(2) Princely States ( under Subsidiary Rights).
Later, the two were combined all together to form The Indian Union.
There are several different coating behind the background of the Indian Constitution:
• Regulation Act, of 1773
• Pitt’s India Act, of 1784
• Charter Act, of 1833 and 1853
For our present intent, we do not need to go far off from the year 1858, when the British Crown concluded sovereignty over India by the East India Company.
• Government of India Act, 1858:- The government of India Act, 1858 (21 & 22 Vict, c 106). By this act, the powers of the Crown were to be exercised by the Secretary of State for India, assisted by a Council (known as the Council of India). Essential features of the system, introduced by the act of 1858 we’re:-
(1) The administration of the country was rigidly centralized.
(2) Government of India had to function under the superintendence, direction, and control of the Governor-General in all matters.
(3) The entire machinery of administration was bureaucratic.
• Indian Councils Act, 1861:- Indian Councils Act, 1861 introduced a grain of popular element insofar as it provided that the Governor-General’s Executive Council, which was so long composed limited to officials, should incorporate non-officials members. Elements of the act:
(1) This Legislature Council was neither representative nor contemplative.
(2) It could not by any means criticize the acts of administration or the procedure of the Parliament.
• Indian Councils Act, 1892:- Two rectification was done as regards the Indian and Provincial Legislative Councils were introduced by the Indian Councils Act, 1892:
(1) The non-officials members of the Indian Legislative Council were henceforth to be nominated by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and the Provincial Councils would be nominated by certain local bodies.
(2) The Councils vested with the powers of discussing the annual statement of revenue and expenditures.
• Morley-Minto reforms and the Indian Councils Act, 1909:-The first effort for introducing a representative was made by Morley-Minto reforms known by the names of the then Secretary of State in India Lord Morley and the Viceroy Lord Minto, implemented by the Indian Councils Act,1909 elements of which are mentioned below:
(1) The size of Councils was enlarged by including elected non-official menbers.
(2) Election was also introduced in the Legislative Councils at the Centre.
(3) The deliberative functions of the Councils were also increased.
• Montagu-Chelmsford Report and the Government of India Act, 1919:- The next landmark in the Constitutional development of India is the Montagu- Chelmsford Report which led to the enactment of the Government of India Act, 1919. The reforms did not aim at the establishment of a parliamentary system of government in the country but to provide for the reservation of the final decision on all inquiries in the hands of the inconsistent Executive.
• Government of India Act, 1935:-Essential elements of the Government of India Act, 1935 are:
(1) Federation and Provincial Autonomy.
(2) Dyarchy at the Centre.
(3) The Central Legislature was bicameral, constitutes a Federal Assembly, and the Councils of State.
(4) Though the Indian States did not join the federation, the federal provisions of the government of India Act 1935, existed between the Central Government and the provinces.
• Conclusion:-The changes introduced by the above-mentioned acts into the structure of government pending the outcome of a constitution for an independent India. In pursuance of the India Independence Act, the Government of India Act 1935, as amended by the Adoption Orders, both in India and Pakistan, in order to provide an interim Constitution to each of the two Dominions until the Constitution Assembly could draw up the future Constitution.