After the acceptance of the Mountbatten Plan by the Congress and the Muslim League, decks were clear for the quick, transfer of power. Consequently, a Bill was introduced in British Parliament on July. 5, -1947 and after having been passed by both the Houses, it received the Royal assent on July 18 and became operative on August 14, 1947.
Salient features of the Indian Independence Act of 1947:–
- The Indian Independence Act, 1947 provided for the creation of two Independent Dominions of India and Pakistan from August 15, 1947.
- It defined the territories of the two new Dominions and made possible the adjustment of existing boundaries and the accession of other boundaries by consent.
- It provided for the partition of Bengal, the Punjab and Assam after ascertaining the wishes of their inhabitants. The final fixation of the boundaries was to be done by the Boundary Commission.
- The Dominion of Pakistan was to have two wings, East Pakistan and West Pakistan. East Pakistan comprised East Bengal and Sylhet district taken out from. Assam. West Pakistan included the N.W.F.P, West Punjab, Sind and Baluchistan.
- Either of the two Dominions was to have a Governor- General appointed by the king for the purpose of the government the Dominion. The Act also provided that the same person could be appointed Governor-General of both the Dominions.
- The Legislature of each of the Dominions is free to make laws for that Dominion, including the laws having extraterritorial operation:
- No Act of British Parliament passed on or after August 15, 1947 was to extend to either of the Dominions.
- The suzerainty of British Government over the Indian states lapsed and with it, all treaties and agreements Between His Majesty and the rules of Indian states also came to an end. The Indian states would become independent in their political relations with the Governments of the new Dominions.
- The assent of the Parliament was given for the- omission of the Royal Styles and titles like Emperor of India.
- The powers of the Legislature of the Dominion would be exercisable in the first instance by the Constituent Assembly of that Dominion.
- Dominion and provinces and other parts thereof would be governed in accordance with the Government of India Act, 1935 for the interim period.
- The provisions requiring the Governor-General or any other Governor to act in his discretion or exercise of his individual judgment would cease to have effect as from August 15, 1947.
- The Governor – General was, however invested with’ plenary powers until March 1948 to issue orders for the effective implementation of Indian Independence Act, 1947 and the division of the assets between the two Dominions, and to adopt or modify the Government of India Act, 1935 and to remove any difficulties that might arise during the transitional period.
- The Act of 1947 provided for the abolition of the office of the Secretary of State for India and his advisers.
- The two Dominions were given freedom to join or not to join the Commonwealth.
- The members of “the civil service and the judges of the Federal Court and High Courts appointed before August 15, 1947 would continue to serve in either of two Dominions’ and would be entitled to receive all facilities in respect of their remuneration, leave, term, pension etc. as they enjoyed before.
Thus the two independent and sovereign states – India and Pakistan come into existence and the long British rule came to an end. Commenting on the graceful transfer of power Lord Samuel said, “It is an event unique in history a treaty of peace with our word. Rajendra Prasad, President of the Constituent. Assembly of India, spoke these memorable words on the smooth and graceful transfer of power: “Let us gracefully acknowledge that while our achievement is in no small measure due to our own sacrifices, it is also the result of world forces and events last and but no least, it is the consummation and fulfillment of the political traditions and democratic ideals of the British race. The period of Dominion over ends to-day & as relationship with British is henceforth going to rest on a basis of equality of mutual good will.