The Act was yet another attempt of British administration to establish responsible government in India. Lord Linlithgow along with some members of the two houses of Parliament formed a committee for the discussion of the Bill. This act was lengthy document consisting of 321 section and 10 schedules. Various provisions of the Constitution of independent India is inspired from this act.


  • This Act promised a federation of India comprising of the provinces and states as units.
  • It was to be operationalized only after a specified number of states had signed ‘Instrument of Accession’ to establish a federal central government.
  • Since this did not happen, the central government continued to function in accordance to Act of 1919 and only a part of 1935 Act dealing with provincial governments went into operations.
  • The Governor General remained the head, controlling administrative, legislative and financial powers (including finance bill) at the centre.
  • The Act demarcated the powers between the Centre and units in terms of three lists—Federal List, Provincial List and the Concurrent List. Viceroy had Residuary powers. However, the federation never came into being as the princely states did not join it.
  • The Secretary of State was not expected to interfere in matters dealt by the Governor with the help of the Indian ministers.
  • The provinces were given autonomy with respect to the subjects allotted to them.
  • The Act ended dyarchy in the provinces and The Act made Governor of the provinces to act on advice of the ministers in provincial legislature. This was introduced in 1937 and was discontinued by 1939. Bicameralism too was introduced in six out of eleven provinces.
  • Two new provinces Sindh and Orissa were created.
  • Reforms were introduced in N.W.F.P as were in the other provinces.
  • Separate electorates were continued as before.
  • Burma and Aden were separated from India.
  • The Federal Court was established in the Centre in 1937.
  • The Reserve Bank of India was established in.
  • Both the Indian National Congress and the Muslim league opposed the Act, but participated in the provincial elections.
  • At the time of the Independence, this act was accepted with few amendments as the provisional constitution by the two dominions of India and Pakistan.

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