|Act of Parliament
|An Act to make provision for the setting up in India of two independent dominion states, to substitute other provisions for certain provisions of the Government of India Act, 1935, which apply outside those dominions, and to provide for other matters consequential on or connected with the setting up of those Dominions.
|10 & 11 Geo. 6. c. 30
|18 July 1947
|15 August 1947
|26 January 1950 (India)
23 March 1956 (Pakistan)
|Constitution of India (India)
Constitution of Pakistan of 1956 (Pakistan)
|Text of statute as originally enacted
|Revised text of statute as amended
The Indian Independence Act 1947 (10 & 11 Geo. 6. c. 30) is an act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that partitioned British India into the two new independent dominions of India and Pakistan. The Act received Royal Assent on 18 July 1947 and thus modern-day India and Pakistan, comprising west (modern day Pakistan) and east (modern day Bangladesh) regions, came into being on 15 August.[a]
The legislature representatives of the Indian National Congress, the Muslim League, and the Sikh community came to an agreement with Lord Mountbatten on what has come to be known as the 3 June Plan or Mountbatten Plan. This plan was the last plan for independence.
Clement Attlee, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, announced on 20 February 1947 that:
The 3rd June 1947 Plan was also known as the Mountbatten Plan. The British government proposed a plan, announced on 3 June 1947, that included these principles:
The Act's most important provisions were:
The Act also made provision for the division of joint property, etc. between the two new countries, including in particular the division of the armed forces.
There was much violence, and many Muslims from what would become India fled to Pakistan; and Hindus and Sikhs from what would become Pakistan fled to India. Many people left behind all their possessions and property to avoid the violence and flee to their new country.
On 25 July 1947, Mountbatten held a meeting with the Chamber of Princes, where he addressed the question of the princely states, of which there were 562. The treaty relations between Britain and the Indian States would come to an end, and on 15 August 1947 the suzerainty of the British Crown was to lapse. Mountbatten ruled out any dominion status for any of the princely states, and advised them to accede to one or the other of the dominions, India and Pakistan. Though it was technically possible for the states to remain free after 15 August, their dependence on the British government of India for defence, foreign affairs, communication and other matters rendered such freedom meaningless.
Lord Mountbatten continued as the first Governor General of independent India. Jawaharlal Nehru became the prime minister and Vallabhbhai Patel became the home minister.
Over 550 princely states, almost all of the states contiguous with the territory of India, acceded to India by 15 August. The exceptions were Junagadh, Hyderabad, and Jammu and Kashmir.
The state of Jammu and Kashmir was contiguous to both India and Pakistan, but its Hindu ruler chose to remain independent (in status quo) "for the time being". Following a Pakistani tribal invasion, he acceded to India on 26 October 1947, and the state was disputed between India and Pakistan.
The state of Junagadh initially acceded to Pakistan but faced a revolt from its Hindu population. India considered the accession of Junagadh invalid because it violated the principle of geographical contiguity of the partition, but Pakistan claimed that the maritime border of Junagadh is connected to Pakistan. Following a breakdown of law and order, its Dewan requested India to take over the administration on 8 November 1947. India conducted a referendum in the state on 20 February 1948, in which the people voted overwhelmingly to join India.
The state of Hyderabad had a majority Hindu population but also a Muslim ruler with a large Muslim minority. The Nizam of Hyderabad wanted to get Dominion status. Hyderabad elected to maintain its independence and lobbied internationally for recognition. However, it faced the pro-communist Telangana Rebellion and agitation by Indian nationalists opposed to its independence. On 13 September 1948, the Indian government launched an invasion of Hyderabad called Operation Polo. The Hyderabadi military was defeated over five days of fighting. With his state about to be over run, the Nizam signed the Instrument of Accession, joining India. The formal integration of Hyderabad into the dominion of India took place much later on January 25, 1950, when the Nizam signed the Instrument of Accession with the central government. A day later, as India became a republic on January 26, the Nizam took over as the Raj Pramukh or governor.
Further information: Princely states of Pakistan
Muhammad Ali Jinnah became the Governor-General of Pakistan, and Liaquat Ali Khan became the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
Between October 1947 and March 1948 the rulers of several Muslim-majority states signed instruments of accession to join Pakistan. These included Amb, Bahawalpur, Chitral, Dir, Kalat, Khairpur, Kharan, Las Bela, Makran, and Swat. The Khanate of Kalat initially elected to resume its independence, until 27 March 1948 when its ruler acceded to Pakistan.
The Indian Independence Act was subsequently repealed in Article 395 of the Constitution of India and in Article 221 of the Constitution of Pakistan of 1956, both constitutions being intended to bring about greater independence for the new states. Although under British law, the new constitutions did not have the legal authority to repeal the Act, the repeal was intended to establish them as independent legal systems based only on home-grown legislation. The Act has not been repealed in the United Kingdom, where it still has an effect, although some sections of it have been repealed.