Notes on The Indian Council Act (1909) or Morley-Minot Reforms

As per the Act of 1909 membership of the Legislative Council at the Centre increased from 16 to 60. Membership also increased in provincial legislatures and was limited at 50 in the provinces of Calcutta, Madras and Bombay. Besides these three provinces, 30 seats were allotted to other provinces.

The Legislative Councils at the Centre and provinces had four categories of members namely, ex-office members, nominated members, official members and elected members. Professional and communal representative system was incorporated in this Act.

Majority of seats were reserved for the official members in the Centre whereas the number of non-official members was more in the provincial Legislatures. Although the members participated in the discussion of the Budget the government held the veto power over it.

The Secretary of the State was authorized for increasing the number of the Executive Councils of Bombay and Madras from 2 to 4. The Viceroy was also empowered to do it in different provinces by obtaining permission from the Secretary of the State.

Indians were given chance to be nominated to the Council of the Secretary of State (for India). The Viceroy was also empowered to nominate one Indian member to Executive Council. Accordingly, K.G. Gupta and S.H. Beltrami were nominated to the Council of Secretary of State at London. Further, S.P. Sinhala was appointed as Law Member of the Imperial Council at Calcutta.

The Morley-Minot Reforms of 1909 bore severe criticism. It created dissension among the Hindus and Muslims by introducing communal electorate. The non-official majority in the provinces were unable to take measure against the Government as there was official majority in the provinces. By increasing the voting qualifications high, the Act of 1909 tried to eliminate the extremists out of the Council.