India Act of 1935 by the British government of India initiated significant changes in the colonial administration of India and formed the future substructure of the constitutions of the newly independent dominions of India and Pakistan in 1947.
British administrators believed that any forward step in Indian constitutional development had, logically, to include not just the key players in British India, but also representatives of the over five hundred Indian princes whose territory comprised roughly one-third of the sub-continent outside direct British rule. The cycle of noncooperation and civil disobedience movements, the persistence of communal tensions, and British equivocation between repression and reform as the solution to the "Indian problem" had to end. After three conferences and three years of white papers, drafts, and parliamentary maneuvering, the India Act of 1935 was passed.The act marked a major step toward conferring "dominion status" on India, but it fell short on several counts so that Jawahar Lal Nehru mentions Government of india Act 1935 as the “Charter of Slavery” and compares it with a “machine with all brakes, no engine“.
- The India Act of 1935 also extended dyarchy to the central government of India. Thus, the act allowed increased participation by Indians at the highest levels of government, but it left certain official members "irremovable" by the people of India and responsible only to the British Parliament.
- Framers of the act envisioned an elected council of state and a federal assembly. But this part of the act was never affected. It had too many "democratic" features for most princes, and it remained a paper plane.
India Act of 1935 shifted the locus of Indian governance to the subcontinent. More Indians than ever participated in local, regional, and national levels of government. Yet, the act retained key provisions for a British veto of important legislation, and more repulsive, from the standpoint of Congress, was its retention of the Communal Award and separate electorate system.