DMPQ- Discuss the important features of Morley- Minto Reforms.

The viceroy, Lord Minto, and the Secretary of State for India, John Morley, agreed that some reforms were due so as to placate the Moderates as well as the Muslims. They worked out a set of measures that came to be known as the Morley- Minto (or Minto-Morley) Reforms that translated into the Indian Councils Act of 1909.

  • The elective principle was recognised for the non- official membership of the councils in India. Indians were allowed to participate in the election of various legislative councils, though on the basis of class and community.
  • For the first time, separate electorates for Muslims for election to the central council was established—a most detrimental step for India.
  • The number of elected members in the Imperial Legislative Council and the Provincial Legislative Councils was increased. In the provincial councils, non-official majority was introduced, but since some of these non-officials were nominated and not elected, the overall non-elected majority remained.
  • According to Sumit Sarkar, in the Imperial Legislative Council, of the total 69 members, 37 were to be the officials and of the 32 non-officials, 5 were to be nominated. Of the 27 elected non-officials, 8 seats were reserved for the Muslims under separate electorates (only Muslims could vote here for the Muslim candidates), while 4 seats were reserved for the British capitalists, 2 for the landlords and 13 seats came under general electorate.
  • The elected members were to be indirectly elected. The local bodies were to elect an electoral college, which in turn would elect members of provincial legislatures, who in turn would elect members of the central legislature.
  • Besides separate electorates for the Muslims, representation in excess of the strength of their population was accorded to the Muslims. Also, the income qualification for Muslim voters was kept lower than that for Hindus.
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