Act that led to freedom 70 years ago: A look back at the Indian Independence Act, 1947

India having been ruled by Britain, it is a bill introduced in British Parliament on July 4, 1947 that set the wheels in motion for the formation of the nation as we know it.

Published: 15th August 2016 04:54 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th August 2016 06:41 PM   |  A+A-

Freedom fighters set India on the path of freedom, but it required an official bureaucratic process to lead to independence being declared on August 15, 1947? India having been ruled by Britain, it is a bill introduced in British Parliament on July 4, 1947 that set the wheels in motion for the formation of the nation as we know it.

The Indian Independence Act, 1947, crucial because it enabled the transfer of power from the Crown to India in an amicable manner, was passed in British Parliament on July 5 that year, and received royal assent on July 18. A plan was formulated to split the British Indian colonies into India and Pakistan by Viceroy of India Lord Louis Mountbatten and Prime Minister of Britain Clement Attlee on June 3, 1947, after consultations with the main stakeholders — Indian National Congress, the Muslim League and representatives of the Sikh community.

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Came to be called the Mountbatten plan, it was adopted in the form of the Indian Independence Bill, which when passed became an Act. As Mountbatten had to be in the capitals of both the newly formed nations for the transfer of power, it was decided that Pakistan would celebrate its formation day on August 14, and India on August 15.

Here’s how what the historic Act defined:

- Under the Act, India was partitioned into the dominion states, India and Pakistan.

- The act spelled out the details of partition of the states of Bengal and Punjab, which was decided by the boundary commission headed by Sir Cyril Radcliff.

- The British authority over the princely states ceased and they were given the freedom to join either India or Pakistan.

- India and Pakistan were free to make their own constitutions; till then both countries were to be governed according to the Government of India Act.

- The civil servants and the working under the British government will continue their service under the new government as well. The same applied to the army and navy.

Read the complete act HERE.

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