Nehru Report: A Historical Document on India's Constitutional Demands
The Nehru Report was a memorandum submitted by a committee of Indian political leaders to the British government in 1928. It outlined the main features of a proposed constitution for India that would grant it dominion status within the British Empire. The report was named after Motilal Nehru, the chairman of the committee, and his son Jawaharlal Nehru, the secretary of the committee.
The report was drafted by representatives of various Indian political parties and groups, such as the Indian National Congress, the Muslim League, the Hindu Mahasabha, the Sikh community, and the depressed classes. It aimed to present a united front of Indian nationalists and to persuade the British to accept their demands for greater autonomy and democracy.
The main provisions of the Nehru Report were:
A declaration of the rights of Indian citizens, including civil liberties, equality before law, and universal adult franchise.
A federal system of government, with a bicameral legislature at the center and provincial legislatures with responsible governments.
A common electorate for all communities, with reserved seats for minorities in proportion to their population.
A responsible executive, with a prime minister elected by the lower house of parliament and a cabinet responsible to it.
A judiciary independent of the executive and the legislature, with a supreme court as the final arbiter of constitutional matters.
A provision for the protection of minorities, cultural and linguistic rights, and safeguards against discrimination.
A provision for the revision of the constitution after 10 years by a constituent assembly elected on the basis of adult franchise.
The Nehru Report was a landmark document in the history of India's constitutional development. It reflected the aspirations of a large section of Indian society for self-government and democracy. It also influenced the subsequent constitutional debates and negotiations that led to the Government of India Act 1935 and ultimately to the independence and partition of India in 1947.The Nehru Report was not accepted by all sections of Indian society. Some of the criticisms and objections raised against it were:
The Muslim League, led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, rejected the report as it did not concede their demand for separate electorates and a separate state for Muslims. They also argued that the report did not give adequate representation and safeguards to the Muslim minority.
The Hindu Mahasabha, led by Lala Lajpat Rai, opposed the report as it did not endorse the concept of a Hindu nation and a uniform civil code. They also felt that the report gave too many concessions to the Muslims and other minorities.
The depressed classes, led by B.R. Ambedkar, were dissatisfied with the report as it did not grant them separate electorates and reserved seats in the central legislature. They also demanded special measures for their social and economic upliftment.
The British government, led by Lord Birkenhead, the Secretary of State for India, dismissed the report as unrealistic and impractical. They argued that the report did not take into account the diversity and complexity of India and the interests of the British Empire.
The failure of the Nehru Report to achieve a consensus among the Indian leaders and to win the approval of the British government led to a deadlock in the constitutional reform process. It also widened the gap between the Congress and the Muslim League, and paved the way for the emergence of radical movements such as the Civil Disobedience Movement and the Lahore Resolution. 061ffe29dd