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HOUSE OF LORDS DEBATE 16 May 1946 vol 141 cc271-87271

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In the federal and provincial elections conducted in 1945-1946 for the Indian Parliament, The All India Muslim League had emerged triumphantly as the sole representative of Muslim population in British India. The various round of political talks between the Congress and Muslim League for completed transfer of constitutional power with mutual understanding had resulted in failure. In this grave situation, the British government led by Prime Minister Attlee decided to constitute a parliamentary committee to adequately resolve this contentious issue. It was impulsively decided to promptly send a Cabinet Mission comprising of cabinet members Stafford Cripps, Pethick Lawrence and A.V. Alexander to India.

The Mission instantly reached to India on March 24, 1946. They promptly engaged the political forces of India in various rounds of direct negotiations. It was a concerted effort to progressively eliminate the essential differences among them and properly preserve the geographical unity intact. They sufficiently realized that it was not possible for British Government to conveniently overlook the political grievances of Indian Muslims. As they couldn’t convince the Congress and AIML on an amicable solution to form governments in center as well as in the provinces, the Mission devised an explicit formula and vainly offered its own proposal to the relevant forces. The complex formula is popularly known as The Cabinet Mission Plan. The Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, Viscount Addison gleefully announced the ambitious plan in the elected British parliament on May 16, 1946.

Cabinet Mission Plan 1946

In his parliamentary statement Mr. Viscount presented the whole analysis of Indian politics and the critical differences between the Muslims and Hindus of India. He equally described the apparent reasons, why AIML was not ready to easily disband its insistent demand of a separate nation which was affectionately named as Pakistan. The Secretary of State wishfully stated that “We hope that the modern independent India may voluntarily choose to be a member of the British Commonwealth.”

The Cabinet Mission Plan realistically is a historic and a comprehensive document which you can instantly find and download as PDF docs from here. The ambitious plan is comprising of 24 points spreading on approximately nine pages. There are some explanatory notes to further describe the historical background and the logics of proposals. The rest of the key points are typically described in legal terms. These outlying points tentatively proposed the intended political and administrative structure, the prevalent method of electioneering of the constituent assembly and its fundamental responsibilities. The center point of all these ambitious proposals is the clause number 15 following by 6 more sub clauses which intended to elaborate and explain the essential structure of the proposed Indian constitution.

The commission proposes to set up a constitution body and also proposes to set up an executive council with the support of the main stream political parties of India.


Muslim Non-Muslim
North Western Area
Punjab 16,217,242 12,201,577
North West Frontier Province 2,788,797 249,270
Sind 3,208,325 1,326,683
British Baluchistan 438,930 62,701
22,653,294 13,840,231
62.07% 37.93%
North Eastern Area 
Bengal 33,005,434 27,301,091
Assam 3,442,479 6,762,254
36,447,913 34,063,345
50.69% 48.31%


All population figures in this statement are from the census taken in 1941.


Province General Muslim Total
Madras 45 4 49
Bombay 19 2 21
United Provinces 47 8 55
Bihar 31 5 36
Central Provinces 16 1 17
Orissa 9 0 9
Total 167 20 187
Province General Muslim Sikhs Total
Punjab 8 16 4 28
North-West Frontier Province 0 3 0 3
Sind 1 3 0 4
Total 9 22 4 35
Province General Muslim Total
Bengal 27 33 60
Assam 7 3 10
Total 34 36 70
Total for British India 292
Maximum for Indian States 93
Total 385

NOTE: In order to represent the Chief Commissioners’ Provinces there will be added to Section A the member representing Delhi in the Central Legislative Assembly, the member representing Ajmer-Merwara in the Central Legislative Assembly and a representative to be elected by the Coorg Legislative Council.

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