Nehru Report 1928 : What was Nehru Report?
The Nehru Report of 28 to 30 August, 1928 was a memorandum outlining a proposed new dominion status constitution for India. It was prepared by a committee of the All Parties Conference Head by Motilal Nehru with Jawaharlal Nehru acting as secretary. This Committee was created when Lord Birkenhead, Secretary of State of India asked the Indian leadership to draft a constitution for the country. The report, which demanded a Dominion Status for Indian was considered by the Congress. There were nine other members in this committees. The finals report was signed by Motilal Nehru, Ali Imam, Tej Bahadur Sapru, Madhav Shrihari Aney, Mangal Singh, Shuaib Qureshi, Subhas Chandra Bose, and G. R. Pradhan. Shuaib Qureshi disagreed with some of the recommendation.
Background / Causes :In its annual sessions of 1928 held at Calcutta. While Jawahar Lal Nehru and Subhash Chandra Bose were in favour of complete swaraj, most of leaders were satisfied with the Dominions status for the time being.
At the annual session of the Congress in Madras in December 1927, a resolutions was passed which advocated the boycott of the Simon Commission "at every stage and in every form". Other political parties also joined the suit.
On February 3, 1928 a complete Hartal was observed in Mumbai on the day when Simon Commission(1928) landed in Bombay. Wherever the commission goes, people came out in procession and show him "Simon Go Back".
But Simon commission had to do its duty. It visited twice in 1928 and 1929 and finally submitted Nehru Report in May 1930. Simon commission report was not to be accepted by the Indian Leaders. The secretary of state for India was Lord Birkenhead, who threw a challenge to these congress to prepare a draft of constitution of Indian. The political leaders accepted the challenges and this was followed by a call for All party conference in February and May 1928.
The outcome of the All Parties Conference was that a committee was appointed under the Chairman of Motilal Nehru, to draft the proposed constitution. Jawaharlal Nehru was secretary of the Committee and others Ali Imam, Tej Bahadur Sapru, M.S. Aney Besant, Mangal Singh, Shuaib Qureshi, Subhas Chandra Bose and G. R. Pradhan were its members.
The draft constitution was prepared which was called for "Nehru Committee Report (1928)". This report was submit on August 28, 1928 at the Lucknow conference of all the Parties. This was the first major attempt by Indian to draft a constitution for themselves. But Jinnah Voted against Nehru report.
Key Points of Nehru Report :The constitution outlined by the Nehru Report was for Indians enjoying dominion status within the British Commonwealth. Some of the important elements of the report: The main points of the Nehru report---
1. Unlike the eventual Government of India Act 1935 it contained a Bill of Rights.
2. All power of government and all authority - legislative, executive and judicial - are derived from the people and the same shall be exercised through organisations established by, or under, and in accord with, this Constitution.
3. There shall be no state religion; men and women shall have equal rights as citizens.
4. There should be federal form of government with residuary powers vested in the centre.
5. It included a description of the machinery of government including a proposal for the creation of a Supreme Court and a suggestion that the provinces should be linguistically determined.
6. It did not provide for separate electorates for any community or weightage for minorities. Both of these were liberally provided in the eventual Governments of India Act 1935. However, it did allow for the reservation of minority seat in provinces having a minorities of at least ten percent, but this was to be in strict proportion to the size of the community.
7. The language of the Union shall be Indian, which may be written either in Devanagari (Hindi/Sanskrit), Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali or Tamil in character. The use of the English languages shall be permitted.
The Nehru Report, along with that of the Simon Commission was available to participant in the three Indian Round Table Conferences (1930–1932). However, the Governments of India Act 1935 owes much to the Simon Commission report and little, if anything to the Nehru Report.
Muslim League reaction to the Nehru Report :With few exceptions League's leaders rejected the Nehru proposals. In reaction Mohammad Ali Jinnah drafted his Fourteen Points (14) in 1929 which became the core demands the Muslims community put forward as the price of their participating in an independent united India. Their main objections were:-
1. Separate electorates and weightage — the 1916 Congress-Muslim League agreement Lucknow Pact provided these to the Muslim community whereas they were rejected by the Nehru Report (1928).
2. Residuary powers — the Muslims realized that while they would be a majority in the province of the North-East and North-West of India, and hence would control their provincial legislatures they would always be a minority at the Centres. Thus they demanded, contra the Nehru Report, that residuary power go to the provinces.
According to Mohamad ali Jinnah's, "The Committee has adopted a narrow minded policy to ruin the political future of the Muslim. I regret to declare that the report is extremely ambiguous and does not deserves to be implemented."