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Instructions from crown to governors of provinces to which Govt of India Act 1919 applies


Whereas by the Government of India Act, provision has been made for the gradual development of self-governing institutions in British India with a view to the progressive realisation of responsible government in that country as an integral part of Our Empire ;

And whereas it is Our will and pleasure that, in the execution of the Office of Governor in and over the Presidency of Fort William in Bengal, you shall further the purposes of the said Act, to the end that the institutions and methods of govern-ment therein provided shall be laid upon the best and surest foundations, that the people of the said presidency shall acquire such habits of political action and respect such conventions as will best and soonest fit them for self-government, and that Our authority and the authority of Our Governor-General in Council shall be duly maintained ;

Now, therefore, We do hereby direct and enjoin

you and declare Our will and pleasure to be as fallows :

I. You shall do all that lies in your power to maintain standards of good administration ; to encourage religious toleration, co-operation and goodwill among all classes and creeds ; to ensure the probity of public finance and the solvency of the presidency; and to promote all measures making for the moral, social, and industrial welfare of the people, and tending to fit all classes of the population without distinction to take their due share in the public life and government of the country.

II. You shall bear in mind that it is necessary and expedient that those now and hereafter to be enfranchised shall appreciate the duties, responsibilities and advantages which spring from the privilege of enfranchisement ; that is to say, that those who exercise the power henceforward entrusted to them of returning representatives to the legislative council, being enabled to perceive the effects of their choice of a representative, and that those who are returned to the council, being enabled to perceive the effects of their votes given therein, shall come to look for the redress of their grievances and the improvement of their condition to the working of representative institutions.

III. Inasmuch as certain matters have been reserved for the administration according to law of the Governor in Council, in respect of which the authority of Our Governor-General in Council shall remain unimpaired, while certain other matters have been transferred to the administration of the Governor acting with a Minister, it will be for you so to regulate the business of the government of the presidency that, so far as may be possible, the responsibility of each for these respective classes of matters may be kept clear and distinct.

IV. Nevertheless, you shall encourage the habit of joint deliberation between yourself, your Councillors and your Ministers, in order that the experience of your official advisers may be at the disposal of your Ministers, and that the knowledge of your Ministers as to the wishes of the people may be at the disposal of your Councillors.

V. You shall assist Ministers by all the means in your power in the administration of the transferred subjects, and advise them in regard to their relations with the legislative council.

VI. In considering a Minister’s advice and deciding whether or not there is sufficient cause in any case to dissent from his opinion, you shall have due regard to his relations with the legislative council and to the wishes of the people of the presidency as expressed by their representatives therein.

VII. But in addition to the general responsibilities with which you are, whether by statute or under this Instrument, charged, We do further hereby specially require and charge you :

(1) to see that whatsoever measures are, inyour opinion, necessary for maintaining safety and tranquillity in all parts of your presidency and for preventing occa-sions of religious or racial conflict, are duly taken, and that all orders issued by Our Secretary of State or by de jur Governor General in Council on Our behalf to whatever matters relating are duly com-
plied with ;

(2) to take care that due provision shall be made for the advancement and social welfare of those classes amongst the people committed to your charge, who, whether on account of the smallness of their number or their lack of educational or material advantages or from any other cause, specially rely upon Our protection, and cannot as yet fully rely for their welfare upon joint political action, and that such classes shall not suffer, or have cause to fear, neglect or oppression ;

(3) to see that no order of your Government and no Act of your legislative council shall be so framed that any of the diverse interests of or arising from race, religion, education, social condition, wealth or any other circumstance, may receive unfair advantage, or may unfairly be deprived of privileges or advantages which they have heretofore enjoyed, or be excluded from the enjoyment of benefits which may hereafter be conferred on the people at large ;

(4) to safeguard all members of Our services employed in the said presidency in the legitimate exercise of their functions, and in the enjoyment of all recognised rights and privileges, and to see that your Government order all things justly and reasonably in their regard, and that due obedience is paid to all just and reasonable orders and diligence shown in their execution ;

(5) to take care that, while the people inhabiting the said presidency shall enjoy all facili-ties for the development of commercial and industrial undertakings, no monopoly or special privilege which is against the common interest shall be established, and no unfair discrimination shall be made in matters affecting commercial or industrial interests.

VIII. And We do hereby charge you to communicate these Our Instructions to the Members of your Executive Council and your Ministers and to publish the same in your presidency in such manner as you may think fit.

Government of India Act 1919

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