Cabinet Mission Plan 1946

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Cabinet Mission Plan 1946

The Cabinet Mission Plan started with the arrival of Lord Pethick-Lawrence, Secretary of State for India, who, on February 19, 1946, declared in Parliament that a special mission comprising of three Cabinet ministers, in association with the Viceroy, would proceed to India, in order to hold negotiations with the Indian leaders. The three Cabinet ministers would be Pethick Lawrence, Sir Stafford Cripps and A.V. Alexander. Cripps told the press conference on landing at Karachi on March 23 that the objective of the mission was “to get machinery set up for framing the constitutional arrangement in which the Indians will have full control of their destiny and the formation of a new interim government.” The Mission arrived in Delhi on March 24 and left on June 29.

The Objective of the Cabinet Mission:

  • Preparatory discussions with elected representatives of British India and the Indian states in order to secure agreement as to the method of framing the constitution.
  • Setting up of a constitution body.
  • Setting up an Executive Council with the support of the main Indian parties.

Main Points of the Cabinet Mission:

  1. Frontier Province, Sind and Baluchistan in the North-West of India, namely Pakistan, zones where the Muslims are in a dominant majority, be constituted into a sovereign independent State and that an unequivocal undertaking be given to implement the establishment of Pakistan without delay.
  2. The two separate constitution-making bodies be set up by the people of Pakistan and Hindustan for the purpose of framing their respective Constitutions.
  3. That the acceptance of the Muslim League demand of Pakistan and its implementation without delay are the sine qua non for Muslim League cooperation and participation in the formation of an Interim Government at the Center.
  4. That any attempt to impose a Constitution on a united-India basis or to force any interim arrangement at the Center contrary to the Muslim League demand will leave the Muslims no alternative but to resist any such imposition by all possible means for their survival and national existence.

Reactions

The Muslim League accepted the cabinet mission plan on June 6 1946. Earlier, the Congress had accepted the plan on May 24, 1946, though it overruled the interim setup.

The Viceroy should now have invited the Muslim League to form Government as it had accepted the interim setup; but he did not do so.

Meanwhile Jawaharlal Nehru, addressing a press conference on July 10, said that the Congress had agreed to join the constituent assembly, but saying it would be free to make alterations in the Cabinet Mission Plan.

It became clear that the prolonged negotiations carried out for about three months by the Cabinet Mission did not show up in a League-Congress understanding, or in the formation of an interim Government. Towards the end of June, the Cabinet Mission left for England, their mission unfulfilled. It had, however not been a complete failure. It was clear to the Indians that the acceptance of the demand for Pakistan would be an essential part of any future settlement of the Indian knotty. In the meantime, the League and the Congress were getting ready for elections to the Constituent Assembly.

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