The Cabinet Mission 1946

After the Second World War, Lord Atlee became the Prime Minister of England. On 15 March, 1946 Lord Atlee made a historic announcement in which the right to self-determination and the framing of a Constitution for India were conceded.

Consequently, three members of the British Cabinet – Pathick Lawrence, Sir Stafford Cripps and A. V. Alexander – were sent to India. This is known as the Cabinet Mission. The Cabinet Mission put forward a plan for solution of the constitutional problem.

Provision was made for three groups of provinces to possess their separate constitutions. The Cabinet Mission also proposed the formation of a Union of India, comprising both the British India and the Princely States. The Union would remain in charge of only foreign affairs, defence and communications leaving the residuary powers to be vested in the provinces.

A proposal was envisaged for setting up an Interim Government, which would remain in office till a new government was elected on the basis of the new Constitution framed by the Constituent Assembly. Both the Muslim League and the Congress accepted the plan.

Consequently, elections were held in July 1946 for the formation of a Constituent Assembly. The Congress secured 205 out of 214 General seats. The Muslim League got 73 out of 78 Muslim seats. An Interim Government was formed under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru on 2 September 1946.

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