Simon Commission

The Indian Statutory Commission is popularly known as the Simon Commission after the name of its chairman. The commission had 7 members including the chairman Sir John Simon and all of them were Britishers.

As the government of the India Act 1919 had a provision for a review committee after ten years to study the progress of the Act and for new suggestions. the British government appointed the seven members’ statutory commission two years before the schedule. The Simon Commission was set up under British Prime Minister Stanley Balwin on November 8, 1927, to report on the condition of India under its new constitution.

The Response of Indians to the Commission

All members of the commission were British, hence all political parties and citizens boycotted it. They felt insulted and took it as a violation of self-determination principles as foreigners would discuss and decide upon the self-governance of India.

The Response of Congress

Congress decided to boycott this Commission ‘on each level and in every form under the presidency of M.A Ansari in the Madras Session in December 1927. A resolution of complete Independence was passed.

  • The Muslim League divided into two parts, one supported was under Jinnah, and the other decided not to boycott under Muhammad Shafi.
  • Hindu Mahasabha was also included in the boycott of the Simon Commission.
  • Some decided not to boycott– Muhammad Shafi, a Unionist in Punjab, Justice party in the south.
The response of the public 

The public was very angry as their emotions were brutally hearted, they felt insulted because of the exclusion from the commission.

  • The Commission reached Bombay on 3 February 1928, there was a countrywide hartal on that day.
  • Black flags were demonstrated with the slogan “Simon Go Back”.
  • On a mass level, the students and the public participated in this demonstration, Senior leaders Nehru and Bose emerged as leaders of students and youth.
Repression By Police
  • Lathicharge on demonstrators by police.
  • In Lucknow, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru and G.B Pant were Beaten up.
  • At Lahore, Lala Lajpat rai got serious injuries in Lathicharge during the demonstration on 30th Oct. 1928. He passed away on 17 November 1928.
Recommendations of Simon Commission

Finally, the report of the Simon Commission was published in May 1930. It recommended:

  • Dyarchy of dyarchy.
  • Autonomous governance should be established in provinces.
  • Governors should have the power of security and administration for the protection of different communities.
  • In the provincial legislative council, the number of members should be increased.
  • The federal government for both the British provinces and princely states.
  • They extended time for British troops in Indian regiments.
  • The high court should be under the control of the administration of the government of India.
  • Suggested extending the separate communal electorate.
  • Sindh should be separated from Bombay.
  • Burma should be separated from India as it is not a natural part of the Indian subcontinent.

To consider the proposals of the commission the British gov. assembled three round table conferences of representatives of the British gov. British India and Indian princely states.

A white paper of constitutional reforms” was prepared. With certain changes, the reforms and recommendations of the committee were incorporated in the next Government of India Act of 1935. 


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