Butler Committee Report & India

IAS Mains General Studies Sample Answers

Reactions on the Report in India


Sir Harcourt ButlerExtent of sovereignty of the Paramount power were not yet settled properly, so, relations between Indian Princes and the crown were not well defined. The Indian states committee in 1927 was appointed to investigate and clarify the relationship between the paramount power and the Princes.

Sir Harcourt Butler was its chairman and this committee was popularly known as the Butler Committee.

It gave the following recommendations:

  • Paramountcy must remain supreme.
  • States should not be handed over to an Indian government in British India, responsible to an Indian Legislature.
  • But it could be done with the consent of states.
  • It must fulfill its obligation, adopting and defining itself according to the shifting necessities of time and progressive development of states.
  • The viceroy was made the Crown’s agent in dealing with states.

Thus, the committee left it yet undefined creating ambiguity, which was appointed to define paramountcy. This hydra-headed creature was left to feed on usage, crown’s prerogative and the princes implied consent. By this definition in the report princes were shocked. As a result they resorted to constitution of All India Union to save themselves from such vague concept of Paramountcy.

Conclusion: The Committee was formed to inquire into the relationship between the Indian states and the paramount power and to suggest ways and means for more satisfactory adjustments of the existing relations between them and British India.

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