The Minto-Morley Reforms | The Indian Act 1909 Notes

The Minto-Morley Reforms (1909)

The Minto-Morley Reforms | The Indian Act 1909


The Minto-Morley Reforms are also called the Indian Act of 1909. The British Parliament passed this Act to increase the number of Indians in British governance.  It was the revised act of 1861 and 1892. It introduced the concept of a separate electorate which is also known as the Minto-Morley Reforms. It was named after John Morley, the Secretary of State for India (1905-1919) who formulated this Act. 

Historical Background

In 1906, the Liberal Party came into power in Britain. The objective of the Liberal Party was to promote political freedom. This view also had impacts on the British Colonies across the world. Therefore, this ideology also affects the politics of the subcontinent. 

Furthermore, the Shimla Deputation’s Leaders met Lord Minto in 1906 and they presented their proposal for a separate electorate for the Muslims of the subcontinent. For this purpose, the All-India Muslim League was formed in 1906.

So the Indian Council Act of 1909 was passed to moderate the role of the Indian National Congress and the Muslims to its side. 

Demands in Minto-Morley Reforms

The following were the demands of the Muslims in the Minto-Morley Reforms to ensure their political freedom in the subcontinent:

First Demand

The Muslims demanded a separate electorate. In a separate electorate, only the representative of a particular community contests the elections.

For Example

If there are 20 people in a constituency of which 12 are Muslims and 8 are non-Muslims. In this case, in a separate electorate, only Muslims can contest an election and only Muslims can vote. 

Second Demand:

If there were two Indians in Viceroy’s Executive Council then 1 should be a Muslim Member and 1 from another community. 

Also Read: Why the Partition of Bengal Happened?


The Indian Council Act of 1909 allowed Indians to Join the Viceroy’s Executive Council.

Central Legislature 

  1. In the Central Legislature, the number of members increased from 16 to 60.
  2. At the centre official, members were to form the majority.
  3. Legislative Members are to be permitted to discuss the budget, suggest the amendments and vote on them.
  4. Additional members were allowed to question Executive Council members.
  5. The rights of a separate electorate were given to the Indian Muslims. 

Provincial Legislature

The provincial legislature was now in 7 different places:

  • Madrass
  • Punjab
  • UP
  • Bengal
  • Bombay
  • Burma
  • Assam

Furthermore, additional members were increased in the provincial legislature. Non-officials can be in majority.


The following are the significance of the Minto-Morley Reforms:

  1. Association of elected Indians with administration.
  2. Muhammad Ali Jinnah became a private member and also presented a bill called Waqf-al-Aulad, which was passed by the council. 
  3. The Indian Council Act of 1909 opened space for political development in India, especially for Muslims.
  4. A separate electorate played a key role in the political development of Muslims. 


  1. The first defect of this Act was that it expanded the size of the council.
  2. The members were able to discuss the budget but they were unable to make any significant changes. 


In conclusion, the British parliament passed these reforms known as the Minto-Morley Reforms. In these reforms, the changes allowed Indian representation in the administration and also paved the way for the Indian Muslims' political development by giving them a separate electorate. 

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