Bengal Legislative Council

Bengal Legislative Council

বাংলা আইন পরিষদ
Coat of arms or logo
Type
Type
Unicameral (1861-1937)
Upper chamber (1937-1947)
History
Founded1862 (1862)
Disbanded1947 (1947)
Succeeded byEast Bengal Legislative Assembly
West Bengal Legislative Assembly
Meeting place
Calcutta, British Bengal

The Bengal Legislative Council was the legislative council of British Bengal (now Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal).[1]It was the primarily legislature of the Bengal Presidency during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. After reforms were adopted in 1937, it served as the upper chamber of the Bengali legislature until the partition of British India.

Some of the notable popular orators of the assembly included A. K. Fazlul Huq (Lion of Bengal),[2] and Sir Surendranath Banerjee. Their speeches in English have acquired significant fame and are recorded in numerous books and libraries.

The Bengal Provincial Muslim League, the Praja Party, the Bengal Provincial Congress and the Swaraj Party were among the notable political groups on the council. The council has been the only upper house in Bengali parliamentary history.

History

The council was established under the Indian Councils Act 1861. It was dominated by Europeans and Anglo-Indians, with natives as a minority, until reforms in 1909. Under the Indian Councils Act 1892 and Indian Councils Act 1909, representatives of municipalities, district boards, city corporations, universities, ports, plantations, zamindars, Muslim electorates and chambers of commerce were inducted. Native Bengali representation gradually increased. Its voting power was limited, particularly on budgets. It was delegated "transferred subjects" of education, public health, local government, agriculture and public works; while the "reserved subjects" of finance, police, land revenue, law, justice and labour remained with the Executive Council headed by the Governor of Bengal. Between 1905 and 1912, the council's geographical coverage was divided and partly delegated to the Eastern Bengal and Assam Legislative Council. During the period of dyarchy, the council was boycotted by the Congress Party and Swaraj Party; but constitutionalists in the Bengal Provincial Muslim League continued to be active members.[3][4]

Under the Government of India Act, 1935, the council became the upper chamber of the legislature of Bengal.[5]

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