Viceroy's Executive Council

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The Viceroy's Executive Council was the cabinet of the government of British India headed by the Viceroy of India. It was transformed from an advisory council into a cabinet run by the portfolio system by the Indian Councils Act 1861.


The Government of India Act 1858 transferred the power of the East India Company to the British Crown which was empowered to appoint a Viceroy and Governor-General of India to head the government in India. The advisory council of the Governor-General was based in the capital Calcutta and consisted of four members, three of which were appointed by the Secretary of State for India and one by the Sovereign.

The Indian Councils Act 1861 transformed the Viceroy of India's executive council into a cabinet run on the portfolio system. Three members were to be appointed by the Secretary of State for India, and two by the Sovereign. The five ordinary members took charge of a separate department: home, revenue, military, law and finance. The military Commander-in-Chief sat in with the council as an extraordinary member. The Viceroy was allowed, under the provisions of the Act, to overrule the council on affairs if he deemed it necessary. In 1869, the power to appoint all five members was passed to the Crown and in 1874, a new member was added to be in charge of public works.

The Indian Councils Act 1909 empowered the Governor General to nominate one Indian member to the Executive Council leading to the appointment of Satyendra Prasanno Sinha as the first Indian member. The Government of India Act 1919 increased the number of Indians in the council to three.

Indians in the Council (1909-1940)


On 8 August 1940, the Viceroy Lord Linlithgow made a proposal called the August Offer which expanded the Executive Council to include more Indians.

The council now consisted of:[1][2]

Portfolio Name Tenure
Viceroy and Governor-General of India The Marquess of Linlithgow 8 August 1940 – 1 October 1943
The Viscount Wavell 1 October 1943 – 21 February 1947
Commander-in-Chief in India General Sir Robert Cassels 8 August 1940 – 27 January 1941
General Sir Claude Auchinleck 27 January 1941 – 5 July 1941
General Sir Archibald Wavell 5 July 1941 – 5 January 1942
General Sir Alan Hartley 5 January 1942 – 7 March 1942
Field Marshal Sir Archibald Wavell 7 March 1942 – 20 June 1943
General Sir Claude Auchinleck 20 June 1943 – 21 February 1947
Home Sir Reginald Maxwell 1941-1944
R. F. Mudie 1944-1946
Finance Sir Jeremy Raisman 1941-1946
Defence Feroz Khan Noon 1942-1944
Civil Defence Dr. Edpuganti Raghavendra Rao 1941-1942
Sir Jwala Prasad Srivastava 1942-1943
Law Syed Sultan Ahmed 1941-1943
Asok Kumar Roy 1943-1946
Information Akbar Hydari 1941-1942
Syed Sultan Ahmed 1943-
Communications Sir Andrew Clow 1941
Supply Sir Homi Mody 1941-1942
Arcot Ramasamy Mudaliar 1943
Commerce Arcot Ramasamy Mudaliar 1941
Nalini Ranjan Sarkar 1942
Health, Education and Lands Nalini Ranjan Sarkar 1941
Jogendra Singh 1942-1946
Labour Feroz Khan Noon 1941
B.R. Ambedkar 1942-1946
Indians Overseas and Commonwealth Relations Madhav Shrihari Aney 1941-1943
Narayan Bhaskar Khare 1943-1946
India's Representative at the British War Cabinet and on the Pacific War Council Arcot Ramasamy Mudaliar 1942-1944
Feroz Khan Noon 1944-1945
War Transport E. C. Benthall 1942-1946
Posts and Air Mohammad Usman 1942-1946
Gurunath Venkatesh Bewoor 1946
Food Sir Jwala Prasad Srivastava 1943-1946
Commerce, industries, civil supplies Mohammad Azizul Huque 1943-1945
Post-war Reconstruction Ardeshir Dalal 1944-1945

rowspan=1 Agriculture |

| Mian Attaullah Tarar | 1931-1943

Interim Government

As per the Cabinet Mission Plan, the Executive Council was expanded to consist of only Indian members except the Viceroy and the Commander-in-Chief. This formed the Interim Government of India.

Members of Interim Government

Portfolio Minister
Vice-President of the Executive Council
External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations
Jawaharlal Nehru
Home Affairs
Information and Broadcasting
Vallabhbhai Patel
Defence Baldev Singh
Industries and Supplies John Mathai
Education C. Rajagopalachari
Works, Mines and Power Sarat Chandra Bose
Works, Mines and Power C.H. Bhabha
Food and Agriculture Rajendra Prasad
Railways and Transport Asaf Ali
Labour Jagjivan Ram
Finance Liaquat Ali Khan
Commerce Ibrahim Ismail Chundrigar
Health Ghazanfar Ali Khan
Posts and Air Abdur Rab Nishtar
Law Jogendra Nath Mandal


  1. Constitutional Schemes and Political Development in India. p. 21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "THE VICEROY'S EXECUTIVE COUNCIL IS EXPANDED". The Straits Times. 23 July 1941. Retrieved 8 September 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

See also