Butler Committee or Indian States Committee

Butler Committee or Indian States Committee

During the British Rule in the 1930’s extent of sovereignty of the Paramount power were not yet settled properly, so, relations between Indian Princes and the crown were not well defined. which resulted in ambiguity and problems for the future India.
  • The Indian States Committee was appointed in 1927 to investigate and clarify the relationship between the paramount power i.e the British and the Indian Princes.
  • It visited 16 States and submitted its report in 1929.
  • Sir Harcourt Butler was its chairman and so this committee was popularly known as the Butler Committee.

Recommendations of Butler Committee(Indian States Committee):

  • 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 fulfil 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.
  • The committee fully endorsed that the viceroy, not the governor general should remain the Crown agent in dealing with the native states.
  • In fact the right to protect includes right to internal intervention.
  • Paramountcy is the supreme sovereign power which was kept above the reach of law and interpretation, to be exercised at the appropriate time subject to restraints of morality and constitutional propriety against an erring ruler of a native state when other correctional means had proved to be futile.
  • It is a concept developed into a deterrent in the political relation between the British and the Indian rulers.
  • 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.

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