A major portion of the Indian subcontinent was under British rule from 1858 to 1947. During this period, the office of the Secretary of State for India (along with the Council of India) was the authority through whom British Parliament exercised its rule in the Indian sub-continent, and the office of Viceroy of India was created, along with an Executive Council in India, consisting of high officials of the British government. The Indian Councils Act 1861 provided for a Legislative Council consisting of the members of the Executive Council and non-official members. The Indian Councils Act 1892 established legislatures in each of the provinces of British India and increased the powers of the Legislative Council. Although these Acts increased the representation of Indians in the government, their power still remained limited, and the electorate very small. The Indian Councils Act 1909 and the Government of India Act 1919 further expanded the participation of Indians in the administration. The Government of India Act 1935 introduced provincial autonomy and proposed a federal structure in India. The Indian Independence Act 1947, passed by the British parliament on 18 July 1947, divided British India (which did not include the Princely States) into two new independent countries, India and Pakistan, which were to be dominions under the Crown until they had each enacted a new constitution. The Constituent Assembly was divided into two for the separate nations, with each new Assembly having sovereign powers transferred to it for the respective dominion.
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