In 1885, the Indian National Congress was founded. The Congress saw reform of the councils as the “root of all other reforms”. It was in response to the Congress demand that the legislative councils be expanded that the number of non-official members was increased both in the central (Imperial) and provincial legislative councils by the Indian Councils Act, 1892.
Features of the Act
The Legislative Council of the Governor-General (or the Indian Legislative Council, as it came to be known) was enlarged.
The universities, district boards, municipalities, zamindars, trade bodies and chambers of commerce were empowered to recommend members to the provincial councils. Thus was introduced the principle of representation.
Though the term ‘election’ was firmly avoided in the Act, an element of indirect election was accepted in the selection of some of the non-official members.
The legislative councils got the power of discussing the Budget.
The legislative councils allowed legislators to address questions to the executive. They could also put questions within certain limits to the executive on matters of public interest after giving six days’ notice.