The Princely states:
1. Were not a part of British India
2. Were sovereign in all matters except foreign policy
3. Were subject to all legislations passed by British Parliament
Select the correct statements from the codes given below:

Answer: [A] Only 1 is correct

The Montague declaration of August 1917 replaced the term “British India” for “India” in its preamble because India included both British Dominions and Princely states and the British parliament could not legislate for the later. In its Interpretation Act 1889, the British Parliament adopted the following definitions:

  1. The expression “British India” shall mean all territories and places within Her Majesty’s dominions which are for the time being governed by Her Majesty through the Governor-General of India or through any governor or other officer subordinate to the Governor-General of India.
  2. The expression “India” shall mean British India together with any territories of any native prince or chief under the suzerainty of Her Majesty exercised through the Governor-General of India, or through any governor or other officer subordinate to the Governor-General of India

The first statement is correct because Princely states were part of India and NOT a part of British India. The second statement is incorrect because apart from foreign policy and others, defense was an important subject in which they were not sovereign. The third statement is also NOT correct because for local matters,  courts of the Princely States existed under the authority of the respective rulers of those states.

This question is a part of GKToday's Integrated IAS General Studies Module