World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Instrument of Accession

The British Empire in the East, 1919, showing the princely states coloured green. The areas controlled by the British directly are coloured red.

The Instrument of Accession was a legal document first introduced by the Government of India Act 1935 and used in 1947 to enable each of the rulers of the princely states under British suzerainty to join one of the new dominions of India or Pakistan created by the Partition of British India.


  • Background 1
  • Accession of states to the new Dominions 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


565 princely states existed in India during the period of British rule. These were not parts of British India proper, having never become possessions of the British Crown, but were tied to it in a system of subsidiary alliances.

The Government of India Act 1935 introduced the concept of the Instrument of Accession, wherein a ruler of a princely state could accede his kingdom into the 'Federation of India'. The federation concept was initially opposed by the Indian princes, but accession of all the princely states was almost complete when World War II occurred.

In 1947 the British finalized their plans for quitting India, and the question of the future of the princely states was a conundrum for them. As they were not British, they could not be partitioned by the British between the new sovereign nations of India and Pakistan. The Indian Independence Act 1947 provided that the suzerainty of the British Crown over the princely states would simply be terminated, effective 15 August 1947. That would leave the princely states completely independent, even though many of them had been dependent on the Government of India for defence, finance, and other infrastructure. With independence, it would then be a matter for each ruler of a state to decide whether to accede to India, to accede to Pakistan, or to remain independent.

Accession of states to the new Dominions

The Instrument of Accession was the legal document designed to bring about accession, where it was decided upon. It was executed by the Government of India on the one hand and by the rulers of each of the princely states, individually, on the other hand.

Among the more momentous of such accessions was that executed by Maharaja Hari Singh, ruler of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, on 26 October 1947. It gave control of Jammu and Kashmir to the government of India. The accession of Jammu and Kashmir was accepted by Lord Mountbatten of Burma, Governor-General of India, on 27 October 1947. The text (excluding the schedule mentioned in its third point) is as follows:[1]

See also


  1. ^ "Instrument of Accession executed by Maharajah Hari Singh on October 26, 1947". 26 October 1947. Retrieved 26 August 2012. 

External links

  • An Accession Document filled out for Jammu and Kashmir State
  • Instrument of Accession of Jammu and Kashmir in text mode
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.