Academic journal article Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues

Radcliff's Award: An Ethical Imbalancement

Academic journal article Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues

Radcliff's Award: An Ethical Imbalancement

Article excerpt


According to an estimate of the Government of Pakistan, approximately, 6,500,000 refugees came into Pakistan. Of these, 5,200,000 came from the East Punjab and the neighboring states while 130,000 came from Delhi province. Nearly, 5,500,000 Hindus and Sikhs left West Pakistan (Dar, 2003). It is also claimed that

"A total of 7.25 million Muslim refugees came from India between 1947 and 1951" (Talboot, 2004).

Nearly, 5.5 million displaced persons inhabited in West Punjab while about 1.5 million moved towards Sindh. It was the province of Punjab that was gone through maximum violence "three-quarters of a million killed", and it had been estimated that more than ten million Punjabis were uprooted from their homelands (Joya, 2014) and at least 75,000 women were raped (Ishtiaq, 2002). The representative of Pakistan also stated that "about 10,000,000 people displaced from their home constitute a vast mass of human suffering " (Talbot, 1949). It is also blame that it causing more than 15 million refugees and hundreds of thousands of deaths (Kaufmann, 1998). The most important reason behind the mass migration is the Boundary Commission, later on called the Radcliffe Award. In this award, we shall come to know that how the commission committed excesses with the Muslims majority areas and how they were given to India and no doubt the award had hit the Muslims more than any other and they had already sacrificed more than they were expected to.


With the passing of the Indian Independence Act, 1947, Pakistan and India were divided into two independence states. On July 4, 1947, this Act was presented in the House of Commons in the British where it was resolved that a boundary commission would determine the new boundaries (Indian Independence). Initially it was proposed that the task of demarcating the boundaries of the Punjab and Bengal should be given to the United Nations or the International Court of Justice. Jinnah supported the suggestion but Nehru opposed it on the grounds that it would involve undue delay (Campbell-Johnson, 1972). Mountbatten, who sought to placate the Congress, dropped the idea. Jinnah then proposed that three judges of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in Britain should be appointed as the members of the Boundary Commission. Mountbatten again rejected this proposal on the ground that the elderly judges would not be able to withstand the heat of the Indian summer (Hodson, 1985). But the Quaid-i-Azam's desire was to appoint three Law Lords from the United Kingdom for the boundary commissions as impartial members. But he was informed that the Law Lords could not face the scorching heat of summers as they were elderly persons. Later on, Lord Mountbatten convinced him to accept the appointment of an English lawyer, Sir Cyril Radcliffe, as the chairman of both the boundary commissions who would have the power to make the Viceroy letter to secretary of state of India1. The two political parties Congress and the Muslim League recommended their nominees as the members of the two commissions. The Muslim League nominated Abu Saleh Mohammad Akram2 and S.A. Rahman3 for the Bengal Boundary Commission and Din Mohammad4 and Mohammad Munir5 for the Punjab Boundary Commission. While the Congress nominated C. Biswas6 and B.K. Mukherji7 for the Bengal Boundary Commission and Teja Singh8 and Mehr Chand Mahajan9 for the Punjab Boundary Commission. Thus, the two Boundary Commissions were finalized on June 30. The Boundary Commission was instructed to demarcate boundaries of the two parts of the Punjab and Bengal on the basis of Muslim and Non-Muslim majority population. However, it was also to take into account "other factors", while making a decision. Interestingly, the term "other factors" was kept vague and the Commission had every right to have its own interpretation of the term.

The Punjab may be considered as consisting of two wings, a western along the Indus and eastern between the five Rivers Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.