- On January 25, 1931 Gandhi and all other members of the CWC were released unconditionally. The CWC authorized Gandhi to initiate discussions with the viceroy.
- As a result of these discussions, a pact was signed between the viceroy, representing the British Indian Government, and Gandhi, representing the Indian people, in Delhi on February 14, 1931. The pact made the British Government concede some demands.
- This Delhi Pact, also known as the Gandhi-Irwin Pact, placed the congress on an equal footing with the Government.
- Accordingly, Gandhi met Irwin and held negotiations. It was for the first time that the two were meeting as ‘equals’. GANDHI-IRWIN PACT
IRWIN ON BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT AGREED ON
- Immediate release of all political prisoners not convicted of violence;
- Remission of all fines not yet collected;
- Return of all lands not yet sold to third parties;
- Lenient treatment to those government servants who had resigned;
- Right to make salt in coastal villages for personal consumption (not for sale);
- Right to peaceful and non-aggressive picketing; and GANDHI-IRWIN PACT
- Withdrawal of emergency ordinances.
THE VICEROY, HOWEVER, TURNED DOWN TWO OF GANDHI’S DEMANDS
- Public inquiry into police excesses, and
- Commutation of Bhagat Singh and his comrades death sentence to life sentence.
GANDHI ON BEHALF OF THE CONGRESS AGREED
- To suspend the civil disobedience movement, and
- To participate in the next RTC on the constitutional question around the three lynch-pins of federation, Indian responsibility, and reservations and safeguards that may be necessary in India’s interests (covering such areas as defence, external affairs, position of minorities, financial credit of India and discharge of other obligations). GANDHI-IRWIN PACT
FIRST ROUND TABLE CONFERENCE (NOV 1930- JAN 1931)
- This was the first ever conference where British and Indians were as equals.
- While congress and most business leaders boycotted the RTC, Muslim leaders, Liberals, Hindu Mahasabha, and princes attended it.
- It was suggested by every delegate that constitutional discussion to which congress was not a part, is meaningless.
- Even the British PM hoped that congress would attend the next RTC