Explained:What is Instrument of Accession

News:From 2020,the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will have a public holiday on October 26 for the first time.This day will be observed as Accession Day.



  • According to the Indian Independence Act,1947,British India was divided into India and Pakistan and the roughly 580 princely states that had signed subsidiary alliances with the British had their sovereignty restored to them. 
  • In essence,these princely states were given the option to remain independent or to join the Dominion of India or Pakistan.
  • According to Section 6(a) of the Act,before joining India or Pakistan, these states had to sign an Instrument of Accession, in which they would specify the terms on which they were becoming part of the new dominions.

Instrument of Accession for J&K:

  • The Instrument of Accession(IoA) is a legal document executed by Maharaja Hari Singh, the then ruler of the princely state of Jammu & Kashmir, on October 26, 1947.
  • The accession declared that the state accedes to India.It gave India’s Parliament the power to legislate in respect of J&K only on the matters of defence, external affairs and communications. 
  • Apart from defence, communications and external affairs,the IoA mentions ancillary subjects that include elections to the dominion legislature. 

Additional information:

About Subsidiary alliance:

  • The system of subsidiary alliance was introduced by Lord Wellesley who became Governor-General in 1798. 
  • Under this system,the ruler of the allying Indian state was compelled to accept the permanent posting of a British force within his territory and to pay a subsidy for its maintenance.
  • The stated reasons for this was protection of his territory.But was in fact a form through which Indian ruler accepted dominance of the Company. 
  • Lord Wellesley had signed subsidiary treaties with the number of Indian rulers such as Nizam of Hyderabad in 1798, the Nawab of Awadh in 1801 and Peshwa Baji Rao II in 1802.