Two boundary commissions were set up by the Viceroy, one of them was to deal with the detailed partition of Bengal and separation of Sylhet from Assam and the other to deal similarly with the partition of the Punjab. Each of the commissions would have a chairman and four members, two appointed by the Congress and two by the Muslim League. Sir Cyril Radcliffe, a leading member of the English Bar, was appointed the chairman of both the ommissions.
Radcliffe had never visited India before and there is no indication that he had any worthwhile knowledge of Indian affairs. He arrived in Delhi on July 8. Mountbatten disclosed the awards to the Indian leaders on August 17.
The awards satisfied no one. The Congress’ criticism of the award relating to Bengal mainly related to the allotment of the Chittagong Hill Tracts to Pakistan. The major Pakistani criticism was the allotment of Calcutta to India.
With regard to the Ferozepore district, Pakistan pointed out that Muslim majority tahsils of Ferozepore and Zira, contiguous to Pakistan, were first allotted by Radcliffe to Pakistan later on as the result of a last minute intervention by Mountbatten, were alloted to india.
The Quaid-i-Azam could do no more than to console his countrymen, ‘we have been squeezed in as much as was possible and the latest blow that we have received is the Award of the Boundary Commission. It is an unjust, incomprehensible and even perverse Award. It may be wrong, unjust and perverse; and it may not be a judicial but a political Award, but we have agreed to abide by it and it is binding upon us. As honorable people we must abide by it. It may be our misfortune but we must bear up this one more blow with fortitude, courage and hope.”