Summary of Charter Acts, Regulating Acts, Councils Acts and Government of India Acts for UPSC



                                                         Company rule (1773-1858)


Regulating Act 1773:

Governor General

1)      Governor of Bengal became Governor General of Bengal

2)      Executive council (4 members) to assist Governor General of Bengal

3)      Governor of Bombay and Madras became subordinate to Governor General of Bengal

For the 1st  time , Political and administrative functions of East India Company were recognized

Laid foundation for Central administration in India

No private trade, No presents or bribes from natives to servants of the company

Court of directors has to report Revenue, civil and military affairs

Establishment of supreme court, Calcutta (1774) – One CJI and 3 judges


Amending Act 1781:

Rectified defects of regulating act 1773

Act of settlement

Governor General in council – has jurisdiction for appeals from provincial courts, frame regulations for the provincial courts and council

Supreme court has no jurisdiction – Governor general, Governor general council, servants of EIC, revenue matters, appeals from provincial courts

Supreme court has jurisdiction over inhabitants of Calcutta


Pitts India act 1784:

Distinguished commercial and political functions of EIC

Double Government – Court of directors (commercial affairs), Board of control (political affairs)

Board of control (BOC) – supervise and direct civil, military, revenue affairs of British possessions of India

Significant reasons

1)      1st time British possessions in India mentioned

2)      British government took supreme control over EIC affairs and administration


Act of 1786:

Lord cornwalis became Governor General of bengal

Enacted for two demands of Lord cornwalis

1)      Overriding power in Governor general council

2)      Commander in chief


Charter Act 1793:

Trade Monopoly Extension for another 20 years

Board of control and staff salaries will be paid out of Indian revenue

Governor General

1)      Extension of overriding power to all Governors and Governor general in future

2)      More control of Governor general on Bombay and madras presidencies

3)      Commander in chief is not to be a member of Governor general in council unless appointed


Charter act 1813:

British crown asserted sovereignty over company’s territories in India

Abolished Trade monopoly of EIC except trade with tea and trade with china

Authorized Local government to impose taxes and punish for not paying taxes


1)      Christian missionaries

2)      Western education – to Inhabitants of British territories of India


Charter act of 1833:

Final step towards centralization in British India

EIC status

1)      Not a commercial body

2)      Purely administrative body

3)      Company territories in India – In trust for His Majesty, His heirs and successors

Governor General

1)      Governor general of Bengal became Governor general of India

2)      1st GGI – Lord William Bentick

3)      1st time act created – Authorizing Governor general of India over entire British possessions in India

4)      Exclusive legislative power over entire British India

Deprived Legislative powers of Governor of Bombay and Madras

Attempted – to introduce Open system competition for civil services. Rejected because of COD opposition


Charter Act 1853:

Last charter act

For the 1st time Governor general council split into executive council and legislative council

Central legislative council

1)      6 new members added

2)      Mini parliament

3)      1st time – Legislation is a special function

Company rule

1)      Extended company rule

2)      Allowed to retain possession of Indian territories on trust for the British Crown (Not specified particular period). This means company rule can be terminated at any time

Local representation – 4 members were local out of 6 new members of Central legislative council. 4 local members were appointed by Madras, Bombay, Bengal and agra

Introduced – Open competition system of selection and recruitment of civil servants which is open to Indians also. (Macaulay committee 1854)



The Crown Rule (1858-1947)


Government of India Act 1858:

Act for Good Government of India


1)      Governor general of India became Viceroy of India (direct representative of British crown)

2)      1st viceroy – Lord canning

Secretary of state

1)      Member of British Cabinet

2)      Establishment of 15 member council (to assist SOS)

i)        Advisory body

ii)       SOS is chairman

iii)     Can sue and can be sued in India and England

Ended double Government – BOC, COD

Main focus

1)      To improve Administrative machinery

2)      To control and supervise from England


Indian Councils Act of 1861:

Important landmark in the constitution and political history of India

Representative institutions started associated with Indians for law making process

New legislative council established for Bengal (1862), NWFP (1886), Punjab (1897)


1)      Nominate some Indians as non-official members of Expanded council

2)      Empowered to make rules and orders (For business in the council)

3)      To issue ordinance without concurrence of legislative council (during emergency)

4)      Life of Ordinance was 6 months


Indian Councils Act of 1892:

Functions of Legislative council is increased

Budget discussion power given

Non-official members

1.       Increased number of additional non official members in central and provincial legislative councils but official majority maintained in them.

2.       Nomination of some non-official members

2.1.   For central Legislative council – by Viceroy with the recommendation of Provincial L.C, Bengal chamber of commerce

2.2.   For Provincial Legislative council – by Governor with the recommendation of District boards, Municipalities, Universities, Zamindars and chambers


Indian Councils Act 1909:

Morley Minto reforms – Lord Morley (SOS), Lord Minto (Viceroy)

Legislative Council

1.       Size of L.C’s increased

1.1.   Central – from 16 to 60

1.2.   Provincial – Not uniform

2.       Central L.C – retained official majority

3.       Provincial L.C – Allowed non official majority

4.       Deliberative functions allowed in L.C’s both levels. Ex : asking supplementary questions, Move resolutions on budget

Executive council

1)      1st time Indians associated with E.C’s of viceroy and Governors

2)      1st Indian in E.C of viceroy – Satyendra prasad Sinha (Law Member)

Separate electorate for Muslims, legalized communalism, father of communal electorate – Lord Minto

Separate representation for Presidency corporations, chamber of commerce, universities and Zamindars


Government of India Act 1919:

Montagu Chelmsford reforms – Montagu (SOS), Chelmsford (viceroy)

Objective – Gradual Introduction of Responsible Government in India (for the 1st time)

Central and Provincial subjects were separated and demarcated.

For the 1st time:

1.       Bicameralism and direct election was introduced

2.       Upper house – council of states, Lower house – Legislative assembly

3.       Majority of members elected by direct election

3 out of 6 members of viceroy’s E.C (other than commander in chief) should be Indian

Created new office of high commissioner for India in London

Extended communal representation – separate electorates for Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo Indians and Europeans

Granted franchise – on basis of property, tax or education only for limited number of people

Establishment of public service commission (PSC)

1.       Central PSC – 1926

2.       For the 1st time, separated provincial budget from central budget

3.       Authorized Provincial legislators to enact their budget

Appointment of statutory commission to enquire into and report of working of GOI act 1919 after 10 years of its coming into force

Government of India Act 1935:

2nd milestone towards a completely responsible government – 321 sections, 10 schedules

Failed to Implement

1.       Adoption of dyarchy at the center – federal subjects divided into reserved subjects and transferred subjects

2.       Abolished dyarchy, Introduced provincial autonomy, Ministers advise governor to act, came int effect – 1937, Discontinued – 1939

3.       Establishment of all India federation (Includes provincial and princely states)

3.1.   Federal list(center) – 59 items, Provincial list – 54 items, Concurrent list – 36 items

3.2.   Residuary power – viceroy

3.3.   Federation never came into effect, as princely states did not join it

Introduced bicameralism in 6 out of 11 provinces – Bengal, Bombay, Madras, Bihar, Assam, United Provinces

Extended franchise – 10% of total population get voting rights

Abolished council of India which is Established under GOI Act 1858

Secretary of state provided with team of advisors

Extended communal representation – separate electorate for depressed classes (Schedule castes), Women and labour (workers)

Establishment of RBI

Establishment of Federal PSC, Provincial PSC, Joint PSC

Establishment of Federal court (1937)


Indian Independence Act of 1947:

Ended British rule, Declared India as Independent and sovereign state from August 15, 1947

Created 2 Independent dominions India, Pakistan with right to secede from the British Commonwealth

Granted freedom to Indian territories either to join India or Pakistan or Independent

Empowered constituent assemblies of the 2 dominions

1.       Adopt any constitution

2.       Repeal any act of British parliament (Including Independence act itself)

Abolished secretary of state office and transferred his functions to SOS commonwealth affairs

Abolished the office of viceroy





Popular posts from this blog

Summary of Conference of parties from COP 1 - COP 26 for UPSC Mains 2021

NCERT summary for UPSC CSE - GS (Class IV - Environmental studies - Looking Around)