The Government of India Act, 1858 – India’s Council Act of 1861 – Indian Council Act of 1892

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The Government of India Act, 1858

The Government of India Act, 1858 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, passed on August 2, 1858. Its provisions called for the liquidation of the British East India Company (who had up to this point been ruling British India under the auspices of Parliament) and the transference of its functions to the British Crown.

The Company’s territories in India were to be vested in the Queen, the Company ceasing to exercise its power and control over these territories. India was to be governed in the Queen’s name. The Queen’s Principal Secretary of State received the powers and duties of the Company’s Court of Directors. A council of fifteen members was appointed to assist the Secretary of State for India. The council became an advisory body in India affairs. For all the communications between Britain and India, the Secretary of State became the real channel.

All the property of the East India Company was transferred to the Crown. The Crown also assumed the responsibilities of the Company as they related to treaties, contracts, and so forth.

India’s Council Act of 1861

This Act undid the effect of the 1833 Act. It restored the power of legislation to the Governments of Madras and Bombay. Also it made notable changes in the composition of the Governor General’s council for executive & legislative purposes.

The Council of the Governor General was expanded and a fifth ordinary member was added. Now it included total 7 members (other two members being the Governor General and the commander in Chief). For the legislative purposes, not less than 6 and not more than 12 members were additionally to be nominated (comprising of both official and non-official members) by the Governor General and they were to hold the office for two years. Out of these, not less than half were required to be Non-Official.

Indian Council Act of 1892

The Indian Councils Act of 1892 was an Act  that authorized an increase in the size of the various legislative councils in British India. nacted due to the demand of the Indian National Congress to expand the legislative council, the number of non-official members was increased both in central and provincial legislative councils.

The non official members of the Indian legislative councils were henceforth to be nominated by the Bengal chamber of commerce and provincial legislative council.

The universities, district board, municipalities, zamindars and chambers of commerce were empowered to recommend members to provincial councils. Thus was introduced the principle of representation.

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