Government of India Act 1858

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Government of India Act 1858[1]
Long title An Act for the better Government of India.
Chapter 21 & 22 Vict. c. 106
Dates
Royal Assent 2 August 1858

The Government of India Act 1858 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (21 & 22 Vict. c. 106) 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.[2] Lord Palmerston, then-Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, introduced a bill for the transfer of control of the Government of India from the East India Company to the Crown, referring to the grave defects in the existing system of the government of India.

History[edit]

Indian Rebellion of 1857 urged British Government to pass this Act. To calm down the after effects of 1857 revolt, the Act of 1858 was introduced.

Provisions of the bill[edit]

  • 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.
  • The Secretary of State for India was empowered to send some secret despatches to India directly without consulting the Council. He was also authorised to constitute special committees of his Council.
  • The Crown was empowered to appoint a Governor-General and the Governors of the Presidencies.
  • Provision for the creation of an Indian Civil Service under the control of the Secretary of State.
  • 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.[3]

The Act ushered in a new period of Indian history, bringing about the end of Company rule in India. The era of the new British Raj would last until Partition of India in August 1947, at which time all of the territory of the Raj was granted dominion status within the Dominion of Pakistan and the Union of India.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ This short title was conferred on the Act by the Short Titles Act 1896, s. 1
  2. ^ Wolpert, Stanley (1989). A New History of India (3d ed.), pp. 239–40. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-505637-X.
  3. ^ a b "Official, India". World Digital Library. 1890–1923. Retrieved 2013-05-30. 

External links[edit]