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1853 Charter Act

The Act renewed the powers of the Company and
allowed it to retain processions over Indian
territories in trust for Her Majesty, her heirs
and successors.
The number of Court of Directors was reduced to
18, of whom six were to be appointed by the
Crown from among the Indian servants.
The Act also empowered Court of directors to
create a new Presidency and alter the boundaries
of the Presidencies in India.
The Act created a separate Legislative Council for
India for the first time.
The law member of the Governor Council was given
the rank of a full-fledged member in the Council.
The Charter Act of 1853 increased the number
of legislative council members.
The new legislative Council was consisted of 12
1. Governor General (1)
2. Governor General Council (4)
3. Commander-in-Chief (1)
4. Four representatives from providences (4)
5. Chief Justice of Supreme Court Justice (1)
6. A regular judge from Supreme Court to be
named by Governor General. (1)
Governor General presided over the all meetings.
The Act empowered the Governor General to reject
any laws passed by the Council.

But, had no power to pass to legislation which was

dissented by the majority of the Council.

The procedure of the Legislative Council was modeled

more or less on the line of the British Parliament.

The Act authorized the Crown to appoint a Law

Commission in England to examine the work and
recommendations of First Law Commission.

A separate Governor appointed for Presidency of
2nd Law Commission 1853

The Charter 1853 empowered Her Majesty to
appoint a Law Commission in England for India.
The task entrusted to the commission was
“to enquire and consider the recommendations of
the first Law commission,
enactment proposed by it for the reform of
judicial procedure and laws of India
The Commission was composed with the best legal
luminaries of England and
the persons with the judicial experience in India
associated with the work of the First Law
First: In the first report the commission submitted a
plan for reforms in Judiciary and in court’s
Second: The commission agreed with Lex Loci Report
of the First Commission.
Third: The Commission prepared a plan for
establishing a judicial system and procedure in
the North-Western province.
It was on the pattern of Bengal with slight changes
to meet special conditions of new province.
Fourth: The report was concerning the judicial plan
for the presidencies of Bombay and Madras.
Enactment of some codes
In 1859 the Indian Legislative Council enacted a Code
of Civil Procedure.

The Indian Penal Code, was enacted into law in

A Code of Criminal Procedure was passed in 1861.

Penal Code translated into almost all the languages in

Dalhousie policy of frequent wars and
annexation created discontentment among the
army as well as the native rules of India.
The presidency governments were also not happy
about centralization of legislative powers in
the Governor General-in-Council.
Transfer of Power
It is significant to note that the process of
transfer of power from the Company to the
Crown had already began even since the
enactment of first Charter Act.
• 1600-1772
• 1773, 1784, 1793, 1813, 1833 and 1853 12
Government of India Act 1858

Company’s territories in India placed under the
direct control of Crown.
Governor General of India received the title of
Viceroy and he became direct representative of

The Act introduced two important changes

1. Home Government
2.The Government of India
Changes in Home Government
The Act abolished the both, the Board of
Control and Court of Directors.
A Special Secretary of State appointed for
Indian affairs and all powers transferred to
A fifteen members Council created in England to
assist Secretary of State for Indian affairs.

Eight out of fifteen members of this Council of

India were appointed by the Crown and rest of
seven were to be elected by the Court of
Directors. 15
• Council was to meet at lest once in a week and
its quorum was five.

• The secretary of State was required to place a

financial statement of expenditure and
revenues before the Parliament every year.

• He was also to report on the moral and material

progress of the Country.

Changes in the Government of India.
The Governor General of India and Governors of
the presidencies were to be appointed by the
Crown and members of the Councils by the
Secretary of Sate for Indian affairs.

The military and naval forces of the Company were

transferred to the Crown.

All treaties made by the Company were to be

binding on the Crown.

1861 Indian Councils Act
Dissatisfaction of Presidencies regarding their
legal power and they were demanding more
participation from presidencies.

The demand of the Indian public for some

substantial changes in the Governmental
machinery of India.

Disputes between Madras Government and

Supreme Court.

Changes in Central Executive
Changes in Central Legislative
Changes relating to Provinces

Changes in Central Executive

The Act enlarged the Executive Council of the
Governor General and the Act provided that it
shall consist of five members, 3+2
Three ordinary members, one law member and
one finance member.

Commander-in-Chief was appointed as an

Extraordinary member of E.C.

He was also empowered to appoint a president to

preside over the meeting of the Council in his
The Governor General had power to overrule the
majority in the Council in matters of safety
and interests of British possessions in India.

Governor General got complete authority to divide

or alter the limits of any presidency or

Government of India became a Cabinet

Government presided over by a Governor
First time portfolio system introduced in India
Changes in Central Legislative

For the purposes of making law the Act
empowered the Governor General to enlarge
his Council by adding not less than 6 and not
more than 12 members.
Not less than one half of the members were to
be non-officials.
There were 45 Indians nominated as additional
non-official members from 1862 to 1892.
New Legislative Council was authorized to make
laws for all people, Indians, British and
foreigners and for all the courts of justice
and the public servants within the territories of
British India.
The assent of the Governor General was required for
every Act passed by the Council, and any such Act
would be disallowed by Her Majesty, acting through
the Secretary.

The Governor General was also empowered to issue

ordinances. independently which were to remain in
force for six months unless disallowed by the
Changes relating to Provinces

The Act restored the Legislative powers of the
Provincial Legislature of Bombay and Madras.

For the purpose of making Laws the Executive

Council of Governor enlarged by an addition of 4
to 8 members for a term of two years.

The Provincial councils, not empowered to take

into consideration any of the law relating to
army, foreign and political affairs, customs,
coinage and currency, Penal Code, religion and
on communication system without prior sanction
of the governor General.
The local legislature had no power to control or
effect by their Acts, the jurisdiction or
procedure of High Courts.
The Indian Civil Service Act

Indian High Courts Act, 1861

The Indian High Courts Act reorganized the judicial
organization in India by uniting the company’s
Courts and the King's Courts.

Three Presidency High Courts of Calcutta, Bombay,

and Madras were established in the place of old
Supreme Court and Sadar Courts