The Charter Act of 1833

The Charter Act of 1833

The Charter Act of 1833

  • This Act is considered the final Step towards the centralization in British India. The company was asked to close its all commercial activities.
  • The Governor General in Council was given the power to control, superintend and direct the civil and military affairs of the company. Lord William Bentick became the first Governor General of India.
  • Bombay, Madras, Bengal and other territories were placed under the complete control of the Governor-General-in- Council.
  • Now, all revenues were to be raised under the authority of the Governors-General-in Council who was to have complete control over the expenditure also.
  • The act also brought about legislative centralization. Now the Governments of Madras and Bombay were drastically deprived of their powers of legislation and left only with the right of proposing to the Governor-General-in-council projects of the laws which they thought expedient.
  • Also, the act enlarged the executive council of the Governor General by the addition of Law Member for legislative purposes. He was entitled to sit and vote at the meetings of the council only for the purpose of law making. Also a law commission was constituted with the purpose of consolidating, codifying and improving India laws. Lord Macaulay was the first Law Member of the council.
  • Also, the Act attempted to introduce a system of open competition for selection of civil servants and stated that the Indians should not be debarred from holding any place, office and employment under the company. However, this provision was neglected after strong opposition from the court of Directors.
  • It also enjoined the Government of India to take measures of amelioration of the condition of slaves and abolition of slavery in India.

Assessment of the Charter Act of 1833

The act of 1833 undoubtedly brought about significant and far reaching changes in the constitution of India. The company having lost its commercial privileges could now concentrate on administration. Also, the provision for the codification of law was of great consequence as before 1833, the laws were so imperfect that in most of the cases it was almost impossible to ascertain what exactly the law was. There were several types of laws enforceable in India and at times it used to become a difficult question to decide which law was applicable in a particular case. Also, the provision concerning the abolition of slavery irrespective of religion, place of birth, descent and color is another lendable feature of the Act. However, it might have been passed.

1.    Introduction of Indian Constitution-

2.   Indian Constitution: Historical Under pinning’s: Evolution-

3.   Rules under the company

4.   Pitts India act –




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