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Charter Act of 1793 – Charter Act of 1813 – The Charter Act of 1833 – The Charter Act of 1853

Charter Act of 1793

By the Charter Act of 1793, the Company’s commercial privi­leges were extended for a further period of twenty years. Lord Cornwallis was given special power at the time of his appointment, to override his Council but it was not extended to all Governors or Governors-General by the Charter of 1793.

Charter Act of 1813

By the Charter Act of 1813 the Company was deprived of its commercial monopoly and laid down ‘the undoubted sovereignty of the Crown’ in and over the possessions of the East India Company.

The East India Company was, however, allowed to enjoy the monopoly of China trade and trade in tea. The share-holders of the East India Company vehemently opposed abolition of Com­pany’s commercial monopoly and ultimately a guarantee of 10i% dividend out of the revenues of India was given them should the commercial account fail to provide this amount. Separate accounts were to be maintained of the territorial revenues and commercial transactions and gains.

The Charter Act of 1833

The Charter Act of 1833 received royal assent on August 28, 1833 and came into force on April 22, 1834. The Governor-General of Bengal was designated as the Governor-General of India. The Governor General in council got the powers of superintendence, direction and control of the whole civil and military government and the revenues of India.

There was centralization of the legislative powers. A legislative council was set up, which was given the power to repeal or amend any law in India, with the exception of the Charter of 1833. All the laws which were passed by the Legislative Council were called as Acts of the Government of India, before this they were called as regulations.

The Charter Act of 1853

This Act was the last Charter Act. It brought about significant changes in the Governor General’s Council. The Charter Act of 1853 marked the expansion of the Council of the Governor General for legislative purposes. The council for legislative purposes which had 6 members now was expanded to 12 members. These new members were called Legislative Councilors.

The previous charter act of 1833 had lain down that the Court of Directors       should nominate annually 4 times as many candidates as there were vacancies, from which one should be selected by competitive examination. A Committee under the chairmanship of Lord Macaulay prepared the regulations in this context. The Committee mentioned that there should be a broad general education rather than specialized education for the ICS recruits.

The Charter Act of 1853 deprived the Court of Directors of its right of Patronage to Indian appointments and now it was to be exercised under the regulations.

The Charter act of 1853 provided for appointment of a separate Governor for the Presidency of Bengal, distinct from the Governor General. However, the court of Directors and the Board of Control were authorized to appoint a lieutenant governor, till the appointment of a Governor was made.

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