Charter Act 1853 - Features, Govenor-General, Charter Act UPSC PDF

By Aarna Tiwari|Updated : January 21st, 2023

The Charter Act 1853 was the last Charter of the East India Company (EIC). It was sanctioned in by the British officials in their Parliament. In contrast to the Charter Acts that were passed previously which possessed a specified timeline for renewing the charter for twenty years; the Charter Act 1853 did not specify the timeline for which the company’s Charter was being resumed.

The Charter Act 1853 renewed the powers of the East India Company and allowed it to hold on to the territories and the revenues in India in trust for the Crown. The act is important because it marked the beginning of the Parliamentary system in India. Charter Act 1853 notes for UPSC will allow you to prepare the topic in a comprehensive manner for the upcoming IAS Exam.

Table of Content

What is Charter Act 1853?

The charter Act was established by British officials in their Parliament. Walk through the table to get insights into the Charter Act 1853 and the details pertaining to it. Lord Dalhousie is accredited for being the Governor-General of the Charter Act of 1853.

 1853 Charter Act

Introduced by 

The British Parliament

Purpose of Charter Act 1853

The distinction between Legislative and Executive council.

Governor-General was relieved of the administrative duties of Bengal and instead worked for the Government of India.

Charter Act of 1853 Governor-General

Lord Dalhousie

Importance of the Charter Act 1853

The Charter Act of 1853 marks the beginning of the Parliamentary system in India.

Territories Affected 

Territories under British possession in India

Objective of Charter Act 1853

The objective of the Charter Act 1853, is to equip the Governor General with the responsibilities of working for the Government of India. He was freed from the administrative responsibilities of the Bengal. The major objective of the Charter Act 1853 lies in stratifying and differentiating the Legislative and Executive councils.

Features of Charter Act 1853

There was a stratification of the powers of the Governor General in executive and legislation. 6 more members were added to the council, who are renowned as legislative councilors. The 12 members elected for the councils are-

  • 1 Governor-General, 
  • 1 Commander-in-Chief,
  • 4 members of the Governor-General’s Council, 
  • 1 Chief Justice of the Supreme Court at Calcutta, 
  • 1 regular judge of the Supreme Court at Calcutta, and 
  • 4 representative members were drawn from the company’s servants with at least 10 years of tenure, appointed by the local governments of Bengal, Bombay, Madras, and North-Western Provinces.

The provisions of the charter act established and formulated a separate legislative council for the Governor General. The legislative branch of the council possessed functions alike a mini-Parliament. 

Through the Charter Act 1853, local representation was presented to the legislative council. The four members of the local governments pertaining to the Bengal, Bombay, Madras, and North Western Provinces were in the form of their presentation.

Provisions of Charter Act of 1853

The Governor General took in the responsibilities of working for the Government of India, whereas they were freed from the responsibilities pertaining to the responsibilities of Bengal.

  • The Governor General possessed the powers to nominate a Vice President, and his approval was mandated for all legislative actions.
  • The Charter Act of 1853 came in as the foundation of the modem Parliamentary form of Government.
  • The number of the court of director members was trimmed from 24 to 18. The Crown was endowed with the responsibility to elect 6 members.
  • The Charter Act formed the competition for the civil servants selection and the recruitment of Indians. The Macaulay Committee was established in 1854.

Defects Of 1853 Charter Act

The defects of the Charter Act 1853 lie in the non-renewal of the timeline to 20 years that served as the opportunity for the Home Government to substitute the East India Company. This process accelerated the actions of "mutiny." Another defect that has been accredited to the Charter Act 1853 was to debar the Indians from the legislative councils.

Charter Act 1853 UPSC 

The Charter Act 1853 is an important topic in Modern Indian History. Over the years, several questions are asked from the Charter Act 1853 in both UPSC Prelims and UPSC Mains GS Paper- 1. To cover this topic, a candidate needs to be well versed with the Indian History Notes for UPSC and readings of the NCERT Books for and the books.

The importance of the Charter Act 1853 must be understood in a detailed manner along with the comparison between several other charter acts. Charter Act 1853 UPSC Notes will allow you to prepare the topic in a comprehensive manner for the upcoming IAS Exam. Download the Charter Act 1853 UPSC Notes from here.

Charter Act 1853 UPSC Questions

The candidates must be in possession of an in-depth knowledge of the Charter Act of 1853 in order to gain insights, and delve into the core concepts of the UPSC. The complete details of the Charter Act 1853 to be able to solve the questions in the specified time period. One of the sample UPSC Prelims Questions on Charter Act 1853 can be:

Question- Under which Charter Act introduced by the British Parliament, the Indian Civil Services was thrown open to the Indians:

  1. A) The Charter Act of 1833
  2. B) The Charter Act of 1853
  3. C) The Better Government of India Act, 1858
  4. D) The Indian Councils' Act of 1861

Answer- Option B 

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Charter Act 1853 FAQs

  • The Charter Act 1853 was the last Charter of the East India Company (EIC). It was passed in the British Parliament. The Charter Act of 1853 renewed the powers of the East India Company and allowed it to retain the territories and the revenues in India in trust for the Crown. The Charter Act 1853 is important because it marked the beginning of the Parliamentary system in India. 

  • Through the Charter Act 1853, an open competition system of selection and recruitment of civil servants was opened to the Indians. The Charter Act 1853 also served as the foundation of the modern parliamentary form of government.

  • Lord Dalhousie was the Governor-General of India when the Charter Act 1853 was introduced. He served as the Governor-General of India from 1848 to 1856.

  • The Governor-General was freed from the pertaining administrative responsibilities of Bengal. He was endowed with working for the Government of India. The Governor General possesses the authority of nominating the Vice President, and council. A separate legislative council was established, as the branch of the council functioned as a mini-parliament.

  • The candidates must have complete knowledge of the Charter Act 1853. The aspiring who are aiming to be IAS officers must possess knowledge of all the pertinents of the UPSC syllabus. The candidates can get access to the Charter Act 1853 UPSC PDF and headstart their comprehensive journey of accomplishing the desired goals.

  • The defects of the Charter Act 1853 are because of the non-renewal of the time period of 20 years. This led to the substitution of the East India Company by the Home Government. Another defect of the 1853 Charter Act was eliminating Indian officials from the legislative council.

  • The biggest defect of the Charter Act 1853 counted for the non-renewal of the Act in the timeline of 20 years. This facilitated the Home Government with an opportunity to replace the Charter Act. Another defect that further aggravated the problem was not allowing the Indians to enter the legislative councils.

  • The Charter Act was passed in the British Parliament. The territories under British possession were affected the most. The significance of Charter Act 1853 laid the foundation of the Parliamentary system in India.

  • The major objective of the Charter Act 1853 was to endow the Governor General with the administration of India. It also classified and segmented the legislative and executive councils. There was an addition of six members to the executive council. There were 12 other members of the elected council.

  • Lord Dalhousie introduced the Charter Act 1853, in the British Parliament. The territories affected were the ones that were under British possession. The essentiality and importance of the Charter Act marked the beginning of the Parliamentary system in India.

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