Charter Act 1853: Overview and Features [UPSC Polity Notes]

By Aarna Tiwari|Updated : May 26th, 2022

The Charter Act 1853 was the last Charter of the East India Company (EIC). It was passed in the British Parliament. Unlike the previous Charter Acts of 1793, 1813 and 1833 which renewed the charter for 20 years; the Charter Act 1853 did not mention the time period for which the company’s Charter was being renewed. The Charter Act 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. 

Charter Act 1853 UPSC Notes will allow you to prepare the topic in a comprehensive manner for the upcoming IAS Exam.

What is Charter Act 1853?

Go through the highlights of the Charter Act 1853 for easy quick revision.

Charter Act 1853 [Modern History of India UPSC Notes]

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

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, along with readings of the NCERT Books for UPSC and the UPSC Books.

The importance of the Charter Act 1853 must be understood in a detailed manner along with the comparison between several other charter acts. 

Features of Charter Act 1853

  • The legislative and executive functions of the Governor-General’s council were, for the first time separated. It provided for the addition of 6 new members to the council (12 in total), known as legislative councilors. The 12 members were:
    • 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.
  • Through the Charter Act 1853, local representation was introduced into the legislative council in the form of four members from the local governments of Bengal, Bombay, Madras and North Western Provinces.
  • Charter Act 1853 established a separate Governor-General’s legislative council which was known as the Indian (Central) Legislative Council. This legislative wing of the council functioned as a mini-Parliament.
  • The Governor-General was relieved of the administrative duties of Bengal and instead worked for the Government of India.
  • The Governor-General could nominate a Vice President to the council and his assent would be required for all legislative actions.
  • Charter Act 1853 extended the company’s rule for an indefinite period, unlike the previous Charter Acts. 
  • The Charter Act 1853 also served as the foundation of the modern parliamentary form of government. 
  • The number of the members of the court of directors was reduced from 24 to 18 out of which 6 were to be nominated by the Crown. The Court of Directors was empowered to constitute a new Presidency.
  • Charter Act 1853 established an open competition system for civil servant selection and recruitment for Indians. In 1854, the Macaulay Committee (the Committee on Indian Civil Service) was formed.

Charter Act 1853 UPSC Questions

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

Charter Act 1853 UPSC Notes PDF

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.

☛ Download Charter Act 1853 Notes PDF for UPSC Exam

 

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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 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 relieved of the administrative duties of Bengal and instead worked for the Government of India. The Governor-General could nominate a Vice President to the council and his assent would be required for all legislative actions.

    The Act established a separate Governor-General’s legislative council which was known as the Indian (Central) Legislative Council. This legislative wing of the council functioned as a mini-Parliament.

  • To download the Charter Act of 1853 UPSC Notes PDF, refer to the article above, or directly access the PDF from here.

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