Crown Rule in India [1858 - 1947]

By Shivank Goel|Updated : September 15th, 2022

Crown rule in India, also known as British Raj or Direct rule in India, was the British Crown's rule over the Indian subcontinent from 1858 to 1947. The Province of Bengal was the hub of India's independence movement against British rule during the Crown Rule [1858 - 1947]. It caused the most concern to the colonial rulers.

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This system of government was put into place on June 28, 1858, when Queen Victoria, who had been crowned Empress of India in 1876, took over as ruler of the British East India Company following the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Up until 1947, when the British Raj was divided into the Union of India (after the Republic of India) and the Pakistani Dominion (eventually the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the People's Republic of Bangladesh), it was a single sovereign dominion state.

History of the Crown Rule in India

The Crown Rule in India did not always exist. Below are brief pointers to recapitulate the events;

  • The Revolt of 1857 was not simply a Sepoy Mutiny; it was a manifestation of the accumulated wrath, fury, and grievances of the Indian people against British rule.
  • It was obvious that there needed to be a change in the way people were managed.
  • As a consequence, the British government made the decision to dissolve the East India Company and take direct control of India.
  • India was ruled by the British Crown from 1858 to 1947.

Important Acts Brought by the Crown Rule in India

The British Parliament ended the operations of the East India Company in 1857 as a result of the Sepoy revolt. The British crown came to reign as a result of the transfer of the Indian government's authority, territories, and income.

Let's examine the acts that were enacted during this time;

The Government Of India Act 1858

  1. Following the insurrection in 1857, the company's control came to an end, and the British Crown regained possession of the estates it had owned in India.
  2. The post of the Indian Secretary of State was created. A council composed of 15 representatives supported him.
  3. The Viceroy served as his agent, and he was in control of the Indian administration. Viceroy was also awarded to the Governor-General (Lord Canning).
  4. Both the Court of Directors and the Board of Control were abolished.

Indian Councils Act 1861

  1. Native Americans had representatives in the Viceroy's Councils. The Legislative Council now includes three Native Americans.
  2. Indians were permitted to participate as unofficial members of the Viceroy's Executive Council.
  3. The system of portfolios was recognized.
  4. The return of legislative authority to the Madras and Bombay presidency marked the beginning of decentralization.

Indian Councils Act 1892

  1. Elections by nomination (indirect voting) were conducted.
  2. There are now more legislative councils than before. New duties were assigned to legislative councils, including the ability to question the administration and review the budget.

Indian Councils Act 1909

  1. Direct elections for provincial legislatures were held for the first time.
  2. In its place, the Central Legislative Council was replaced by the Imperial Legislative Council.
  3. The number of members on the legislative council has increased from 16 to a total of 60.
  4. The concept of a single electorate was warmly received.
  5. For the first time, an Indian was elected to the Viceroy's Executive Council. (Member of the Law Satyendra Prasad Sinha)

The Government Of India Act 1919 (Montague-Chelmsford Reforms)

  1. Two groups of subjects were created: central and provincial.
  2. Diarchy was implemented in provincial administrations, with ministers responsible for the transferred list of issues and executive councilors in control of the reserved list.
  3. The ministers were selected from among the elected members of the legislative council and were answerable to the legislature.
  4. A bicameral legislature was constituted for the first time at the center. Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha were then changed to their respective names (Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha).
  5. It called for the Viceroy's executive council to consist of three Indians.
  6. This statute made it possible to create a public service commission for the first time in India.
  7. With the help of this legislation, more people--roughly 10%--are now able to use their voting rights.

The Government Of India Act 1935

  1. It was suggested that an all-India federation be created between British India and the princely states. This, however, never happened.
  2. The central government and the districts each had a different set of subjects. The Concurrent List served both the Federal List and the Provincial List, which were in control of the Centre and the Provinces, respectively.
  3. At the national level, monarchy took the place of diarchy after it was eliminated at the provincial level.
  4. Provinces were given increased power, and 6 of the 11 provinces now have bicameral legislatures.
  5. A federal court was established, and the Indian Council was disbanded.
  6. The remainder of India was cut off from Burma and Aden.
  7. This measure led to the creation of the RBI.
  8. Up until the adoption of the new Indian Constitution, this Act was in force.

Indian Independence Act 1947

  1. India was proclaimed to be independent and sovereign.
  2. The designation of constitutional (nominal) rulers was bestowed upon the Viceroy and Governors.
  3. Establish accountable national and provincial governments.
  4. There have been delegations of both executive and legislative powers.

The various laws that were passed during Crown Rule served as a foundation for the constitution that modern-day India formed. As is frequently claimed, the 1935 Act is the source of the majority of the provisions in the current Indian Constitution, including the Federal Scheme and the List system of jurisdiction.

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FAQs on Crown Rule in India

  • British Raj was a period of direct British rule over the Indian subcontinent from 1858 until the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947.

  • The British East India Company governed Indian areas under the Company Rule (1773–1858). The abolition of Company Rule and the British Crown's takeover of the Indian kingdoms marked the start of the second phase, which started after the 1857 revolt.

  • The Province of Bengal was the hub of India's independence movement against British rule during Crown Rule.

  • The Crown Rule came to India after the mutiny of 1857. Since the East India Company is considered to have been held responsible for the uprising of 1857, the crown removed the company's authority. As a result, the Viceroy of India took the place of the Governor-General of India under the legislation.

  • During the Crown Rule, the Government Of India Act 1935 led to the establishment of RBI. The Hilton Young Commission's recommendations served as the foundation for the creation of the Reserve Bank of India. The Bank's operation is governed by the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 (II of 1934), which went into effect on April 1, 1935.

  • Indian Independence Act 1947 declared India independent during the Crown Rule. It also divided British India into two new independent dominions; India and Pakistan.

  • Elections were held for the first time through the Indian Councils Act 1909 during the Crown Rule. The Indian Councils Act of 1909, often referred to as the Morley-Minto or Minto-Morley Reforms, was an act of the British Parliament that led to a modest increase in the participation of Indians in the administration of British India.

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