Crown Rule in India: History, Crown Rule 1858 to 1947

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Crown Rule, 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 British administration ruled India1858 till India gained independence in 1947, and it is termed Crown Rule in India. Minto, Lord Irwin, and Lord Chelmsford were renowned administrators during the Crown Rule.

This article explores Crown Rule in India and its history delving into its impact on governance, the introduction of policies and reforms, and the resistance movements that emerged in response to British rule. Understanding Crown Rule provides a crucial lens through which to examine India’s struggle for independence and the subsequent formation of an independent nation.

What is Crown Rule?

The Province of Bengal was the hub of India’s independence movement against British rule in India during the Crown Rule (1858 – 1947). It caused the most concern to the colonial rulers. 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.

Crown Rule Notes

Up until 1947 when the British Colonialism 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

The Crown Rule 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 under Crown Rule 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. The important acts Brough by the Crown Rule are:

Important Acts and Crown Rule

The era of “Crown Rule” in India marked a significant chapter in the nation’s history, characterized by the enactment of various important acts by the British colonial administration. Let’s examine the acts that were enacted during Crown Rule in India.

The Government Of India Act 1858 During Crown Rule

  • 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.
  • The post of the Indian Secretary of State was created. A council composed of 15 representatives supported him.
  • 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).
  • Both the Court of Directors and the Board of Control were abolished.

Indian Councils Act 1861 During Crown Rule

  • This was one of the most important acts brought to India during the Crown Rule.
  • Native Americans had representatives in the Viceroy’s Councils. The Legislative Council now includes three Native Americans.
  • Indians were permitted to participate as unofficial members of the Viceroy’s Executive Council.
  • The system of portfolios was recognized.
  • The return of legislative authority to the Madras and Bombay presidency marked the beginning of decentralization.

Indian Councils Act 1892 During Crown Rule in India

  • During Crown Rule Elections by nomination (indirect voting) were conducted.
  • 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 During Crown Rule

  • Direct elections for provincial legislatures were held for the first time.
  • In its place, the Central Legislative Council was replaced by the Imperial Legislative Council.
  • The number of members on the legislative council has increased from 16 to total of 60 during Crown Rule.
  • The concept of a single electorate was warmly received.
  • 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)-Crown Rule

  • Two groups of subjects were created: central and provincial.
  • Diarchy was implemented in provincial administrations, with ministers responsible for the transferred list of issues and executive councilors in control of the reserved list.
  • The ministers were selected from among the elected members of the legislative council and were answerable to the legislature during Crown Rule.
  • 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).
  • It called for the Viceroy’s executive council to consist of three Indians.
  • This statute made it possible to create a public service commission for the first time in India.
  • With the help of this legislation, more people–roughly 10%–are now able to use their voting rights.

The Government Of India Act 1935 During Crown Rule

  • It was suggested that an all-India federation be created between British India and the princely states. This, however, never happened.
  • 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.
  • At the national level, monarchy took the place of diarchy after it was eliminated at the provincial level.
  • As per the Act during Crown Rule in India, provinces were given increased power, and 6 of the 11 provinces now have bicameral legislatures.
  • A federal court was established, and the Indian Council was disbanded.
  • The remainder of India was cut off from Burma and Aden.
  • This measure led to the creation of the RBI.
  • Up until the adoption of the new Indian Constitution, this Act was in force.

Indian Independence Act 1947 During Crown Rule

  • India was proclaimed to be independent and sovereign.
  • The designation of constitutional (nominal) rulers was bestowed upon the Viceroy and Governors.
  • Establish accountable national and provincial governments.
  • 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.

Crown Rule UPSC

Crown Rule refers to the period when the British Crown, through the Secretary of State for India, directly governed the Indian subcontinent. This era followed the Indian Rebellion of 1857, which marked a turning point in British policies towards India.

Exploring the significance of Crown Rule in the UPSC polity syllabus allows aspirants to comprehend the profound impact of British administration on various aspects of Indian society, including governance, economy, social structures, and cultural transformations. Therefore candidates must cover this topic in a comprehensive manner for effective UPSC exam preparation.

Crown Rule in India MCQs

Question: When did the Crown Rule commence in India? a) 1757 b) 1857 c) 1947 d) 1858

Answer: d) 1858

Question: The Crown Rule in India was established after the end of which event? a) Battle of Plassey b) Revolt of 1857 c) Quit India Movement d) Indian National Congress formation

Answer: b) Revolt of 1857

Question: The Crown Rule in India ended with the implementation of which significant event? a) Indian Independence Act, 1947 b) Quit India Movement c) Non-Cooperation Movement d) Salt Satyagraha

Answer: a) Indian Independence Act, 1947

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