Charter Act of 1833 - Informative & researched article on Charter Act of 1833
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Home > Reference > History of India > British Indian Acts > Indian Charter Acts > Charter Act of 1833
Charter Act of 1833
The Act introduced legislative centralization thereby extending the tenure of the commercial grant of the company.
 The period followings the enactment of the Charter Act of 1833 witnessed great change in England. The industrial revolution had a great impact in England. The Industrial revolution ushered a period of Machine Age which induced a revolutionary change in the method of production. Cheap products of the new machine and their massive exports to the foreign countries widened the prospects and also changed the perspective of the traders. The flowing of moneys dues to the open trade induced a spirit of Independence. Moreover the Marxist Concepts class-consciousness gave a new color to the British idea of politics. A new enlightened class came into existence. In this new age intelligent writers emerged and echoed the significance of the New Age.

In the year 1830, when the Whigs came into power in the political scenario of England, it opened a way of the triumph of the liberal principles. The Rights of Men was emphasized. Consequently the great Reform Act was passed in the year 1832. The concepts of laissez faire were duly emphasized.

The liberal Whigs controlled the Parliament and it upheld the triumph of the liberal ideas. Though there were many supporters of the Company who did not advocate the transference of powers to the Crown, majority considered that the company should cease to be functioning as the political body. Maccualay the secretary of the Boards of Control and James Mill occupied a high position in the India House. Henceforth their influence was clearly evident in the Charters Acts of 1833

The Charter Act of 1833 therefore came into existence after massive socio-political changes in England. The Act gave another lease of life to the Company for twenty years to administer the Indians territories. However their power was subjected to the trust of His Majesty, his heirs and successors. The company lost its monopoly of China Trade. The company was also asked to stop the commercial transactions as early as possible. However the interests of the shareholders were safeguarded by granting them a dividend of 10.5 % per annum till the company's stock was purchased. Henceforth all the restrictions on European immigration into India and acquisitions of land and property by them was removed. This clause removed the legal obstruction on the European colonization of India.

The Charter Acts of 1833 centralized the administration in India. The Governor General of Bengal, according to the act was declared as the Governor General of India. The jurisdiction of the Governor General in council was extended considerably. The Charter Act of 1833 vested the Governor General in Council with the powers of control and superintendence of the civil and the military affairs of the Company. Bombay, Madras and Bengal and other territories came under the direct control of the Governor General in Council. All revenues were to be raised under the authority of the governor general in Council who had also to control the entire system of expenditure.

The Charter Acts of 1833 emphasized the legislative centralization. The Government of Madras and Bombay were deprived of their powers of legislation. The state governments were only left with the powers of proposing the project of laws to the governor General in council.

The charter Act of 1833 enlarged the Executive council by the addition of fourth member (Law Member) for legislative purposes. The fourth member was entrusted with the charge to give professional advice regarding the procedure of law making. Theoretically he was entitled to sit and vote at meetings of the Council only for the purpose of making law. The Boards of directors nominated Maccualay as the first Law Member of the Council. Also a Law Commission was constituted, following the recommendations of the Charter Act. The Law Commission looked after consolidating, codifying and improving Indian Laws.

Apart from the judicial ands the administrative procedures, the Charter Act provided some other general provisions. Among the general provisions envisaged by the Charter Act of 1833, the most important was the Section 87. Sections 87 provided that there would be no indiscrimination made between the Indian and the British residents in Indian provinces on the basis of caste, creed and religion. The Directors defined in clears terms that the motto of this provision was to remove disqualification. However the s provisions declared in the Charters Acts of 1833 were ended up with the shortsighted and the ill-conceived policy introduced by Cornwallis. Cornwallis shut the doors of high military and the civil services to the Indians. Under Cornwallis the Indians could hold only the minor posts.

Thus the Charters Act of 1833 did nothing good but took measures for the betterments of the condition of slaves and ultimate abolitions of slavery in India. By the Act V 1843, slavery was abolished in India completely. The Acts of 1833 undoubtedly brought about important changes in the constitutions of India. The Company was relieved of its monopoly of tea trade in India and trades with China. The Acts of 1833 authorized the governments of India to appoint a Law commission. Though the Charter Acts of 1833 introduced several schemes for the betterment of the administrative and judicial procedures in India, the Act did not have any far-reaching effect.

(Last Updated on : 22/01/2009)
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