Model Question and Answers for APSC | Analyze the salient features of the Charter Act of 1833. How can it be considered a landmark in the Constitutional history of India?
Ans : The Charter Act of 1833 was passed in the British Parliament which renewed the East India Company’s charter for another 20 years.
Features of the Charter Act of 1833
1. The company’s commercial activities were closed down. It was made into an administrative body for British Indian possessions.
2. The company’s trade links with China were also closed down.
3. This act permitted the English to settle freely in India.
4. This act legalised the British colonisation of the country.
5. The company still possessed the Indian territories but it was held ‘in trust for his majesty’.
India became a British colony: The Governor-General of Bengal was re-designated as the Governor-General of India. This made Lord William Bentinck the first Governor-General of India. Thus, the country’s administration was unified under one control. The Governors
of Bombay and Madras lost their legislative powers.
Indian Law Commission: The act mandated that any law made in India was to be put before the British Parliament and was to be called ‘Act’. As per the act, an Indian Law Commission was established. The first Law Commission had Lord Macaulay as its chairman.
Indians in Government service: This was the first act that gave permission for Indians to have a share in the country’s administration. It stated that merit should be the basis of employment to government service and not birth, colour, religion or race.
A landmark in the Constitutional history of India
1. It was the final step in the centralisation of India’s administration.
2. The ending of the East India Company’s commercial activities and making it into the British Crown’s trustee in administering India.
3. Codification of laws under Macaulay.
4. Provision for Indians in government service.