Charter acts of 1784, 1793, 1813,1833, 1853

Charter act of 1813


  1. Charter act of 1813 ended the monopoly of the East India Company in India, the company’s monopoly in trade with china and trade in tea with India was kept intact.
  2. The company’s rule was extended to another 20 years.
  3. The act granted permission to the persons who wished to go to India for promoting moral and religious improvements. (Christian Missionaries)
  4. This act regulated the company’s territorial revenues and commercial profits. It was asked to keep its territorial and commercial accounts separate.
  5. The company’s dividend was fixed at 10.5% per annum.
  6. There was also a provision that Company should invest Rs. 1 Lakh every year on the education of Indians.
  7. It empowered the Local Governments in India to impose taxes on persons and to punish those who did not pay them.


Charter act of 1833


  1. The charter act of 1833 legalized the British colonization of India. It ended the activities of the East India Company as a commercial body, it became a administrative body. It provided that the company’s territories in India were held by government ‘in trust for His Majesty, His heirs and successors’.
  2. It made the Governor-General of Bengal as the Governor-General of India and vested in him all civil and military powers. This made Lord William Bentinck the first Governor-General of India { centralization of the administration of India}
  3. The Governors of Bombay and Madras lost their legislative powers. Governor-General of India had legislative powers over entire British India.
  4. The laws made under the previous acts were called as Regulations while laws made under this act were called as Acts.
  5. This Act introduced a system of open competition for selection of civil servants, and stated that the Indians should not be debarred from holding any place, office and employment under the Company. It also provided the Hailey bury college of London should make quota to admit the future civil servants. However, this system of an open competition was not effectively operated in near future.
  6. The Governor-General in council had the authority to amend, repeal or alter any law British Indian territories . The Governor-General’s council was to have four members again, fourth member had limited powers only.
  7. For the first time, the Governor-General’s government was called Government of India and the council was called India Council.
  8. Indian Law Commission was established to codify all Indian laws. The first Law Commission had Lord Macaulay as its chairman.
  9. This act also directed the Governor General-in-Council to adopt measures to mitigate the state of slavery, persisting in India since sultanate Era.
  10. It laid down regulation of establishment of Christian establishments in India and the number of Bishops was made 3.


Charter act of 1853


  1. The Charter Act of 1853 empowered the British East India Company to retain the territories and the revenues in India in trust for the crown not for any specified period, Unlike the previous charter acts of 1793, 1813 and 1833 which renewed the charter for 20 years.
  2. This Act was passed when Lord Dalhousie was the Governor-General of India.

Governor-General’s office :

  1. It separated, for the first time, the legislative and executive functions of the Governor- General’s council.
  2. It provided for addition of six new members called legislative councillors to the council {12 in total}. The Governor-General could nominate a vice president to the council and his assent is required for all legislative actions. It established a separate Governor-General’s legislative council which came to be known as the Indian (Central) Legislative Council. This legislative wing of the council functioned as a mini-Parliament, adopting the same procedures as the British Parliament.
  3. The Law member (fourth member) became a full member with the right to vote.
  4. 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 drawn from company’s servants with at least 10 years tenure, appointed by the local governments of Bengal, Bombay, Madras and North Western Provinces.
  5. It introduced an open competition system of selection and recruitment of civil servants. The covenanted civil service was thus thrown open to the Indians also. Accordingly, the Macaulay Committee (the Committee on the Indian Civil Service) was appointed in 1854.
  6. The number of Board of Directors was reduced from 24 to 18 out of which 6 people were to be nominated by the British Crown.
  7. This act served as the foundation of the modern parliamentary form of government. The legislative wing of the Governor-General’s Council acted as a parliament on the model of the British Parliament.