Sunday, June 08, 2014

Journey to our Constitution: Charter Act 1853

This was the last Charter Act. It brought about significant changes in the Governor General's Council. It marked the expansion of the Council of the Governor General for legislative purposes. The council for legislative purposes which had 6 members now was expanded to 12 members. The additional 6 members were called Legislative Councellors These 12 members were : 
  1. The Governor General (1)
  2. The commander in Chief (1) 
  3. Members of the Governor General's Council (4) 
  4. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (Calcutta) (1) 
  5. A regular judge of the Supreme court Calcutta (1) 
  6. Representative members drawn from the company's servants with 10 years minimum tenure and appointed by the local governments of Bengal, Madras, Bombay and North Western provinces (4)

The fourth member (Lord Macaulay) was placed at an equal status with other members. He was also made entitled to sit and vote in the meetings of the Executive Council of the Governor General.

Other changes.

Birth of Indian Civil Services (ICS) Examination.

The previous charter act of 1833 had laid down that the Court of Directors should nominate annually 4 times as many candidates as there were vacancies, from whom one should be selected by competitive examination. The charter act of 1833 also provided the Haileybury college of London should make quota to admit the future civil servants. However, this system of an open competition was never effectively operated. 
A The Committee under the chairmanship of Lord Macaulay had prepared the regulations in this context. 
  1. The report said that Haileybury should cease to be maintained as higher education college for the ICS.
  2. There should be a broad general education rather than specialized education for the ICS recruits.
  3. The recruitment should be based upon an open competitive examination to bring out the best candidates and not through mere superficial knowledge.
  4. The appointments should be subject to a period of probation. 
  5. Charter Act of 1853 deprived the Court of Directors of its right of Patronage to Indian appointments and now it was to be exercised under the regulations. 
This was the Birth of Civil Services which was thrown in 1854 for open competition.

Separate Governor for Presidency of Bengal.

The Charter act of 1853 provided for appointment of a separate Governor for the Presidency of Bengal, distinct from the Governor General. However, the court of Directors and the Board of Control were authorized to appoint a lieutenant governor, till the appointment of a Governor was made. 
However, the Lieutenant governor was appointed in 1854, but no Governor was appointed for Bengal till 1912.

NEXT: Indian Councils Act 1861