Indian Constitution's Historical Evolution
Table of Contents
Indian Constitution’s Historical Evolution
The British government can be roughly divided into two phases, namely
- The Company’s Governance (1773-1857)
- The Crown Administration (1858-1947)
The Company Administration
Regulating Act - 1773
(1) Bengal was given the title of “GOVERNOR-GENERAL,” and the post of “GOVERNOR”
Warren Hastings was the first governor general of the first province. He was
assisted by a four-member executive council.
(2) With one chief justice and three other justices, the Supreme Court of Calcutta was constituted.
extra judges The Chief Justice was Sir Elijah Impey.
Pitt’s India Act – 1784
(1) Established a new organisation called the “BOARD OF CONTROL” to oversee Indian politics.
However, COURT OF DIRECTORS continued to handle business matters.
(2) As a result, corporate assets were first referred to as “British possessions” in
India’s political wing and court of directors led the commercial wing.
the control board is in charge.
(3) William Pitt, the British Prime Minister at the time, proposed the Act.
Charter Act – 1813:
(1) removed the British East India Company’s monopoly over commercial rights; and allowed additional businesses to engage in trade with India.
1833 Charter Act
(1) In its place, the position of “GOVERNOR GENERAL OF INDIA” was established.
Bengal’s governor general. Madras and Bombay’s presidencies were taken.
their separate legislative authority, and were placed under the
administration in Calcutta. The first Governor-General of India was William Bentick.
(2) With this action, the company’s business operations came to an end. The business
existed, but it turned into a strictly political and administrative institution.
1853 Charter Act
(1) Created a separate Council of Legislators for the Governor General.
(2) A system of open competition for hiring Indians into the civil service was introduced. Macaulay
1854 saw the formation of a committee for this reason. Initially, Satyendra Nath Tagore
Indian in 1863 to be eligible for that service.
(3) NOTE - Lord Charles Cornwallis is considered the “Father of Civil Services” in India because of his
initiatives to update India’s civil services.
The Crown Administration
1858 Government of India Act
(1) Also known as the Indian Act for Good Government.
(2) Declare the British East India Company to be inactive. eliminated the Mughal government as
(3) Established the position of Viceroy in place of the Governor General. Lord
Canning was appointed as India’s first Viceroy.
(4) A 15-member council and a new office, the Secretary of State for India, were also established.
help him. He was a representative in the British parliament.
1861 Indian Councils Act
The viceroy’s executive council was (1) enlarged. made arrangements for him to propose
a few unofficial Indian members. The Raja of Benaras was proposed by Lord Canning,
the Patiala Maharaja together with Sir Dinkar Rao.
(2) New Legislative Councils for North Western Frontier Province (1862) and Bengal (1866)
Founded in 1897 were and Punjab.
1892 Indian Councils Act
(1) The legislative council in India at the time had the authority to discuss the budget.
(2) The councils were enlarged, and some of its members were eligible for nomination to Central as
provincial legislative councils, as well.
1909 Indian Councils Act
(1) Also referred to as the Morley-Minto reforms.
(2) The Central Legislative Council’s membership was raised from 16 to
(3) The first Indian to be nominated for a law member was Satyendra Prasad Sinha.
to the Executive Council of the Viceroy.
(4) It was introduced to have a collective electorate. Muslims received separate treatment.
representatives by representation. Minto is hence also known as “Father”
Government of India Act 1919, “of Communal Electorate”
(1) Also known as the Montague-Chelmsford reforms, they were implemented in 1921.
(2) They introduced central and provincial themes or lists where they may create laws.
in their individual listings. Further dividing provincial subjects into transferred and
reserved. Thus, this action brought about diarchy.
(3) Implemented direct elections and bicameralism.
1935 Government of India Act
(1) Made provisions for the formation of an All-India Federation with provincial and princely
units of states Princely states chose not to join the Federation, hence it never existed.
(2) eliminated provincial diarchy and replaced it with “provincial autonomy.”
However, it introduced diarchy in the centre, which never materialised.
(3) Established bicameralism in the provinces and expanded the use of distinct electorates.
classes that are also depressed.
(4) Established a federal court and RBI in the middle.
1947 Indian Independence Act
(1) The Mountbatten Plan, which was announced on June 3, 1947, was the division plan.
of the nation and Atlee’s declaration of independence (20 February 1947) to grant
(2) abolished British control, established two separate Pakistani and Indian dominions, and
authorised the founding bodies of the two sovereign Nations to draught their
(3) On July 18, 1947, the Indian Independence Act received royal approval.