GOVERNMENT OF INDIA ACT 1858: BACKGROUND, OBJECTIVES, PROVISIONS, FAILURE
The present article attempts to analyze the background, objectives, provisions, and the reasons for the failure of the Government of India Act 1858.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES OF GOVERNMENT OF INDIA ACT 1858:
PROVISIONS OF GOVERNMENT OF INDIA ACT 1858:
- Introduction of Department System: Under this act, the pre-existing dual system of political governance designed under the Pitts India Act was completely abolished with the liquidation of the Board of Control and Court of Directors and a new political-administrative system was constructed that was called the Department System. In this system, the topmost hierarchal position was conferred to the British Parliament who responded to by the Secretary of State for India, a member of the British Cabinet who vested extensive authority and control over the Indian Administration.
- The Secretary of State for India was assisted by a 15-membered committee called the Council of India who will function as an advisory body. In addition to this, the Governor-General of India was titled Viceroy of India who will be the direct representative of the British Crown in India. He will supervise, administer and control the provincial governments in India. The Viceroy will be responsible to the Secretary of State.
- POINTS TO REMEMBER:
- First Viceroy and Last Governor-General of India: Lord Canning
- First Secretary of State for India: Edward Henry Stanley
- The prime objective of this act was to create an answerable and accountable government and therefore, the direct rule of the British Government provided better regulations than the East India Company’s rule. Hence, it’s also known as “An Act for the Better Government of India.”