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The Government Of India Act 1858


  1. Revolt of 1857 had happened and Whig and Tories both came to a consensus of Crown control over EIC.
  2. Lord Stanley, Prez of BoC introduced this Bill which became the Act of 1858.


Features of The Government of India Act 1858

  1. The GoI passed from EIC to Crown. The Armed forces of EIC was transferred to Crown.
  2. London - Calcutta relations: 
    1. The BoC and CoD were abolished. Thus it ended the structure formed by the Pitt's India Act, 1784.
    2. Now the administration would be run by
      1. SoS = He was to sit in the British Parliament. He was to be A Cabinet Minister responsible to British Parliament. He could sent and receive secret msgs to GG w/o telling the India Council. Periodic reports to British P on the moral and material progress of India.
      2. The India Council = 15 mem to advice SoS (he could overrule them). To be nominated by the Crown (7 of them from the erstwhile CoD). Approval of the Council was essential in financial matters.
    3. The GG was to be answerable only to SoS
  3. Centre-State relations:
    1. It laid down a unitary as well as rigidly centralized administration.
    2. There were presidencies ruled by Governors (and councils)  who were appointed by crown and
    3. There were provinces ruled by Lt. Governors (and councils)  appointed by GG,
    4. the provinces and presidencies were mere agent of centre. They had to function under their express control and superintendence.
  4. There was no separation of powers. All power - civil and military, executive and legislative were with GGinC who were responsible only to SoS. The GGoI now came to be ka Viceroy.
  5. (1853) Continuity was maintained in civil services and the same recruitment examination (of 1853) was carried on. 


Significance of Government of India Act, 1858

  1. This marked a beginning of the gradual relaxation of Imperial control and evolution of Responsible Govt.
  2. The Transfer of Power in 1858 was just a formality coz through BoC, Parliament already started controlling Indian Affairs.
  3. The Government of lndia was finally directly controlled from London.


  1. SoS's complete control over Indian admin was used to exploit India more than earlier.
  2. Crown's assumption of Indian affairs led to slackening of Parliament's interest in Indian affairs.
  3. The entire machinery was bureaucratic (based on the Principle of Absolute control), totally unconcerned with public opinion.

Queen's Proclamation, 1858

  1. Queen of England to beKaiser i Hind.
  2. The Policy of extension of British territories was to be abolished.
  3. Treaties of the EIC with the Native Princes were to be respected.
  4. Service in India thrown open to all wrt Merit.
  5. A Policy of religious neutrality and non-interference was to be followed.
  6. Clemency to Indian rebels if they laid down their arms.



  1. In practice, it was hollow and insincere.
  2. Indian princes' status greatly suffered.
  3. Indians strategically kept out of civil + military service (No Indian could reach above Brigadier till 1947).
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