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It is a matter of great sorrow, enlightenment, motivation, proudful and a mix of feelings when we go through the century’s old freedom struggle of India from the empire where the sun never sets, that is Great Britain. I don’t know if a person who is an enthusiast of the Indian freedom struggle would like to call Britain as Great Britain. But the empire is great in some aspects. Most of the system we follow, the most of the governing structure we developed, are adopted from the British system of polity. If India is named to be the largest democracy in the world, the contribution of Britain in transforming India to be the largest democracy is very much. The largest and most developed constitution in the world , the Indian constitution is greatly influenced and transformed by the constitutional experiments under the British crown. Through this blog let us look into the Constitutional Experiments under the British Crown.
Classification of Constitutional the Constitutional Experiments
Constitutional experiments under the British Crown can be called as the historical background of the Indian constitution. The Indian constitution’s development is not just the product of the discussions of the constitution assembly formed in India in the late 1930s. The history of the Indian constitution and its development starts from the century’s old time. The experiments can be classified into two categories based on the time period and mode of execution.
- The Company Rule (1773-1858)
- The Crown Rule (1858-1947)
The Company Rule
It was the time when the administration of Indian territories was controlled by the British East India Company directly and the British Crown indirectly through the company. The policy, laws and regulations were done by the East India Company itself. The power has been derived by a charter allotted by the queen of Britain. The Constitutional Experiments under the British Crown in the company rule time can be tabulated as below.
|Regulating Act of 1773||British government to regulate and control the affairs of the East India company and recognised the political and administrative function of the company||· Designated Governor of Bengal as Governor General of Bengal
· Made governors of Bombay and Madras subordinate to him
· Establishment of Supreme Court at Calcutta (1774)
|Pitts India Act of 1784||Through this act it began to call the Indian territories as British possessions.||· Distinguished between the commercial and political functions of the company.
· Allowed court of directors to manage commercial affairs
· Empowered Board of control to supervise the military and revenue matters
|Charter Act of 1793||This was the start of the series of Charter Act enactments||· Overriding power to Lord Connvallis
· Governor General more powers to the subordinate presidency of Bombay and Madras
· Extended monopoly of Company in India for another 20 years
· Members of the board of control and their staff to be paid out of Indian revenue
|Charter Act of 1813||The second Charter Act||· Indian Trade was thrown open to all Britain merchants
· Allowed Christian missionaries to come to India
· Spread of western education
· Authorized the local government to impose the tax in India
|Charter Act of 1833||This act was the final step towards the centralisation in British India||· Made Governor General of Bengal as the Governor General of India and empowered the civil military powers on him.
· Deprived the legislative powers of subordinate governors
· East India company became a pure administrative body rather than a commercial body
· Introduced a open competition for the selection of Indian civil servants (ICS)
|Charter Act of 1853||This was the last act of the series of the charter act. it was a significant constitutional trademark.||· For the first time it separated the legislative and executive functions of the Governor General’s Council
· The ICS selection were open to the Indians also
· extended the company’s rule and allowed it to retain the possession of territory.
· For the first time it introduced local representation in Indian (central) Legislative council
The Crown Rule
The crown rule was known as the time when the British queen directly ruled the Indian territory and not on behalf of the East Indian Company.
|Government of India Act 1858.||The act was enacted on the light of the outburst of the sepoy mutiny which is later called as the first war of independence||· Governor General of India renamed to Viceroy of India and he was the direct representative of the Britain crown
· Ended Double Government by abolishing the Board of directors and court of directors.
· Created a new office called secretary of state and a 15-member council to assist him.
|Indian Councils Act of 1861||This was the start of the series of the Councils Act which began to enact after the first war of independence to ensure the cooperation of Indians||· Beginning of the representative institutions by associating Indians
· Decentralization of legislative powers to Bombay and Madras presidencies.
· Established new legislative councils
· Empowered the Viceroy to make rules and ordinance.
|Indian Councils Act 0f 1892||Second Councils Act||· Increased the number of members of the central and provincial legislative councils
· Legislative councils were given power to discuss the budget
· Provided for nomination of non-official members
|Indian councils Act of 1909||This act was also known as the Morley- Minto reforms||· Increased the size of the legislative councils and enlarged the deliberative functions
· Provided for the joining of the viceroy executive council. Satyendra Prasad Sinha was the first person to join.
· Started the system of communal representation and thus the act is called the father of communal electorate
|Government of India Act of 1919||Through this act the British first proclaimed their aim was to establish a responsible government in India. This act is also called Montagu- Chlemsfold Reforms.||· Divided the provincial subjects into two parts called transferred subjects and reserved subjects. This dual system of government was called dyarchy
· Introduced Bicameralism
· Created a new office called High commissioner for India
· Established a public service commission.
· Separated provincial budgets from central budgets.
|Government of India Act of 1935||Milestone towards the completely responsible government in India||· Establishment of All India Federation consisting of provinces and princely states as units
· Abolished dyarchy and introduced provincial autonomy but adopted dyarchy at centre
· Bicameralism in provinces
· Communal representation for SC
· Established the Reserve Bank of India
· Established provincial public service commission
· Establishment of federal court set up in 1937
|Indian Independence Act of 1947||Through this act the British ended the rule in India. It is Mountbatten Plan.||Ended British rule in India and provided for partition of India
Abolished the office of viceroy and secretary of state for India
Empowered the constituent assemblies to frame constitutions
Created the Dominion concept
This was the step by step development towards the Indian constitution. This can also be called the constitutional experiment under the British Crown. The soul of India and Indian constitution and governance lie in these developments. To study the developments or experiments is to study the constitution of India itself. It will make you more and more competent in competitive exams like UPSC Civil Service examination also. Study well the constitutional experiments or backgrounds of Indian constitution through the British enactments and crack good ranks and posts in the Government of India. Keep studying keep winning