Charter Act of 1833


Charter Act of 1833 was the outcome of the Industrial Revolution in England which envisages that Indian’s had to function as a market for English mass production on the basis of ‘Laissez-Faire’. This act replaced the office of Governor-General of Bengal with the Governor-General of India.

  • The company’s commercial activities were closed down. It was made into an administrative body for British Indian possessions.
  • The company’s trade links with China were also closed down.
  • This act permitted the English to settle freely in India.
  • This act legalized the British colonization of the country.
  • The company still possessed the Indian territories but it was held ‘in trust for his majesty’.

Features of the Act-

  • One Control -Governor-General of Bengal as the Governor-General of India and vested in him all civil and military powers. Thus, the act created, for the first time, a Government of India having authority over the entire territorial area possessed by the British in India. Lord William Bentick was the first governor-general of India.

  • Legislative Power- It deprived the governor of Bombay and Madras of their legislative powers. The Governor-General of India was given exclusive legislative powers for the entire British India. The laws made under the previous acts were called Regulations while laws made under this act were called Acts.
  • Administration & EIC- It ended the activities of the East India Company as a commercial body, which became a purely administrative body. It provided that the company’s territories in India were held by it ‘in trust for His Majesty, His heirs and successors’.
  • Open Competition – This Act attempted to introduce a system of open competition for selection of civil servants, and 
  • Office under Company by Indians-  It stated that the Indians should not be debarred from holding any place, office, and employment under the Company. However, this provision was negated after opposition from the Court of Directors.