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Charter Act of 1833 (Saint Helena Act)

Main Features of the Act

  • Commercial activities of the Company were stopped and it was turned into an Administrative Body.

Charter Act 1833 UPSC APSC
  • Company's trade with China was also brought to an end.

  • The Act permitted the English to settle freely in India.

  • The Act effectively legalized British Colonization of India.

  • The company held property but it was held in trust for his majesty.

The various Provisions of the Act were:

  • India was turned into a British Colony.

  • The Governor General of Bengal became the Governor General of India (Bentink)

  • The entire country's administration was unified under one control.

  • Governors of Madras and Bombay were relieved of their Legislative powers.

  • Governor General had legislative powers over entire British India.

  • Governor General in Council had the authority to amend, repeal or alter any law in the entire length and breadth of India for any British, Foreigner or Indian.

  • Civil and Military powers were brought under the control of the Governor General in Council

  • Governor General's council was to now have four members. The fourth member had very limited powers.

  • For the first time, Governor General's Govt was called Govt of India and council was called India Council.

Indian Law Commission

  1. Any law made in India was to be presented before the British Parliament and to be subsequently called as an Act.

  2. As per the Act an Indian Law Commission was established.

  3. Lord Macaulay was appointed as the first Chairperson of the Commission.

  4. The Commission sought to codify all the Indian Laws. {Split in Bengal Presidency: Presidency to be divided into Presidencies of Agra and Fort William. But this was never put into effect}

  5. It provided Indians permission to have a share in the country's administration.

  6. The Act stated that merit should be the basis of employment not birth, colour, religion or race.

  7. The Act provided for the mitigation of slavery in India.

  8. The British Parliament provided for the abolition of slavery in Britain and all its colonies.

  9. The Act provided for the appointment of three Bishops in India since the number of British residents were increasing.

  10. It also sought to regulate Christian institutions in India.


  1. It was the first step in the centralization of Indian administration.

  2. The Act effectively ended EIC's commercial activities and made it a trustee of British Crown's possessions.

  3. The codification of laws were done under Macaulay.

  4. The Act provided for the appointment of Indians in Government Service.

  5. The Act separated the executive and legislative functions of the Council


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