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Indian Councils Act 1861, History, Provision, Significance & Drawbacks

Indian Councils Act 1861

The British Parliament approved the Indian Councils Act 1861 on August 1st, changing the makeup of the Governor General’s council for both legislative and executive reasons. The involvement of Indians in the legislative process was this Act’s most notable feature. The Indian Councils Act of 1861 was a significant turning point in India’s political and constitutional history. The Indian Councils Act of 1861 is discussed in this article and is crucial for UPSC Indian Polity Preparation.

Read about: Pitt’s India Act 1784

Indian Councils Act 1861 History

The British Empire thought it was urgently necessary to seek the assistance of its Indian subjects in the administration of India following the great insurrection of 1857. Three laws were passed in 1861, 1892, and 1909 to further this strategy of affiliation. An essential turning point in India’s constitutional and political history is the Indian Councils Act 1861.

Read about: Charter Act of 1853

Indian Councils Act of 1861 Reasons for Enactment

The Government of India Act of 1858 made considerable reforms to English-style governance, but it had little impact on the Indian system of government. After the 1857 Mutiny, it was widely believed in England that it would be virtually impossible to form a government in India without Indian involvement in the administration.

The legislative process was centralized by the Charter Act of 1833. It failed to pass legislation that was suited to the requirements of the populace since it had just one representative in each of the four provinces. Due to drawn-out processes that delayed enactment, the Governor General in Council was failing in his legislative duties and unable to perform efficiently.

Indian Councils Act 1861 Provisions

This legislation, which restored the legislative authority of the Bombay and Madras presidencies, started the decentralization trend. As a result, the centralizing trends that started with the Regulating Act of 1773 and reached their peak with the Charter Act of 1833 were turned around. In 1937, the provinces were granted practically total internal autonomy as a result of this legislative devolution strategy.

The inclusion of Indians in the legislative process marked a fresh beginning for representative institutions. It allows for the viceroy’s nomination of a few Indians to his expanded council. Three Indians were eventually included in this 1862 Legislative Council: Sir Dinkar Rao, the Maharaja of Patiala, and the Raja of Benaras.

A measure could not be passed without the Governor-consent General’s if it dealt with governmental finances or debt, the armed forces, religion, or international relations. The Viceroy had the power to defy the council if necessary. The Governor-General might also promulgate ordinances during emergencies without the council’s consent.

The creation of legislative councils for Punjab, North Western Frontier Province, and Bengal was contemplated. It gave the Viceroy the authority to issue regulations and ordinances to improve and facilitate the conduct of business in the council.

It acknowledged the Portfolio System, which Lord Canning inaugurated in 1859. Under this system, a member of the Viceroy’s Council was given control over one or more government departments and was given the authority to make final decisions on their behalf. In times of emergency, it also gave Viceroy the authority to enact ordinances without the approval of the Legislative Council. The law will be applicable for six months.

Indian Councils Act 1861 Significance

A turning point in India’s political and constitutional history occurred with the passage of the Indian Councils Act in 1861. It altered the Governor General’s council’s organizational structure for both executive and legislative functions. Indian participation in the legislative process marked a new beginning for representative institutions.

Indian Councils Act 1861 Drawbacks

The Legislative Council only played a small part. It mostly served as advice. Financial choices were not permitted. Despite the fact that the Indians were elected, there were no formal requirements for their membership. By giving the presidents of Bombay and Madras control over the legislative process, it made it possible to distribute administrative jobs. The power of the Governor-General was absolute.

Indian Councils Act of 1861 UPSC

A major turning point in India’s political and constitutional history is the Indian Councils Act of 1861. For executive and legislative reasons, it changed the makeup of the Governor General’s Council. The most remarkable aspect of this Act was the participation of Indians in the legislative process. Representative institutions saw a new beginning when Indians were included in the legislative process. It called for the creation of legislative councils in Bengal, Punjab, and the North-Western Frontier Province. This article has all the details about Indian Councils Act 1861 for UPSC Exam Preparations.

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What was the purpose of Indian Councils Act 1861?

An Act to Improve Provisions for Local Government of the Various Presidencies and Provinces of India, the Council of the Governor General of India, and the Temporary Government of India in the Event of a Vacancy in the Office of the Governor General.

Who introduced Indian council Act of 1861?

The portfolio system was instituted by Lord Canning, who was the Governor-General and Viceroy at the time. Each participant in this system was given a portfolio related to a specific department. The Governor-Council General's was increased for legislative reasons.

What was the Legislative Council of 1861?

The Council's makeup was altered in a number of ways by the Indian Councils Act of 1861. The body is now known as the Imperial Legislative Council or the Governor-Legislative General's Council. The Secretary of State for India and the Sovereign were each to choose three members.

What did the Indian Councils Acts of 1861 and 1892?

The British Parliament passed the Indian Councils Act 1892, which expanded the size of India's legislative councils. The ability to inquire about the budget was also granted to the members. It marked the beginning of India's contemporary transition to a representational system of government.

What are the 2 merits of Indian Council Act 1861?

The Act has the following advantages: It aids in restoring the legislative authority of the Madras and Bombay Presidency. Additionally, it gave the Presidency of Calcutta authority to enact legislation that would apply to all of British India.

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