An Act for effecting an Arrangement with the East India Company, and for the better Government of His Majesty’s Indian Territories, till the Thirtieth Day of April One thousand eight hundred and fifty-four.
The Government of India Act 1833 (3 & 4 Will 4 c 85), or the Charter Act 1833, was an
Act of the
Parliament of the United Kingdom, later retitled as the Saint Helena Act 1833. It extended the royal charter granted to the
East India Company for an additional twenty years, and restructured the governance of British India.
The Act contained the following provisions:
It ended the commercial activities of the
British East India Company and made it a purely administrative body. In particular, the Company lost its monopoly on trade with China and other parts of the Far East.
While ending its commercial mandate, the Act extended the East India Company's charter by 20 years. This meant that other provisions of the original Elizabethan charter, including the right to raise armies, wage war, and rule conquered territories, was perpetuated.
The "Governor-General in Council" were given exclusive legislative powers, that is, the right to proclaim laws which would be enforced as the law of the land across the whole of British India.
Thus, the Act deprived the Governors of
Madras of the legislative powers which they had enjoyed until then.
The Act attempted to introduce a system of open competitions for the selection of civil servants. However, this provision was negated after opposition from the Court of Directors who continued to hold the privilege of appointing Company officials.
The Act categorically stated that no native of India should be disabled from holding any place, office, or employment, by reason of his religion.
Control of the island of
Saint Helena was transferred from the East India Company to the Crown.
short titles were authorised for British legislation by the
Short Titles Act 1896, the Act was titled as the Government of India Act 1833. However, following the repeal of most of its provisions other than those dealing with Saint Helena, it was given a new short title by the
Statute Law Revision Act 1948, as the Saint Helena Act 1833. As the main provision of the Act was to extend the Company's charter, it is sometimes referred to as the Charter Act 1833, although this is not an official short title.
^The citation of this Act by this short title was authorised by section 1 of, and Schedule 1 to, the
Short Titles Act 1896. Due to the repeal of those provisions, it is now authorised by section 19(2) of the Interpretation Act 1978.