The British came to India in 1600. The company obtained the “Diwani” of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa in 1765.
The Company Rule (1773-1858)
1)The governor of Bengal was made governor general of Bengal. The executive council of four members was created to assist him. Lord Warren Hastings was the first governor general.
2)The governors of the presidency of Madras and Bombay were made subordinate to the governor general of Bengal.
3) The Supreme Court was established in 1774 in Calcutta.
4)The governing body of the company, the court of directors was created.
Pitts India Act Of 1784:-
1)The commercial and political functions of the company were distinguished.
2)Board of control to manage political affairs was created in addition to court of directors.
Charter Act Of 1833:-
1)The governor general of Bengal was made the governor general of India. Lord.William Bentick became the 1st governor general of India.
2)The governor general of India was given complete legislative power over British India depriving the legislative powers of governors of Madras and Bombay.
3)The commercial activities of the company were put to an end by purely allowing administrative functions.
4)For the first time open competition for the selection of Civil Servants was introduced.
Charter Act of 1853:-
1)The executive and legislative functions of the governor general’s council were separated. Six more legislative councilors were added to the governor general’s council.
2)The covenanted Civil service was thrown open to the Indians. The Macaulay committee on Indian civil service was appointed in 1854.
3)For the 1st time local representation in the Indian legislative council was introduced.
Government of India Act 1858:-
The Indian administration came under the direct control of the British crown. It continued upto 1947.
1)The governor general of India was renamed as the Viceroy of India. Lord. Canning became the 1st Viceroy India.
2)The new office called the Secretary of state for India was created.
3)The secretary of state was assisted by a 15 member council of India. His control over Indian administration was complete and absolute.
4)The administration was unitary and centralized.
5)There was no separation of powers. The entire authority was concentrated in the governor general’s council which was responsible to the secretary of state.
6)The machinery of the administration was bureaucratic and unmindful of public opinion.
Indian Councils Act Of 1861:-
1)Indian representation was given in Viceroy’s council.
2)The legislative power was restored to provinces and provision was made for legislative councils for Bengal, North-West Frontier Province and Punjab.
3)Viceroy was empowered to make rules and orders for the smooth transaction of the business in the council. Portfolio system was given recognition.
4)Viceroy was empowered to issue ordinances.
Indian Councils Act 0f 1892:-
1)The non-official representation in the central and provincial legislative councils was enhanced.
2)The discussion on budget in the councils was allowed.
3)The Viceroy was given power to nominate some non-official members to the central legislative council on the recommendation of the chamber of commerce. The governors were given powers to nominate non-official members to the legislative council of provinces on the recommendation of local bodies.
Indian Councils Act of 1909 (morley-minto reforms):-
1)It enhanced the members of the legislative councils both at centre and provinces. The strength of the central legislative council was 60.
2)The official majority was maintained at central legislative councils whereas the non-official majority was allowed in provincial councils.
3)The deliberative functions of the legislative councils both at centre and provinces were enlarged.
4)The association of Indians with the executive councils of the viceroy and governors was provided.
5)For the first time communal representation was given by providing “separate electorate” to Muslims. Lord.Minto was called the father of communal electorate.
Government of India Act of 1919 (Montague-Chelmsford Reforms):-
1)The central and provincial subjects were separated and the concerned legislatures were given authority to make laws on their respective list of subjects. This devolution of power does not mean federal distribution. The provinces got powers delegated by the central government.
2) Diarchy in the Provinces:- The provincial subjects were divided into transferred and reserved subjects. The transferred subjects were administered by the governor with the aid of ministers responsible to the legislative council. The reserved subjects were administered by the governor and his executive council without any responsibility to the legislative council.
3)Bicameralism and direct elections were introduced. The Indian legislative council was composed of two houses; an upper house (council of states) and lower house (legislative assembly). The majority of members were chosen by direct election.
4)The Viceroy’s executive council was represented by three Indians out of six.
5)The communal represented was enlarged by providing separate electorates for Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo-Indians and Europeans.
6)The limited franchise was granted to people on the basis of property, tax or education.
7)The central and provincial budgets were separated and the provincial legislatures were authorized to enact their budgets.
Shortcomings pf The Act:-
1)Notwithstanding a substantial measure of devolution of powers to the provinces, the unitary and centralized character of administration was intact. The viceroy was given power to decide whether a particular subject falls under a central or a provincial category. The provincial legislature could not take up for consideration of bills relating to number of subjects without the prior consent of the viceroy.
2)The diarchy in the provincial sphere miserably failed. The governor was controlling the purse by virtue of reserved subjects which were under his control. It was impossible for the ministers who were handling transferred subjects to implement any progressive measure for want of funds. The role of the governor was not that of constitutional head.
The Simon Commission:-
The British government announced the appointment of statutory commission under the chairmanship of Sir.John Simon in 1927. It was boycotted by all Indians because there was no Indian representation. The commission submitted its report in 1930 and recommended for the abolition of diarchy in provinces, establishment of responsible government in provinces and establishment of federation. Three round table conferences were held to consider the proposals.
Communal Award:- The communal award which extended separate electorates to the depressed classes (SCs) was announced by the British Prime Minister Ramsay Mac Donald. Gandhi undertook fast unto death thereby there was an agreement between the leaders of the congress and the depressed classes in 1932 which was known as the POONA PACT. It resulted in the retention of Hindu joint electorate by giving reserved seats to the depressed classes.
Government Of India Act 1935:-
1)It provided for the establishment of All India Federation consisting of provinces and Indian states as units. Though the part relating to provincial autonomy was implemented in April 1937 the part related to federation never took effect. There was a division of legislative powers between the centre and the provinces and the provinces were given administrative autonomy. The powers were divided into three lists 1) Federal list, 2) Provincial list and
3) Concurrent list. Residuary powers were given to viceroy.
2)Diarchy in provinces was abolished and responsible government was introduced. The governor was required to act with the advice of the ministers responsible to the legislature. The governor had to exercise his authority on behalf of the crown without any subordination to viceroy. However, the central government retained some control over the provinces by requiring the governor to act in his discretion in certain spheres.
3)The abolished diarchy in the provinces was introduced at the centre and consequently the federal subjects were divided into reserved and transferred. However, it did not come into effect at centre.
4The Legislature:- The central legislature was bicameral consisting of federal assembly and council of states. Bicameralism was introduced in six provinces leaving rest of the provinces. The legislative powers of both central and provincial legislatures were subject to various limitations and neither could be said to have possessed the features of sovereign legislatures.
5)About 10% of the total population was franchised.
6)There was a provision for the establishment of Reserve Bank of India.
7)It provided for federal court which was established in 1937.
Indian Independence Act Of 1947 :-
It ended the British rule in India and declared India as an independent and sovereign state from 15th August 1947.
2)It divided India into two dominions as India and Pakistan with right to secede from British common wealth.
3)The office of the governor general was created in the place of viceroy for both the states. Lord. Mountbatten was the 1st and the British last governor general of independent India. Dr.C.Rajagopalachary was the 1st and the last Indian governor general of independent India.
4)It empowered the constituent assemblies of the two dominions to legislate for their respective territories till the new constitutions were drafted and enforced.
5)The British paramountacy over the princely states came to an end.
6)It gave freedom to Indian princely states either to join the dominion of India or Pakistan or remain independent. It designated the governor general of India and provincial governors as constitutional heads.
India became independent on midnight of 14th-15th August 1947. Lord Mountbatten became the 1st governor general of the new dominion of India. Jawaharlal Nehru became the 1st Prime minister of independent India. The constituent assembly formed in 1946 also acted as parliament of dominion of India.
The interim government in 1946 consisted of 14 council of ministers. The first cabinet of India 1947 consisted of 14 ministers.