Beginning of Indian Civil Services- Charter Act of 1853

In 1853, the charter of 1833 was to time out and had to be renewed. It was renewed but no substantial changes were made. However, this was for the first time, that this charter act, unlike other charter acts, did not fix any limit for the continuance of the administration of the company in India. The act provided that the Indian territories will remain under the Governance of the company, until the parliament otherwise directed.

  • In England, Charter Act of 1853 reduced the number of Directors of the Company from 24 to 18. Out of these 18, six were to be appointed by the crown.
  • The Charter act of 1853 provided for appointment of a separate Governor for the Presidency of Bengal, distinct from the Governor General. However, the court of Directors and the Board of Control were authorized to appoint a lieutenant governor, till the appointment of a Governor was made.
  • Please note that the Lieutenant governor was appointed in 1854, but no Governor was appointed for Bengal till 1912.
  • This act also empowered the Court of Directors either to constitute a new Presidency (In lines of Presidency of Madras or Bombay) or appoint a Lieutenant Governor.
  • Here it’s worth that No new presidency was constituted but in 1859, a new Lieutenant governor was appointed for Punjab.
  • Charter Act of 1853 marks the expansion of the Council of the Governor General for legislative purposes. The fourth member (Lord Macaulay) was placed at an equal status with other members. The council of legislative purposes which had 6 members now was expanded to 12 members.
  • These 12 members were :
  1. The Governor General =1
  2. The commander in Chief =1
  3. Members of the Governor General’s Council=4
  4. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (Calcutta)=1
  5. A regular judge of the Supreme court Calcutta=1
  6. Representative members drawn from the company’s servants with 10 years minimum tenure and appointed by the local governments of Bengal, Madras, Bombay and North Western provinces=4

    Total =12

    Genesis of Indian Civil Services:

  • The previous charter act of 1833 had laid down that the Court of Directors should nominate annually 4 times as many candidates as there were vacancies, from whom one should be selected by competitive examination. The charter act of 1833 also provided the Haileybury college of London should make quota to admit the future civil servants. However, this system of an open competition was never effectively operated. A The Committee under the chairmanship of Lord Macaulay had prepared the regulations in this context. The report said that
  • Haileybury should cease to be maintained as higher education college for the ICS
  • There should be a broad general education rather than specialized education for the ICS recruits
  • The recruitment should be based upon an open competitive examination to bring out the best candidates and not through mere superficial knowledge
  • The appointments should be subject to a period of probation.
  • Charter Act of 1853 deprived the Court of Directors of its right of Patronage to Indian appointments and now it was to be exercised under the regulations. This was the Birth of Civil Services which was thrown in 1854 for open competition.

    New provinces:

    By that time, the administrative situation got hard due to annexation of new territories to the company’s possession in India.

  • The Charter Act of 1853 empowered the Governor General of India-in Council to take over by proclamation under his immediate authority and management of the territories for the time being.
  • He was authorized to issue necessary orders and directions for its administrations or provide for its administration.
  • This resulted in creation of Assam, the central provinces, and Burma.

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