Indian Civil Services Act 1861

A competitive examination was organized in 1853, but the Indians could not seek entry. However, the system of reserving principal posts for the members of the covenanted service (means British) was introduced in 1858.

  • The Indian Civil Services Act, 1861, validated a number of irregular appointments which were made in India to meet the exigencies in disregard of the restriction that all offices in the civil cadre of the company’s service in India were reserved to the civil services of the Presidency.
  • The recruitment in the civil services was scheduled which also included the number of appointments to be filled “only by the members of the covenanted Civil Service in Future”.
  • Thus, the Principal posts were reserved for British.
  • The civil services act 1861 laid down that any person, whether Indian or European could be appointed to any of the offices (specified in the schedule annexed), provided that he had resided for minimum of 7 years in India.
  • The person had to pass an exam in vernacular language of the district, in which he was employed.
  • The appointment was also made a subject to departmental tests or other qualifications.
  • All appointments were now to be reported to the Secretary of State and unless Secretary of State approves within twelve months, were declared void.


    The Indian Civil Services Act could not fulfill the demand of by the educated Indians to secure employment in the Covenanted Civil Service. Further reforms were made later.

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