CHARTER ACT OF 1793 and 1813

Charter Act of 1793:

  • The East India Company Act 1793, or Charter Act of 1793, was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain which renewed the charter issued to the British East India Company (EIC), and continued the Company’s rule in India.
  • In contrast with legislation concerning British India proposed in the preceding two decades, the 1793 Act “passed with minimal trouble”.
  • The Act made only fairly minimal changes to either the system of government in India or British oversight of the Company’s activities.
  • Company’s trade monopoly was continued for a further 20 years.The Company’s charter was next renewed by the Charter Act of 1813.

Provisions of the Act:

  1. The Act recognized the Company’s political functions and clearly established that theacquisition of sovereignty by the subjects of the Crown is on behalf of the Crown and not in its own right.
  2. The company was allowed to increase its dividend to 10%.
  3. Salaries for the staff and paid members of the Board of Control were also now charged to the Company.
  4. A provision in the Charter act of 1793 was made that the company, after paying the necessary expenses, interest, dividend, salaries, etc from the Indian Revenues will pay 5 Lakh British pounds annually out of the surplus revenue to the British Government.
  5. The Governor-General was granted extensive powers over the subordinate presidencies.
  6. Governor General was empowered to disregard the majority in the Council in special circumstances. Thus more powers were entrusted in him. The Governor General and respective governors of the other presidencies could now override the respective councils, and the commander in chief was not now the member of Governor General’s council, unless he was specially appointed to be a member by the Court of Directors.
  7. Royal approval was mandated for the appointment of the Governor-General, the governors, and the Commander-in-Chief.
  8. Senior officials were forbidden from leaving India without permission.If a high official departed from India without permission, it was to be treated as resignation.
  9. The EIC was empowered to grant licences to both individuals and Company employees to trade in India (known as the “privilege” or “country” trade), which paved the way for shipments of opium to China.
  10. This act reorganized the courts and redefined their jurisdictions. The revenue administration was divorced from the judiciary functions and this led to disappearing of the Maal Adalats.

Charter Act of 1813:

  • Napoleon Bonaparte had put in place the Berlin decree of 1806 & Milan Decree of 1807 forbade the import of British goods into European countries allied with or dependent upon France, and installed the Continental System in Europe.
  • These circumstances posed hardships to British traders, and they demanded entry to the ports of Asia and dissolve the monopoly of the East India Company. But the East India Company clamored that its political authority and commercial privileges cannot be separated. The controversy was later resolved by allowing all the British merchants to trade with India under a strict license system.
  • The East India Company Act 1813′, also known as the Charter Act of 1813, was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which renewed the charter issued to the British East India Company, and continued the Company’s rule in India.
  • Company’s trade monopoly was continued for a further 20 years.The Company’s charter was next renewed by the Charter Act of 1833.

Provisions of the Act:

  1. The Act expressly asserted the Crown’s sovereignty over British India.The charter act of 1813, for the first time explicitly defined the constitutional position of the British territories in India.
  2. This act regulated the company’s territorial revenues and commercial profits.The company debt was to be reduced and dividend was fixed @10.5% per annum.
  3. This act also empowered the local governments to impose taxes on the persons subject to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
  4. The Company’s commercial monopoly was ended, except for the tea trade and the trade with China. Reflecting the growth of British power in India,
  5. This act also made provisions to grant permission to the persons who wished to go to India for promoting moral and religious improvements. (Christian Missionaries)
  6. The power of the provincial governments and courts in India over European British subjects was also strengthened.
  7. Financial provision was made to encourage a revival in Indian literature and for the promotion of science.
  8. There was also a provision that Company should invest Rs. 1 Lakh every year on the education of Indians.

Lord Minto retired in 1813. He was succeeded by Lord Hastings also known as Lord Moira.

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