Council of India
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The Council of India was the name given at different times to two separate bodies associated with
British rule in India The British Raj (; from ''rāj'', literally, "rule" in Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, ...

British rule in India
. The original Council of India was established by the
Charter Act of 1833 The Saint Helena Act 1833 or the Charter Act of 1833 (3 & 4 Will 4 c 85) is an Acts of Parliament in the United Kingdom, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. As this Act was also intended to provide for an extension of the royal charter gr ...
as a council of four formal advisors to the Governor-General at
Fort WilliamFort William may refer to: Places * Fort William, Ghana, a fort in Anomabu, Central Region, built in the 18th century * Fort William Lighthouse, in Cape Coast, Central Region, Ghana, built in the 19th century, now used as a lighthouse * Fort Will ...
. The ''Governor-General in Council'' was subordinate only to the
East India Company The East India Company (EIC), also known as the Honourable East India Company (HEIC), East India Trading Company (EITC), the English East India Company or (after Acts of Union 1707, 1707) the British East India Company, and informally known a ...
's Court of Directors and to the British Crown. In 1858 the Company's involvement in India's government was transferred by the
Government of India Act 1858 The Government of India Act 1858 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority to make laws for a Poli ...
to the
British government The Government of the United Kingdom, domestically referred to as Her Majesty's Government, is the central government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
. The Act created a new governmental department in
London London is the and of and the . It stands on the in south-east England at the head of a down to the , and has been a major settlement for two millennia. The , its ancient core and financial centre, was founded by the as ' and retains b ...

London
(the
India Office 275px, The western or park end of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's building in 1866. It was then occupied by the Foreign and India Offices, while the Home and Colonial Offices occupied the Whitehall Whitehall is a road and area in the C ...
), headed by the cabinet-ranking
Secretary of State for India A secretary, administrative professional, or personal assistant A personal assistant, also referred to as personal aide (PA) or personal secretary (PS), is a job title describing a person who assists a specific person with their daily busine ...
, who was in turn to be advised by a new Council of India (also based in London). But this new council of
India India, officially the Republic of India (: ), is a country in . It is the by area, the country, and the most populous in the world. Bounded by the on the south, the on the southwest, and the on the southeast, it shares land borders wit ...

India
, which assisted the Secretary of state for India contained 15 members while the erstwhile council of India contained 4 members only and was referred to as Council of four. After the establishment of the Council of 15, the Council of four was formally renamed by the Act (s. 7) as the Council of the Governor General of India.Sometimes it was also called Executive council of India.


Governor-General's council (1833-1858)

The 1773 Act provided for the election of four counsellors by the
East India Company The East India Company (EIC), also known as the Honourable East India Company (HEIC), East India Trading Company (EITC), the English East India Company or (after Acts of Union 1707, 1707) the British East India Company, and informally known a ...
's Court of Directors. The Governor-General had a vote along with the counsellors, but he also had an additional
casting vote A casting vote is a vote Voting is a method for a group, such as a meeting or an electorate, in order to make a collective decision or express an opinion usually following discussions, debates or election campaigns. Democracies elect holders ...
. The decision of the Council was binding on the Governor-General. The '' Council of Four'', as it was known in its early days, did in fact attempt to
impeach Impeachment is the process by which a legislative body or other legally constituted tribunal initiates charges against a public official for misconduct. Impeachment may be understood as a unique process involving both political Politics ...
the first Governor-General,
Warren Hastings Warren Hastings (6 December 1732 – 22 August 1818), an English statesman, was the first Governor of the Presidency of Fort William (Bengal), the head of the Supreme Council of Bengal, and thereby the first ''de facto'' Governor-General of Ben ...

Warren Hastings
, but in his subsequent trial by Parliament he was found to be not guilty. In 1784, the Council was reduced to three members; the Governor-General continued to have both an ordinary vote and a casting vote. In 1786, the power of the Governor-General was increased even further, as Council decisions ceased to be binding. The Saint Helena Act 1833, Charter Act 1833 made further changes to the structure of the Council. The Act was the first law to distinguish between the executive and legislative responsibilities of the Governor-General. As provided under the Act, there were to be four members of the Council elected by the Court of Directors. The first three members were permitted to participate on all occasions, but the fourth member was only allowed to sit and vote when legislation was being debated. In 1858, the Court of Directors ceased to have the power to elect members of the Council. Instead, the one member who had a vote only on legislative questions came to be appointed by the Sovereign, and the other three members by the Secretary of State for India.


Secretary of State's Council

The Council of the Secretary of State, also known as the India Council was based in Whitehall. In 1907, two Indians Sir Krishna Govinda Gupta and Nawab Syed Hussain Bilgrami were appointed by John Morley, 1st Viscount Morley of Blackburn, Lord Morley as members of the council. Bilgrami retired early in 1910 owing to ill-health and his place was taken by Mirza Abbas Ali Baig.Wikisource:Page:The Indian Biographical Dictionary.djvu/41 Other members included Raja Sir Daljit Singh (1915-1917), C.Rajagopalachari (1923-1925), Malik Khizar Hayat Tiwana (1924-1934) and Abdul Qadir (Muslim leader), Sir Abdul Qadir The Secretary of State's Council of India was abolished by the Government of India Act 1935.


Members of the Council of India in London


See also

*
India Office 275px, The western or park end of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's building in 1866. It was then occupied by the Foreign and India Offices, while the Home and Colonial Offices occupied the Whitehall Whitehall is a road and area in the C ...
* English Education Act 1835 * Central Legislative Assembly * Viceroy's Executive Council * Council of State (India) * Imperial Legislative Council * Interim Government of India


References

{{reflist


Further reading

* ''A Constitutional History of India, 1600–1935'', by Arthur Berriedale Keith, published by Methuen & Co., London, 1936 * ''The Imperial Legislative Council of India from 1861 to 1920: A Study of the Inter-action of Constitutional Reform and National Movement with Special Reference to the Growth of Indian Legislature up to 1920'', by Parmatma Sharan, published by S. Chand, 1961 * ''Imperialist Strategy and Moderate Politics: Indian Legislature at Work, 1909-1920'', by Sneh Mahajan, published by Chanakya Publications, 1983 Government of British India Members of the Council of India,