Government of India Act 1858

Government of India Act 1858[1]
Long titleAn Act for the better Government of India
Citation21 & 22 Vict. c. 106
Royal assent2 August 1858
Commencement1 November 1858
Status: Amended

The Government of India Act 1858 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (21 & 22 Vict. c. 106) passed on August 2, 1858. Its provisions called for the liquidation of the British East India Company (who had up to this point been ruling British India under the auspices of Parliament) and the transference of its functions to the British Crown.[2] Lord Palmerston, then-Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, introduced a bill for the transfer of control of the Government of India from the East India Company to the Crown, referring to the grave defects in the existing system of the government of India. However, before this bill was to be passed, Palmerston was forced to resign on another issue.Later Edward Henry Stanley, 15th Earl of Derby (who would later become the first Secretary of State for India) introduced another bill which was originally titled as "An Act for the Better Government of India" and it was passed on 2 August 1858. This act provided that India was to be governed directly and in the name of the Crown.


The proclamation to the "Princes, Chiefs, and People of India", issued by Queen Victoria on 1 November 1858.

The Indian Rebellion of 1857 forced the British Government to pass the Act. The Act was followed a few months later by Queen Victoria's proclamation to the "Princes, Chiefs, and People of India", which, among other things, stated, "We hold ourselves bound to the natives of our Indian territories by the same obligation of duty which bind us to all our other subjects." (p. 2)

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