Why the Government of India Act of 1858 is also known as the Act of Good Governance? Mention some of its provisions to support your statement(s). (150W/10M)

Mentor’s Comment:

The question is basic and deserves the knowledge of history of constitutional development in India.

Britishers policies were very exploitative before 1858 as India was ruled by EIC directly. So EIC’s exploitative policies made the law and order situation worse in historical times. Plundering of resources was at its peak by the officers of EIC.

Such exploitation gave birth to various uprisings and resulted into the transfer of regime to British crown directly. British crown tried to bring some balance by various laws to stabilize governance.  

Mention the features of 1858 Act in order to show modifications from the earlier governance system which were extremely exploitative.

Model Answer:

Introduction:

  • The Government of India Act 1858 was largely confined to the improvement of the administrative machinery by which the Indian Government was to be supervised and controlled in England.
  • Prior to the Act of 1858, India was ruled by the British East India Company (EIC), whose policies and actions were over exploitative which resulted into numerous small insurgencies like Santhal Revolts, Kisan Revolts and numerous other revolutions. All together these revolts out-busted in the form of Sepoy Mutiny in 1857 which revealed Indian’s resentment against Britishers. Also the corruption was rampant among the officers of EIC which was costing the crown badly.

Reforms towards Good Governance:

  • However, with overgrowing resentment among Indians and the declining revenue of British crown compelled the British Crown to take the administration of India in their hand by enacting Government of India Act 1858 which provided that India was to be governed directly by the crown and in the name of the crown.
  • This Act abolished all those acts which were over-exploitative and made India’s fate to be governed by the British Parliament directly hence, to be known as the Act of Good Governance.
  • This Act abolished the Company rule, Court of Directors and Board of Control. This also abolished the dual government introduced by the Pitt’s India Act. The Principle of Doctrine of Lapse was withdrawn, liberty was given to Indian rulers subject to British suzerainty and it also opened some door for Indians in Government services.
  • This Act established the control of British Parliament over Indian affairs by providing for Council of India of the Secretary of the state consisting of 15 members from which 7 to be elected by the court of directors and the rest of 8 to be appointed by the Crown. The members could ask questions regarding Indian affairs thus involving transparency. The British Parliament became questionable regarding any of India’s affairs which paved the way for some of the good reforms.
  • The Governor General headed by the Secretary of State (Cabinet Minister in British Parliament) was to be heading India’s affair and made responsible to Secretary of state for India. Viceroy to be a direct representative of the British Crown in India. Thus, the direct rule from the British Parliament provided some of the services better in comparison to the East India Company’s rule. Hence the Act of 1858 is also termed as the Act of Good Governance.

Conclusion:

  • The growing resentment in England against the Company rule reached its climax with the mutiny of 1857. The mutiny was suppressed but it sent ripples of fear to London and convinced the British that administration of the India must be taken over by the Crown. The British prime Minister, Palmerstone introduced a Bill in 1858 in the parliament for the transfer of Government of India to the Crown. However, before this bill was to be passed, Palmerstone was forced to resign on another issue. Later, Lord Stanley introduced another bill which was originally titled as An Act for the Better Government of India” and it was passed on August 2, 1858.
  • Hence, the reformist policies brought through this Act (though lesser exploitative then the earlier policies) made it an Act of Good Governance.

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KapiushonPritam Kumarprafull sharmaZendagi_ migzara Recent comment authors
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Kapiushon
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Kapiushon

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Pritam Kumar
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Hello…Kapiushon…
-You have not addressed the question in introduction itself….the question is asking about why this Act is called as the Act of Good Governance….
-Your all the points seems irrelevant…not addressing the question…and not linked to the question….
-2nd para in 2nd page…giving contradictory ideas….and there is no example mentioned as evidence….so seems irrelevant….
-Last 3 points in 2nd page are somehow supportive to the question but that too are incompletely mentioned….

Overall, the approach is below average…need to focus on question more while developing points and writing answer….
Though…as a first attempt its good….continue practicing….will improve for sure…
Keep writing…

Refer our model answer or best answer reviewed for better clarity….

Kapiushon
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Kapiushon

Thank you sir for the review. I will try to improve. I have 3 question.
1) Sir, can we contradict the statement by calling the act as misnomer? As it only changed the way British parliament would control Indian affairs and hardly any improvement was seen on Indian ground.
2) These were not directly the provision of act– “The Principle of Doctrine of Lapse was withdrawn, liberty was given to Indian rulers subject to British suzerainty and it also opened some door for Indians in Government services.” but happened generally after 1857 revolt. Should we include it in answer?
3)”The members could ask questions regarding Indian affairs thus involving transparency. The British Parliament became questionable regarding any of India’s affairs which paved the way for some of the good reforms.” — Such analysis are not mentioned in standard books. How to come up with that??

Zendagi_ migzara
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Zendagi_ migzara

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Pritam Kumar
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Hello Priyadarshi….
-One suggestion…you have the habit of writing two types of a (both are small letters)…kindly ensure the correctness of it…

-Introduction seems to be okay….though more ideas can be brought in it….
-Don’t refrain yourself from bringing more and more ideas….you could have mentioned some of the provisions like…The Principle of Doctrine of Lapse was withdrawn, liberty was given to Indian rulers subject to British suzerainty and it also opened some door for Indians in Government services…etc…etc…
-You have brought only 3 points in support that too mentioned in very general way….
-Overall this is an average answer….points are there but talks about general ideas…
Though attempted good….will certainly improve further….
Keep writing…
Marks awarded: 3/10

prafull sharma
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Pritam Kumar
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Hello Prafull….
-Introduction is okay…Introduction could have mentioned itself that prior to crown rule…the EIC rule was very exploitative, the officers were too corrupt and extracted or plundered as much as they can…hence the new Act brought huge relief from such exploitations and hence termed as the Act of Good Governance….(This much clarity is required in Intro itself)….
-The rest of the points are very good with beautiful arrangement….
-Overall, very good approach….nice attempt…well done….keep it up….
Keep writing…
Marks awarded: 6/10