Indian Councils Act 1892

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Indian Councils Act, 1892 [1]
Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (1837-1952).svg
Citation 55 & 56 Vict. c. 14
Introduced by R. A. Cross, 1st Viscount Cross on 9 February 1892
Royal assent 20 June 1892
Commencement 3 February 1893
Other legislation
Repealed by Government of India Act 1915
Status: Repealed

The Indian Councils Act 1892 was an Act of British Parliament that introduced various amendments to the composition and function of legislative councils in British India. Most notably, the act entailed provisions on the amount of additional members to be represented in the central and provincial councils. For example, the number of Additional Members elected to the Central Legislative Council was increased to a range of ten to sixteen members of whom, as per the Act of 1861, not less than half were to be non-officials, i.e. persons not in the Civil or military service of the Crown. The Governor-General was empowered to invite different bodies in India to elect, select or delegate their representatives and to make regulations for their nomination. After being presented to the House of Lords in 1890, the Act was passed in 1892 in response to nationalist movements beginning to surface across British India.

An act of parliament, also called primary legislation, are statutes passed by a parliament (legislature). Act of the Oireachtas is an equivalent term used in the Republic of Ireland where the legislature is commonly known by its Irish name, Oireachtas. It is also comparable to an Act of Congress in the United States.

A legislative council is the legislature, or one of the legislative chambers, of a nation, colony, or subnational division such as a province or state; or, in the United States, a council within a legislature which supervises nonpartisan legislative support staff. A member of a legislative council is commonly referred to as an MLC.

Under the Regulations adopted, the Central Legislative Council was to consist of nine ex-officio members (the Governor-General, six members of the Executive Council, the Commander-in-Chief and the head of the province in which the Council met), six official Additional Members and ten non-official members of the Legislative Councils of Bengal, Bombay, Madras and the North Western province. When Legislative Councils were established in Punjab and Burma, one member each was returned from these also. In conjunction with the ex-officio members, the official members constituted a majority.

Similar changes were introduced in the composition of provincial Legislative Councils. In all the provinces an official majority was maintained.

Whilst the Central Legislative Council was expanded to include between 10 and 16 Additional Members, specifics in provinces varied: Bombay came to have 8 Additional Members; Madras 20; Bengal 20; North Western Province & Oudh 15. The universities, district board, municipalities, zamindars and chambers of commerce were empowered to recommend members to provincial councils. Thus, whilst failing to answer calls for direct elections, the principle of representation was introduced.

In addition to these changes, the Act relaxed restrictions imposed by the Indian Councils Act 1861 in allowing councils to discuss (not vote on) each year's annual financial statement. They could also put questions within certain limits to the government on the matter of public interest after giving six days' notice, but none of them was given right to ask supplementary questions.

Indian Councils Act 1861

The Indian Councils Act 1861 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that transformed India's executive council to function as a cabinet run on the portfolio system. This cabinet had six "ordinary members", who each took charge of a separate department in Calcutta's government: home, revenue, military, law, finance, and public works. The military Commander-in-Chief sat in with the council as an extraordinary member. The Executive Council was enlarged by addition of fifth member. The Viceroy was allowed, under the provisions of the Act, to overrule the council on affairs if he deemed it necessary, as was the case in 1879, during the tenure of Lord Lyton.

In 1892, the council consisted of 24 members, only five members were Indians. [2]

See also

Indian National Congress Major political party in India

The Indian National Congress(pronunciation ) is a broadly based political party in India. Founded in 1885, it was the first modern nationalist movement to emerge in the British Empire in Asia and Africa. From the late 19th century, and especially after 1920, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, Congress became the principal leader of the Indian independence movement. Congress led India to independence from Great Britain, and powerfully influenced other anti-colonial nationalist movements in the British Empire.

The British Committee of the Indian National Congress was established in Britain by the Indian National Congress in 1889. Its purpose was to raise awareness of Indian issues to the public in Britain, to whom the Government of India was responsible. It followed the work of W.C. Bonnerjee and Dadabhoi Naoroji, who raised India related issues in the British parliament through the support of radical MPs like Charles Bradlaugh. William Wedderburn served as the first chairmanship and William Digby as secretary.

William Wedderburn British politician

Sir William Wedderburn, 4th Baronet, JP DL was a Scottish civil servant in India and a politician. He attempted to bring about reforms in banking to solve the problems of peasants during his working career. Failing to find support in reforms, he retired to help found the Indian National Congress and support local self-government.

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  1. Short title as conferred by s. 8 of the Act; the modern convention for the citation of short titles omits the comma after the word "Act"
  2. The Government of India: Being a Digest of the Statute Law Relating Thereto, by Sir Courtenay Ilbert, 1st edition (1890), publ. Clarendon Press, Oxford, p. 110