The Indian Council Act of 1861 was a landmark piece of legislation in the history of British India. This act was enacted by the British government to reform the Indian legislative system and increase the participation of Indians in the administration of the country.

The act aimed to address the growing demand for a more representative and democratic system of governance in India. This act introduced several important provisions and features, which aimed to increase the powers of the legislative councils, increase the representation of Indians in the administration, and introduce a system of legislative decentralization in India.

These provisions marked a significant step towards constitutional reforms in British India and paved the way for further development of the Indian legislative system.

Indian Council Act 1861 – Features & Provisions

The Indian Councils Act of 1861, also known as the Government of India Act of 1861, had the following main provisions and features:

  1. Creation of a new legislative council with official and non-official members in India.
  2. Introduction of the Portfolio system, where each member was made responsible for a specific department.
  3. Expansion of the executive council to include non-official members, who could discuss and make suggestions on legislative proposals.
  4. Powers of the legislative council were increased, allowing them to discuss the budget and propose amendments.
  5. Increase in the number of legislative councils, with the addition of councils in provinces such as Madras, Bombay, Bengal, and others.
  6. Introduction of a system of legislative decentralization, allowing local governments in India to legislate in certain areas.
  7. Establishment of a High Court in each province.
  8. Increase in the number of eligible voters, with property qualifications being reduced.
  9. Empowerment of the Governor-General to issue Ordinances in emergency situations, bypassing the legislative council.