Constitutional History
The Constitution of India was an outcome of long-lived historical events. To make India a republican country was the combined effort of all national leaders and constitution-makers. It took 2 years, 11 months, 18 days to complete the Constitution.

Our country became a Republic on 26th January 1950, and this is the reason we celebrate Republic Day as a national holiday.

Evolution of Indian Constitution

1. Regulating Act, 1773
2. Pitts India Act, 1784
3. Charter Act, 1813
4. Charter Act, 1833
5. Government of India Act, 1858
6. Indian Council Act, 1861
7. Indian Council Act, 1892
8. Act of 1909 (Minto Morley Reforms)
9. Act of 1919 (Montagu Chelmsford Reforms)
10. Government of India Act, 1935
11. Cripps Mission
12. Cabinet Mission Plan
13. Indian Independence Act, 1947

Bare Acts

Regulating Act, 1773

  • Due to increasing corruption in the East India Company, it came under the direct control of British parliament.
  • Governor of Bengal became the Governor-General of Bengal.
  • Warren Hastings became the first Governor-General of Bengal.
  • In Calcutta, Supreme Court was established.

Pitts India Act, 1784

  • A board of control was established for carrying out political responsibilities under the British government.
  • East India Company became more responsible towards the British government.

Charter Act, 1813

  • The councils of Bombay, Madras, and Calcutta were empowered with more powers.
  • The local bodies in provinces were authorized to levy taxes from people.

Charter Act, 1833

  • Governor-General got empowered with more powers. The matters related to revenue were now under the control of Governor-General.
  • This act was a step towards centralization.
  • The Governor-General of Bengal now became the Governor-General of India.
  • The first Governor-General of India was William Bentick.
  • Christian institutions had entered in India by that time.

Government of India Act, 1858

  • The act was passed by Parliament of England.
  • Company’s rule came to an end, and the administration of India came under the direct control of the Crown.
  • Secretary of state for India was established, who would be a member of the British cabinet.
  • Sir Charleswood was the first Secretary of State for India.
  • Now the Governor-General of India became the Viceroy of India. Lord canning was the first Viceroy.

Indian Council Act, 1861

  • This act was passed after the revolt of 1857.
  • A provision was made for the inclusion of Indians in the executive council. Out of 6 to 12 additional members, half of them were to be Indians.
  • Three Indians who were nominated for the council by Lord Canning were Raja of Banaras, Maharaja of Patiala, and Dinkar Rao.
  • High court act also passed in the year 1861 for establishing High courts in Bombay, Madras, and Calcutta.

Indian Council Act, 1892

  • There was the establishment of Congress in the year 1885.
  • The demand was raised for administrative reforms, political reforms, social reforms, and economic reforms.
  • This act came up with beginning with of Indian civil services exam.

Act of 1909 (Minto Morley Reforms)

  • The principle of election was legally recognized by the legislative council.
  • Separate electorate was given to Muslims but Jinnah opposed to communal representation.
  • The councils were given right to discuss, pass resolution on the budget, but Governor-General had the power to disallow discussion.

Act of 1919 (Montagu Chelmsford Reforms)

  • The concept of Dyarchy was introduced in the provinces.
  • The provincial subjects were divided into reserved and transferred subjects respectively. Reserved subjects like police, jail, etc. And transferred subjects like education, sanitation, and so on.
  • A High Commissioner for India at London was appointed.
  • Bicameral legislature got set up at the centre consisting council of states and legislative assembly.

Government of India Act, 1935

  • In Simon Commission Report of 1927, Jinnah demanded for the separate electorate in Constitution. This was the stage when the seed of separation and communalism flourished actually.
  • All India Federation was established at the centre consisting of British India and princely states.
  • Separation of powers into three lists as federal, provincial, and concurrent (Presently in the seventh schedule of the Constitution.)
  • Dyarchy was abolished. The act gave more autonomous powers to the provinces for better administration. The governor was made head of the provincial executive.

Cripps Mission

  • In 1942, Sir Stafford Cripps came with the proposal to frame Constitution by elected Indian members of the Constituent Assembly.
  • The proposal was to give India dominion status through the Constitution. And those provinces which want to remain free and not to accept the Indian Constitution could maintain a separate position.

Cabinet Mission Plan

  • The purpose of the mission was to make India independent and form constituent assembly for framing the Constitution.
  • The mission showed disagreement on the separate electorate for Muslims and separate Constituent assembly.
  • All residuary powers to be vested in the provinces and the states (Presently, residuary power vests in the parliament under Article 248.)
  • Any communal dispute or issue in the legislature was to be resolved by majority support of each two major communities present and voting as well as a majority of the members present and voting.

Indian Independence Act, 1947

  • After 15th August 1947, India shall no longer be a dependent state of the British Crown.
  • The Central legislature of India cease to exist after 14th August 1947. After independence, the Constituent Assembly shall function as the Central legislature.
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