The Government of India Act 1858 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (21 & 22 Vict. c. 106) passed on 2 August 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. 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 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 Governance 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.
|Long title||An Act for the better Government of India|
|Citation||21 & 22 Vict. c. 106|
|Royal assent||2 August 1858|
|Commencement||1 November 1858|
|Relates to||Indian Councils Act 1861, Indian Councils Act 1909, Government of India Act 1919|
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)
The Act ushered in a new period of Indian history, bringing about the end of Company rule in India. The era of the new British Raj would last until the Partition of India in August 1947, when the territory of the British Raj was granted dominion status as the Dominion of Pakistan and the Dominion of India.