The unsuccessful war of independence 1857 left the Great Britain with many questions and it issued a proclamation in 1858 bringing about remarkable changes in the Government at local level. The Indian Councils Act 1861 added a position of the jurist to the Viceroy’s Executive Council. Also it introduced some reforms in the legislation.
The main features of Act were as under:
- Bengal, Madras and Bombay were brought into one common system.
- Viceroy’s Executive Council would be between six to twelve additional members nominated by the Governor-General.
- Non-Officials would be not less than half of these twelve members.
- The Legislative Power would be restored in the council of Bombay and Madras.
- Bengal would establish its Council in 1862, NWFP in 1886, and Punjab and Burma in 1897.
- Cabinet System was introduced in the Portfolio System already given by Canning.
- Maharaja of Patiala, Raja of Banaras, and Sir Dinker Rao were nominated to Legislative Council of Lord Canning.
The Act restored the legislative powers which had been discontinued by the Charter of 1833. Now the members of the Legislature were in a position to have their say on the issues.