Friday, August 14, 2009

Bangladesh, Towards Democratisation

India in 1857
The Counci of India (Legislative Council of India), first formed, was the advisory council to the Governor-general of india for the period of British rule in India between 1773 and 1920.
The Council was established by the regulating act for India 1773 to oversee the newly created office of the Governor-General, who later became the Viceroy and Governor- General of India.
The 1773 Act provided for the election of four counsellors by the East india company's court of Directors. the Governor-General had a vote along with the counsellors , but he also had an additional casting vote. The decision of the council was binding on the Governor-General. The council of four , as it was known in its early days, did in fact impeach the first Governor-general , warren hastings, but in his susequent ntrial he was found to be not guilty.
In 1784, the council was reduced to three members, the Governor-general continued to have both an ordinary and a casting vote.In 1786, the power of the Gover-general was increased even further, as Council decisionsceased to be binding.
the Charter Act 1833 made further changes to the structure of the Council. The Actnwas the first law to distinguish between the executive and legislative responsibilities of the Governor-general. as provided under the Act , there were to be four members of the council elected by the court of directors. The first three members were permitted to participate on all occasions, but the fourth member was only allowed to sit and vote when legislation was being debated.
In 1858, the Dourt of directors ceased to have the power to elect members of the council . instead, the one member who had a vote only on legislative questions came to be appointed by thesovereign and the other three mambers by the secretary of state for india.
The councils Act 1861 made several changes to the councils composition . Three members were to be appointed by the secretary of state for india, and two by the sovereign. (The power to appoint all five members passed to the crown in 1869). The Governor -general was empowered to appoint an additional six to twelve members (changed to ten to sixteen in 1892, and to sixty in 1909). the five individuals appointed by the Indian secretary or Sovereign headed the executive departments, while those appointed by the Governor-general debated and voted on legislation.
As a result of the Govt. of India Act 1919, an Indian legislature, consisting of a council of state and a central legislative assembly, took over the legislative functions of the governor-general's council. the Governor- General nonetheless retained significant power over legislation . he could authorise the expenditure of money without the legislature's consent for "ecclesciastical, political (and) defence "purposes, and for any purpose during "emergencies". He was permitted to veto, or even stop debate on, any bill. if he recommended the passage of a bill, but only one chamber cooperated, he could declare the bill passed over the objections of the other chamber. The Legislature had no authority over foreign affairs and defence. The president of thye council of state was appointed by the Governor- General, the central legislative assembly elected its own president,apart from the first, but the election required the Gover General's Approval.
The post 1920 Council of state was replaced by nthe Rajya Sabha in 1952.