Charter Act of 1793

The East India Company Act 1793, or Charter Act of 1793, was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain which renewed the charter issued to the British East India Company (EIC), and continued the Company’s rule in India.

In contrast with legislation concerning British India proposed in the preceding two decades, the 1793 Act “passed with minimal trouble”.

The Act made only fairly minimal changes to either the system of government in India or British oversight of the Company’s activities.

Company’s trade monopoly was continued for a further 20 years. The Company’s charter was next renewed by the Charter Act of 1813.


The Act recognized the Company’s political functions and clearly established that the “acquisition of sovereignty by the subjects of the Crown is on behalf of the Crown and not in its own right”.

The company was allowed to increase its dividend to 10%.

Salaries for the staff and paid members of the Board of Control were also now charged to the Company.

A provision in the Charter act of 1793 was made that the company, after paying the necessary expenses, interest, dividend, salaries, etc from the Indian Revenues will pay 5 Lakh British pounds annually out of the surplus revenue to the British Government.

The Governor-General was granted extensive powers over the subordinate presidencies.
Governor General was empowered to disregard the majority in the Council in special circumstances. Thus more powers were entrusted in him.

The Governor General and respective governors of the other presidencies could now override the respective councils, and the commander in chief was not now the member of Governor General’s council, unless he was specially appointed to be a member by the Court of Directors.

Royal approval was mandated for the appointment of the Governor-General, the governors, and the Commander-in-Chief.

Senior officials were forbidden from leaving India without permission. If a high official departed from India without permission, it was to be treated as resignation.

The EIC was empowered to grant licences to both individuals and Company employees to trade in India (known as the “privilege” or “country” trade), which paved the way for shipments of opium to China.

This act reorganized the courts and redefined their jurisdictions. The revenue administration was divorced from the judiciary functions and this led to disappearing of the Maal Adalats.