British Government realised that the revolt was only a symptom of a deep-seated problem. The policy of the Government of India underwent a drastic modification.
1. Political :
(i) The first and immediate result of the revolt was liquidation of the English East India Company.
An Act known as ‘Act for Better Government of India’ was rushed through the British Parliament which transferred power from the Company to the Crown.
(ii) A new administrative machinery consisting of a Secretary of State with a Council of 15 members was created to supervise the administration of India on behalf of the Crown.
(iii) British Government made a new declaration of their policy toward India. This was done in the form of the Queen’s Proclamation issued in 1858.
(iv) A new policy was definitely initiated towards the Indian States. ‘Sanads’ were issued to the Indian princes guaranteeing them freedom of adopting heir.
Hence forward if there was any dereliction of duty on the part of a ruler he alone was to be held responsible; misgovernment was no longer an excuse for the extinction of the Indian States.
2. Social and Cultural :
(i) The old policy of promoting reforms was abandoned because it was contended that it was this policy which had been one of the important causes of the revolt of 1857.
(ii) The cause of reform was now wholly left to the initiative of the Indians themselves. This continued to be the basic policy of the Government of India for over half a century.
(iii) The Muslim Renaissance which had been growing in Delhi before 1857 got an irreparable shock. Decay immediately overtook the revival of learning in Delhi from which it never recovered.
The army and the Muslims were regarded by the British as the chief instigators of the revolt. They, therefore, received special attention.
(i) The army was reorganized after 1858. The proportion of British troops in the Indian army was increased.
They were primarily used to maintain internal security, while the Indian troops were organized and trained for services aboard to subjugate Asian and African territories for British imperialism.
(ii) The artillery was taken away from the Indian hands.
(iii) All higher and sensitive appointments were reserved for the British; an Indian could not get employment in the Army Headquarters except as a clerk in a non-military capacity.
(iv) The Indian armies were recognized. Battalions were drawn from such diverse elements as the Sikhs, the Punjabi Muslims, the Pathans, the Rajputs, the Gurkhas, etc., and it was quite easy for the British to exploit communal, caste and regional difference of the sepoys.
(v) A subtle distinction was also drawn between ‘martial’ and non-martial” races and a myth on this basis were propounded. The Sikhs and Gurkahs, who were loyal to the British in the revolt were termed as the ‘martial races’.
As a result of the Revolt, changes were made in the Judicial field. New Civil and Criminal Procedure Codes were passed.
The judiciary was reorganized under the Indian High Courts Act, 1861. High Courts were established at Calcutta, Bombay and Madras in place of the Sadar Courts and Supreme Courts which had existed before the Revolt.