History of Asia

Regulating Act of 1773 and Amended Act of 1781

The main function of any government system is to fulfill the objectives and goals of its rulers. After taking over the vast empire of India, the British established a new system of administration to control and govern it. The main goal of the British company was to increase the company's profits, to make India's authority beneficial to Britain and to keep the British hold on India strong.

East India Company was originally a trading company, whose structure was created for trade with the eastern countries. Its highest officials lived in England thousands of miles away from India, yet, it had established political hegemony over millions of people. Due to this unusual situation, many problems arose in front of the British Government, such as how the East India Company and its empire should be controlled by the officers of the Company sitting in Britain? How to curb officers, employees and soldiers based in India? How to establish a single control center in India for the Company's jurisdictions scattered over Bengal, Madras and Bombay? How to satisfy the budding industrialists of Britain by giving them a share in the lucrative Indian trade and vast wealth of India etc. Several Acts and Ordinances were passed from time to time to solve these problems and reorganize the mutual relations between the officers of the British State and the Company, which paved the way for constitutional development in India.

1773 Regulating Act  (Regulating Act of 1773)

The Regulating Act was the first important parliamentary law relating to company activities. The purpose of this act brought under the Company rule was to bring the activities of the East India Company in India under the supervision of the British Government. Apart from this, its objective was to make a radical change in the company's steering committee and accept the political existence of the company and make its business structure capable of political functions.

Regulating Act passed (Due to the Passing of the Regulating Act)

the envy of the British aristocracy : Under the diarchy in Bengal, the Company's employees plundered Bengal lavishly, which disturbed the entire administration and caused complete destruction of Bengal. Until the arrival of Warren Hastings in India in 1772, British merchants returned to England carrying looted gold bags from Bengal and envying the elite with their extravagance. Pitt the eldest called them the English Nawabs and expressed apprehension that with this immense wealth, they might corrupt British political life. H.H. Dudwell wrote:Not only was there a fear of misgovernance in India discrediting the English name, but there was also a fear that the people engaged in Indian trade in England, who had immense wealth, would be influential in home affairs due to the corrupt parliamentary system and Do not be successful in getting undue power. Therefore, there was a demand in England that there should be parliamentary intervention in the affairs of the Company.

Administrative structure of the company in England : The Company's administration in England had two main organs - the Court of Proprietors and the Court of Directors, which controlled the affairs of the Company. Members of the Court of Proprietors who were shareholders of more than £500 for more than six months vote to elect the Court of Directors. The position of director was very important and wealthy partners tried to become directors by monopolizing the shares. This buying and selling of votes and its associated misdeeds were not hidden from the British public or the government.

Financials of the company : The Company's partners increased the dividend from 6 per cent in 1776 to 10 per cent in 1776 and to 12.5 per cent the following year, in the hope of recovering the diwani's exorbitant money from Bengal. Seeing such a high dividend, the British government ordered the company by an act of parliament that the company would pay 400,000 pounds per annum to the government for two years and then extended this period till 1772. But due to drought in Bengal in 1771-72, the crops were destroyed. The possible war with Hyder Ali and the money-grabbing of the company's employees left the company's financial position in turmoil. The company had previously sought an exemption from the £400,000 annuity paid to the British government, which led to an increase in the amount of debt on the company. In 1772 the company continued to pay a dividend of 12.5 percent, concealing the actual position, while the company had a debt of £60 million. The directors applied for a £1 million loan from the Bank of England to help the company recover from losses. This gave a good opportunity to the British Government to know the real position of the company.

Parliamentary Inquiry Committee : In November 1772, the British Government appointed two committees to investigate the working of the Company - a Select Committee, the other a Secret Committee. In the investigation of these committees several cases of abuse of their powers by the officers of the company came to the fore. On the basis of the report of the Inquiry Committee, the British Parliament passed two Acts in 1773 to control the company's activities in India - according to the first act, the company was given a loan of 14 lakh pounds on certain conditions at an interest of 4 percent. The second act was the Regulating Act, by which a constitution was given to regulate the business of the company.

Key provisions of the Regulating Act (Main provisions of Regulating Act)

This act passed by the British government was the first step for direct intervention in relation to India. Following are the main provisions of the Regulating Act-

Changes in the company's governance system : By this act changes were made in the constitution of the company both in England and India. In England, the owners' tribunal granted the right to vote only to those who had been shareholders of £1,000 for at least one year before the election. Due to this provision, 1246 small shareholders were deprived of voting rights.

Now the term of the Court of Directors has been changed from one year to four years and the number of directors has also been fixed at 24, out of which 25 percent i.e. six members take leave every year. Had to accept.

Directors were ordered to send copies of financial correspondence received from India to the Finance Department of the British Government and to the Secretary of State for correspondence relating to military and civil administration. will present before. Thus for the first time the British Parliament was given the right to control Indian affairs, although this was still incomplete.

Appointment of Governor General and Council in Bengal : A new administrative structure was created by this act, in which the governor general and four councilors were appointed as the chairman. Decisions in this council were to be taken by majority and the Speaker could exercise his casting vote only in case of equality of votes. The presence of three members of the council was mandatory in the meeting. The names of the first Governor General (Warren Hastings) and councilors—Philip Francis, Lieutenant-General John Clavering, Manson, and Richard Barwell—were written in the act itself. The tenure of this Board of Administration was five years. Earlier, he could only be removed by the British Emperor on the suggestion of the Court of Directors. The future Governor General and councilors were to be appointed by the company itself.

Reforms and Policies of Warren Hastings

The Governor-General in Council was given the authority of military and civilian rule of the Presidency of Fort William in Bengal and in some special cases two other governors of Bombay and Madras were also subordinated to him. . Thus Warren Hastings got the credit of being the first Governor General of India.

Establishment of Supreme Court : The Regulating Act also proposed the establishment of a Supreme Court at Calcutta with one main and three minor judges for judicial administration. Regarding the qualification of judges, it was said that for them it was necessary to be a barrister (lawyer) in England and Ireland for a minimum of five years. The jurisdiction of this court was up to Bengal, Bihar, Orissa. This Court could hear disputes outside Calcutta only if both the parties agreed to it. The Supreme Court could also hear cases against the Company and persons engaged in the service of the Emperor. This Supreme Court was to function as a court of English equitable justice and country law, a court of naval law and a religious court. The decision of this Court could be appealed against in the Privy Council in England.

This Supreme Court  was established in 1774 at Fort William in Calcutta, with a Chief Justice Sir Eliza Impey and three minor judges—Chambourg, Lemester and Hyde.


Reforms of Lord Cornwallis, 1786–1793

British government controls the company : The Regulating Act laid down the basic principle of an honest ruler that no person who is a military or civilian officer under the Company, can take any gift, gift or reward directly or indirectly from any person.

By this act the salaries of the officers and employees of the company were increased. The governor general was to be paid an annual salary of £25,000, the councilors £1,000, the chief justice 8,000 and the minor judges 6,000, possibly the highest salary in the contemporary world.

Thus the intervention and control of the British Parliament in the Company's affairs in India began through the Act of 1773 and the Company got a written constitution for the first time to govern.

evaluate the act (Evaluation of the Act)

The Regulating Act was a compromise in which many subjects were deliberately kept ambiguous.

Governor General and Council feud : The Governor General did not have the power to control the members of his council. He could not act against the majority of the members of his council. There was a constant dispute between the first Governor General Warren Hastings and the members of the Council. According to the Act, the Governor-General's Council was to be decided by a majority, but three members of the Council, led by Francis, considered the Governor-General corrupt, leading to an administrative stalemate from October 1774 to September 1776. Warren Hastings had even sent his resignation in grief, but Manson's death improved the situation because Hastings could exercise his casting vote until a new councilor was appointed.

Supreme Court's Ambiguous Verse : The Act established the Court, but its jurisdiction was vague and erroneous. It was not clear whether the court would follow Indian law or British law. The position was also not clear regarding the jurisdiction and relations of the Tribunal and the Council.

Incomplete control over other presidencies : An attempt to establish a central authority in Calcutta by this act was also unsuccessful. The provincial governments of Bombay and Madras started war with Hyder Ali and the Marathas themselves without asking the Governor General.

Thus the Act neither gave the state definite control over the company, nor the directors over its workers, nor the Governor-General over its council, nor the Calcutta Presidency of Bombay. and Madras Presidencies. Nevertheless, the Act was significant because it was now recognized that the East India Company was a political entity, not a commercial institution. This act marked the beginning of the British Parliament's control over the Company and the dream of British imperialism in India began to take shape.

The regulating act lasted for 11 years. Pitt's India Act was passed in its place in 1784. Warren Hastings was the only Governor General who ruled according to this act.

1781 amended Act of ( Amending Act, 1781 )

Due to the shortcomings of the Regulating Act, the British Parliament appointed two committees in 1781, in which the first was to review the administrative and judicial system in India, and the second committee was to review the Carnatic War. It was to find out the causes and investigate the rule of the sea coast.

Anglo-French Rivalry in Karnataka

Provisions of the Amendment Act  (Provisions of Amending act )

On the basis of the report of the first committee, an amendment act was passed in 1781 itself. इस अधिनियम के द्वारा रेग्यूलेटिंग ऐक्ट की कमियों को दूर करने और सर्वोच्च न्यायालय के अधिकार-क्षेत्र को स्पष्ट करने का प्रयास किया गया।

  1. अधिनियम में यह व्यवस्था की गई कि उच्चतम न्यायालय सरकारी अधिकारी के रूप में किये गये कंपनी के अधिकारियों व कर्मचारियों के विरुद्ध कोई कार्यवाही नहीं कर सकता। इस प्रकार कंपनी के पदाधिकारियों को सर्वोच्च न्यायालय के अधिकार-क्षेत्र से बाहर कर दिया गया।
  2. गवर्नर जनरल तथा उसकी परिषद् द्वारा व्यक्तिगत या सम्मिलित रूप से बनाये गये नियमों, विनियमों या तत्संबंधी विचार-विमर्श को उच्चतम न्यायालय के न्यायिक क्षेत्राधिकार से मुक्त कर दिया गया।
  3. इस अधिनियम के अनुसार गवर्नर जनरल और उसकी परिषद् को देशी अदालतों के फैसलों की अपीलें सुनने और प्रांतीय अदालतों के कार्य-संचालन के लिए नियम और उपनियम बनाने का अधिकार मिला।
  4. सपरिषद् गवर्नर जनरल अपील सुनने के संबंध में सर्वोच्च न्यायाधिकरण बनाया गया। 5,000 पौंड या उससे अधिक की धनराशि के दीवानी मुकदमों की अपील सुनने का अधिकार सम्राट और उसकी परिषद् को प्राप्त था।
  5. इस अधिनियम द्वारा सर्वोच्च न्यायालय के अधिकार-क्षेत्र को स्पष्ट कर दिया गया और कलकत्ता के सभी निवासियों पर उसकी अधिकारिता को प्रमाणित किया गया।
  6. ऐक्ट में यह प्रावधान किया गया कि कोई भी कानून बनाने तथा उसका क्रियान्वयन करते समय भारतीयों (हिंदुओं और मुसलमानों) के सामाजिक तथा धार्मिक रीति-रिवाजों का सम्मान किया जाए।

इस प्रकार इस अधिनियम से रेग्यूलेटिंग ऐक्ट में महत्वपूर्ण परिवर्तन किये गये और सरकार को सुदृढ़ करने का प्रयास किया गया।

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