19th Aug, 2021
Regulating Act of 1773
- The first step was taken by the British Parliament to control and regulate the affairs of the East India Company in India.
- It designated the Governor of Bengal (Fort William) as the Governor-General (of Bengal).
- Warren Hastings became the first Governor-General of Bengal.
- Executive Council of the Governor-General was established (Four members). There was no separate legislative council.
- It subordinated the Governors of Bombay and Madras to the Governor-General of Bengal.
- The Supreme Court was established at Fort William (Calcutta) as the Apex Court in 1774.
- It prohibited servants of the company from engaging in any private trade or accepting bribes from the natives.
- Court of Directors (the governing body of the company) should report its revenue.
Pitt’s India Act of 1784
- Distinguished between commercial and political functions of the company.
- Court of Directors for Commercial functions and Board of Control for political affairs.
- Reduced the strength of the Governor General’s council to three members.
- Placed the Indian affairs under the direct control of the British Government.
- The companies’ territories in India were called “the British possession in India”.
- Governor’s councils were established in Madras and Bombay.
Charter Act of 1813
- The Company’s monopoly over Indian trade terminated; Trade with India open to all British subjects.
Charter Act of 1833
- Governor-General (of Bengal) became the Governor-General of India.
- First Governor-General of India was Lord William Bentick.
- This was the final step towards centralization in British India.
- Beginning of a Central legislature for India as the act also took away legislative powers of Bombay and Madras provinces.
- The Act ended the activities of the East India Company as a commercial body and it became a purely administrative body.
Charter Act of 1853
- The legislative and executive functions of the Governor-General’s Council were separated.
- 6 members in Central legislative council. Four out of six members were appointed by the provisional governments of Madras, Bombay, Bengal and Agra.
- It introduced a system of open competition as the basis for the recruitment of civil servants of the Company (Indian Civil Service opened for all).
Government of India Act of 1858
- The rule of Company was replaced by the rule of the Crown in India.
- The powers of the British Crown were to be exercised by the Secretary of State for India
- He was assisted by the Council of India, having 15 members
- He was vested with complete authority and control over the Indian administration through the Viceroy as his agent
- The Governor-General was made the Viceroy of India.
- Lord Canning was the first Viceroy of India.
- Abolished Board of Control and Court of Directors.
Indian Councils Act of 1861
- It introduced for the first time Indian representation in the institutions like Viceroy’s executive+legislative council (non-official). 3 Indians entered the Legislative council.
- Legislative councils were established in Center and provinces.
- It provided that the Viceroy’s Executive Council should have some Indians as the non-official members while transacting the legislative businesses.
- It accorded statutory recognition to the portfolio system.
- Initiated the process of decentralisation by restoring the legislative powers to the Bombay and the Madras Provinces.
India Council Act of 1892
- Introduced indirect elections (nomination).
- Enlarged the size of the legislative councils.
- Enlarged the functions of the Legislative Councils and gave them the power of discussing the Budget and addressing questions to the Executive.
Indian Councils Act of 1909
- This Act is also known as the Morley- Minto Reforms.
- Direct elections to legislative councils; first attempt at introducing a representative and popular element.
- It changed the name of the Central Legislative Council to the Imperial Legislative Council.
- The member of the Central Legislative Council was increased to 60 from 16.
- Introduced a system of communal representation for Muslims by accepting the concept of ‘separate electorate’.
- Indians for the first time in Viceroys executive council. (Satyendra Prasanna Sinha, as the law member)
Government of India Act of 1919
- This Act is also known as the Montague-Chelmsford Reforms.
- The Central subjects were demarcated and separated from those of the Provincial subjects.
- The scheme of dual governance, ‘Dyarchy’, was introduced in the Provincial subjects.
- Under the dyarchy system, the provincial subjects were divided into two parts – transferred and reserved. On reserved subjects, Governor was not responsible to the Legislative council.
- The Act introduced, for the first time, bicameralism at the center.
- Legislative Assembly with 140 members and Legislative council with 60 members.
- Direct elections.
- The Act also required that the three of the six members of the Viceroy’s Executive Council (other than Commander-in-Chief) were to be Indians.
- Provided for the establishment of the Public Service Commission.
Government of India Act of 1935
- The Act provided for the establishment of an All-India Federation consisting of the Provinces and the Princely States as units, though the envisaged federation never came into being.
- Three Lists: The Act divided the powers between the Centre and the units into items of three lists, namely the Federal List, the Provincial List and the Concurrent List.
- The Federal List for the Centre consisted of 59 items, the Provincial List for the provinces consisted of 54 items and the Concurrent List for both consisted of 36 items
- The residuary powers were vested with the Governor-General.
- The Act abolished the Dyarchy in the Provinces and introduced ‘Provincial Autonomy’.
- It provided for the adoption of Dyarchy at the Centre.
- Introduced bicameralism in 6 out of 11 Provinces.
- These six Provinces were Assam, Bengal, Bombay, Bihar, Madras and the United Province.
- Provided for the establishment of Federal Court.
- Abolished the Council of India.
Indian Independence Act of 1947
- It declared India as an Independent and Sovereign State.
- Established responsible Governments at both the Centre and the Provinces.
- Designated the Viceroy India and the provincial Governors as the Constitutional (normal heads).
- It assigned dual functions (Constituent and Legislative) to the Constituent Assembly and declared this dominion legislature as a sovereign body.
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