Constitutional Development of India- Important ActsIn Indian history, constitutional development begins with the Regulating Act of 1773. The previous event played a significant role, as the interference of the Company increased in Indian politics. The East India Company got Diwani (revenue collection rights) after the battle of Buxar (1764).
The Regulating Act of 1773
The Act was an initiation of the involvement of the British Government in Indian affairs. By the Act role of the company extended beyond trade to politics and administration.
- They got the right to exercise control over Indian affairs.
- The administration of the Bengal carried governor-general and council consisting of four members. Warren Hastings as First Governor-General.
- Foundation of Supreme Court in Bengal. Established on 22 Oct 1774.
- The power of the Governor-general extended Bombay and Madras.
- Amendments in Act- 1781 –
- Supreme Court jurisdiction defined within Calcutta
- The government servants were immune to anything they do during duty.
- Social and religious subjects used to Honored
Pits Idia Act of 1784
- By this Act, the British Government extended control over the company’s affairs. Now the territories of the company were termed as ‘British Possessions.’
- The company’s civil, military, and revenue work under the observation Board of Control consisting of the chancellor of the treasury, a secretary of state, and four members of the Privy Council (appointed by the Crown), set up of the dual system of control.
- In India, the Governor-general with a council of three, the presidencies of Bombay and Madras were subordinate to the governor-general.
- Prohibition placed on wars and treaties.
The Act of 1786
- The power of both governor-general and Commander- in -chief given to Cornwallis by this Act. Later For all governors-general, the provision was extended.
The charter Act of 1793
For the next 20 years, the Commercial privilege of the company was renewed.
- The company had to pay 5 Lakh pounds to the British government.
- Senior officials of the company were prohibited to leave India without permission.
- The company was empowered to privilege (license) or country trade in India.
- The revenue administration was separated from the judiciary function.
The Charter Act of 1813
- On the Indian trade, the monopoly of the company ended, but the trade with China and trade in tea retained.
- 10.5 percent of Indian revenue Given to the Company’s shareholders.
- The company retained possession and revenue for the next 20 years.
- Board control’s powers were enlarged.
- One lakh rupees every for revival, promotion, and encouragement of literature.
- Separate accounts for the commercial transactions and territorial revenues.
The Charter Act of 1833
- The company’s lease extended again for 20 years.
- The monopoly of the Company over China and tea ended.
- Financial, Legislative, and administrative centralization of government presumed.
- The Governor-general gained the power to superintend, control and direct civil and military affairs of the Company.
- The complete control of Governor-general on Bengal, Madras, Bombay, and other territories.
- Law members added to the council.
- No discrimination on the basis of religion, color, descent for Indian citizen employment in the company.
- Steps for betterment in slaves’ condition. In 1843 slavery was abolished.
The Charter Act of 1853
- Court’s director’s strength reduced to 18.
- Now competitive examinations for services.
- In the governor Generals’ executive council the law members became full-time members.
- Six additional members included for legislative purposes.
- In the Indian legislature, Local representation was introduced, i.e. the Indian Legislative Council.
The Government of India Act of 1858
The Act was passed by the Parliament of England, royal assets received on 2nd August 1858. The Proclamation of Queen Victoria gave shape to the Act of 1858, with the announcement of the end of Company rule and the Queen’s assumption of government of India.
- The Company’s rule ended, India was to be governed control of the Crown.
- The Secretary of state (a member of the British Cabinet) for India and The Indian council (consisting of 15 members) were established.
- Sir Charles Wood was the first secretary of state for India.
- The governor-general of India made Viceroy of India. The first viceroy of India was Lord Canning.
Indian Council Act of 1861
- In Governer -General executive council the number of members increased.
- Later the Governor-General’s executive council enlarged to a Central Legislative Council.
- Lord Canning introduced The Portfolio System.
- the weakness of the council;
- The legislative council could not discuss important matters and financial matters.
- They haven’t control over the budget.
- Executive actions could not be discussed.
Indian Council Act of 1892
It was recognized as the first achievement of the Indian National Congress.
- The number of Non- official members was increased both in central and provincial legislative councils.
- Now the members could discuss the budget, put questions to the executive after six days’ notice.
- They were allowed to criticize the financial policy of the Government.
Indian Council Act 1909- (Morley-Minto Reforms)
Lord Morley, the secretary of state for India, and Lord Minto the Governor-General of India collective passed the Act. It was passed for the support of Moderates in the Congress.
- The strength of the Central Legislative Council was increased to a maximum capacity of 60.
- In the Executive Council of Governor-General, an Indian was appointed for the first time- Sir Satyendra Prashad Sinha as a law member.
- The number of Provincial legislative members increased to 50.
- Separate electorates provided for Muslims. The principle of a separate electorate led to the partition of India in 1947.
Government of India Act, 1919
This Act was also known as Montague-Chelmsford Reforms. On the 20th August 1917, the secretary of state for India Monteguge made a declaration in the House of Commons. The government of India the Act of 1919 passes in England for the first time. Lord Chelmsford was the viceroy of India at that time.
- In provinces, Dyacrhi was introduced. The Provinces were divided into Reserved subjects (like police, jails, land revenue) Under Governor and Transferred Subjects (as education, Local self-government, Public health, Sanitation, agriculture, and industries) under his ministers.
- A bicameral system introduced in the place of the Indian legislative council in the center. It consists Council of states (Upper house) and a Legislative Assembly (lower house). The majority of members of both houses were elected.
- The principle of communal representation extended.
- the separate electorate for Sikhs, Christians, Anglo-Indians besides Muslims.
- A High Commissioner for India appointed in London.
The Government of India Act 1935
The Act was passed on basis of the report of the Simon Commission, as the result of round table conferences and the white paper issued by the British Government in 1933.
The Salient Features of the Act was:
- The Act includes 451 clauses and 15 schedules.
- By the Simon Commission, Provision for All India Federation at the center. (Princely states did not accept it)
- division of powers- Federal, Provincial and concurrent
- Introduction of Dyarchy at the center as Federal Executive.
- Federal legislature with two chambers (bicameral), The council of state and federal legislative assembly.
- Dyarchy in provinces was abolished and provided autonomy.
- The communal electorates extended for depressed class, women, and labour.
- 10% of the total population got the right to vote.
- The Indian council of the secretary of state was abolished.
- A federal court established with a Chief Justice and six Judges.
- This Act was in force till the 15th of August 1947.
The Act was rejected by Congress and demanded adult franchise to frame the Indian Constitution for Independent India.
After the Act of 1935, many developments came in the system. The August offer of 1940, Cripps proposal of 1942, C.R formula of 1944 for the cooperation of Muslim League, Wavell Plan of 1945 at cabinet mission. Mountbatten plan in 1947 and the Indian Independence Act of 1947.