Indian Constitution
General Knowledge

Administrative & Legislative Reforms Before 1857

Regulating Act of 1773

» This Act was based on the report of a committee headed by the British Prime Minister Lord North.
» Governance of the East India Company was put under British parliamentary control.
» The Governor of Bengal was nominated as Governor General for all the three Presidencies of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras. Warren Hastings was the first such Governor General.
» A Supreme Court was established in Calcutta (now Kolkata).
» Governor General was empowered to make rules, regulations and ordinances with the consent of the Supreme Court.

Pitts India Act of 1784

» It was enacted to improve upon the provisions of Regulating Act of 1773 to bring about better discipline in the Company's system of administration.
» A 6-member Board of Controllers was set up which was headed by a minister of the British Government. All political responsibilities were given to this board.
» Trade and commerce related issues were under the purview of the Court of Directors of the company.
» Provinces had to follow the instructions of the Central Government, and Governor General was empowered to dismiss the failing provincial government.

Charter Act of 1793

» Main provisions of the previous Acts were consolidated in this Act.
» Provided for the payment of salaries of the members of the Board of Controllers from Indian revenue.
» Courts were given the power to interpret rules and regulations.

Charter Act of 1813

» Trade monopoly of the East India Company came to an end.
» Powers of the three Councils of Madras, Bombay and Calcutta were enlarged, they were also subjected to greater control of the British Parliament.
» The Christian Missionaries were allowed to spread their religion in India.
» Local autonomous bodies were empowered to levy taxes.

Charter Act of 1833

» The Governor General and his Council were given vast powers. This Council could legislate for the whole of India subject to the approval of the Board of Controllers.
» The Council got full powers regarding revenue, and a single budget for the country was prepared by the Governor General.
» The East India Company was reduced to an administrative and political entity and several Lords and Ministers were nominated as ex-officio members of the Board of Controllers.
» For the first time the Governor-General's Government was known as the 'Government of India' and his Council as the 'Indian Council'.

Charter Act of 1853

» This was the last of the Charter Acts and it made important changes in the system of Indian legislation.
» This Act followed a report of the then Governor General Dalhousie for improving the administration of the company.
» A separate Governor for Bengal was to be appointed.
» Legislative and administrative functions of the Council were separately identified.
» Recruitment of the Company's employees was to be done through competitive exams.
» British Parliament was empowered to put Company's governance of India to an end at any suitable time.