Important British Legislations for Controlling India

Regulating Act, 1773

  • Act passed for regulating the functioning of East India Company which was in financial crisis.
  • The Governor of Bengal was made the Governor-General of Bengal with the Governors of Bombay and Madras placed under him. A four-member council was formed to assist him.
  • A Supreme Court was established at Fort William in Calcutta.
  • The Act refrained the Governor General, Councilors, Judges, collectors and other district officials from taking gifts, present or reward and any monetary advantages from native subjects.

Pitts India Act, 1784

  • Named after William Pitt, the Younger, British Prime Minister.
  • Enacted to address the shortcomings of the Regulating Act, 1773.
  • Established the dual system of control by British Government and East India Company.
  • A board of control with 6 members was established.
  • The governing council was reduced to 3 members.

Permanent Settlement Act, 1793

  • Implemented by Lord Cornwallis.
  • Under this land revenues were fixed for each zamindar at 90% of his collections for 1793.
  • The rate of revenue was not to be increased ever in the future which was expected to serve as motivation to zamindars
  • Zamindars would be assured of long-term returns of continuous flow of revenue.
  • The zamindars' power of keeping the armed forces were taken back and they remained just the tax collectors of the land.
  • It was first introduced in Bengal and Bihar.

Doctrine of Lapse

  • The policy was originally enacted by the Court of Directors of East India Company in 1834.
  • The policy was vigorously pursued by Lord Dalhousie who took over in 1848.
  • According to the policy, if the ruler of an Indian state died without a male heir his state would be automatically annexed by the East India Company.
  • Satara (1848), Jaitpur and Sambalpur (1849), Nagpur and Jhansi (1854), Tanjore and Arcot (1855) were some of the states annexed by the Company under this policy.
  • The policy applied only to dependent states and not to independent states.
  • The policy was rescinded by Queen Victoria in 1858.

Vernacular Press Act, 1878

  • It was enacted in 1878 on the proposal of Lord Lytton, then the Viceroy of India.
  • The main aim of the Act was to curtail the freedom of Indian language press and excluded English language publications.
  • Under the Act, the district magistrate was empowered to place restrictions on freedom of printer or publisher of vernacular newspaper and no appeal could be made against his action.
  • The Act led to strong protests from a wide spectrum of people.
  • The law was repealed by Lord Ripon in 1881.

Rowlatt Act, 1919

  • Rowlatt Act is the popular name of the Anarchical and Revolutionary Crimes Act, 1919.
  • It was enacted on the recommendations of Rowlatt Committee headed by Sir Sidney Rowlatt.
  • This act authorised the Government to imprison any person for two years without trial.
  • There were widespread protests against the act and one such protest led to the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre.
  • The act was repealed in 1922.

Select the right answer

1. Enactment of which act led to Jallianwala Bagh protests?

2. In which states was Permanent Settlement Act first introduced?

3. In which year was the Vernacular Press Act enacted?

4. At which place was the Supreme Court of Judicature formed by the Regulating Act, 1773?

5. Who vigorously pursued the Doctrine of Lapse to annex Indian kingdoms?