Objectives and Provisions of Amending Act of 1781
On July 5, 1781, the British Parliament passed the Amending Act of 1781 to correct the flaws in the Regulating Act of 1773. This act also came to be known as Act of Settlement 1781. The primary purpose of this Act was to construct a new judicial system to resolve complaints that the Supreme Court. The Regulating Act of 1773 created many reforms both in the administration of affairs and in the judiciary, but it also left major loopholes that the law was not able to close. In order to correct flaws in the Regulating Act of 1773, an Act of Settlement 1781 was passed. The Act marked the first step in the process of parliamentary control over the company and centralised administration.
Circumstances leading to the enactment of the Amending Act of 1781
Under Dual Government system, the company had Diwani rights in Bengal, and the Nawab had judicial and policing rights. Practically, Nizam’s rights were also in the hands of the company, as the Nawab acted as an agent for the business. All of this added to the suffering of the people who were exploited by both the Nawabs and the Company.
During the Hastings administration, many issues were raised that caused public dissatisfaction and criticism. Among these were the Patna Case, Cossijurah Case, Nand Kumar Case, etc.
A catastrophic famine, which led to a large number of deaths, also highlighted the people’s hardships.
By 1773, the company was having financial problems, and it had requested a loan from the British Government for one million pounds in 1772.
There was a major disagreement between the Supreme Court and the Governor-General in Council that weakened the Administration.
Objectives of Amending Act of 1781
In an effort to compensate the Governor-General and the Council officers who obstructed the Supreme Court’s proceedings by acting on their directives.
The Amending Act of 1781 was introduced to eliminate the doubts and problems that it caused between the government and the courts.
Providing assistance to the governments of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa so that revenues are collected without uncertainty at any time.
To protect the rights, usages, and privileges of Indigenous people.
Provision or Features of the Amending Act of 1781
The Supreme Court was to have jurisdiction over all inhabitants of Calcutta. Additionally, it required the court to apply the personal law of the defendants, i.e., Hindus were to be tried according to Hindu law and Muslims were to be tried according to Mohammedan law.
This Court was to consider and respect the religious and social customs of Indians while enforcing its decrees and processes. The Government was also to keep these in mind while making rules and regulations.
The actions of the Public Servants of the company in their official capacity were exempted from the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
Formerly, the rules and regulations made by the Governor–General were required to be registered with the Supreme Court. This led to a lot of inconvenience. But from now on, Governor- General-in Council was given the power to make regulations for the provisional courts and Councils. The Act provided that appeals were to be taken from the provincial courts to the Governor–General in Council but not to the Supreme Court.