Regulating Act of 1773

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Features and Objectives of Regulating Act of 1773

The regulating act of 1773 was an Act of the parliament of Great Britain intended to overhaul the management of the East India Company’s rule in India. This is the first act through which administrative and economic reforms was introduced by British in India.The act did not prove to be a long-term solution concerns over the company’s affairs.

Lord North decided to overhaul the management of the East India Company with the Regulating Act. This was the first step to the eventual government control of India.

The Act set up a system whereby it regulated the work of the East India Company and also it laid the foundations of central administration in India.

Objectives of Regulating Act of 1773:

• The officials of East India Company were running the company independently which was not acceptable by the British Parliament. Thus, through this act they tried to control the halter of the company.

• The extreme amount of corruption was prevalent in the company’s officials. For example, Clive and other English officials have benefited so much from the Nawabs of Bengal that when they retired and returned to Britian with wealth led flashy lives and flaunted their riches. They were called “nabobs” – an anglicised version of the Indian word nawab. This needed to corrected through this act.

• To sort out the disorder caused due the Dual Government system (Company and Nawabs), thus British Government intervened in this system.

Features of Regulating Act of 1773:

• The Act set up a government in Bengal consisting of a Governor General and four Councilors, in whom the whole civil and military government of the Presidency of Bengal and also the government and the territorial acquisitions and revenues in the kingdoms of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa (Diwani lands) was vested. The first such Governor-General was Lord Warren Hastings.

• The government of the Presidencies of Bombay and Madras were subordinated to the Governor -General and Council, who constituted the supreme Government in India.

• It provided for the establishment of a Supreme Court at Calcutta (1774) comprising one chief justice and three other judges.

• The Act empowered, the Crown to establish by Charter a Supreme Court in Bengal with jurisdiction to hear criminal complaints against the British subjects and their servants residing in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa.

• The civil jurisdiction of the Court was to extend to all British subjects residing in the three provinces and the employees of the company or of the British subjects.

• It prohibited the servants of the Company from engaging in any private trade or accepting presents or bribes from the ‘natives’.

• It strengthened the control of the British Government over the Company by requiring the Court of Directors (governing body of the Company) to report on its revenue, civil, and military affairs in India.

• The act subjected the legislative authority of the Governor-General and Council to certain conditions.

Drawbacks of Regulating Act of 1773:

• The Governor-General could not act against his council because he has no power. The decisions were taken by the majority of its council and he alone was held accountable for these decisions. It led to constant friction between him and his council.

• It did not clarify the nature of subordination of the Governors of Madras and Bombay to the Governor General. Governors can take decisions independently if they want which led to disloyalty of the Governors to the Governor-General.

• There was ambiguity of jurisdiction between the Supreme Council and the Supreme Court. The entire civil and military administration of the provinces were in the hands of Governor-General and Council. But the Supreme Court can also take notice of cases against British as well as native employees of the company. The Act did not clearly stated whose authority would be final if there was case of a conflict between the Council and the Court.

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