Constitutional Development of India
The major events of the changes in the constitution during British rule (which provided the legal basis for the functioning and organization of administration in British-ruled India) are given below in chronological order.
Regulating Act 1773
This was the first step taken by the British government to control and regulate the actions of The East India Company in India. As a result, the foundation of central administration lay in the following three contexts.
- The act gave the Governor of Bengal the post of Governor-General of Bengal. Lord Warren Hastings got the credit for being the first Governor-General.
- It subjected the governors of Bombay and Madras to the Governor-General of Bengal.
- It established the Supreme Court in Kolkata as the apex court.
Brief history of development of Indian constitution
After the victory of the Battle of Plassey in 1757 AD and the Battle of Buxar in 1764 AD by the British, the British East India Company took control of Bengal. In order to keep this rule favorable to them, the British passed several Acts from time to time, which became the steps of the development of the Indian Constitution. They are
Regulating Act of 1773 AD this act has immense constitutional importance; like
- This was the first step taken by the British government to regulate and control the East India Company’s operations in India. That is, parliamentary control was established over the governance of the company.
- This marked the first time the company’s administrative and political functions were recognized.
- By this, the foundation of central administration was laid.
Features of Regulating Act of 1773 AD:
The Regulating Act was passed in 1773 AD on the report of a Gupta Committee set up in 1772 AD to report on the damage done to the company due to the wrong tendencies of the employees of The East India Company, the main provisions of which were
- The British Parliament was instructed to make company directors aware of the matters related to revenue, civil and military administration of the company.
- By this act, the Governor of Bengal was named the Governor General of Bengal and the Governor of Mumbai and Madras were subordinated to it. The first Governor to be formed under this Act was General Lord Warren Hastings.
- Under this Act, a Government was established in the Presidency of Calcutta, which consisted of the Governor General and four members of its Council, who used their power jointly. These councilors were related to military and civil administration, decisions were taken on the basis of majority. The authority to make laws was given to the Governor-General along with his council, but it was mandatory to get permission from the Secretary of India before implementing these laws.
- Under this Act, a Supreme Court was established in Calcutta in 1774 AD. The primary and right of appeal were allowed in this court. The first Chief Justice of which was the Chief Justice and three other judges was Sir Elijah Impe (the other three judges – 1. Chambers 2. Semester 3. Hyde).
- Under this, the employees of the company were prohibited from doing personal business and taking gifts and bribes from the Indian people.
- By this act, the British government was empowered to control the company through the Board of Directors. It was made necessary to give information about its revenue, civil and military matters to the British government in India.
Act of Settlement, 1781 AD: – Provision of this Act was made to overcome the shortcomings of the Regulatory Act. According to this act, the Government of Calcutta was also authorized to make laws for Bengal, Bihar and Orissa.