Some of the Important acts in India before Independence (August 15th) 1947 are The Regulating Act, 1773, The Pitts India act, 1784, The Charter Acts The Government of India Acts and The Indian council Acts.
The Regulating Act, 1773
- The Regulating Act, 1773 was the first attempted by British Parliament to regulate the affairs of the Company in India. this act also brought an end to Dual system of Government of India.
- This was the first attempt towards Centralised Administration.
- In this act, Governor of Bengal became Governor General for all British territories in India.
- Bombay and Madras Presidency subordinated to Bengal Presidency in certain matters.
- Supreme Court to be set up at Calcutta and also founded Calcutta Madrasa.
The Pitts India Act, 1784
- The Pitts India Act, 1784 (The East India Company Act 1784) gave the British Government supreme control over the Company’s affairs and its administration in India.
- It established dual system of governance:
- Government by Board of Control
- Government of Court of Directors.
- The Board of Control was to guide and control the work of the Court of Directors.
- Presidencies of Madras and Bombay were subordinated to the Governor-General and Council of Bengal in all matters of diplomacy
The Charter Act of 1813
- The Charter Act 1813 is also known as The East India Company Act 1813.
- The East India Company was deprived of its monopoly of trade with India except in tea and trade in China.
- Under this act, a sum of one lakh rupees earn marked annually for education and this amount paid by the company.
The Charter Act of 1833
- The Charter Act of 1833 brought an end to the East Indian Company’s trade monopoly even in tea and trade with China.
- The Act centralised the administration of India.
- The Governor-General of Bengal became the Governor-General of India (1st Governor-General was Lord William Bentick).
- Government of Madras and Bombay deprived of legislative powers.
- A fourth member, law member, added to Council of Governor-General.
The Charter Act of 1853
- The Charter Act of 1853 extended life of the East Indian Company for an unspecified period.
- Law member was made a full member of the Executive Council of the Governor-General.
- Recruitment to Civil Services was based on open annual competitive examination (excluding Indians).
The Government of India Act, 1858
- Indian Administration transferred from Company to British crown i.e. end of rule of East India Company and beginning of direct rule of Crown.
- In this act, the Court of Directors and Board of Control abolished. Thus the ‘Double Government’ introduced by the Pitt’s India Act of 1784 was finally ended. The doctrine of lapse was also withdrawn under this act.
- The post of Secretary of state for India was created (who was the member of the British cabinet and a direct representative of the Parliament).
- Governor-General was to be called the ‘Viceroy’ and was the direct representative of the crown in India.
- A unitary and highly centralized administrative structure was created.
The Indian Councils Act, 1861
- Foundation of Indian legislature was laid down in 1861 and the Policy of association of Indians in legislation started.
- Legislative power of the Presidency Government deprived in 1833 were restored.
- Under this act, the Civil Services became Indian Civil Services.
- Portfolio (or Cabinet) system in the Government of India was introduced.
- Viceroy could issue ordinances in case of emergency.
The Indian Councils Act, 1892
- In 1892, representative system started in India.
- Council to have the power to discuss Budget and of addressing questions to the executive.
The Indian Councils Act, 1909 (The Morley-Minto Reforms)
- Morley was the Secretary of State and Minto was the Indian Viceroy.
- It introduced for the first time indirect elections to the state Legislative councils.
- Separate electorates were introduced for the Muslims.
- Resolution could be moved before the Budget takes its final form. Supplementary questions could be asked.
The Government of India Act, 1919 (The Montague-Chelmsford Reforms)
- Devolution Rules: Subjects of administration were divided into two categories – ‘Central’ and ‘Provincial’. All important subjects (like Railways and Finance) were brought under the category of Central, while matters relating to the administration of the Provinces were classified as Provincial.
- Dyarchy system introduced in the Provinces.
- The Provincial subjects of administration were divided into two categories ‘Transferred’ and ‘Reserved’ subjects.
- The Transferred subjects were to be administered by the Governor with the aid of ministers responsible to the Legislative Council.
- The Reserved subjects (Rail, Post, Telegraph, Finance, Law & order, etc.) were to be administered by the Governor and his Executive Council.
- Indian legislature became ‘bicameral’ for the first time.
- Communal representation extended to Sikhs.
- Secretary of State for India now to be paid from British revenue.
- An officer of the High Commissioner of India was created in London.
The Government of India Act, 1935
- The Government of India Act, 1935 provided for setting up of the Federation of India comprising British Indian provinces and Indian States (Princely States). The joining of Princely states was voluntary and as a result, the federation did not come into existence.
- Dyarchy in the Provinces was replaced by Provincial autonomy. They were granted separate legal identity.
- It main three fold division of powers : Federal, Provincial and Concurrent. Residuary powers were to be with Governor-General.
- The Indian Council of Secretary of State for India was abolished.
- Principle of separate electorate was extended to include Anglo-Indians, Indian Christmas and Europeans.
- The Federal Bank (The Reserve Bank of India) and the Federal Court (Supreme Court of India) were established in 1935 and 1937 respectively.
Indian Independence Act, 1947
- Indian Independence Act, 1947 did not lay down any provision for the administration of India.
- Partition of India and the establishment of two countries (India and Pakistan).
- Consistent Assembly of each Dominion would have unlimited powers to frame and adopt any Constitution.
- The office of the Secretary of State for India was to be abolished and his work was to be taken over by the Secretary of State for commonwealth affairs.