The Regulating Act of 1773 – Pitt’s India Act of 1784

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The Regulating Act of 1773

The Regulating Act of 1773 was an Act intended to overhaul the management of the East India Company’s rule in India. The Act did not prove to be a long-term solution to concerns over the Company’s affairs. The Act limited the East India Company’s dividends to 6% until it repaid a GB£1.5M loan (passed by an accompanying act). The Act restricted the Court of Directors to four-year terms.

It prohibited the servants of company from engaging in any private trade or accepting presents or bribes from the native Indian people. The Act elevated Governor of Bengal, Warren Hastings to Governor-General of Bengal and subsumed the Presidencies of Madras and Bombay under Bengal’s control. Governor of Bengal became the Governor General of Bengal with an Executive Council of four to assist him. Decisions would be taken by majority and Governor General could only vote in case of tie.

A Supreme Court was established at Fort William at Calcutta. British judges were to be sent to India to administer the British legal system that was used there.

Pitt’s India Act of 1784

The East India Company Act 1784, also known as Pitt’s India Act, was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain intended to address the shortcomings of the Regulating Act of 1773 by bringing the East India Company’s rule in India under the control of the British Government.

The Act provided for not more than six Privy Counsellors, including a Secretary of State and the Chancellor of the Exchequer to be appointed “Commissioners for the Affairs of India”. Of these, not fewer than three formed a Board to execute the powers under the Act. The Board was presided over by a President, who soon effectively became the Minister for the Affairs of the East India Company.

The Act stated that the Board would henceforth “superintend, direct and control” the government of the Company’s possessions, in effect controlling the acts and operations relating to the civil, military and revenues of the Company. The Governing Council of the Company was reduced to three members. The Governors of Bombay and Madras were deprived of their independence.  The Governor- General was given greater powers in matters of war, revenue and diplomacy.

The Act of 1786

In 1786, an Act of Parliament made the British subjects in India subject to the Courts for all criminal offences.

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