REGULATING ACT, 1773

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REGULATING ACT, 1773

Regulating Act 1773

Objects

The Regulating Act was passed in 1773. Its main object were :

(a) to bring the management of the Company under the control of the British Parliament and the British Crown.

(b) to introduce reforms in the constitution of the Company at home (i.e. in England).

(c) to introduce reforms in the Company’s Government in India; and

(d) to provide remedies against illegalities and oppressions committed by the Company’s servant in India.

The provisions of the Regulating Act

The provisions of the Regulating Act may be explained under the following headings :

1. Constitution of the Company

Certain changes were introduced by the Regulating Act, 1773 in the constitution of East India Company. The term of the directors was increased from one year to four years; one fourth of the directors were to retire every year and in their place other persons were to be elected. Besides, certain changes were introduced in voting rights of the proprietors. Only those proprietors who held shares of 1000£. were given the right of vote and those who held the shares of less than 1000£ were denied.’ In short, the proprietors who held a stock of 1000£ were given one vote and who held a stock of 6000£ were given two votes, and who held a stock of 10000£ or more were given four votes. Besides, in order to make the control of the British Government over the company more effective, it was provided that all correspondence relating to revenues in India must be placed by the Directors of the Company before the Treasury in England and all the correspondence regarding civil and military affairs with the Indian authorities before the Secretary of State in England

2. The Company’s Government in India

The Regulating Act introduced certain changes in the organisation and powers •of the Government of the Company in India.

(A) Executive authority (Governor General and Council)

As regards the Government of Calcutta Presidency, in the place of the Governor-in-Council, a new Government under the Governor General and council of four members was established.’ Thus the Governor of the Bengal was designated as the Governor General of Bengal. The Governor-General and the members of the Council were appointed for five years, but they could,ould be removed earlier by the British Crown on the recommendation of the Court of Directors.

The Presidencies of Bombay and Madras were brought under the control and superintendence of the Governor-General and Council in matters of war and peace. The Presidencies of Bombay and Madras could not make any orders for commencing hostilities or declaring war or for making any treaty of peace or other treaty with any Indian Princes or powers without obtaining the approval or consent of the Governor General and Council.

However, there were two exceptions to the aforesaid provisions.’ In the following conditions the Presidencies of Bombay and Madras could. commence war or make any treaty of peace or other treaty without the approval or consent of the Governor General-in-Council

(i) Imminent necessity

The Presidencies of Bombay and Madras could commence war or make treaty of peace or other. treaty without the approval or consent of the Governor-General-in-Council, if there was imminent necessity as would render it dangerous ‘to postpone war or treaty until the orders from the Governor General and Council might arrive.

(ii) Orders received from the Court of Directors

The Presidencies of Bombay and Madras could commence war or make treaty of peace or other treaty without the approval or consent of the Governor-General-in-Council, if they received special orders from the Court of Directors to commence war or to make treaty of peace or other treaty. The Presidencies of Bombay and Madras were, thus, made subordinate to the Calcutta Presidency. They were to transmit all necessary information concerning the Government revenues or interests of the Company to the Governor-General-in-Council. The Governor-General-in-Council were to transmit the informations regarding their activities affecting the interests of the Company, to the Court of Directors. The Governor General-in-Council were required to pay due obedience to the orders of the Court of Directors.

(B) Legislative authority

The Governor General-in-Council were empowered to make rules and regulations and issue ordinances for. the .good government of the settlement of Fort William and the factories subordinate to it. The rules, regulations and ordinances made by them were required to be just and reasonable and not repugnant to the laws of England.

They were to be enforced after being published and registered with the Supreme Court with its consent and approbation.

Besides, any person in India could file an appeal against such rules, regulations and Ordinances in the King-in-Council within 60 days of their registration in the Supreme Court.

However, the appeal had to be lodged in the Supreme Court at Calcutta within 60 days of their registration in the Supreme Court.

Any person in England could appeal against them to King-in-Council within 60 days of their publication there. The King-in-Council could disapprove or disallow them at any time within 2 years from the date of their passage.’

It was necessary to send the copies of such rules, regulations, and Ordinances of State in England.

(C) Judicial Authority

The Regulating Act empowered the British Crown to establish a Supreme Court at Calcutta by issuing a Charter.’ The Act made specific provisions for the appointments of the judges of the Court and also for the jurisdiction of the Court which have been explained below in this Chapter under the heading “Supreme Court at Calcutta.”

Other Provisions

The Governor-General, the members of the Council and judges of the Supreme Court were prohibited under the Regulating Act from accepting presents or engaging themselves in private trade.

No person holding any civil or military office under the Crown or the Company could accept from any of the Indian princes or powers any present or reward.

The Collector, supervisors or other officers engaged in the collection of revenue or the administration of justice could not engage themselves in private trade.

The offences, crimes or misdemeanours committed by the Governor General, members of the Council or Governor or any judge of the Supreme Court against any of His Majesty’s subjects or any inhabitant of India could be heard , tried and determined by the Court of Kings Bench in England.