Constitutional Reforms in British India

Regulating Act, 1773:

End of Dual govt.
Governor of Bengal to be the Governor – General of British territories of India.
Establishment of Supreme Court in Calcutta.
Court of directors to be elected for 4 years
Number of Directors fixed at 24, 1/4th retiring every year.
In Bengal, collegiate govt was created with Governor General and 4 members of the council and were named in the act:- GG -> Warren Hastings and 4 members -> Philip Francis, Clavering, Monson, and Barwell.

Amending Act of 1781:

Actions of public servants of the Company in their official capacity were exempted from the jurisdiction of Supreme Court.
Jurisdiction of Supreme Court was defined. SC had to take into consideration and respect the religious and social customs and usages of the Indian while enforcing its decrees and processes.
The rules and regulations made by GG-in-Council were not to be registered with SC.

Pitts Act of 1784:

Introduced Dual System of Govt by the company and by a Parliamentary board of directors.
gave the British Government a measure of control over the company's affairs
company became a subordinate department of the State.
Reduced the number of members of Executive Council of the GG to three.

Act of 1786:

Governor General given the power to over-ride the Council and was made the Commander-in-chief also to prevail upon Cornawalis to accept the GG-ship of India

Charter Act of 1793:

Company given monopoly of trade for 20 more years.
laid the foundation of govt. by written laws, interpreted by courts.

Charter Act of 1813:

Company deprived of its trade monopoly in India except in tea and trade with China.
An amount of one lakh rupees was set aside for the promotion of Education in India.

Charter Act of 1833:

End of Company's monopoly even in tea and trade with China.
Company was asked to close its business at the earliest.
Governor General of Bengal to be Governor General of India
(1st Governor General of India was Lord William Bentinck).

Charter Act of 1853:

The Act renewed the powers of the Company and allowed it to retain the possession of Indian territories in trust of the British crown.
Recruitment to Civil Services was based on open annual competition examination (excluding Indians).

Government of India Act, 1858:

Rule of Company in India ended and that of the Crown began.
A post of Secretary of State (a member of the British cabinet) for India created.
He was to exercise the powers of the Crown.
Secretary of State governed India through the Governor General.
Governor General received the title of Viceroy. He represented Secretary of State and was assisted by an Executive Council, which consisted of high officials of the Govt.
The system of double govt introduced by Pitt’s Act 1784 was finally abolished

Indian Council Act, 1861:
The Executive Council was now to be called Central Legislative Council.
The Governor General was conferred power to promulgate ordinance.

Indian Council Act, 1892:

Indians found their way in the Provincial Legislative Councils.
Element of Election was introduced.

Indian Council Act, 1909 or Minto-Morley Reforms:
It envisaged a separate electorate for Muslims.

Government of India Act, 1919 Or Montague-Chelmsford Reforms:
Dyarchy system introduced in the provinces.
The Provincial subjects of administration were to be divided into 2 categories:

administered by the Governor with the aid of ministers responsible to the Legislative Council


The Governor and the Executive Council were to administer the reserved subjects without any responsibility to the legislature.

Indian legislature became bicameral for the first time, it actually happened after 1935 Act.
Secy of state be paid by British Exchequer
Post of Commissioner of India

Government of India Act, 1935:

Provided for the establishment of All-India Federation consisting of
British Provinces
Princely States.
The joining of Princely States was voluntary and as a result the federation did not come into existence as the minimum number of princes required to join the federation did not give their assent to join the federation.
Dyarchy was introduced at the Centre (e.g. Department of Foreign Affairs and Defence were reserved for the Governor General).
Provincial autonomy replaced Dyarchy in provinces. They were granted separate legal identity.
Burma (now Myanmar) separated from India