1. The Regulating Act, 1773
    • The British Parliament passed its first important Act in 1773 called the Regulating Act to control the Company’s Administration.
    • The Act made changes in the constitution of the Company at home; the whole of the territories in India were subjected to some degree of control.
    • Changes were made in the Constitution of the Court of Directors of the Company. It was required that it should submit to the Government all communications about civil and military affairs received from Bengal and revenues of India.
    • In the field of executive government, the status of Governor of Bengal was raised to Governor General. His Council would consist of four members.
      • The Governor General in Council was given the power to superintend and control the presidencies of Madras and Bombay in matters of war and peace.
    • The Act also provided for the establishment of a Supreme Court of Justice at Calcutta to give justice to Europeans, their employees and citizens of Calcutta
    • Legislative powers were granted to the Governor General and Council to make rules, ordinances and regulations for the civil government of Fort William and subordinate factories.
    • Evaluation of the Act
      • The Regulating Act did not work smoothly in practice.
      • Its defects and weaknesses were exposed when it was put to working.
      • Supervision of the British government was ineffective.
      • The Governor General had to face the opposition of his council, who united against him.
    • Disunity of the Council prevented it from solving external and internal problems of a serious nature.
    • They had to often face deadlocks which impeded smooth working of the administration.
  1. PITT’S INDIA ACT, 1784
    • It allowed the Court of Directors to manage the commercial affairs, but created a new body called Board of Control to manage the political affairs. Thus, it established a system of double government.
    • The Governor General and council were made subordinate to British Government.
    • They were forbidden to declare war and enter into any treaty without the sanction of the directors or the secret committee
    • Evaluation of the Act
      • By reducing one member of the Executive Council of the Governor General, his position was
      • The possessions of the Company in India came under the supremacy of the British Parliament.
      • The Act laid the foundation of a centralised administration-a process which reached its climax towards the close of the nineteenth century.
      • However, the act divided authority and responsibility.
        • The Governor General had two masters, the Court of Directors and the Board of Control. Out of this conflict of authority emerged the view of the primacy of the man on the spot
  1. Charter Act of 1793
    • The Charter of the Company was renewed for 20 years and it was declared that it would be allowed to continue with the possession of all territories for the next 20 years.
    • The Governor General’s and Governors’ powers to overrule their council were emphasised and explained
    • A regular code of all regulations that could be enacted for the internal Government of the British territory in Bengal was framed.
      • The Regulation applied to the rights, persons and property of the Indian people and it bound the Courts to regulate their decisions by the rules and regulations contained therein.
    • Evaluation of the Act
      • The Act of 1793 thus laid the foundation of government by written laws and regulations in British lndia in place of the personal rule of the past rulers.
      • The concepts of a civil law enacted by a secular human agency and applied universally, was an important change.
  1. Charter Act of 1813
    • The Act of 1813 renewed the Company’s Charter for 20 years, but it asserted the sovereignty of the British Crown over the lndian territories held by the Company.
    • The Company was deprived of its monopoly of trade with India.
    • It was allowed to continue with its monopoly of trade with China for 20 years. The lndian trade was thrown open to all British merchants.
  1. Charter Act of 1833
    • The Act of 1833 was a great landmark in the constitutional history on India
    • The monopoly of tea trade with China was abolished.
    • The Company was to have only political functions. lndia was to pay the Company’s debts.
    • The lndian possessions of the Company were to be held in trust for the British Crown.
    • Governor General of Bengal became the Governor General of India, and the act vested in him all civil and military powers. William Bentick was the first governor-general of India
      • The Governor General in Council was to control, superintend and direct the civil and military affairs of the Company.
      • By the Act of 1833, the Governor General in Council were given the power to legislate for the whole of the British territories in India
    • The Act provided for the codification of laws in India.
      • By this Act the Governor General was empowered to appoint the Law Commission to study, collect and codify various rules and regulations prevalent in India. The lndian Penal Code and Codes of Civil and Criminal Law were enacted by the efforts of lndian Law Commission.
  1. Charter Act of 1853
    • This was the last of the series of Charter Acts passed by the British Parliament between 1793 and 1853
    • It separated, for the first time, the legislative and executive functions of the Governor-General’s council.
      • It provided for addition of six new members called legislative councillors to the council. In other words, it established a separate Governor-General’s legislative council which came to be known as the Indian (Central) Legislative Council.
    • It introduced an open competition system of selection and recruitment of civil servants.
      • The covenanted civil service was thus thrown open to the Indians also.
      • Accordingly, the Macaulay Committee (the Committee on the Indian Civil Service) was appointed in 1854.
    • It introduced, for the first time, local representation in the Indian (Central) Legislative Council.
      • Of the six new legislative members of the governor general’s council, four members were appointed by the local (provincial) governments of Madras, Bombay, Bengal and Agra.
    • The act known as the Act for the Good Government of India, abolished the East India Company, and transferred the powers of government, territories and revenues to the British Crown.
    • It provided that India henceforth was to be governed by, and in the name of, Her Majesty. It changed the designation of the Governor-General of India to that of Viceroy of India
      • Lord Canning thus became the first Viceroy of India.
    • The Board of control and court of Directors were abolished. Their place was taken by the Secretary of State of lndia and his Council. They were to govern lndia in the name of her majesty.
    • The Act created an lndia council of fifteen members. It was to advise the Secretary of State who could overrule its decisions.
      • The council was an advisory body. The secretary of state was made the chairman of the council
    • Evaluation
      • The Act of 1858 was, however, largely confined to the improvement of the administrative machinery by which the Indian Government was to be supervised and controlled in England.
      • It did not alter in any substantial way the system of government that prevailed in India.