The Regulating Act of 1773 was the first attempt by the British government to supervise and regulate the East India Company’s operations in India, as well as the recognition of the Company’s political and administrative powers. This act was enacted as a result of mismanagement by the British East India Company, which led to the company’s bankruptcy and forced the government to interfere. The Regulating Act of 1773, which is discussed in this article, is included in the UPSC Indian Polity and Governance Syllabus.
The Regulating Act 1773 – Historical Background
- After its founding in 1600, the East India Company began dealing with eastern countries.
- The corporation gained political influence in Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa after the Battle of Buxar in 1764.
- Due to the growth of the frontier and enormous expenditures in several battles, the firm was in financial trouble.
- After Lord North submitted his famous bill in Parliament on May 18, 1773, it was passed by the British Parliament.
- The British Parliament approved the Regulating Act (1773), which was the first major step toward legislative authority over the Company’s Indian administration.
Regulating Act (1773) – Objective
- The main purpose of the Regulating Act 1773 was to keep track of the Company’s operations in India and England, as well as to correct any deficiencies that had previously existed.
Regulating Act, 1773 Act – Key Provisions
- The name of the Governor of Bengal was altered to ‘Governor-General of Bengal,’ and he was assigned the job of overseeing the Madras and Bombay presidencies.
- The Governor-General of Bengal chose four members of the Board of Administrators (Philip Francis, Clavering, Monson, and Barwell).
- The first Governor-General was Warren Hastings, who was assisted by four boards of administrators.
- Only the British monarch, acting on the advice of the Court of Directors, has the power to remove them.
- Members of the board of directors had to finish their five-year tenure as board members.
- In Calcutta, the High Court was established. There were a total of four judges, including the Chief Justice.
- The Supreme Court was given primary and appellate jurisdiction.
- The Chief Justice was Sir Elijah Impey, while the other judges on the court founded in 1774 were Lemester, Chambers, and Hyde.
- This Act made it illegal for military and civilian officers of the Company to accept gifts, donations, or rewards from private corporations or Indians.
- The board of directors’ term was extended to four years, and the number of members was expanded to 24, with six members taking a one-year leave of absence.
- The “Court of Directors” expanded the Crown’s authority with this measure.
- The British Crown was obligated to know about India’s political and military concerns, as well as its earnings.
- The company’s officers and staff were given a pay raise.
Regulating Act,1773 Act – Defects
- Because there was no effective procedure to review the reports sent by the Governor-General in Council, parliamentary oversight of the firm proved useless.
- There was no veto power for the Governor-General.
- The Supreme Court’s powers were not clearly defined.
- The concerns of the Indian populace, who were providing revenue to the firm, were not addressed by this measure.
- This Act had little effect on the company’s officials’ corruption.
Regulating Act,1773 Act – Conclusion
- In India’s constitutional history, the Regulating Act of 1773 is very significant. For the first time in India, a written constitution for business governance was introduced by this statute.
- This Act marked the commencement of British legislative oversight of the Company’s administration in India.
- As a result, the management of the Company’s ruled territories was no longer a private matter for the Company’s merchants.