Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Regulating Act 1773

The Regulating Act was passed by Lord North’s Government in 1773. It was designed to remove the evils inherent in the Company’s constitution and to give an orderly and efficient government to its territories in India. This object of the Act was made explicit by Lord North (Prime Minister of Great Britain during the period when American War of Independence took place),[1] himself in these significant words: “Every article in it is framed with a view to the placing the affairs of the Company on a solid, clear and decisive establishment.” The Act also provided the basis of the Anglo-Indian Constitution.
Lord North
The Bill for this act was introduced by Lord North on May 18, 1773. It is therefore also called Lord North’s Bill. Lord North ‘emphasised the need of placing the Company’s affairs on a solid, clear and decisive establishment.’ It is important to note that before this Bill, by an act of 1767 of  the British Parliament, the Company had committed to pay £ 400000 to the Exchequer of British Government for ‘for the privilege of retaining its territorial and revenues’ in India.

However, the Bill received strong opposition from different quarters. Mr. Edmun Burke considered the bill as an undue Parliamentary intervention against the spirit of the laws, linter ties and constitution of British nation. ‘He denounced the Bill as an infringement of national right, national faith and national justice.’ The directors of East India also feared the motives of the Bill. They straightaway accused that it was an attempt of Lord North to annihilate the company and finally transfer of its ownership to the Crown. “The city of London also protested against it on the ground that the privileges of the city of London enjoyed stand on the same security as those of the East Indian Company.’ However, the bill was passed and called the Regulating Act of 1773. Another act was also passed along with Regulating Act under which, £ 1400000 at the rate of 4% was released to the East India Company to it relieve it of its financial difficulties.

The Regulating Act was a very long document. It remodelled the Company’s constitution as it existed in working in London and also introduced important changes in the government of its Indian possession.

Sources: Sikri S. L., A Constitutional History of India, S. Nagina & Company, Jullundhar, 1966.

External Links:
Lord North (Wikipedia, for Photograph also)

A Sketch of the History of the East-India Company,: From Its First Formation to the Passing of the Regulating Act of 1773 With a Summary View of the Changes ... Internal Administration of British India.

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