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Monday, February 4, 2019

The constitution of India: Historical Perspective part 1


Constitution of India is a result of long evolutionary history which preludes its actual making. East India company landed on the shores of southern India in 16th century. They started off with trade and slowly diversified to administration. In administration they got the basic is skeleton of laws from the British parliament. Over the period of time they kept on making more and more legislation for administering more and more territories and more and more subjects. This speed of Empire and necessitated them to better organised. And this expansion and law making went hand in hand and when Indian freedom struggle actually he reached the shores, i.e. when Indians started feeling that time is near and they are about to get a freedom by that time there was used library of legislations. This gamut of legislation helped Indian legislators in understanding various aspects of law making in context of India. Consequently the lawmaking which suits the land become easy. 
In the year 1668 the grandson of Aurangzeb, Azim-ush-shan and the sabhadar of Bengal gave Zamindari of villages, Calcutta, Sutanati and Govindpuri for an annual revenue of 1195 rupees to the East India company. In December 1699, Calcutta became presidency town and governor was appointed to administer the settlement. As a zamindar company got all the powers just like other zamindar of Bengal. In Mughal Empire, zamindars got  court judicial power but collected the revenue and maintain law and order in the zamindari area or villages. For judicial purpose that time kazis court were established in each district, pargana and villages. They handled civil and criminal matters. Normally village panchayats solve all problems. In Hindus, elders or brahmins solve the problems. The judicial system was simple as everyone knew each other and transactions of each other.Mughal kings never paid less attention to judicial system. The post of kazi. Justice was purchased, corruption was rampant.
The other zamindar when give death sentence, The appeal went to the nawab but company never did this, The appeal from zamindar, collectors court went to the governor and council. In Calcutta, at that time collector enjoyed all the powers until 1726. Things got better organised with the advent of charter of 1726.

Regulating Act of 1773

By 1773 the East India company was in dire financial straits. The company was important to Britain because it was a Monopoly trading company in India and in the east and many influential people were shareholders. The company paid £4,00,000 annually to the government to maintain the Monopoly but had been unable to meet its commitment because of the loss of tea sales to America since 1768. About 85% of all the tea in America was smuggled Dutch tea. The East India company owned money to both in the bank of England and the government; it had 15 million lbs of tea rotting in British warehouse and more enroute from India.
Lord North decided to overhaul the management of the East India company with the Regulating act. This when the first step along the road to government control of India. The act set up a system whereby it regulated the work of the East India company but did not take power of itself.

The act said that 

★The East India company head to appoint an official to b Governor-General of all the districts are controlled by the company ( which in 1773 comprised Bengal, Oudh and the Carnatic. Governor oppo Bengal was designated as the governor general of Bengal. An executive council of 4 members was created to assist him (Lord Warren Hastings was the first governor general).
★Governor of Madras and Bombay presidency is where made subordinate to the governor general of Bengal.
★The actor provided for establishment of A supreme court at Calcutta which Uday compromise of one chief justice and three other judges.


Pitt's India act, 1784 the parliamentary enactment to cope with the situation arises out of operation of the regulating act,1773. The salient features relating to the governance of the kingdom of Bengal are as follows:
★ There shall be a board of control consisting of maximum sixes parliamentarians headed by a senior cabinet member to direct supritendent and control the affairs of the companies in territorial posssessions in the east Indies.
★ The court of directors cell establish a secret community to work as a link between the board and the court.
★ The governor generals council shall consists of three members one of whom shall be the commander in chief of the kings army in India. In case the members present in a meeting of the council shall anytime be equally divided in opinion, the governor general shall have two votes(one high sound and another casting vote)
★ The government must stop of other experiments in the revenue administration and proceeded to make a permanent settlement with zamindars at moderate rate of revenue demand. The government must established permanent judicial and administrative systems for the governance of the new kingdom.
★ All sivilians and military officers must provide the court of directors of full inventory of their properties in India and in Britain within 2 months of joining their posts.
★ Recieving gifts, rewards and present in kind or cash from the rajas, Zamindars and other Indians are strictly prohibited and people found guilty of the offences shall be tried charged with corruption.


By 1813 when renewal of the companies charter was due there were elaborate discussions about the justification of the commercial privileges enjoyed by the company. The Englishman demanded the termination of the commercial monopoly of the company.
★ The act of 1813 renewed the charter of the East India company for 20 years.
★ The company watch deprived of its Monopoly trade with India but she was to enjoy our Monopoly of trade with China for 20 years.
★ Trade was thrown open to all British subjects the company retaining only its Monopoly over tree and the China trade.
★ While offering the companies are right to the territorial positions and revenues of India the act of proclaimed the sovereignty of the crown over them.
★ The Indian administration was asked to maintain separate accounts for its commercial and political activities.
★ The directors kept in the right of patronage but all important appointment where henceforth to be subject to the approval of the crown.
The act marks the beginning of an ecclesiastical establishment in India for missionary is where now permitted to settle in the country. An educational policy was also initiated by the grant of 100000 out of the companies Indian revenues for the encouragement of education, literature and science. Local governments of India where given the right of levying taxes on their subjects and punishing those not paying them.


 The following were the highlights of the act:
★ The charter act of company was renewed in 1833. The charter ended the Monopoly of the company. While the commercial functions of the company in that it's a political functions where to continue. The Government of India has to pay the debts of the company.
★ The Indian possessions of the company where declared to be held by the company in trust for the British crown.
★ It centralised the administration of the English company of India. GGovernor-General of India.
★ Presidencies of Bombay, Madras, Bengal where placed under the control of governor general in council.
★ The charter act also brought about the legislative centralisation of India. Governor General in council was authorised to make article of war and code of military discipline and provide for the administration of justice.
★ The Charter Act add a new member to the executive council of the governor general known as law member.
★ The number of the member of the council of the governors of Bombay and Madras was reduced to two. Bombay and Madras were to keep their separate armies underwear commander in chief but they were to be under the control of the central government. 


British parliament was called upon to renew the charter of the company 1853.
★ The law member was made  full member of executive council of the governor general. Governor-General who was the given power to nominate vice president of his council.
★ The act provided that the salaries of the members of the board of control, its secretary and other officers would be fixed by the British government but would be paid by the company.
★ Power was given to the court of directors to constitute a new presidency. Power was also given to alter and regulator from time to time the limits of the various provinces. This power was used to create the Punjab into a Lieutenant Governorship.
★ The number of the members of the court of directors was reduced from 24 to 18 out of which 6 were to be nominated by the crown.
★ The charter act of 1853 renewed the power of the company and allowed it to retain possession of the Indian territories. The act of 1853 marked the beginning of a parliamentary system in India. No Indian element was associated with the legislative council.

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