The Regulating Act of 1773 was the first Act of British Parliament to exercise indirect control over the affairs of East India Company’s rule in India.
By 1773, the East India Company was in deep financial trouble and there was much corruption within the officials of Company. The Company was important to Britain because it was a Monopoly company in India and in the east. The Company failed to pay its dues to Government to maintain its monopoly.
Having observed these things, Lord North (PM of Great Britain from 1770-82) decided to overhaul the management of the East India Company and thus he brought the Regulating Act of 1773.
Important Provisions of the Regulating Act of 1773
- Governance of the East India Company was put under British Parliamentary Control and a Court of Directors (24 members) was created at London to oversee the affairs of the Company in India.
- Through Regulating Act of 1773, the Governor of Bengal elevated to the status of Governor General of Bengal and Governors of Madras and Bombay Presidencies brought under the control of Governor General of Bengal. Warren Hastings became the first Governor General of Bengal.
- The institution of Governor General-in Council (Governor General’s Executive Council) was created with Governor General as head and with four other members to carry out Legislative and Executive functions.
- A Supreme Court of Calcutta established (constituted in 1774) with one Chief Justice (First CJ was Sir Elijah Impey) and three puisne judges. It had jurisdiction over Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. The British judges were sent to India to administer the British legal system that was prevalent in Britain.
- The Regulating Act of 1773 prohibited the servants of company from engaging in any private trade or accepting presents/ gifts or bribes from the natives.
- The Governor General was empowered to make rules, regulations and ordinances with the consent of Supreme Court.