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The Constitutional Development in India

The British Empire expanded and they faced many problems regarding the administration. The administrative set up kept changing according to the demands of the Indian public. The changes introduced by the British in administration by passing various acts serve as the background for the growth of India’s present constitution.

The Regulating Act 1773

It was passed by the British Parliament which ended the dual government established by Robert Clive. It made the Governor of Bengal as the Governor General of India. Warren Hastings became the first Governor General of India.

The Pitt’s India Act 1784

In this act, a Board of Control consisting of six members was appointed in England to look after the Company’s affairs. The East India Company was subjected to the rules laid down by the British Government.

The Charter Act 1813

New regulations were laid down. According to this charter, the Indian empire was declared as a subject to the sovereign authority of the British Government. The ban on the entry of Christian missionaries in India was lifted. The missionaries were permitted to open schools and colleges in India.

The Charter Act 1833

The East India Company was to look after the administration and not to trade with India. Appointments to government services were to be made on merit basis. A law member was added to the Governor General’s Council. The first law member was Thomas Babington Macaulay.

The Charter Act 1853

This act created an effective legislative wing. The central legislature was increased with new legislative members of six to the council. Competitive examinations were introduced for civil services.

The Government of India Act 1858

This Act was passed for better governance of India. The Secretary of State for India was assisted by a council called the Indian Council, consisting of 15 members. The Governor General was designated as Viceroy of India and represented the Queen in India.

The Indian Councils Act 1909

This act is popularly known as Minto-Morely Reforms. It increased the powers of the legislative councils. It provided for an increase in the number of members at the Central Legislature from 16 to 20. The provincial Legislative Council was expanded by adding elected members. Separate communal electorate was introduced.

The Government of India Act 1919

The Act was also known as the Montague (Secretary of State) and Chelmsford (Viceroy) Reforms. The powers of the Secretary of State for India were curtailed and a High Commissioner for India was appointed. The Act provided for a bicameral legislature at the centre. At the provincial level, dyarchy was introduced.

The Government of India Act 1935

A Federal Court having jurisdiction over the provinces and princely states was established. Dyarchy was abolished in the provinces and introduced at the centre. The Reserve Bank of India was established.

The Indian Independence Act 1947

India became independent and two independent states were created, India and Pakistan. The Princely States were permitted to join either India or Pakistan. A Constituent Assembly was formed to frame the Constitution.

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