Regulating Act of 1773 was the first landmark in the constitutional development of India. Via this act, the British Parliament for the first time interfered into affairs of India. The Prime Minister of England at the time of Regulating Act of 1773 was Lord North.
Circumstances that led to Regulating Act 1773:
The battle of Plassey (1757) and the Battle of Buxar (1764-65) led to firm establishment of territorial dominance of East India Company in India. At that time, their territories in the country included parts of current states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. With these two important wars, the Nawab of Awadh became their ally while Mughal emperor Shah Alam became their pensioner. Bengal and Bihar came under the dual system of administration of Clive whereby company got Diwani rights or the Fiscal administration rights while Nizamat (territorial) jurisdiction was with the puppet nawabs. However, this system had various problems which ultimately led to the Regulating Act 1773.
Objectives of the Act:
The key objectives of the Regulating Act of 1773 included – addressing the problem of management of company in India; address the problem of dual system of governance instituted by Lord Clive; to control the company, which had morphed from a business entity to a semi-sovereign political entity.
* Creation of Office of Governor of the Presidency of Fort William.
* Establishment of Supreme Court at Calcutta.
* Increased control over company
Importance of the Regulating Act:
The Act of 1773 recognized the political functions of the company, because it asserted for the first time right of the parliament to dictate the form of government. It was the first attempt of British government to centralize the administrative machinery in India. The act set up a written constitution for the British possession in India in place of arbitrary rule of the company. A system was introduced to prevent the Governor-General from becoming autocratic.