Pitt’s India Act 1784 or the East India Company Act 1784 was passed in the British Parliament to rectify the defects of the Regulating Act 1773. It resulted in dual control or joint government in India by Crown in Great Britain and the British East India Company, with crown having ultimate authority. With this act, East India Company’s political functions were differentiated from its commercial activities for the first time.
Key Provisions of the Pitts India Act:
The formal title of the Pitt’s India Act was : “An Act for the better Regulation and Management of the Affairs of the East India Company and of the British Possessions in India, and for establishing a Court of Judicature for the more speedy and effectual Trial of Persons accused of Offences committed in the East Indies”.
Board of Control: The Pitts India act made the company directly subordinate to the British government. For the purpose of Joint Government, a Board of Commissioners for the Affairs of India called Board of Control was created. This board was made of six people viz. the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretary of State, and four Privy Councillors nominated by the King. Alternation in Governor General-in Council: The Governor General’s council was now reduced to 3 members, one of whom was to be the commander-in-chief of the King’s army in India. This process of reducing number of members from 4 to 3 was to strengthen the position of the Governor General because now, he was able to get any resolution passed even with the help of one member in his side.
Greater Powers to Presidency of Calcutta:
The Governors of Presidencies of Bombay and Madras were deprived of their independent powers and Calcutta was given greater powers in matters of war, revenue, and diplomacy, thus Calcutta becoming in effect, the capital of Company possessions in India.
There was also a secret committee of the 3 directors, which had to transmit the orders of the Board to India. This Secret Committee was to work as a link between the Board of control and the Court of Directors.