The Regulating Act of 1773

The Regulating Act of 1773 was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain intended to overhaul the management of the East India Company’s rule in India.

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.

This was the first step to the eventual government control of India.

Features of the Regulating Act of 1773:

It designated the Governor of Bengal as the ‘Governor-General of Bengal’ and created an Executive Council of four members to assist him.

The first such Governor-General was Lord Warren Hastings.

The Act named four additional men to serve with the Governor-General on the Supreme Council of Bengal: Lt-Gen John Clavering, George Monson, Richard Barwell, and Philip Francis.

The Act made the governors of Bombay and Madras presidencies subordinate to the governor-general of Bengal, unlike earlier, when the three presidencies were independent of one another.

A supreme court was established at Fort William at Calcutta (1774).

British judges were to be sent to India to administer the British legal system that was used there.

It prohibited the servants of the Company from engaging in any private trade or accepting presents or bribes from the ‘natives’.

It strengthened the control of the British Government over the Company by requiring the Court of Directors (the governing body of the Company) to report on its revenue, civil, and military affairs in India.

The Act limited Company dividends to 6% until it repaid a £1.5M loan and restricted the Court of Directors to four-year terms.


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