Pitt's India Act 1784

Pitt's India Act 1784
Posted on 09-06-2022

Pitt's India Act 1784: Pitt's India Act was passed in 1784 to eliminate the administrative errors of the Regulating Act of 1773. Bypassing the Regulating Act in 1773, the British Government did not achieve satisfactory reforms in what is hoped to improve the governance system of the East India Company and reduce corruption. Even now the administration of the Company could not come into the hands of the British Government. Due to this, the British Parliament passed the Pitts India Act 1784, which was named after the then young Prime Minister of Britain, William Pitt.

Pitt’s India Act 1784

The main points of Pitt's India Act 1784 are as follows:

  • The defects of the Regulating Act, which came in 1773, were removed by this act.
  • It was proposed in Parliament in 1784 by the then Prime Minister of Britain "Pit the Younger".
  • The Company Occupied Territory was for the first time called "British Occupied Territories".
  • This act separated the political and economic functions of the company. Hence, the dual government system started from this act itself.
  • The conduct of business affairs was left in the hands of the "Board of Directors".
  • With this act, a new body "Board of Control" was formed for political affairs.
    • A “Control Board” of 6 commissioners was established, which was given full authority over the British-occupied territory in India.
    • It was called the "Board of Control". Its members were appointed by the British monarch.
    • Among its 6 members, one was the Economic Minister of Britain and the other was the Foreign Secretary, and others were chosen by the Emperor from among the members of his 'Privy Council'.
  • The number of members of the Governor-General's Council was reduced from 4 to 3.
    • One of the 3 members was the chief general.
    • This increased the importance of the Governor-General, now he was able to make all the decisions by making any one member on his side.
  • A secret meeting of the directors of the company was formed, which sent all the orders of the Board of Directors to India.
  • The letters and orders prepared by the "Board of Directors" were placed before the "Board of Control". The letters received from India were also required to be placed before the "Board of Control".
  • The "Board of Control" could modify the orders and letters given by the "Board of Directors".
  • The money to be spent on the "Board of Control" was taken from the Indian income. But this rule did not apply if the expenditure exceeded 16000 pounds annually.
  • The rights of nutrition and protection were not with the "Board of Control". That is, in India, he could appoint any person under the company, but the emperor of Britain had the right to call back anyone and depose him.
  • The Chairman of the "Board of Control" was the Minister of State himself.
  • The "Board of Directors" got the right to appoint the Governor-General and his council with the approval of the Emperor.
  • The governors of Bombay and Madras were placed entirely under the governor-general.
  • A three-member council was also formed to assist the governors of Madras and Bombay.
  • Warren Hastings, the then Governor-General, opposed this act and resigned in 1785 and went back to England, where a minister named "Burke" tried him for impeachment and corruption. Warren Hastings was later acquitted.
  • According to this Act, the Governor-General shall take the approval of the directors of the company before entering into any treaty.
  • In this act, it was made clear that it is indecent for the British government to conquer Indian states and make imperialist policies for them. Therefore, the policy of increasing the state area should not be adopted.
  • In this act, the transaction of money by the employees of the company with the native rulers was said to be wrong and degrading. Emphasis was laid on making strict laws for the employees indulging in such activities.
  • A court was established in England to try the British officers in India.
  • In 1786, some amendments were made to this Act-
    • The Governor-General was given the powers of the Chief General.
    • In special circumstances, the Governor-General can set aside the instructions of his assistant board.

There were also some shortcomings in Pitt's India Act 1784, to overcome which the Charter Act 1793 was brought by the British Parliament.


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