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08 Feb

Historical Background of Indian Constitution

Before 1947, India was divided into two main entities – The British India which consisted of 11 provinces and the Princely states ruled by Indian princes under subsidiary alliance policy. The two entities merged together to form the Indian Union, but many of the legacy systems in British India is followed even now. The historical underpinnings and evolution of the India
Constitution can be traced to many regulations and acts passed before Indian Independence.

Indian System of Administration
Indian democracy is a Parliamentary form of democracy where the executive is responsible to the Parliament. The Parliament has two houses – Loksabha and Rajyasabha. Also, the type of governance is Federal, ie there is separate executive and legislature at Center and States. We also have self-governance at local government levels. All these systems owe their legacy to the British administration. Let us see the historical background of Indian Constitution and its development through years.
Regulating Act of 1773
• The first step was taken by the British Parliament to control and regulate the affairs of the East India Company in India.
• It designated the Governor of Bengal (Fort William) as the Governor-General (of Bengal).
• Warren Hastings became the first Governor-General of Bengal.
• Executive Council of the Governor-General was established (Four members). There was no separate legislative council.
• It subordinated the Governors of Bombay and Madras to the Governor-General of Bengal.
• The Supreme Court was established at Fort William (Calcutta) as the Apex Court in 1774.
• It prohibited servants of the company from engaging in any private trade or accepting bribes from the natives.
• Court of Directors (the governing body of the company) should report its revenue.

Pitt’s India Act of 1784
• Distinguished between commercial and political functions of the company.
• Court of Directors for Commercial functions and Board of Control for political affairs.
• Reduced the strength of the Governor General’s council to three members.
• Placed the Indian affairs under the direct control of the British Government.
• The company’s territories in India were called “the British possession in India”.
• Governor’s councils were established in Madras and Bombay.


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