Features and Objectives of Amending Act of 1781 – Indian Polity
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Features, Objectives and Provisions of Amending Act of 1781| UPSC IAS
The Amending Act of 1781 was passed by the British Parliament on the 5th of July 1781 in order to fix the defects of the Regulating Act of 1773. It is also known as Act of Settlement 1781 or Declaratory Act, 1781.
Although, the Regulating Act of 1773, created a lot of reform both in the administration of affairs as well as the judiciary, it also left major loopholes that the law was not able to close. Thus, in order to fix flaws in the Regulating Act of 1773, an Act of Settlement 1781 was passed.
Why Amending Act of 1781 was introduced?
• Certain issues were raised during the Administration under Warren Hastings which led to lots of criticism and discontent among the public. A few examples of these issues were the Patna Case, Cossijurah Case, Nand Kumar Case and others.
• There was a major disagreement among the Supreme Court and Governor-General in Council that weakened the Administration up to an degree.
• People were agitated because of the interference by the government in personal rules of the communities.
Objectives of Amending Act of 1781
• To compensate the Governor-General and the officers members of the Council who were acting under the instructions in unjustified protest against the decision by the Supreme Court.
• To eliminate the doubts and problems of The Regulating Act of 1773 which essentially caused divides between Government and the Court.
• In order to assist Government of Bengal , Bihar and Orissa to ensure that the revenues is collected without uncertainty anytime.
• To protect the rights, usages, and Privileges of the native people.
Provision or Features of the Amending Act of 1781
• It exempted the Governor-General and the Council from the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court for the acts done by them in their official capacity. Similarly, it also exempted the servants of the company from the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court for their official actions.
• It excluded the revenue matters and the matters arising in the collection of revenue from the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
• It provided that the Supreme Court was to have jurisdiction over all the inhabitants of Calcutta. It also required the court to administer the personal law of the defendants i.e., Hindus were to be tried according to the Hindu law and Muslims were to be tried according to the Mohammedan law.
• It laid down that the appeals from the Provincial Courts could be taken to the Governor-General-In Council but not to the Supreme Court.
• It basically empowered the Governor-General-In-Council to frame Rules and Regulations for the Provincial Courts and Councils.
Thus, the Amending Act of 1781 was the first attempt in India towards the separation of the executive from the judiciary by defining the respective areas of jurisdiction.