This article has been written by Anushka Martis.
It has been published by Rachit Garg.
During the 15 century like the other European countries, even the English wanted to trade with the Indians and the Far East Asian countries. Their desire to trade directly began to grow even further after gaining victory over the Spanish Armada in 1588. In September 1599 under the chairmanship of Lord Mayor and with the help of a group of merchants known as the Merchants Adventurers an association or a company was formed to trade directly with the East (India, China, Persia, and Indonesia). This company was formed to compete with the Dutch and to fight against the attempts of the Portuguese to monopolise the spice trade. On 31 December Queen Elizabeth granted the company a Royal Charter which allowed the governor and the company exclusive rights to trade with the East Indies. The company formed was named the East India Company or the Honourable East India Company or the East India Trading Company and informally it was known as the John Company ( For future the East Company is also referred to as The Company in this project.). The East India Company was linked with the monarchy, one of the shareholders being Queen Elizabeth. The Charter gave authority to the company to traffic and trade freely into and from East Indies; in the countries and part of Asia, Africa, and America; from different places, islands, ports, cities, town, and creeks of Asia and Africa or any region beyond the Cape of Bona Esperanza presently known as the Cape of Good Hope to Straits of Magellan. The goal of the East India Company was to stop the predominance of the Dutch in the Indies which is present-day Indonesia. Even though they could not attain their goal they created a strong foothold in the Indian Subcontinent and started lucrative trade of raw cotton, silk, calicoes, indigo, and spices. In 1612 with the defeat of the Portuguese fleet by Captain Best in Swally near Surat the influence of the Portuguese in India declined and in January 1613 the East India Company built their first factory in Surat with the permission of the Mughal Emperor.
Charter Of 1600
The Charter of 1600 was the founding charter of British Rule in India although no one in England ever dreamed that the subcontinent of India would be under their control. This Charter was granted by Queen Elizabeth to the East India Company on 31 December 1600. One of the main goals of this Charter was to meet the competition which was set up by the Portuguese and the Dutch. All the necessary provisions required for the constitution of the government within the laws of any territory were mentioned in this Charter. This also permitted the company to traffic, build factories and promote British trade and commerce in Africa, America, and Asia. Under this charter, the company also received certain legislative power which was very limited and restricted in scope and character. They were authorised to make reasonable laws and impose reasonable punishment on both criminal and civil cases. The punishment provided by the company for the infringement of law could only consist of fines, forfeiture, and imprisonment, no harsh punishment such as capital punishment could be prescribed by the company. Thus cases of serious crime such as murder were often referred to the Company’s authorities in England for advice as they could not be dealt with by the company laws. The punishments provided by the company had to be in accordance with the laws and customs of England. This was done to maintain good governance within the company.
Provision under the Charter Of 1600
- The duration of the charter was for a period of 15 years and the same could be revoked by providing a notice of 2 years if the trade carried out by the company did not appear profitable.
- The charter allowed the company to have exclusive trading rights in the regions of Asia and Africa.
- Their geographical jurisdiction was confined to the region of Asia, Africa, and America.
- No British subject was permitted to carry out trade within this area i.e. eastward to the Cape of Good Hope up till the Strait of Magellan without a licence from the company.
- Unauthorised traders were subjected to forfeiture of ships and goods.
- The affairs of the company must be conducted in a democratic manner.
- All the members of the company were to form a ‘General Court’ and the general court was to annually hold a meeting to elect a Governor and 24 directors to form the ‘Court of Directors’ who looks after the management of the affairs of the business. The governor and the director of the Court of Directors were to hold their post for a period one. The General Court had the authority to remove the governor or the directors before their period of expiration and elect new members to fill the vacancy for the remaining year.
Shortcomings of the Charter Of 1600
- The legislative powers conferred on the company were limited and restricted
- The company did not have any authority to adequately deal with cases of serious crime
- The charter did not refer to the territorial governance of any territory. Thus no territorial powers were conferred on the company.
Thus under this Charter, the East India Company with its official title as “ The Governor and company of merchants of London trading into the East Indies” was incorporated in England which settled its constitution, powers, and privileges. The limited legislative powers granted to the company under this charter were of great historical importance and further developments on these powers gave rise to Anglo Indian Codes.
Charter of 1909
After passing the charter of 1600 the company was developing at a fast pace. The trade of the East India Company was also bringing a lot of profits to the country. Thus within a span of 8 years King James, I renewed the charter of the company on 31 May 1609. While the charter was renewed along with the prevalent powers certain new changes were brought to the existing Charter.
- The monopoly of trade was made indefinite in area eastward to the Cape of Good Hope up till the Strait of Magellan
- Unlike the charter of 1600 where 15 years life span was put on the charter. This charter does not have any time limit as to the tenure of the Company.
- In cases where the company harms the interest of the British. The tenure of the Company would be terminated with a notice of 3 years
From the period of 1609 to 1657 the company received several Charters from the British Crown but none of them changed the fundamental constitution of the Company. Most of these Charters were permission granted by the Crown for the shipping of silver and gold bullions ( gold or silver of the highest level of purity) on which the company’s trade depended.
Charter of 1657
Under the Charter of 1625, a new trading company was formed called the Courteern Association or the Asada Company. This company was sent to break the monopoly of the East India Company in India. In 1657 the 1609 charter was renewed by Lord Oliver Cromwell. Under this charter lord Cromwell United the East India Company with the Courteen Association and other temporary ventures along with different stocks of the East India Company to form a single joint-stock company.
Charter of 1661
From the Charter of 1600 to the present charter the East India Company had spent 60 years in the subcontinent of India. During this period The East India Company started dabbling in Indian politics by taking advantage of disunity among the local kings. The East India Company started assisting the local kings to expedite the internal conflicts that were already prevalent in the land. By doing this the company started gaining the confidence of the local kings who further helped them expand their trade. They were also awarded land in Surat and Madras where they built their factories and fortified them. For the sake of governance of these regions where the factories were established they required judicial power which was not time-consuming.
Another problem faced by the company was that they did not have the proper authority to punish the people or natives who were a part of the company but they were trading and residing within their territory of the company settlements. Thus they put forth various proposals before the Crown to provide a legal instrument that would help them have better control over the regions under their jurisdiction and also so they could penalise the interlopers (lawbreakers).
Through the factories set up by the company, they started generating a lot of income which was quite beneficial for the British fund. Thus the crown felt it was very necessary to provide the company with facilities and power to expand and grow their income. The dependence of the growth of income was based on the legal adjudication system.
Keeping all this in mind the Charter of 1661 was issued by King Charles II on the 3rd of April 1661. This charter was also called the Judicial Charter as it was the first step of establishing a judicial court in India. Under this Charter King, Charles II broadened the authority of the company by providing the company with law-making powers and other additional powers such as to coin money, punish lawbreakers, etc.
Provision under the Charter of 1661
Appointment of officers
Under this Charter, the company was allowed to appoint a Governor, Council, and different officers for the administration of justice and governance over all subjects and workers of the Company.
Under this Charter, the company was given authority to the Governor and Council to adjudicate and execute the following matter in accordance with the English Law
- Cases concerning the company
- Matters within the jurisdiction of the company
- All cases of civil and criminal nature including cases of capital offences unlike the Charter of 1600 that could not hear matters concerning capital punishment.
This Charter also authorised the Governor and Council to hear matters of all inhabitants within the company’s settlement whether they were Indians, Englishmen, or Europeans on contrary to the Charter of 1600 which allowed the company to look into matters concerning the cases of servants of the company.
This Charter also provided certain directions to the Governor and Council saying that cases of all inhabitants residing within the settlement of the company must be judged according to the English including the cases of Indian habitants residing within the settlement of the company.
Under the Charter of 1600 the company was allowed to pass simple punishments such as fine and imprisonment but under the Charter of 1661 the Governor and council were not only enabled to hear all civil and criminal cases but they could also award any kind of punishment including the death penalty. It is important to note that all aforementioned judicial powers conferred on the company are to be exercised only by the Governor and Council are chosen by the company. In the absence of the Governor, the Chief Factor and the council would come to power and it was their duty to either send the offenders to a place where there was a Governor or to England for trial.
This charter authorised the company to maintain the armed forces, weapons, and fighters ship for self-protection.
Right to administration
The Charter gave complete administration in the hands of the company. They could administer factories, cities, or colonies under their control. To take care of black market traders who interfered in the trade monopoly, the company was authorised to send the offenders to England for trial.
Shortcomings of the Charter of 1661
- The Charter of 1661 did not separate the judiciary from the executive. Here the Governor and Council were both the judiciary and the executive.
- Under the Charter, the Governor and the members of the council who were looking at the administration of the country were merchants and not lawyers. Thus the judicial administration of the company was in the hands of laymen.
- As the Governor and the members of the Council were laymen they did have much knowledge of English law therefore they could not provide justice properly. Since they lacked knowledge of English law they had no other option but to decide the cases of both Indians and Englishmen based on common sense and sense of justice.
- This Charter also looked at cases concerning the Indian inhabitants in accordance with English law. Thus Indians felt the usages of their laws and customs could not be protected.
Formation of Madras Presidency
In the year 1665 Miss Ascentia Dawes who was residing in Madras agency was charged for the murder of her slave girl. The Agent in Council of Madras did not have jurisdiction to try the case; thus referred the case to the company authority in England for advice. The Company authorities who were investigating the case realised that through the Charter of 1661 the case could be heard in Madras only if the status of agency of Madras could be raised from Agency of Madras to Presidency of Madras and the status of agent to that of the governor. This step was necessary because under the charter of 1661 the Governor and the Council were authorised to hear all types of civil and criminal cases including cases of capital offence like murder. Therefore in 1665, the Agency of Madras became the Presidency of Madras. The company then directed the case to the Governor and Council court of Madras where the case was tried by the Governor and Council with help of the jury and an unexpected verdict of non-guilty was awarded to Miss Dawes.
Charter of 1668
Originally the Islands of Bombay were a part of the indigenous Empires like the Shilahara Dynasty and the Kingdom of Gujarat. In 1534 the Islands of Bombay were acquired by the Portuguese from the Sultan of Gujurat Sultan Bahadur. This made them the first Europeans to acquire the Islands of Bombay. The Portuguese king King Afonso IV transferred the ownership of the Islands of Bombay as a dowry to King Charles II for marrying his sister Princess Catherine of Braganza in the year 1661. Then later in 1668 King Charles II transferred the ownership of the islands to the East India Company for an annual rent of 10 £ (pounds). This ownership was transferred to East India Company by providing them with a new Charter which was called the Charter of 1668. The Charter provided the company with the power to make laws and ordinances in accordance with English laws for the good governance of the Islands. They were also allowed to impose any kind of punishment to make sure that the law was being observed in the land. The power for the enactment of laws was in the hands of the General Courts or their Court of Committees and the laws had to be listed under the Company seal before their publication. This Charter also provided permission to the company to establish Courts of Justice who would decide on the action, suits, and causes. They were also instructed under the Charter to hold proceedings similarly similar to those which are established and used in England. The Company started exercising the powers granted to them in the Charter of 1668. They also started enacting the laws for the Government of Bombay and these framed laws were brought into Bombay in 1670.
This Charter contained the fullest power of governance and thus with the Charter of 1668 the status of the East India Company began to change from being a trading company towards becoming a territorial sovereign region.
Charter of 1677
The general opinion at the time was against the East India Company. The public criticised the Company for misusing and abusing the rights given to them. The most prominent allegation was that the company failed to give the crown the penalties collected in the East Indies. In response to these allegations, the crown gave the Company Rights, Liberties, and Franchise of all the penalties that they collected. The debts held by the company were waived (except customs). They were also given the right to mint currency in Bombay and all other areas in the East Indies. This currency was not to bear the name of any of the existing currencies under the Crown’s command.
Charter of 1683 and 1686
Under the charter of 1600, the East India Company got exclusive trading rights in India but the rights of the company were being informed by other British traders. The crime of piracy on the high sea was rampant. To deal with this problem a court having jurisdiction to deal with traders and pirates was needed to be formed therefore the Charter of 1683 was given by King Charles II to the company. The Charter of 1683 authorised the company to establish Courts of Admiralty. The Court of Admiralty had jurisdiction to hear and decide all mercantile and maritime cases concerning persons within the Charter limits of the company. Under this Charter, the company was to hear all cases relating to forfeiture of ships, piracy, trespass, injuries, and wrong. The court was to consist of a person who learned in civil law and two merchants who would be appointed by the company and would decide cases in accordance with the rules of equity and good conscience and laws and customs of merchants. It was authorised to settle its procedure but it had to follow the orders of the British Crown in relation to its procedures.
The Charter of 1686 which was granted by James II in April repeated the provisions of Charter 1683 with certain modifications. The Charter of 1686 empowered the company to execute martial law to defend their ships from trespassers. The company could also appoint naval officers and maintain naval forces.
Court of admiralty in Madras
On 10 July 1686, the Court of Admiralty was established in Madras. John Grey was appointed the judge along with two other Englishmen to assist him. On 22 July 1687 Sir John Biggs, a professional lawyer who learned in civil law was appointed judge advocate of the court. This was the first time separation between executive and judiciary power took place where the judiciary was in the hands of the Admiralty Court and administration was in the hands of the Governor and Council. The jurisdiction of the admiralty court was not only confined to mercantile and maritime cases but was also extended to civil criminal cases.
Court of admiralty in Bombay
The Court of Admiralty in Bombay was established in the year 1684. The jurisdiction of the admiralty court of Bombay was similar to that of Madras. In the admiralty court of Bombay, Dr. St. John was the Judge Advocate of the admiralty court of Bombay. Since the admiralty court of Bombay could not cover all civil cases the court of Judicature was established where Dr St. John was the Chief Justice of the court.
Charter of 1687
There were various reasons for the granting of the Charter of 1687. One of the major reasons was the house levied by the Madras government. The Presidency of Madras consists of two townships, the WhiteTown where all the Englishmen resided and the Blacktown where all the natives resided. The residents of Blacktown opposed the house tax levied by the government. To solve this problem the company set up a corporation of the natives and some Englishmen through the Charter of 1687 which was issued by the East India Company. The corporation of Madras was established in 1688 which consisted of a Mayor, 12 Aldermen, and 60 or more Burgesses. The mayor and 3 senior aldermen were to be servants of the company and the remaining nine aldermen could be of any nationality. 30 of the 60 Burgesses were to be heads of several castes. The mayor had a tenure of one year but if the behaviour of the mayor was inappropriate the Governor and Council, aldermen and burgesses could terminate his services and the aldermen could remain in office for their lifetime or up till they resided in Madras. The members of the first Madras Corporation were appointed by the Charter where the Governor of Madras was appointed as the first mayor, 3 Aldermen were company servants and 29 Burgess were caste men nominated by the company.
Along with the corporation, Mayor’s Court was also established in Madras; it was also called the Court of Record. The mayor and 3 aldermen were called ‘justice of the peace.’ Since the justice of the Mayor Court were laymen and had no knowledge of law the Charter made provision for the appointment of a law expert who called ‘The Recorded’ to assist and provide guidance to the court. The mayor’s court had jurisdiction of hearing civil cases up to the value of 3 Pagodas and criminal cases of less severity. All the civil cases more than 3 Pagodas and criminal cases where the offender was to be sentenced to lose a life or limb were to be appealed to the Court of Admiralty. The Mayors were allowed to punish such corporal punishment, imprisonment, and fine only after the year 1712 could the mayor’s court could provide death sentence in cases of native but not in cases concerning the Englishmen.
Since the Governor and Council had complete control over the mayor’s court there was no separation between the executive and judiciary. The judges of the mayor court were laymen and had no knowledge of English law therefore cases were resolved based on common sense and sense of justice which resulted in the decision being nonuniform and inconsistent. The judges of the Mayor’s Court were not honest, impartial and could be easily tempted.
Charter of 1693 and 1698
Through the Charter of 1600, the East India Company got exclusive rights to trade in the East Indies. By the end of 1690, the merchants who were excluded from this right started developing feelings of dissatisfaction. Thus they formed an association called ‘ The new company’ to resolve this problem. In 1691 both the old company (East India Company) and the new company raised their arguments in front of the parliament. In order to resolve the dispute, the parliament tried to reach a compromise where they decided to increase the capital of the old company but limit the amount of stock held by each shareholder. Shortly after receiving the privileges from the parliament the company inadvertently failed to pay taxes, which were imposed on the joint-stock company. Due to which they forfeited their Charter and a new Charter was granted to them in the year 1693. The Charter of 1693 stated that privileges granted to the East India Company would be revoked if the company did not follow the regulations imposed on them. Further supplementary Charters were introduced which added Seven hundred forty-four thousand to the present capital of the company but the limited amount of stocks held by individuals to £10,000 (pounds).
In the meantime, the new company had successfully challenged the monopoly of the company in the parliament. In turn, the parliament granted trade permission to the other merchants in the East Indies but the East India Company ignored this resolution made by the parliament. In 1698 King William II issued a Charter which made attempts to regulate trade in the East Indies. Lord Montagu, the chancellor of the Exchequer, by putting the monopoly of the trade in the East Indies for auction made arrangements for the government to borrow two million pounds. All the individuals and corporations that offered money were provided with subscriptions and these subscribers were united together to form the ‘ General Society ‘; each member of the society was granted permission to trade in the East Indies. This General society later became a joint-stock company called ‘English Company’. The old company (East India Company ) in the name of John Du Bois, its treasurer held a stake of £ 315,000 in the new company. Thus it was allowed to continue trading since it became a part of the General Society. The East India Company also received a parliamentary act, which allowed them to trade as a corporation until the government loan was paid. In 1702 through a three indenture drawn between the two companies and Queen Anne, a scheme of equalising the capital of two companies and combining their stocks was agreed upon. It was also decided that a joint board of directors would be appointed which would enable both the companies to trade together. 1709 the East India Company surrendered its Charter and the English Company became ‘The United Company of Merchants of England Trading In The East Indies’. Since a new Charter was introduced the company has to follow the guidelines of the Charter of 1698.
Charter of 1726
Before 1726 judicial administration in the East India Settlement was not of a high order. There was no separation between the judicial and executive powers. The judicial system in all the settlements of the East India Settlements was not uniform; the courts received authority from the East India Company and not the British crown. The courts were supposed to use English law but they were unable to do so because they were laymen and had no knowledge of the law. Cases related to testamentary and intestate succession did not fall in the jurisdiction of any of the courts in the East India Settlement. Due to the amounts present on the Indians, most of the workload fell on the Crown’s Privy Council.
Due to the increase of trade and commerce of the East India Company in the Indian presidency towns (Bombay, Madras, and Calcutta) concentration of wealth began to take place which in turn increased the population of these towns. In order to maintain law and order in these towns and to bring about a uniform judiciary system, the Charter of 1726 was introduced by King George I on 24 September 1726.
Main provision of charter of 1726
Establishment of corporation
According to the Charter of 1726 the three presidencies of Madras, Bombay, and Calcutta had to form a corporation. The corporation was to consist of a Mayor and nine Aldermen. Both the Mayor and seven Aldermen had to be natural-born Britain subjects and the other two Aldermen could be subjects of friendly Prince or State. The First Mayor and the Aldermen would be nominated by the Charter and thereafter the nomination of the mayor would be done by the Aldermen and the retiring Mayor on an annual basis amongst the Aldermen. The Aldermen could continue in office throughout his life or as long as he lived in the presidency town. The vacancy among the Aldermen was filled by the Mayor and the Alderman from the inhabitants in the particular presidency town. The Governor and the Council had the power to dismiss or remove any aldermen based on a reasonable cause against him. The Alderman also had the privilege to appeal his dismissal by the Governor and Council to the King Council ( the Privy Council of the British Crown).
Establishment of mayor court
According to the Charter of 1726 the mayor court was to be established in each presidency town. The members of the Mayor Court included the Mayor and the Aldermen of the Corporation of the Presidency Town. The quorum was constituted by the Mayor or the Senior Aldermen along with two other Aldermen. The Mayor Court was to be the Court of record. Under the Charter of 1726, the Mayor Court could hear all civil cases arising in the Presidency Town and its subordinate factories. The appeals of the Mayor Court would be heard by the Governor and Council in cases for less than 1000 pagodas and the appeals from the Governor and Council were heard by the King in Council (The Crown’s Privy Council) in England for cases over the value of 1000 or more Pagodas. Under this the Mayor’s Court also had jurisdiction to hear cases of testamentary succession, to issue letters of administration to legal heirs of the deceased or his principal creditor, or to any other person who the court finds fit. The Mayor’s Court was also given further powers to provide Probates of wills of the deceased and to punish any person guilty of contempt. As the Charter no law was mentioned in the Charter the English law was used to govern both the natives and Englishmen and the Mayor’s Court was to function on the same procedure as followed in England.
The Governor and Council were to appoint a Sheriff who was the officer of the Mayor’s Court. His tenure was for a period of one year. On the written complaint provided by the plaintiff, the court issues the summons by directing the sheriff to order the defendant to appear in court on a set date and time fixed by the court. If the defendant doesn’t comply with the orders of the court, the court would issue a warrant directing the sheriff to arrest the defendant and present him before the court. The court could grant release to the defendant on bail or security. Warrants of execution were issued by the Court to the implementation of judgements. On receiving the warrant the sheriff was to implement its judgement.
Justice of peace and administration of justice
Under the Charter of 1726, the justice of peace were the Governor and the five senior members of the Council. The justice of peace could hear petty criminal offences and punish and arrest offenders. Three justices of peace were to form a Court of Record and had the power over the Court of Oyer and Terminer and Gaol Delivery. This was the first time English ideas and procedures of criminal justice were introduced in India. The session of the court was held four times a year, for the trial of all offences except the offence of high treason committed within the Presidency and subordinate factories. These were to be heard with the help of a jury. The procedure of the courts has to be similar to the procedure of similar courts in England.
For the better governance of the presidency towns the Governor and Council of each presidency town were given powers to make their own bylaws, rules, and ordinance. Punishment could be provided for the breach of any bylaw, rules, and ordinances. Any punishment prescribed and bylaws, rules, and ordinance made were to be agreeable to reason and the English law. Approval and confirmation by the Court of Directors of the company in England was needed for the implementation of bylaws, rules and regulations made and punishment prescribed.
Merits of the Charter of 1726
- Uniform judicial system was introduced in all the three presidency towns of Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras.
- Royal courts were introduced in India i.e. the Mayor’s Court. Under this charter, the court was to derive its authority from the Crown and not the East India Company. Since it derived authority from the British Crown the Englishmen and court in England considered the decisions of the court in India as equally authoritative.
- The Charter of 1726 introduced the system of appeal from India to the Privy Council in England. Wherever the Indian law was deficient the Privy Council used the English. Thus introducing the English law in India.
- The Charter attempted to separate the judiciary from the executive. The judges of the Mayor’s Court were not appointed by the Governor and Council. The Governor and Council could dismiss the aldermen on reasonable grounds but the aldermen could challenge the decision in the Privy Council in England.
- The Charter made provision for the establishment of a local legislature in each presidency where laws could be made keeping in mind the needs of the local people.
Demerits of the Charter of 1726
Attempts to separate the judiciary from the executive was not totally successful for the following reasons:
- The Governor and Council could dismiss the aldermen on reasonable grounds and the aldermen could challenge this decision in the Privy Council but this privilege was only on paper.
- Appeals from the Mayor’s Court were to be heard by the Governor and Council and the decision of the Governor and Council was final for cases less than 1000 Pagodas.
- The Governor and five senior council members were justices over peace who power over the criminal jurisdiction.
- The justice system was in the hands of laymen and professionals as the people judging the cases had no understanding of the law.
- In cases where both the plaintiff and the defendants were natives, the Mayor’s Court had no jurisdiction.
- Indians did not have adequate representation in the Mayor’s Court since out of the nine Aldermen only two Aldermen were natives.
Difference between Mayor’s court in Charter of 1687 and 1726
|Charter of 1687||Charter of 1726|
|In the charter of 1687, the Mayor’s Court received its authority from the Company||In the Charter of 1726, the Mayor’s court received its authority from the Crown.|
|In the Charter of 1687, the Mayor’s court was only functional in Madras||In the Charter of 1726, the mayor’s court was established in all three presidency towns (Madras, Bombay, and Calcutta)|
|In the Charter of 1687, the Mayor’s Court had jurisdiction over both criminal and civil cases. No such provision was present in the Charter of 1687||In the Charter of 1726, the Mayor’s court only had jurisdiction over civil cases. The Mayor’s court also had jurisdiction over testamentary succession.|
|In the Charter of 1687, the appeals of the Mayor’s court were made to the Court of Admiralty. The Charter of 1686 had no provision for a second appeal.||In the Charter of 1726, the appeal of the Mayor’s court was to be made the Governor and Council and the second appeal was to be made to King-In- Council of England.|
|In the Charter of 1687, the Mayor’s court provided provision for Recorder ( a legal expert ) to provide assistance to the judges of The Mayor’s Court.||In the Charter of 1726, the Mayor’s court quorum of judges consisted of laymen|
|In the Charter of 1687, the Mayor’s court constituted of a Mayor and 12 Aldermen out of which at least three were to be Englishmen and others could be of any nationality||In the Charter of 1726, the Mayor’s court constituted of a Mayor and 9 Aldermen out which 7 were to be Englishmen and the other 2 Aldermen were to be natives of the presidency towns|
Conflict between the mayor’s court and the governor and council
For the first time in India, a judicial system was set up which was independent of the executive. The Governor and Council who were responsible for the administration over the president towns were not happy with this arrangement. On the other hand, the judges of the Mayor’s Course who were not law experts committed blunders by not paying heed to the religious sentiments of the natives. This angered natives who then resorted to the Governor and Council for help. In the Madras Presidency, the hatred escalated to such an extent that the natives requested the authority of the Company to exempt them from the jurisdiction of the Mayor’s Court. The Governor and Council sided with the opinions of the natives and created an atmosphere that was not conducive for the existence of the Mayor’s Court.
Charter of 1753
After the granting of the Charter in 1726 many conflicts arose between the Governor and Council due to which a lot of confusion and chaos was created in the East India settlement. Taking account of it the company requested the Crown to provide a new Charter to introduce suitable amendments in the Charter of 1726. In September 1746 in the Battle of Madras, the Madras Presidency came under the control of the French. Due to which the functions of the Madras Corporation which was in the Charter of 1726 was stopped. In 1749 when the British again gained control over the Presidency of Madras a new charter was granted by King George II to the company to establish Madras Corporation again. The company officials took this opportunity to bring about necessary changes to the Charter 1726 to remove all of the disadvantages present in the Charter. The new charter was granted by King George II on 8 January 1753. After containing the following changes the Charter was made available to all three presidency towns (Bombay, Madras, and Calcutta).
Changes introduced to the Charter of 1753
Organisation of mayor’s courts
Under the Charter of 1726 the Mayor was appointed by the Aldermen. The Mayor filled the vacancy among the Alderman and the remaining Aldermen were filled by the members of the town. This system of appointments was changed in the Charter of 1753. Under this Charter, the Governor and Council had the power to appoint the Aldermen and the Mayor. While appointing the Mayor a panel of names of two Aldermen was to be submitted to the Governor and Council. Among the two names sent the Governor and Council would select one name for the office of the Mayor.
Jurisdiction of the mayor’s court
Under the Charter of 1726 the jurisdiction of the charter was uncertain which became one of the important causes for the conflict between the Mayor’s Court and the Governor and Council. In the Chart of 1753 attempts were made to bring about certainty in the jurisdiction of the Mayor’s Court. Under the Charter of 1753, the Mayor’s Court was given expressive rights to hear cases against the Mayor and aldermen, but under such a situation the parties of the dispute were not allowed to sit as Judges of the Court. Similarly, they were also to hear suits against the East India Company. The Charter of 1753 also clearly instructed that the Mayor’s Court had no jurisdiction in cases concerning native citizens unless both the parties agree to submit the case in front of the Mayor’s Court.
Deposits of money by the suitors
Under the Charter of 1753 it was expressly stated that the money provided by the suitors was to be deposited to the Government and not the Courts.
Court of request
Under the Charter of 1753 new court was established at each Presidency town. This court was called the Court of Request. The Court of Request could hear civil cases up to the extent of 5 Pagodas and the cases exceeding the limit of 5 Pagodas were to be heard by the Mayor’s Court. The purpose of the Court of Request was to provide cheap and quick redressal to the poor. The Court of Request sat on a weekly basis. It constituted 8 to 24 Commissioners who were to be elected by the Governor and Council and every year half the Commissioners were to retire and these vacant places were to be filled by other Commissioners by ballot method. Three commissioners were to sit by rotation once a week. The jurisdiction of the courts extended to all citizens including the natives in the presidency towns. The establishment of this court helped to save both time and money.
Court established under Charter of 1753
In accordance with the Charter, courts were established in each presidency town.
- Court of request: They were given jurisdiction of civil cases up to 5 Pagodas.
- Mayor’s Court: Jurisdiction of civil cases more than 5 Pagodas
- Court of Governor and Council: They acted as justices of peace and were permitted to hold quarterly sessions to hear criminal cases. They also heard appeals from the Mayor’s Court.
- Privy Council or King-in-Council: They were empowered to hear appeals from the court of governor and council. They could also decide on all civil cases of a sum of 1000 Pagodas or more.
Merits of Charter of 1753
- After the Charter of 1726 unrest was created among the natives who believed the Mayor’s Court was imposed on them. This problem was solved by the Charter of 1753. The Charter of 1753 expressly stated that in the case of the natives the Mayor’s Court had jurisdiction when both the plaintiff and the defendant agreed to submit the case in front of the court. It increased the jurisdiction of the Mayor’s Court and includes cases against mayor aldermen and the Company
- In order to help the poor inhabitants of the presidency, the Court of Request was established which provided quick and cheap justice to poor litigants with small claims
Demerits of the Charter of 1753
- The Charter of 1753 made the judiciary subservient to the executive. The appointment of Mayor and Aldermen was given to the Governor and Council and they already had to dismiss them from their post.
- The judges of the Mayor’s Court were expected to give judgements by using English law and English procedures but the Charter of 1753 made no provision for law experts thus the Mayor’s Court was forced to appoint company servants as judges who were laymen.
Charter of 1774
The Regulation Act of 1773 gave the British Crown the authority to establish a Supreme court at Calcutta through the issuance of a Charter. On 26th March 1774 King George I granted a Charter of justice to the company for the establishment of The Supreme Court of Judicature at Calcutta. The powers of the 1774 charter superseded the powers of the 1753 Charter thus bringing about the abolishment of the Mayor’s court in Calcutta. The Supreme Court of Judicature came into existence on the 22nd of October and began its functions in January 1775. This was the first attempt made by the Crown to bring about an independent and separate judiciary system in India.
The Supreme Court was composed of Chief justice and three Puisne judges (regular judges). The member of the Supreme Court had to be a barrister in Law for not less than five years standing. The Charter also made provisions for the appointment and removal of judges as well as for the jurisdiction, powers, and functions by the Regulation act of 1773. The first Chief justice of the Supreme Court was Sir Elijah Impey and the first puisne judges of the supreme court were Robert Chambers, Stephen Caesar Lemaitre, and John Hyde who were appointed by the king. The Supreme Court was like the Court of Record; it had civil, criminal, admiralty, and Ecclesiastes jurisdiction. The Supreme Court was a court of equity; it had the authority to administer justice but it had to function in the same manner as the High Court of Chancery in Great Britain. The Supreme Court also had the power to regulate and make rules for its proceedings and the modification, approval, and rejection of these rules was done by the King-in-Council.
The selection of the Sheriff was done by the Governor and Council. The Governor and Council selected the Sheriff out of three nominees from the Supreme Court. The duty of the Sheriff was to execute the orders of the court and also to detain in prison any person committed to him by the court.
The Supreme Court had the power to appoint subordinate officers based on necessity but the salaries of these officers required the approval of the Governor l-General and Council. The Supreme Court also had the power to regulate the Court fees with permission of the Governor-General and Council. The supreme court controlled and supervised the work of the Court of Request, Court of Collector, quarter sessions, Sheriffs, etc. They also had the authority to issue writs of certiorari, mandamus, error of procedendo to these courts.
Jurisdiction of Supreme Court under the Charter of 1774
The Supreme Court had civil jurisdiction in civil matters relating to the East India Company, Mayor, and Aldermen of Calcutta. While in Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa matters related to his Majesty’s subjects and British subjects fell under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court also had jurisdiction over all persons who were directly or indirectly employed by the company and the subjects of his Majesty. The Supreme Court also had jurisdiction in cases where the person is residing in India, the inhabitant of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa, if they signed or made a contract with his Majesty’s subjects but the amount of the cause of action involved must be exceeding Rs. 500.
In the town of Calcutta, Factory and factories subordinate to Fort Williams the Supreme Court was made the Court of Oyer, Termination and Gaol delivery where it could hear cases of treason, murder, felonies, trespass, and other crimes and misdemeanours. The Supreme Court didn’t have any jurisdiction over residents inhabiting the regions Calcutta, Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa but it was empowered to hear and judge all crimes, misdemeanours, or oppressions committed by the subjects, servants of His Majesty residing in these provinces. The Supreme Court did not have any jurisdiction to hear matters of the Governor and Council unless in classes of treason and felony. The Supreme Court also had powers to suspend the executive capital punishment and send it for recommendation to the British Council. The Governor and Council and the Supreme Court had immunity against being arrested except in the cases of treason and felony.
The Supreme Court had ecclesiastical jurisdiction over British subjects residing in Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa. It had to apply ecclesiastical law prevailing in the Diocese of London.
The Supreme Court was a court of admiralty for the regions of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa. Its jurisdiction was the same as the Courts of Admirable in England. It could hear all cases relating to civil and maritime crimes and crimes committed on the high seas and offshores of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa. These cases could be heard with help of a petty jury consisting of British subjects residing in Calcutta.
The supreme court was a court of equity; it was conferred with full responsibility to administer justice quickly and arbitrarily according to the rules and proceedings of the English High Court of Chancery. Similar to the Court of Chancery in England the Supreme Court also had the authority to listen to cases without being bound by the technicalities of law and could administer justice by principles of justice, equity, and good conscience.
The Supreme Court has the authority to supervise, control, and issue writs of certiorari, mandamus, and error of procedendo to subordinate courts. These subordinate courts include the Court of Request, the Court of Collector, Quarter Sessions, Sheriffs, etc. The Supreme Court was given this power of issuing writs to effectively control the Subordinate Court and other company authorities who were engaged in the administration of justice in the regions of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa.
- CIVIL CASES: Under Civil cases appeals could be filed from the Supreme Court to the King-In- Council with permission of the Supreme Court for subject matters in dispute exceeding the monetary value of 1000 Pagodas. The petition seeking permission must be filed within 6 months after the delivery of the judgement
- CRIMINAL CASES: Under criminal cases appeals can be heard from the Supreme Court to the King-In-Council with the permission of the Supreme Court but the Supreme Court also has complete authority to reject or accept permission of such appeals.
- King-In-Council also had absolute discretion to admit or refuse any appeal from the Supreme Court.
Charter of 1784
East India Company had a monopoly to trade with the East Indies but they did not receive this monopoly for free. To maintain this monopoly, the East India Company had to pay the Crown yearly an amount of £ 400,000 but due to the Bengal famine in 1768, the Anglo Mysore war, and the corruption present in the company, the Company fell into a financial crisis and almost at the verge of bankruptcy. The Crown did not want to see such a profitable company fall in ruins therefore the British Government felt the need to revive which was done with help of the Regulating Act of 1773 that would regulate and supervise the activities of the East India Company. Because of the various flaws present in the Regulating Act of 1773, a new Charter was provided to the British Parliament which was called the Pitt’s India Act of 1784. This Charter was named after the youngest prime minister William Pitt. The objective of this Charter was to rectify the drawbacks of the Regulating Act of 1773 and to place the administration of the company under the supervision of the British Government.
Key provision of Charter of 1784
Monopoly of trade
Under the Charter of 1784 similar to the Charter of 1600 The East India Company continued its monopoly on the entire region from the East of Cape of Good Hope up to the West of the Strait of Magellan.
Control of company
In the regulation act of 1773 the court of directors had control over both the commercial and political affairs of the company. While in Pitt’s India Act change was bought in the control mechanism of the company. The Pitt’s India Act divided both the commercial and political affairs of the company into 2 parts and a new body was formed to deal with the political, civil, and military affairs of the company. This body was called the Board of Control which consisted of 6 members. They included The Chancellor of the Exchequer, The Secretary of State, and four members of the Privy Council who were appointed by the king. The president of the Board of Control was the Secretary of State. The Board of Control also had the power to direct and supervise all operations of the civil, military government or revenues of the British possession of India. While in the meantime the Court of Directors only dealt with the commercial affairs of the company. Thus through this Charter, a dual form of government was formed for the administration of India.
Alteration in the governor-general and council
The Regulation Act of 1773 laid the foundation for the establishment of the central administration in India. Under the act, the Governor of Bengal was made the Governor-General and the Governors of Madras and Bombay were to report to the Governor-General. An Executive Council of four members was also created to help the Governors. Under the Regulation Act, to pass any law, the required minimum votes of at least two members of the executive. Thus under the Regulation Act, the Governor had very limited powers. This was changed by the Charter of 1784. Under the 1784 Charter, the composition of the executive was reduced from 4 to 3 and one of the members was to be commander-in-chief of the king’s army in India. This was done to strengthen the powers of the Governor-General so that the Governor-General could pass any resolution even with the help of one member of the Executive Council. This Charter also gave the Governor-General the power to cast a vote and veto power.
For the first time under the charter the territories of the East India Company were called the British possessions of India. It also gave the British government supreme control over the affairs of the company and the administration of India.
Charter of 1793
The Charter of 1793 was passed in the June of 1793 by the British parliament. The main purpose of the Charter of 1793 was to extend the rule and trading rights of the East India company by another 20 years. Thus giving them possession of all territories in India. Through the charter, the British Government also recognised the political functions of the company. They made it clear that the ruling rights that were given to the company were on the behalf of the crown and not of their own accord.
The financial provisions on the charter allowed the company to increase their dividend to 10%. There was also a clause in the charter that stated that the company after paying all the necessary payments ( interest, dividend, salaries, and such.) from the Indian Revenue had to pay an additional 5 lakhs British Pounds to the Crown.
Along with the financial provisions the charter also granted administrative provisions to the company over the Indian territories. The charter extensively increased the powers of the Governor-General. He was now allowed to disregard the opinion of his council under special circumstances. This right was first given to Lord Cornwallis and was now extended to all his successors as well as the other governors. A regular code of regulations was formulated for Bengal which was to be used for the internal governance of Bengal. This code introduced to the Indians the concept of civil law. The regulations included all rights of property and person, of the Indian people. It also bound the courts to award judgements and directives per the rules included. The charter also reorganised the courts, redefining their jurisdictions. The revenue department was relieved from its jurisdiction functions thus getting rid of Maal Adalats ( Revenue courts in each district. Presided over by the collector who was in charge of all revenue matters.).
Changes were also made to the Home Government. The first-named Commissioner was named the President of The Board of control. The salaries of all the staff were also henceforth to be paid by The Company and not the State Exchequer. This was to be paid from the Indian Revenue ( Part of the necessary expenses mentioned above). The charter also made the approval of the Crown compulsory for the appointment of the Governor-General, Governors, and the Commander-in-Chief. Travel restrictions were put on the senior officials. Leaving the Indian territories without prior approval was considered an act of resignation. The Company was also given the right to grant trading licenses to both individuals and Company employees who wished to trade in India. This paved the way for the opium trade with China in the latter years.
William Wilberforce, a politician, suggested the addition of two additional clauses which were rejected at the time.
They were as follows:
- Declaring that the purpose of the British Rule would be to bring moral and spiritual upliftment to India.
- Permitting teachers and missionaries in India to fulfil the same.
Charter of 1813
Due to the Napoleon Bonaparte Continental System, the British traders were having a hard time. Hence they wanted a part in the British Asian market which had opened. This was also not possible as The East India Company had a trading monopoly in India and China. This caused unrest among the mercantile community. The Charter of 1813 extended the rule of The East India Company in India. This came with changes. One of the biggest changes was that the monopoly of the Company in India was ended. This was with an exception to the Tea trade and the Opium trade. The act also made provisions for the local government to collect taxes from people under the supreme court Jurisdiction. The Company’s dividend increased by another 0.5% thus making it 10.5%. The charter also gave Indian courts jurisdiction over British citizens living in India. The charter also made provisions on the cultural front. The clauses related to the permission to be granted to missionaries and teachers which were denied in the previous charter were now passed. The missionaries were granted permission to spread Christianity and also obtained permission for setting up the seat for the Bishop of British India with his headquarters in Calcutta. A grant of 1 lakh rupees was decided for the revitalisation of Indian literature, propagation of science, and education of the Indians under their rule. The charter further solidified the existing control of the British government on India. This was also the first time the Indians were introduced to the concept of Education as a responsibility of the state.
Charter of 1833
The 1830s was a period of reforms in Europe. The Rights and Dignity of Man were topics that were being discussed quite strongly at the time. It was a period of liberalisation. Keeping to the trend The House of Commons was aggressively making reforms by passing Bills such as the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, Factory Act 1833, etc. The Charter passed in 1813 which gave The East India Company control over the Indian territories was coming to an end. The sentiments of the mercantile community at the time were against the Company. They believed that the Company only existed due to the favouring behaviour of the Parliament and must be abolished. Conflicting opinions at the time existed. One party believed that India must be brought under the direct control of the Crown. They also believed that the Council of the Governor-General in India must have both Indian and British representation. The other believed that the aforementioned changes were excessively radical and unnecessary. They argued that the British public cared more for Britain and less for the general affairs of India. The representatives of the Company argued that the Indians weren’t mature enough to take part in governance. To the advantage of the latter, the information of the details of the executive work of India was exclusively available to Company workers. Thus making manipulating the House of Commons relatively easy. A culmination of this discussion gave the Charter of 1833
The. Charter extended the rule of the Company by another 20 years and brought about several changes to the Home Government. The East India Company was converted from a commercial body to an administrative body. Thus had to cease all their business activities barring the China Trade and Tea Trade for which their permissions were renewed. The licensing system that was adopted in 1813 was replaced by the method of scrutiny of all Europeans who wanted to enter India. Thus allowing free entry without any disorder.
The Central Government of India also saw changes. The position of Governor-General in Council of Bengal was upgraded to Governor-General of India. Thus making it the most powerful legislative position in India. The Charter also established the position of Law member, who was to assist the Governor-General and his Councillors. He was to sit in on meetings that were concerned with lawmaking. He had no say in executive matters and functioned only as a consultant for legal matters. In addition, the charter gave the Governor-General the right to establish the Indian Commission of Law which took charge of all the courts and police institutions in India. They had the power to inquire about their rules, jurisdiction and make reports on the same. Thus centralising the legal system.
There were also changes made to the Presidencies. The Government of Bombay and Madras lost their legislative powers and were brought under the Governor-General. All financial matters were also brought under the power of the Governor-General thus revoking the power of the Governors of creating new offices. The Bengal Presidency was split into the Fort William and Agra Presidency. Section 87 of the Charter stated, “ no native of the British territories in India, nor any natural-born subject of his majesty therein, shall by any reason only by his religion, place of birth, descent, colour or any of them be disabled from holding any place, office or employment under the company”. Thus making it possible for Indians to hold positions in the administrative offices in India. There was also provision made for the abolition of slavery in India. With the increase in the number of British citizens and the spread of Christianity, the Charter made provisions for the appointment of the Bishop of Bombay and Bishop of Madras.
All in all, it can be said that the charter of 1833 officially declared India as a colony of the British Empire.
Charter of 1853
With the change in the governance policies in India, problems began occurring in both the legislative and the administrative systems. The previous charter changed the position of Governor-General in Council of Bengal to the Governor-General of India. This change caused administrative issues in Bengal. There were also territorial changes that occurred in India after the 1833 charter. The Sind and Punjab regions were annexed along with other regions. The term of office mentioned in the Company’s previous charter was almost up and the Crown had decided to extend their term. The Company appointed two committees in 1852 to survey the affairs of the Company in India and based on these reports the Charter of 1853 was drafted and passed. The charter renewed the legislative control of the Company on the Indian territories and the rights they had over the revenue from the same. But the commercial privileges that they had enjoyed through the previous charters were not renewed. Thus ending the monopoly that the Company had held over the Tea Trade and the China Trade.
The charter brought about multiple changes in the legislative system. For the first time, executive functions were separated from the Governor-General’s legislative functions. A six-member Legislative Council, called the Indian Legislative Council, was created. Thus the Governor-General’s Executive Council and the Governor-General’s Legislative Council were created. These Councils were to follow the same functioning principles as that of the British Parliament. The Legislative Council could discuss and question the decisions of the Executive Council. While the right to veto bills that were passed by the Legislative Council in its legislative capacity was vested with the Executive Council. The Charter also decreed that the Salaries of the members, officers and staff of the Board of Control though set by the British Government would have to be paid by the Company. The Law member who was, according to the previous charter, considered only a consultant to the Governor-General in Council was now made a full member of the Governor-General’s Executive Council. The Council was also to include members from each Province. These members would have to be civil servants with over ten years of experience.
The Charter also made changes to the Court of Directors. The Court of Directors was reduced from 24 to 18. 6 of these members were to be appointed by Royal approval. Their ‘Power of Patronage’ was dissolved and appointments were to be made after a fair competitive examination. The candidates were to face no discrimination on grounds of caste, religion or creed. This scheme was to be implemented and supervised by the Macaulay Committee. The Court was given the power to create a new Presidency. They were also allowed to make changes to the existing state boundaries to accommodate the newly acquired states. In answer to the issues that arose in the Bengal Presidency, provision was made for the appointment of a new Governor for Bengal. Until this was finalised the Chartered permitted the Court of Directors to give the Governor-General authority to pick a deputy for the same. In addition, The Charter also empowered the British Empire to appoint a Law Commission in England who could monitor the drafts and reports of the Indian Law Commission.
Unlike the previous charters that had always mentioned a tenure of 20 years, this charter had no specified period.
The Charter of 1853 on a whole laid the foundation for the end of the rule of the East India Company in India. Paving the way for the Home Government to take over after the 1857 mutiny. The start of fair competition for civil service positions gave Indians a chance to enter into government positions. The separation of the Executive and Legislative Councils introduced to the Indians the concept of a democratic parliamentary government system. One of the biggest flaws in the Charter was that there were no Indian representatives in the Legislative Council.
Before the establishment of the judicial system in India, justice in India was based on local laws which were delivered by religious or village heads. Due to regional and religious diversity in India. The country neither had a standard legal system nor a standard administrative system. This though giving the British a chance to invade the country also posed to be a problem for their governance. They tried to solve this problem by forming administrative bodies called presidencies having a judicial system to maintain law and order but these courts gave judgement based on their knowledge and a foreign code of conduct. Thus making judgements unfair. The charter acts that provided the powers and governing powers to the presidencies were different for each. Thus due to differences in executive power, the British felt the need for a standard legal system. They codified the existing practices and customs into one document and then enacted them as laws thus paving way for our modern judicial system These documents were coded by the law commission under the charter 1833 First commission codified the Indian penal code as we know today, second commission codified the civil procedure code, law of limitation, criminal procedure code and also completed the penal code Third commission drafted the contract law, negotiable instruments law insurance law, evidence law and property law. It also revised the criminal procedure code. The Fourth commission codified negotiation instrument, transfer of property and easement law and trust law. Like the laws, the court structure in India had its origin in the British rule. Through the regulating act 1773 and the Charter Act of 1774, the first supreme court was established in Calcutta Madras and Mumbai. But through the High Court Act 1861 Supreme Courts were abolished and High Courts were established in their place in the region’s of Calcutta Madras and Mumbai. They were also given the status of High Courts in the respective province. Under the government act of 1935 federal courts were set up. This court adjudicated and resolved any conflicts that arose between the high courts of different provinces. They also settled points of law that were in doubt. After independence, the constitution of India also followed a similar hierarchy which had the Supreme Court at the apex which replaced the Federal Courts of India followed by the high court which replaced the Provincial Court and by various other Courts below the High Court. Another important concept that we got from the British was a fair and impartial system where the judiciary was independent of other organs or states.
Thus through the study and evolution of the Charters, we can understand the evolution of the judiciary system and administrative system, the importance of separation of powers and also understand the need for rule of law and a defined set of uniform laws.
The Indian subcontinent had always been a region of great abundance but they had never been prominent foreign traders. The British being avid traders at the time saw potential in the Indian Market. Thus they began the process of acquiring it. The first step they needed was to combat the mercantile force of the Portuguese and Dutch who had already made their mark in the Indian market. For this purpose, the charter of 1600 was passed to establish the East India Company which would be the sole British trader in India. The charter of 1609 confirmed the rights provided in the previous charter and added a 15-years tenure. Upset by the 48-years monopoly With the charter of 1625, the mercantile community formed a new trading company called Courteern Association or the Asada Company. In the charter of 1657, this company was merged with the East India Company to form one joint-stock company, under the pretence of bringing more profits to the Crown. From one ethnicity the Indian subcontinent was split into many kingdoms and princedoms. There was also chaos among these states as they were in a constant state of conflict. The British saw this as an opportunity and entered the chaos by taking sides thus gradually entering the good books of the various rulers. In this manner, they acquired parts of Madras and Surat. The Charter of 1661 gave them governance rights in their factory and surrounding areas. They also began creating an administrative mark by forming the Madras Presidency. The charter of 1668 turned them from a mere trading company to territorial sovereigns. In the charters of 1683 and 1686, the Admiralty courts were established to curb piracy. The Charters of 1693 and 1698, allowed other traders to trade in India alongside the East India Company by the formation of the United Company. The Mayor’s Court that was formed in the charter of 1687 was further improvised in the Charter of 1726. Which was further improvised in 1753. The regulation Act was passed in 1773 to regulate the Company, thus creating grounds for the formation of the Supreme Court of India in the Charter of 1774. The Charter of 1784 gave the Pitt’s India Act which was in gist improvisation of the Regulation Act of 1773. Through the charters of 1793 and 1813, the Company’s monopoly was extended and their political functions were acknowledged. In the Charter of 1833, the monopoly of the East India Company was finally ended. They were gradually being changed from a commercial entity to an administrative entity. Thus officialising India as a British Colony. The Charter of 1853 was the last Charter that was granted to the East India Company as they made way for the rule of the British Government in India. This Charter also allowed the provision of civil servant positions in the Indian Government. The Charter also made provisions for the First Indian parliament by separating the Executive Council and the Legislative Council.
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