The history of Constitutional development in India.
THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA is the supreme law of the land.
Constitution of India is invaluable to students of Political Science in that it is amongst the latest of federal constitutions and embodies features suitable for the working of federal governments under modern conditions.
Constitution of India has drawn largely from federal constitutions in foreign countries, but at the same time, it is not an artificial patchwork of heterogeneous bits scissored from different sources, and pieced together. There was in force, previously to the Constitution, a federal form of Government established by the Government of India Act, 1935, which, in turn, was evolved from a system of Government which was unitary in character. To understand aright the true scope of the provisions of the Constitution, therefore, it is necessary to have knowledge of the working of the Government of India prior thereto. By the expression Government of India is meant Government of British India, that is, of India excluding the territories ruled by Indian rulers and by other European powers such as France and Portugal.
1600 AD: East India Company.
2. On 31st December 1600, the East India Company obtained a Charter from Queen Elizabeth granting it a monopoly of trade in the East and pursuant thereto, it established factories at Fort William, Bombay and Madras. In the beginning, its activities were purely commercial but in the unsettled conditions that prevailed on the break-up of the Mogul Empire on the death of Aurangazeb in 1707, the Company drifted into the sea of politics and after the battle of Plassey in 1757, it assumed the role of a ruling power in this country. The acquisition of political power by a trading corporation led to abuse and corruption on the part of its officials on an unprecedented scale and evoked widespread criticism in England. When the Company which was in financial difficulties at this time applied for a loan to the British Government, the latter seized the opportunity to intervene and acting on the doctrine that acquisition of sovereignty by a subject could only be on behalf of the sovereign, brought the administration of the territories acquired by the Company under the authority and control of the British Parliament. With this object, Parliament enacted first the Regulating Act of 1773, and then again Pitt’s Act in 1784. Three Presidencies were constituted with Fort William, Bombay and Madras as their capitals. The administration of the Presidency of Bengal was entrusted to a Governor-General assisted by a Council which had authority to enact laws. Likewise, the Presidencies of Bombay and Madras were to be administered each by a Governor assisted by a Council which had independent power of legislation but the Governors were to some extent subordinate to the Governor-General. The Charter Act of 1813 took away the monopoly rights of the Company to trade in India and the Act of 1833 stripped it of all its commercial activities in India, leaving to it only its political vestments. One notable feature of this Act was that it divested the Governors of Bombay and Madras of the power to enact laws which had been granted to them by the Acts of 1773 and 1784. Thus, the Governor-General stood as the sole legislative authority for India.