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Historic Development of Law in India

1600 - 1858 : East India Company came as trades. Company Rule

1858 - 1947 : Crown Rule after victory in 1st War of Independence called Sepoy Mutiny.


(A) Regulating Act of 1773

- Governor of Bengal -> Governor General of Bengal

- Created Executive Council of 4 members to assist him.

- 1st Governor General. Lord Warren Hastings

- Supreme Court of Calcutta Established in 1774 with a Chief Justice and 3 other Judges.

- 1st Chief Justice was Sir Elijah Impey


(B) Pitt's India Act of 1784 - act of Settlement

- Distinguished between commercial and Political functions of the company.

- Allowed court of Directors to manage the commercial affairs but created a new body called board of control to manage the political affairs. Thus, it established a system of double government.

Board of control will supervise

- Civil

- Military

- Revenues


(C) Character Act of 1833

- Governor General of Bengal -> Governor General of India

- 1st Governor General of India - Lord William Bertick

- Commercial Body - EIC -> Administrative body

- Started Civil Services in India




(D) Charter Act of 1853

- Separated Executive and Judiciary for the first time

- 6 New legislative councilors added to Governor

- General's legislative councilors added which became Indian Legislative Council.

- Legislative wing functioned as mini-parliament

- Macaulay Committee - The Committee on Indian Civil Service from 1854 started open competition for selection.


(E) Government of India Act, 1858

- Enacted after Revolt of 1857 called Sepoy Mutiny

- Act of Good Government of India

- Abolished East India Company and transferred the power of government, territories and revenues of British Crown.

- India was now governed by the Queen

- Governor General -> Viceroy

- 1st Viceroy of India - Lord Canning

- Board of Controls - Court of Directors

- Secretary of State of India

- Member of British Cabinet responsible to British Parliament

- 15 member council of India to assist secretary of state who is the chairman of the council.

- Advisory Body.


(F) India Councils Act of 1861

- Began Indian representation in Law making

- Lord Canning nominated 3 Indians to Legislative Councils

1. Raju Benarus

2. Maharaja of Patiala

3. Sir Dinkar Rao

- Empowered Viceroy to issue 6 months ordinances during emergency.


(G) Indian Councils Act of 1892

Increased number of law makers in Central and Provincial Legislative Councils unofficially by maintaining the official majority in them.

Started Budgets

Started Addressing questions to executive.


(H) Indian Councils Act of 1909

Morley Minto Reforms

Increased size of legislative councils, both Central and Provincial.

Retained majority in Central Legislative Council, but allowed provincial legislative councils to have non- official majority.

Can ask supplementary questions.

Can move resolutions in Budget

Allowed Indians in Viceroy's Executive Councils

Satyendra Prasad Sinha was 1st Indian in Executive Councils

Communal representation of Muslims.

Muslim Voters can elect Muslim Members

Act legalized Communalism

Lord Minto -> Father of communal electorate




(I) Government of India Act 1921

Came to force in 1921

Montage Chelmsford reforms

Separate list for central and provincial councils to make law on different matters.

Structure of government continued to be centralized and unitary.


Transferred Subjects

Administered by Governor with the aid of Ministers responsible to Legislative Council.


Reserved Subjects

Administered by Governor and his executive council without being responsible to legislative council.

This dual scheme was called "diarchy" a Greek word di-arche means double rule.

It was unsuccessful.


(J) Simon Commission, 1927

2 Years before Schedule, British Government announced appointment of 7 member statutory commission under the Chairmanship of Sir John Simon.

This commission was formed to report on condition of India under its new constitution.

Since all members of the commission were British, all parties boycotted the Commission.

Commission submitted its report in 1930 and recommendations of the committee were incorporated with some changes in Government of India Act, 1935.


(K) Government of India Act, 1935

321 Section, 10 Schedules

All India Federation consisting of provinces and princely states as units.

Act divided powers between:

- 59 Federal List

- -- Provincial list

- 36 Concurrent list.

Residuary powers were given to Viceroy

Federation never came into being as the princely states did not join it.

Provided for diarchy at the Centre.

Federal Subjects

- Reserved

- Transferred

Did not come into operation

6/11 Provinces -> bicameralism, with restrictions

- Bihar, Assam, UP, Bengal, Bombay, Madras

Legislative Council, Legislative Assembly

RBI Act, 1935

Federal Court, 1937


(L) Cripps Mission, 1942

Sir Stafford Cripps, a member of British Cabinet in his declaration promised India with liberty to frame their own Constitution.


(M) Cabinet Mission, 1946

Mission was to establish Constitutional Assembly to draft Constitution consisted of:

(i) Lord Pethick - Lawrence

(ii) Sir Stafford Cripps

(iii) A. V. Alexander


(N) India Independence Act, 1947

- Ended British Rule

- Declared India to be Independent from 15th August 1947

- Provided for partition and right to recede from British Commonwealth.

- No Viceroy. Each dominion got a Governor General appointed by British King

- No more ties between both Governments

- Empowered continental amenities to remove any British Law and frame our own Constitution.

- Lord Mountbatten become first Governor-General of new Dominion of India

- Lord Mountbatten swore Jawaharlal Nehru as the 1st Prime Minister

- Constituent Assembly formed in 1946 become the Parliament of Indian Dominion.


Note for LLB Entrance Examinations

Muslim Law

Muslim Law in brief

Nikah- Muslim Marriage Conditions

Talaq - Muslim Divorce Law

Hindu Law

Hindu Marriage Act in Brief

Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act 1956

Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act 1956

Hindu Succession Act 1956 Notes

Special Marriage Act 1954 Notes

Historic Development of Law in India

Constitution of India

Preamble of the Constitution of India

Fundamental Rights in Constitution of India

Article 32 Remedies for enforcement of rights

Directive Principles of State Policy

Fundamental Duties

Executive, Judiciary, President, VP

Extent of Powers of Union, Supreme Court etc

State Judiciary, High Court, Lower Courts

Parliament, Council of states, house of people

Introduction and passing bills, budget etc

State Legislature, Composition, duration

Bills, Money Bill, Finance Bill, Proceedings

Emergency - National, State, Financial


Non Constitutional Bodies, Niti ayog, NHRC etc

Panchayat, Municipality, Cooperative Societies

Important amendments to the Constitution

PIL - Public Interest Litigation, Judicial Review

Doctrine of Basic Structure in Constitution

Indian Citizenship law

Constitution of India Schedules and Provisions

Criminal Laws

Theft, Extortion, Robbery, Cheating etc

Tress Pass, Negligence, Nuisance, Defamation

Liability - Vicarious, Strict, Absolute Liability

Crime, Stages, Elements, General Exceptions

IPC Chapter, Provisions and Sections

Crime, origin, Elements, Stages  Exceptions

Indian Penal Code Sections and Description

Other Laws, International bodies etc

Law of Torts - Civil Tort, Criminal Tort

Contract Essentials valid, void, voidable

United Nations, UNGA, UNSC, ICJ, UN ECOSOC

List of International Bodies

Treaty, Convention, Protocol, Summit etc..

World Intellectual Property Organization

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