Important Bills and Acts Under Lord Ripon Factory Act 1881 Repeal of the Vernacular Press Act 1881 Hunter Commission 1882 Local Self Government 1882
Lord Ripon (1880 – 1884)
- Lord Ripon became the viceroy of India in 1880. He was liberal minded.
- He not only understood the aspirations of the educated Indians but also sympathised with them.
- He wanted to give the Indians an increasing share in the administration of the country.
- He abolished the repressive measures of Lytton.
- He repealed the Vernacular Press Act and earned much popularity among Indians.
- Factory Act 1881
- Repeal of the Vernacular Press Act 1881
- Census of India 1881
- Hunter Commission 1882
- Local Self Government 1882
- Ilbert Bill 1883
Factory Act 1881
- Ripon’s Government passed the First Factories Act in 1881.
- To improve the service condition of the factory workers in India
- The Act banned the appointment of children below the age of seven in factories
- It fixed the number of working hours for children below the age of twelve.
- It also insisted that dangerous machines should be fenced.
- Inspectors were appointed to supervise the implementation of the Act.
Repeal of the Vernacular Press Act 1881
In 1881 Lord Ripon repealed the most hated Vernacular Press Act passed by Lord Lytton.
It led to the freedom of the press again.
Census of India 1881
With a view to administer the country in a better manner, Lord Ripon introduced the Census system in India in 1881.
Hunter Commission 1882
- Ripon wanted to review the working of the educational system on the basis of the recommendations of the Wood’s Despatch.
- Lord Ripon appointed an Education Commission in 1882. Its Chairman was Sir W.W. Hunter.
- The Commission suggested the improvement of Primary and Secondary education.
- It also suggested the establishment of model schools in every district.
- Secondary education was encouraged with the further extension of grants-in-aid to private institutions.
- The commission also recommended to the government to pay more attention towards female education.
- Lord Ripon was instrumental in the foundation of the University of Punjab (Pakistan).
Local Self Government 1882
- The most popular reform of Ripon was his measure for the decentralization of administrative and financial control.
- His Government passed a series of Acts in 1883 – 1884 for the establishment of Local Self Government in India.
- According to them District and Taluk Boards were set up throughout the country.
- These local self-governing bodies were entrusted with the task of promoting education, public health, drinking water, hygiene and sanitation and the maintenance of roads.
- They had appropriate funds to carry out these duties.
- In order to give training to the Indians to manage their affairs, election, rather than nomination, was adopted.
- This reform earned Lord Ripon the title ‘Father of Local Self Government’.
- It was perhaps the desire of Ripon that power in India should be gradually transferred to the educated Indians.
- He also insisted on the election of local bodies as against selection by the government.
Ilbert Bill 1883
- Lord Ripon wanted to remove two kinds of law that had been prevalent in India.
- According to the system of law, a European could be tried only by a European Judge or a European Magistrate.
- The disqualification was unjust and it was sought to cast a needless discredit and dishonour upon the Indian-born members of the judiciary.
- C.P. Ilbert, Law Member, introduced a bill in 1883 to abolish this discrimination in judiciary.
- But Europeans opposed this Bill strongly.
- The bill had to be amended subsequently. According to it the British accused could be tried by a ‘jury consisting of at least half European members.’
- The Ilbert Bill controversy helped the cause of Indian nationalism.
- The Ilbert Bill Controversy is a high watermark in the history of Indian National Movement.
- Ripon tendered his resignation and left for England.
- The immediate result of this awakening of India was the birth of the Indian National Congress in 1885, the very next year of Ripon’s departure.