History of Rowlatt Act India in Short

In this article, we have explained the History of Rowlatt Act also called the Black Act. Here you will read about its establishment, provisions, oppose, purpose, effect, and about cease.


As we know that before Independence, the Britishers ruled in India. The British Government passed several laws and orders to hold the country and its revolution for Independence. That Government passed an act named Rowlatt Act in March 1919 to end and stop the national level revolt against the British Government.

Establishment of the Rowlatt Act

This law was enacted in March 1919 by the Rowlatt Act to end the national movement emerging in India by the British government ruling. The legislation was made based on the recommendation of a committee headed by “Sir Sydney Arthur Taylor Rowlatt”. As this law was passed, the whole country was stunned because the citizen came to know that this was enforced to end the influence of revolutionaries in India & crush the nation’s spirit.

Provisions of the Rowlatt Act

There was clause mentioned in this against the revolutionaries as below-

  • Those who are suspected of committing a crime against the state can be taken bail and prevented from going to any particular place and doing exceptional work.
  • The trial of the revolutionaries should appear in the court of three judges of the High Court, who should decode them soon. It is not required to opt for lower courts for appeal.
  • The governments were given the rights to arrest and detain anyone whom they suspect, and if the alleged person is in jail, he can hold them there.
  • Publishing or distributing illegal material or possessing it to do will be an offence.

In short, we can say that in this way, the Government got the right to suspend the prisoner directly in court, i.e. the law of habeas corpus. The act was called without appeal, without counsel and without argument. Along with this, it is also known as “Black Act” and Terrorist Crime Act” Thus with a right, the British Government could punish any innocent person.

Oppose of Rowlatt Act

After passing this bill which was called Black Law, all leaders and people of India started opposing. The father of national Mahatma Gandhi strongly opposed this act and urged the British government “devilish people” Hr went on a national wide on 6th April 1919, in protest against this act. Swami Shraddhanandji took charge of this movement in Delhi.

There were agitators in the bullet fired on the crowd. Lahore and Punjab also opened fire on the group. Gandhi Ji criticized the Rowlatt Act and set up a Satyagraha Sabha to protest against it. Congress strongly opposed the Rowlatt Act. Newspapers protested fiercely and Indian members of the council.

Purpose of this law

After the ending of world war, The British Government decided to bring a proposal to suppress the activities and movements being carried out by the revolutionaries against the British rule, so that no Indian can raise his voice against the British rule.

Based on this act, The British Government had obtained such rights that could have detained an Indian person without imprisonment in court. On the basis of this law, the right to know & name of the person who had committed crime was abolished.

Effect of this law

In the words of Pandit Motilal Nehru “The Act put an end to the system of appeals, pleading and pleases” Hence it is called Kala Kanoon by the Indians. The law affected badly to all Indians on those days.

Thousands of people were fired during this movement. Today, the Jalianwala Bagh massacre has completed 100 years. Thousands of people gathered in Jallianwala Bagh Amritsar on 13th April 1919 to protest against the Rowlatt Act. B

British Officer General Dyer blocked the main gate of this garden with his soldiers and armed vehicles and fired bullets for 10 minutes without warning on the unarmed crowd. This event is considered to be the darkest day in British Indian History. Thousands of people were arrested and sent to jail due to participate in this movement.

Cease of Rowlatt Act

The movement was increasing rapidly, and the situation had become worse after the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in April 1919. The movement was further agitated by the oppressive policies adopted by this law. Eventually, in March 1922 there was massive opposition, and the British Government took back this law as per reports of Repressive Law Committee.

The Bottom Line

The Rowlatt act was ended, and the British Government understood the power of Indian People and their national spirit. After that, they did not think to bring this type of law in the country again. This law gave the power of unity and integrity to the people of India, and they became stronger to oppose British rule in India.

Featured Image – Wikimedia

Leave a comment