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Report No. 169

2.2. E.I. Company's Mutiny Act.-

Statutory provision was first made for the discipline of the East India Company's troops by an Act (27 Geo. II, C. 9) passed in 1754 for "Punishing Mutiny and Desertion of officers and soldiers in the service of the United Company of Merchants of England trading to the East Indies, and for the punishment of offences committed in the East Indies, or at the Island of Saint Helena". Section 8 of this Act empowered the Crown to make Articles of War for the government of these troops, and such Articles were accordingly made and published.

The terms of the Act were wide enough to cover both European and Indian troops, but the language of the articles themselves showed that they were originally intended for Europeans only. In the absence of any other code, however, the Government of Bengal, Madras and Bombay seem to have applied these articles, with such modifications and omissions as appeared necessary, to the bodies of Indian troops maintained by them, of which the present Indian Army is the descendant.

In 1813, owing to doubts having arisen as to the legal validity of the existing arrangements for the discipline of the Indian troops, provisions were inserted in the Act (53 Geo. III, C. 155, sections 96 and 97) which was passed in that year to extend the Company's privileges for a further term, which legalised the existing system and gave power to each of the Governments of Fort William, Fort Saint George and Bombay to make laws, regulations, and Articles of War for the Government of all Indian officers and soldiers in their respective services. It was further provided in 1824 (4 Geo. IV, C. 81, section 63), that such legislation should apply to the Indian troops of each presidency, wherever serving, and whether within or beyond His Majesty's dominions.

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