Rowlatt Act & Satyagraha 1919

On the basis of the finding of the Rowlatt Committee two bills were introduced in the Imperial Legislative Council.

  • Out of them one was dropped and another which was an extension to the Defense of India Regulations Act 1915 was passed as “Anarchical and Revolutionary Crimes Act of 1919, in March of that year.
  • This act authorized the government to imprison for a maximum period of two years, without trial, any person suspected of terrorism.
  • The act provided speedy trial of the offenses by a special cell that consisted of 3 High Court Judges. There was no court of appeal above that panel.
  • This panel could also accept the evidences which were not even acceptable in the Indian Evidences Act.

    Thus in succession, the Government passed Montagu Chelmsford Reforms and Rowlatt Act that were part of the Carrot and Stick policy of the British.

    This act gave a new direction to the movement. Gandhi organized a mass protest at all India level. By March 23, 1919, the volunteers started courting arrests. The three organizations viz, the Home Rule league, Muslim league and the Satyagraha Sabha along with some other small organizations coordinated and organized the biggest Satyagraha ever.

    On April 6, 1919, an all India strike was organized. There was mob violence in Bombay, Ahmadabad and all other major towns. The Satyagraha lost momentum with the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy on April 13, 1919.