The Rowlatt Act angered the nation. The immediate fallout was the Rowlatt Satyagraha, demanded by Mahatma Gandhi less than three weeks later, on April 6, 1919. As a result, Indians would refrain from going to work and holding meetings against the repressive law. The Indian Councils Act of 1861 made several changes to the composition of the council. The council was then called the Governor General`s Legislative Council or Imperial Legislative Council. Three members were to be appointed by the Secretary of State for India and two by the Sovereign. (The power to appoint the five members passed to the Crown in 1869.) The viceroy is authorized to appoint six to twelve other members. [ref. needed] The five appointees appointed by the Secretary of India or the sovereign headed the executive departments, while the Governor-General`s appointees debated and voted on legislation. The application of the said law provoked the reaction of the Indians, who were burned in the desire to overthrow British rule. To openly avoid the act, Mahatma Gandhi and others called for massive hartals known as Rowlatt Satyagraha.

In some places, there were violent clashes, particularly in Delhi and Punjab, where the army had to be called. Two congressional leaders, Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew and Dr. Satyapal, were also arrested. When the violence did not stop, Gandhi suspended the satyagraha. The Rowlatt Act was passed on March 18, 1919 and was called the “Black Act” and sparked national outrage. It was based on a committee headed by Sidney Rowlatt and modelled on the Defence of India Act 1915. The latter, enacted during the First World War (1914-18), gave “extraordinary powers” to the police and allowed for “emergency measures” to deal with people who posed a threat to national security while Britain was fighting a world war.

The Rowlatt Act of 1919 is known as the Black Act because it severely restricted civil liberties. The law allowed the British government to jail anyone suspected of conspiring or overthrowing the government, even without trial, and try them without a jury. The law also allowed the British government to arrest Indian political leaders without trial or arrest warrants. The Rowlatt Act of 1919 was imposed on the Imperial Legislative Council despite opposition from Indian leaders. The army was called up in Punjab, and on September 13, the army was called up in Punjab. In April, residents of nearby villages gathered to celebrate Baisakhi Day and protested the deportation of two prominent Indian leaders to Amritsar, which led to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919. [25] [26] Then, in March 1919, the British introduced one of the most hated laws in India. It was called the “Rowlatt Act” and had far-reaching consequences for the freedom movement. The British colonial government passed the Rowlatt Act, which gave police the power to arrest anyone without cause. The purpose of the law was to contain the growing nationalist rise in the country. Mahatma Gandhi called on the people to perform satyagraha against the act. [6] [7] The official name of the legislation was the “Law on Anarchic and Revolutionary Crimes of 1919”, a dead gift to the intentions of the colonial administration.

Under the law, activists involved in a plot against the British would be sentenced to up to 2 years in prison without trial. Suspects of seditious activities could be arrested without warrant and detained indefinitely. In addition, the law restricts any form of investigation of the case by the press. A similarity between contemporary preventive detention laws and the Rowlatt Act could be found on a critical analysis. The British imposed the Black Act to prevent the development of patriotism and to prevent freedom fighters from involving others in the struggle for freedom. They have also enacted other laws on preventive detention to prevent seditious activities. The drafters of the constitution passed laws to improve the new India. * Anyone suspected of “terrorist” activities can be arrested for up to 2 years without trial.

But the wave of anger grew and a few days later the massacre of Jallianwala Bagh took place in Amritsar. On April 13, 1919, the people of Amritsar had gathered in a fenced garden to celebrate the Baisakhi festival and also to condemn the arrest of the two Congress leaders during the Rowlatt demonstrations.