Rowlatt Act 1919:

The Rowlatt Act of 1919 was a controversial and repressive piece of legislation imposed by the British colonial government in India during the post-World War I period. It was officially known as the Anarchical and Revolutionary Crimes Act of 1919 and was named after the chairman of the committee that recommended its adoption, Sir Sidney Rowlatt.
Key features of the Rowlatt Act:

1. Background:

The Rowlatt Act was enacted in response to the unrest and political turmoil in India after World War I. The British government was concerned about the possibility of revolutionary activities and wanted to suppress any potential threats to its control over India.
Background and Emergency Powers - No Trial by Jury - Jallianwala Bagh Massacre - Non-Cooperation Movement - Features of the Rowlatt Act

2. Emergency Powers:

The Act granted the British colonial authorities sweeping powers to arrest and detain individuals without trial. It allowed for the detention of people suspected of being involved in revolutionary or seditious activities.

3. No Trial by Jury:

One of the most controversial aspects of the Rowlatt Act was that it allowed for trials without a jury. Instead, cases would be heard by a judge alone. This provision was seen as a violation of the principle of a fair trial and was met with strong opposition.

4. Protests and Opposition:

The Rowlatt Act sparked widespread protests and opposition across India. Indian leaders, including Mahatma Gandhi, saw it as a betrayal of the promises made by the British government regarding democratic reforms after the war.

5. Jallianwala Bagh Massacre:

The discontent over the Rowlatt Act culminated in the Jallianwala Bagh massacre on April 13, 1919, in Amritsar. A peaceful gathering was fired upon by British troops, resulting in hundreds of casualties. The massacre further intensified the demand for Indian self-rule.

6. Non-Cooperation Movement:

The Rowlatt Act played a significant role in shaping the course of the Indian independence movement. In protest against the Act and the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, Mahatma Gandhi called for the Non-Cooperation Movement in 1920, urging Indians to resist British rule through nonviolent means.

7. Repeal:

In the face of widespread protests and growing unrest, the Rowlatt Act was eventually repealed in 1922. However, the events surrounding its enactment and the subsequent protests had a lasting impact on the Indian freedom struggle.
The Rowlatt Act and the discontent it generated were crucial factors that fueled the momentum of the Indian independence movement in the early 20th century.