Ilbert Bill of 1883 | Ilbert Bill Controversy

The Ilbert Bill was a bill introduced in 1883 by Viceroy Ripon that proposed an amendment for existing laws in India. The bill allow Indian judges and magistrates the jurisdiction to try British offenders in criminal cases at the District level, something that was disallowed at the time. The bill wa proposed by Sir Courtenay Ilbert who was the legal adviser to the Viceroy of India's Council. The introduction of the bill led to intense opposition in Britain and from British settlers in India that ultimately played on racial tensions. Finally in 1884, the bill was amended as Criminal Procedure Code Amendment Act in which jurisdiction to try Europeans would be conferred on European only. The bitter controversy deepened antagonism between the British and Indians and was a prelude to the formation of the Indian National Congress the following year.

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