Defence of India Act 1915

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Defence of India (Criminal Law Amendment) Act,1915
An Act to provide for special measures to secure the public safety and the defence of British India and for the more speedy trial of certain offences.
CitationAct No.IV of 1915
Territorial extentWhole of British India
Enacted byThe Governor-General in Council
Date signed19 March 1915
Date commenced19 March 1915

The Defence of India Act 1915, also referred to as the Defence of India Regulations Act, was an emergency criminal law enacted by the Governor-General of India in 1915 with the intention of curtailing the nationalist and revolutionary activities during and in the aftermath of the First World War. [1] It was similar to the British Defence of the Realm Acts, and granted the Executive very wide powers of preventive detention, internment without trial, restriction of writing, speech, and of movement. However, unlike the English law which was limited to persons of hostile associations or origin, the Defence of India act could be applied to any subject of the King, [1] and was used to an overwhelming extent against Indians. The passage of the act was supported unanimously by the non-official Indian members in the Viceroy's legislative council, and was seen as necessary to protect against British India from subversive nationalist violence. The act was first applied during the First Lahore Conspiracy trial in the aftermath of the failed Ghadar Conspiracy of 1915, and was instrumental in crushing the Ghadr movement in Punjab and the Anushilan Samiti in Bengal. [2] [3] However its widespread and indiscriminate use in stifling genuine political discourse made it deeply unpopular, and became increasingly reviled within India. The extension of the law in the form of the Rowlatt Act after the end of World War I was opposed unanimously by the non-official Indian members of the Viceroy's council. It became a flashpoint of political discontent and nationalist agitation, culminating in the Rowlatt Satyagraha. The act was re-enacted during World War II as Defence of India act 1939. Independent India retained the law in a number of amended forms, which have seen use in proclaimed states of national emergency including Sino-Indian War, Bangladesh crisis, The Emergency of 1975 and subsequently the Punjab insurgency.

Criminal law is the body of law that relates to crime. It proscribes conduct perceived as threatening, harmful, or otherwise endangering to the property, health, safety, and moral welfare of people inclusive of one's self. Most criminal law is established by statute, which is to say that the laws are enacted by a legislature. Criminal law includes the punishment and rehabilitation of people who violate such laws. Criminal law varies according to jurisdiction, and differs from civil law, where emphasis is more on dispute resolution and victim compensation than on punishment or rehabilitation. Criminal procedure is a formalized official activity that authenticates the fact of commission of a crime and authorizes punitive or rehabilitative treatment of the offender.

Governor-General of India position

The Governor-General of India was originally the head of the British administration in India and, later, after Indian independence in 1947, the representative of the Indian head of state. The office was created in 1773, with the title of Governor-General of the Presidency of Fort William. The officer had direct control only over Fort William, but supervised other East India Company officials in India. Complete authority over all of British India was granted in 1833, and the official came to be known as the "Governor-General of India".

The Revolutionary movement for Indian independence is a part of the Indian independence movement comprising the actions of the underground revolutionary factions. Groups believing in armed revolution against the ruling British fall into this category, as opposed to the generally peaceful civil disobedience movement spearheaded by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. The revolutionary groups were mainly concentrated in Bengal, Maharashtra, Bihar, the United Provinces and Punjab. More groups were scattered across India.



Punjab and Bengal, along with Maharashtra, became hotbeds of revolutionary nationalist violence against British rule in India in the first decade of the 20th century. 1905 partition of Bengal and the 1907 colonisation bill in Punjab fed growing discontent. In Bengal, revolutionary organisations like Anushilan Samiti and Jugantar drew young recruits from the educated middle-class Bhadralok ranks, and engaged in a number of prominent attacks on both figures in the administration as well as the local police investigating incidents of robbery, violence and murder linked to these groups. These included assassinations and attempted assassinations of civil servants, prominent public figures and Indian informants. In 1907 attempts were made on the life of the Bengal Lieutenant-Governor Sir Andrew Fraser. In 1908, a failed assassination attempt by Jugantar on the life of Presidency Magistrate Douglas Kingsford led to death of two European women. In 1909, a failed assassination attempt saw two bombs thrown at Lord Minto. In December that year the magistrate of Nasik A. M. T. Jackson was shot dead by Anant Kanhere, and suspicion fell on links to India House in London which was at the time being led by V. D. Savarkar whose elder brother Ganesh had been convicted by Jackson of seditious conspiracy. India House was also held responsible for the murder in London of William Hutt Curzon Wyllie, the political ADC to the secretary of state to India. A number of assassinations were also carried out of approvers who had turned crown-witnesses. In 1909 Naren Gossain, crown-witness for the prosecution in Alipore bomb case, was shot dead within Alipore Jail by Satyendranath Bose and Kanailal Dutt. Ashutosh Biswas, an advocate of Calcutta High Court in charge of prosecution of Gossain murder case, was shot dead within Calcutta High Court in 1909. In 1910, Shamsul Alam, Deputy Superintendent of Bengal Police responsible for investigating the Alipore Bomb case, was shot dead on the steps of Calcutta High Court. In Punjab, agitation against the 1907 colonisation bill, which the protagonists falsely believed was attempting to introduce law of primogeniture. Punjab police had become aware of nuclei of nationalist movements arising across the state in the form of a nascent Ghadr movement, fed by resources and the efforts of emigrant Sikh communities living in Canada. [4] Investigations during 1912 into an attempt to assassinate the then Viceroy of India, Charles Hardinge, promulgated the discovery of links between Bengal revolutionaries commanded by erstwhile Jugantar member Rash Behari Bose, and the Ghadr movement in Punjab.

Anushilan Samiti Nationalist organization of India

Anushilan Samiti was a Bengali Indian organisation that existed in the first quarter of the twentieth century, and propounded revolutionary violence as the means for ending British rule in India. The organisation arose from a conglomeration of local youth groups and gyms (Akhara) in Bengal in 1902. It had two prominent, if somewhat independent, arms in East and West Bengal identified as Dhaka Anushilan Samiti centred in Dhaka, and the Jugantar group respectively.

Jugantar or Yugantar was one of the two main secret revolutionary trends operating in Bengal for Indian independence. This association, like Anushilan Samiti started in the guise of suburban fitness club. Several Jugantar members were arrested, hanged, or deported for life to the Cellular Jail in Andaman. Thanks to the amnesty after World War I, most of them were released and could give a new turn to their political career, mainly: (a) by joining Deshbandhu's Swarajya or (b) the Communist Party of India; or (c) M. N. Roy's Radical Democratic Party; or (d) later Subhas Chandra Bose's Forward Bloc in the 1930s.


Bhadralok is Bengali for the new class of 'gentlefolk' who arose during British colonial times in Bengal.

Early laws

Preventive detention

The Bengal Regulation of 1812 and Regulation III of 1818 were some of the earliest laws in British India to incorporate the provisions of Preventive detention, without having to commit the detainee to trial. [5] In the Presidencies of Madras and Bombay, similar laws had been enacted in 1819 and 1827 respectively. [6] Prisoners under these regulations had no right of habeas corpus . [7] Section 491 of the Criminal Procedure Code introduced the writ of Habeas Corpus in 1882. [7] In 1907, emergency ordinances were issued in Punjab and in Eastern Bengal and Assam on the fiftieth anniversary of the 1857 mutiny. This allowed abolishment of public meetings, and the Indian press was subjected to controls to limit seditious material being published. [4] The Explosive Substances Act and the Newspaper Act were passed in June 1908 to try and arrest agitation.

The Bengal Regulation III of 1818, officially the Bengal State Prisoners Regulation, III of 1818, was a law for preventive detention enacted by the East India Company in the Presidency of Bengal in 1818. The law empowered the administration to detain an individual indefinitely, on the basis of suspicion of criminal intent, and without having to commit the detainee to trial. Similar laws were enacted in the Presidencies of Madras and Bombay. The act, along with a similar law enacted in 1915 was put to significant implementation during World War I in British India and remained enforced until at least 1927. It was focus of much criticism amongst Indian members of regional Presidency councils because of the arbitrary and rampant use for detaining anybody suspected of nationalist sympathies during and after the war.

Preventive detention is an imprisonment that is putatively justified for non-punitive purposes.

Bombay Presidency province of British India

The Bombay Presidency, also known as Bombay and Sind from 1843 to 1936 and the Bombay Province, was an administrative subdivision (presidency) of British India. Headquartered in the city of Bombay, at its greatest extent, the presidency included the Konkan, Nashik and Pune divisions of the present-day Indian state of Maharashtra, Ahmedabad, Anand, Bharuch, Gandhinagar, Kheda, Panchmahal and Surat districts of the present-day state of Gujarat, Bagalkot, Belagavi, Bijapur, Dharwad, Gadag, and Uttara Kannada districts of the present-day state of Karnataka and the South Canara (Dakshina Kannada and Udupi district including Kasargod District of Kerala; the Sindh province of present-day Pakistan; the Aden Colony, and the Khuriya Muriya Islands.

In June 1907 local governments were further authorised to initiate proceedings against local press publishing seditious material amongst civilian population or the army. [4] The Indian Sociologist was banned in India in September 1907 and in November that year the Prevention of Seditious Meetings Act was passed. [8] February 1910 saw the introduction of Indian Press Act which allowed Provincial governments to ask for punitive securities of up to Rs 5,000 from newspapers likely to incite sedition and violence. This act resulted in a number of nationalist publications closing down unable to provide such a surety. [8]

<i>The Indian Sociologist</i>

The Indian Sociologist was an Indian nationalist journal in the early 20th century. Its subtitle was An Organ of Freedom, and Political, Social, and Religious Reform.

The Prevention of Seditious Meetings Act, 1907'An Act to make better provision for the prevention of public meetings likely to promote sedition or to cause a disturbance of public tranquillity) was a 1907 act of the Imperial Legislative Council of the British Raj enabling the government to prohibit political meetings.

The Press Act of 1910 was legislation promulgated in British India imposing strict censorship on all kinds of publications. The measure was brought into effect to curtail the influence of Indian vernacular and English language in promoting support for what was considered radical Indian nationalism. It followed in the wake of two decades of increasing influence of journals such as Kesari in Western India, publications such as Jugantar and Bandemataram in Bengal, and similar journals emerging in the United Provinces. These were deemed to influence a surge in nationalist violence and revolutionary terrorism against interests and officials of the Raj in India, particularly in Maharashtra and in Bengal. A widespread influence was noted amongst the general population which drew a large proportion population of youth towards the ideology of radical nationalists such as Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Aurobindo Ghosh, and towards secret revolutionary organisations such as Anushilan Samiti in Bengal and Mitra Mela in Maharashtra. This peaked in 1908, with the attempted assassination of a local judge in Bengal, and a number of assassinations of local Raj officials in Maharshtra. The aftermath of Muzaffarpur bombings saw Tilak convicted on charges of sedition, while in Bengal a large number of nationalsts of the Anushilan Samiti were convicted. However, Aurobindo Ghosh had escaped conviction. With defiant messages from journals such as Jugantar, the propvisions of the 1878 Vernacular Press Act were revived. Herbert Hope Risley, in 1907, declared, "We are overwhelmed with a mass of heterogeneous material, some of it misguided, some of it frankly seditious," in response to a deluge of imagery associated with the Cow Protection Movement. These concerns led him to draft the major substance of the 1910 Press Act.

Criminal law amendment 1908

Failure of prosecution in a number of cases under the Criminal procedures act 1898 led to a special act whereby crimes of nationalist violence were to be tried by a special tribunal composed of three high-court judges. December 1908 saw the passage of the Criminal Law amendments under the terms of Regulation III of 1818 and to suppress associations formed for seditious conspiracies. [8] The act was first applied to deport nine Bengali revolutionaries to Mandalay prison in 1908.[ citation needed ] Despite these measures however, high standards of evidence demanded by the Calcutta High Court, insufficient investigations by police, and at times outright fabrication of evidence led to persistent failure to tame nationalist violence. [9] Police forces felt unable to deal with the operations of secretive nationalist organisations, leading to demands for special powers. These were opposed vehemently in the Indian press, which argued against any extension of already wide powers enjoyed by the police forces in India, and which it was argued was being used to oppress Indian people. [10]

Calcutta High Court High Court for Indian state of West Bengal & Andaman Nicobar Islands at Kolkata

The Calcutta High Court is the oldest High Court in India. It has jurisdiction over the state of West Bengal and the Union Territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The High Court building's design is based on the Cloth Hall, Ypres, in Belgium.

World War I

The First World War began with an unprecedented outpouring of support towards Britain from within the mainstream political leadership, contrary to initial British fears of an Indian revolt. India contributed massively to the British war effort by providing men and resources. About 1.3 million Indian soldiers and labourers served in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, while both the Indian government and the princes sent large supplies of food, money and ammunition. However, Bengal and Punjab remained hotbeds of anti colonial activities. After the onset of the First World War, plague, rising grain prices, dissatisfaction with immigration policies within the British empire (highlighted by the Komagata Maru affair), and rumours of British misfortunes in the war meant by 1914, Punjab was in an unsettled state. [11] India lay considerably far away from the Central Powers, with only feasible routes of invasion being through Persia and Afghanistan. The Indian Government at the outset of the war anticipated that India would remain safe as long as Afghanistan maintained neutrality, and the tribes of NWFP were under control. [12] The worst situation would be from a combination of war with Afghanistan and internal unrest fomented by either the Bengali revolutionary network, the Ghadr in Punjab or Indian Muslims who may sympathise with Ottoman Umma . [13]

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Umma human settlement

Umma was an ancient city in Sumer. There is some scholarly debate about the Sumerian and Akkadian names for this site. Traditionally, Umma was identified with Tell Jokha. More recently it has been suggested that it was located at Umm al-Aqarib, less than 7 km to its northwest or was even the name of both cities.


British intelligence in North America indicated early in the war that the Ghadr Party, co-ordinating with the Berlin Committee in Germany, and the Indian revolutionary underground was attempting to transport men and arms from United States and East Asia into India, intended for a revolution and mutiny in the British Indian Army. From August 1914, a large number of Sikh expatriates began leaving Canada and USA under the plans of the Ghadr leadership for fomenting mutiny in India, whilst in Bengal nationalist crime also increased. [14] Department of Criminal Intelligence chief Charles Cleveland noted that the threat to India should be dealt with by dealing with Ghadr activists who were already in India and those who were returning. [15] To this end, Ingress into India Ordinance, 1914 was passed to limit the influx of Ghadarites, [16] but failed to stem the inflow. The planned mutiny for February 1915 was averted at the last minute.


In the meantime, the situation in Bengal worsened considerably following the Rodda Company raid by Jugantar, which handed large amount of firearms to Bengal revolutionaries. There were 36 outrages in 1915, climbing steeply from 13 in 1913 and 14 in 1914. The revolutionaries launched what has been described by some historians as "a reign of terror in both the cities and the countryside" that "came close to achieving their key goal of paralysing the administration." A general atmosphere of fear encompassed the police and the law courts, severely affecting the moral. [17] In entire 1915, only six revolutionaries were successfully brought to trial.

Defence of India act

On 19 March 1915, Sir Reginald Craddock, home member in the Viceroy's council introduced the law and it passed in a single sitting. It was enacted as a temporary legislation in effect for the duration of World War I and for six months afterwards. The act gave the Governor General in Council the power to make rules

for the purpose of securing the public safety and the defence of British India and as to the powers and duties of public servants and other persons in furtherance of that purpose...

Considerable pressure for the passage of the act was from Michael O'Dwyer particularly in light of the Ghadr threat. Answering to Sir Surendranath Bannerjee in the legislative assembly, Craddock denied any necessity or propriety for the government to constitute an advisory board of judicial character that would deal with the applications of the act. [18] In this regard the law differed from the Defence of the Realm act. Craddock explained to the assembly that the lack of judicial oversight and advice were acceptable since the restrictive measures in the act were "preventive and not punitive in measures". [18]


The law was to be valid for the duration of the war and for six months thereafter "for public safety" and "the defence of British India". The main object of the law made it illegal to communicate with the enemy, obtaining information, spreading false reports, as well as any activities that the government saw prejudicial to the war effort. The act allowed local governments to make rules detain indefinitely, [2] without representation, and to try by special tribunals persons "reasonably suspected" of being of hostile origin or acting in a manner prejudicial to the safety of the empire. [19] committing or conspiring to commit crimes either described in the act, or crimes which maybe punishable by death, transportation or at least seven year imprisonment. [20] Power of detention, unlike under DORA, was carried by subordinate officers. For Trials already initiated under the Criminal procedures act 1898 or the 1908 Criminal law amendment were exempt from the act. Prosecution was to follow the procedures prescribed in the criminal procedures act 1898, but was superseded by the special powers and discretion of court. Crucially however, the Commissioners could take direct cognisance of the offences alleged and therefore preliminary procedures could be disposed off with.


The act gave powers to local government to appoint three commissioners for trials who may be below the status of high-court judges. At least two would be Sessions judges or additional sessions judges for at least three years, were qualified for appointment as Judges of a High Court, or advocates of a Chief Court or pleaders of ten years' standing. A majority verdict was acceptable.

The act allowed the commissioners to accept as evidence statements recorded by a magistrates without scrutiny to cross examination and superseded the standards of evidence proscribed in the Indian evidence act 1872. Further the act allowed commissioners to accept such recorded evidence where the witness was unavailable or dead. This measure was intended to secure and safeguard against intimidation and assassinations by revolutionaries of approvers. There was no right to trial by jury. The act excluded from appeal or judicial review the decisions of the commissioners appointed under the Defence of India act.

Although designed to maintain order and curtail revolutionary movement, the law was in practice used in widespread scale from limiting revolutionaries, through arresting perpetrators of religious violence, to curtailing the voice of moderate political leaders. [21] Unlike the Defence of the Realm Act (which was limited in scope to people of Hostile origin or associations, i.e. enemy citizens or collaborators), the act could be applied against any subject of the King. By June 1917, 705 were under home-arrest under the act, along with 99 imprisonments under Regulation III. [3] Through the war, more than 1400 people were interned in India under the Defence of India Act alone, and a further three hundred subjected to minor restrictions, while more than two thousand were subjected to the restrictions of the Ingress into India Ordinance. [22]


At the time of its enactment, the Defence of India act received universal support from Indian non-officiating members in the Governor General's council, from moderate leaders within Indian Political Movement. The British war effort had received popular support within India and the act received support on the understanding that the measures enacted were necessary in the war-situation. Its application saw a significant curtailment in revolutionary violence in India. However, the wide scope and widespread use amongst general population and against even moderate leaders led to growing revulsion within Indian population.

Revolutionary violence

The enactment of the law saw 46 executions and 64 life sentences handed out to revolutionaries in Bengal and Punjab in the Lahore Conspiracy Trial and Benares Conspiracy Trial, and in tribunals in Bengal, [2] effectively crushing the revolutionary movement. The power of preventive detention were however applied more particularly to Bengal. By March 1916 widespread arrests helped Bengal Police crush the Dhaka Anushilan Samiti in Calcutta. [3] Regulation III and Defence of India act was applied to Bengal from August 1916 on a wide scale. In Bengal, revolutionary violence in Bengal plummeted to 10 in 1917. [2] By the end of the war there were more than eight hundred interned in Bengal under the act.

Moderate dissent

The application of the act was not limited to those suspected of revolutionary crimes. It gradually came to be used in coercing and suppressing the voice of many nationalist leaders, even of moderate views, where regional administration felt their opinion or views were seditious to British rule in India, or dangerous to the administration. [23] A number of prominent moderate leaders were interned or deported under the Defence of India act. Most notable of these leaders was Mrs Annie Besant. Beasant had set up branches of the Home Rule League in major towns and cities at the time Bal Gangadhar Tilak was establishing the league in Bombay and in Western India. Although these amounted to little more than debating societies (having been modelled on the Fabian Societies), the leagues were noted to be publishing political pamphlets, selling alm ost 46000 of these in 1916. Libraries were also established where political treatises were made available. Beasant's league had 27000 members by 1917, and that same year both Tilak and Beasant were interned under the act on the grounds their activities were becoming subversive. India. Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar and Maulana Shaukat Ali were arrested and interned after they were found to have been in liaison with individuals in Kabul linked to the German mission, which the administration suspected may have been to promulgate a pan-Indian Islamic revolution. [23] Abul Kalam Azad was deported from Bengal and placed under house arrest in Ranchi for his writing in Al Balagh .


The Defence of India Act, in its implementation, was increasingly reviled. The unpopularity was such that the Lucknow session of the Indian National Congress in 1917 passed a resolution expressing alarm at the extensive use of the act, and urged the Government that its use be under same principles as the Defence of the Realm Act. [24] Immediately after the war, Benjamin Horniman was deported from the Presidency of Bombay for his reporting on the Amritsar massacre.

Later laws

Rowlatt act

With the impending lapse of the 1915 act, the Rowlatt Committee was appointed to recommend measures to deal with the threat from the revolutionary movement. Rowlatt recommended an extension of the provisions of the Defence of India act for a further three years with removal of habeas corpus provisions. It was met with universal opposition by the Indian members of the Viceroy's council, as well within the population in general, earning the title of "The Black Bills" from Mohandas Gandhi. Mohammed Ali Jinnah left the Viceroy's council in protest, after having warned the council of the dangerous consequences of enacting an extension of such an unpopular bill. Rowlatt's recommendations were enacted in the Rowlatt Bills. The agitations against the proposed Rowlatt bills took shape as the Rowlatt Satyagraha under the leadership of Gandhi, one of the first Civil disobedience movements that he would lead the Indian independence movement. The protests saw hartals in Delhi, public protests in Punjab as well as other protest movements across India. In Punjab, protests against the bills, along with a perceived threat of a Ghadrite uprising by the Punjab regional government culminated in the Jallianwalla Bagh Massacre in April 1919. After nearly three years of agitation, the government finally repealed the Rowlatt act and its component sister acts.

1939 act

The Defence of India act 1915 was re-enacted in a more severe form at the onset of World War II as the Defence of India act 1939. It was enacted on 29 September 1939 but deemed to come into force from 3 September 1939, the day when the Second World War began. The act was used notoriously during the war in subduing the independence movement. It expired six months after the termination of the war and was ultimately repealed by the Repealing and Amending Act,1947(Act II of 1948).

Independent India

The Indian Constitution retained the principles of preventive detention encapsulated in the Defence of India act, making one of the few countries were citizens of the country may be subjected to such measures. In Independent India, the law retained in legislations in the form of Preventive Detention act 1950, and has seen implementation as the Defence of India Rules 1962 during the Sino-Indian War of 1962, and the Defence of India Act,1971 during the 1971 Indo-Pak war. The 1962 act gained notoriety for its use in internment of Chinese immigrants in India, most notably Calcutta. Other similar laws enacted in independent India include the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) during The Emergency , and [25] Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (enacted during the Punjab insurgency) which carry very similar provisions.


  1. 1 2 Horniman 1984 , p. 44
  2. 1 2 3 4 Bates 2007 , p. 118
  3. 1 2 3 Popplewell 1995 , p. 210
  4. 1 2 3 Riddick 2006 , p. 92
  6. Patel 1995 , p. 532
  7. 1 2 Ghosh 1995 , p. 398
  8. 1 2 3 Riddick 2006 , p. 93
  9. Horniman 1984 , p. 42
  10. Horniman 1984 , p. 43
  11. Popplewell 1995 , p. 171
  12. Popplewell 1995 , p. 165
  13. Popplewell 1995 , p. 166
  14. Popplewell 1995 , p. 160
  15. Popplewell 1995 , p. 161
  16. Kannabiran & Singh 2009 , p. 235
  17. Popplewell 1995 , p. 201
  18. 1 2 Samaddara 2007 , p. 94
  19. Halliday, Karpik & Feeley(2012), pp. 63
  20. "A collection of the acts passed by the Governor General of Indian in Council in the year 1915. Records of Indian Law Ministry" (PDF). Indian Ministry of Law & Justice. Superintendent Government Printing. 1916. Retrieved 2015-05-09.
  21. Horniman 1984 , p. 45
  22. "PERSONS INTERNED.". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) . House of Commons. 22 October 1919. col. 52-3W.
  23. 1 2 Bates 2007 , p. 119
  24. Pasrisha & Bharati 2009 , p. 85
  25. Desai 1991 , p. 233

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The Hindu–German Conspiracy failed to engage popular support within India. However, it had a significant impact on Britain's policies both in the empire, as well as on her international relations. The outlines and plans for the nascent ideas of the conspiracy were noted and began to be tracked by the British intelligence as early as 1911. Alarmed at the agile organisation, which repeatedly reformed at different parts of the country despite being subdued in others, the chief of Indian Intelligence Sir Charles Cleveland was forced to warn that the idea and attempt at pan-Indian revolutions were spreading through India "like some hidden fire". A massive, concerted and coordinated effort was required to subdue the movement. Attempts were made in 1914 to prevent the naturalisation of Tarak Nath Das as an American citizen, while successful pressure was applied to have Har Dayal interned. The conspiracy had been detected early by British intelligence, and had been the subject of strong British pressure from 1914.

The first Christmas Day plot was a conspiracy made by the Indian revolutionary movement in 1909: during the year-ending holidays, the Governor of Bengal organised at his residence a ball in the presence of the Viceroy, the Commander-in-Chief and all the high-ranking officers and officials of the Capital (Calcutta). The 10th Jat Regiment was in charge of the security. Indoctrinated by Jatindranath Mukherjee, its soldiers decided to blow up the ballroom and take advantage of destroying the colonial Government. In keeping with his predecessor Otto von Klemm, a friend of Lokamanya Tilak, on 6 February 1910, M. Arsenyev, the Russian Consul-General, wrote to St Petersburg that it had been intended to "arouse in the country a general perturbation of minds and, thereby, afford the revolutionaries an opportunity to take the power in their hands." According to R. C. Majumdar, "The police had suspected nothing and it is hard to say what the outcome would have been had the soldiers not been betrayed by one of their comrades who informed the authoritiesabout the impending coup".

British counter-intelligence against the Indian revolutionary movement during World War I began from its initial roots in the late-19th century and ultimately came to span in extent from Asia through Europe to the West Coast of the United States and Canada. It was effective in thwarting a number of attempts for insurrection in British India during World War I and ultimately in controlling the Indian revolutionary movement both at home and abroad.

Sidney Rowlatt English barrister and judge

Sir Sidney Arthur Taylor Rowlatt, KCSI was an English lawyer and judge, best remembered for his controversial presidency of the Rowlatt Committee, a sedition committee appointed in 1918 by the British Indian Government to evaluate the links between political terrorism in India, especially Bengal and the Punjab, and the German government and the Bolsheviks in Russia. The committee gave rise to the Rowlatt Act, an extension of the Defence of India Act 1915

The Ingress into India Ordinance, 1914 was a law passed in British India in September 1914, at the outset of World War I, which allowed the Government of India to screen, detain, and restrict the movement of people returning to India.

The history of the Anushilan Samiti stretches from its beginning early in the first decade of 1900 to its gradual dissemination into the Congress-led Indian independence movement and into the Communist politics in India in the late 1930s. The Samiti began in the first decade of the 20th century in Calcutta as conglomeration of local youth groups and gyms. However, its focus was both physical education and proposed moral development of its members. From its inception it sought to promote what it perceived as Indian values and to focus on Indian sports e.g. Lathi and Sword play. It also encouraged its members to study Indian history as well as those of European liberalism including the French Revolution, Russian Nihilism and Italian unification. Soon after its inception it became a radical organisation that sought to end British Raj in India through revolutionary violence. After World War I, it declined steadily as its members identified closely with leftist ideologies and with the Indian National Congress. It briefly rose to prominence in the late second and third decade, being involved in some notable incidences in Calcutta, Chittagong and in the United Provinces. The samiti dissolved before the Second World War into the Revolutionary Socialist Party.

The Rodda company arms heist took place on 26 August 1914 in Calcutta, British India. Members of the Jugantar faction of the Bengali revolutionary organisation Anushilan Samiti intercepted a shipment of Mauser Pistols and ammunition belonging to Messrs Rodda & co., a Calcutta gun dealer, while these were en route from the Customs house to the company's godown, and were able to make away with a portion the arms. The heist was a sensational incident, being described by The Statesman as the "Greatest daylight robbery". In the following years, the pistols and ammunitions were linked to almost all the incidences of nationalist violence in Bengal. By 1922, the police had recovered most of the stolen arms.

The Bengal Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance of 1924, enacted into law as Bengal Criminal Law Amendment Act in 1925, was a criminal law ordinance enacted in October 1924 in Bengal, in British India. The law was implemented to stem the rise in revolutionary terrorism by the Jugantar group against The Raj in Bengal after 1922. Following the collapse of the Nonviolent movement, the remnants of the Anushilan Samiti reformed under the leadership of Surya Sen, Hem Chandra Kanungo and Bhupendranath Dutta and re-engaged in nationalist terrorism against the Raj. A string of violence through 1923 saw murders of police witnesses and informers, culminating in the attempt to assassinate Charles Tegart by Gopinath Saha, leading to the mistaken killing of another European. In response, following a nuber of requests from the Governor of Bengal, the ordinance was enacted extending the extraordinary powers of the Regulation III of 1818. It removed rights of Habeas corpus, reintroduced measures of indefinite and arbitrary detentions, and trials by tribunal without jury and without right of appeal. The ordinance was enacted into law in 1925 and remained in force for 5 years. Almost One hundred and fifty people were detained under the law, including among the notable detainees Subhas Chandra Bose, later Congress leader. The act was re-enacted in 1930, and later formed a basis for the Burma Criminal Law Amendment in 1931.