Warren Hastings- History, Judicial Reforms, Warren Hastings UPSC Questions

By Shivank Goel|Updated : October 20th, 2022

Lord Warren Hastings was an imperial administrator who worked for the East India Company in India. Warren Hasting's time period was From 1772 to 1785, he served as Governor of Bengal, where he instituted many substantial changes in administration as well as an entirely new and streamlined model of the legal system. Being the first governor-general of Bengal, Hastings was in charge of establishing British control over the country's first major province.

During Warren Hasting's tenure he pioneered solutions to issues including how massive Indian populations would be managed by a select group of foreigners and exactly how the British, now a major Indian power, would accommodate into the system of the state of 18th-century India. These alternatives would have a significant impact on Britain's potential position in India. Warren Hastings' working life is also significant in bringing to the attention of the British public at home other issues caused by their new India. Lord Warren Hastings is linked to the history of British India and his contributions towards the East India Company, making it an important topic in the Indian history syllabus of the UPSC GS II examination.

Table of Content

Background of Warren Hastings UPSC

When Lord Warren Hastings came to India in 1772, he realised that the situation of the East India Company was extremely non-ideal. Bengal's dual administration was a colossal flop. Irrespective of having Diwani authority over wealthy states like Bihar, Bengal, and Orissa for many years, the EIC was on the edge of bankruptcy. Officials were highly corrupt, the administration was indeed a failure in its entirety.

Warren Hastings UPSC Notes PDF

To improve such constraints, Warren Hastings developed a method of revenue administration in 1772, as well as a new judicial system plan, which ultimately laid the groundwork for India's Adalat system.

Warren Hastings was appointed as the first Governor of the Bengal Presidency in 1772. Warren Hastings was appointed as the first Governor-General of Bengal later on, in 1774

Lord Warren Hastings Time Period In India

In 1750, Warren Hastings joined the East India Company (EIC) in Calcutta as a clerk. Hastings began his career as a member of the company's servants, working in the company's commercial operation. However, the prognosis for both the company as well as its workers changed dramatically after 1756. Under Robert Clive's command, the company's army was capable of dethroning the nawab of Bengal at the Battle of Plassey in 1757, where the Marathas led by Mahadji Shinde had beaten back the English.

  • When Mir Jafar was appointed Nawab of Bengal following the Battle of Plassey in 1757, Warren Hastings was made the resident of Murshidabad (Bengal's capital) in 1758.
  • In 1772, Warren Hastings was appointed as the very first Governor of the Bengal Presidency.
  • Warren Hastings became the first governor-general of Bengal in 1774, following the passage of the Regulating Act 1773.
  • The English were compelled to sign a humiliating Treaty of Wadgaon with the Marathas in Wadgaon in 1779.
  • In 1785, Warren Hastings quit his position as Governor-General of Bengal.

Warren Hastings Policies in India

The Company's financial situation deteriorated, and the challenges were exacerbated by famine. When Warren Hastings took over the administration of Bengal in 1772, it was in complete disarray. Warren Hastings recognised the urgent need to implement reforms. The Warren Hastings policies in India have been illustrated here in detail, take a look to gain complete cognizance of all the factors.

Dual System Abolition

The East India Company chose to act as Diwan and collect the taxes via its own agents. As a result, Robert Clive's Dual System was repealed. To improve the Company's finances, Hastings cut the grants of the Nawab in half and ceased the annual payment for the Mughal Ruler.

Revenue Reforms

Due to the elimination of the Dual system, the obligation for revenue collection was transferred to the Company. To that end, a Board of Revenue was set up in Calcutta to oversee revenue collection. Each district was assigned an English Collector.

Judicial Reforms of Warren Hastings or Judicial System Reorganisation

The Nawab, who was previously the chief administrator of justice, abused his position. His decisions were frequently rash. The zamindars who served as lower-level judges in their respective areas were extremely corrupt and judgemental. Overall, the judicial system was plagued by mass corruption.

There were numerous judicial reforms of Warren Hastings that were executed in his reign. Each district was given a civil court presided over by the Collector as well as a criminal court presided over by an Indian Judge. Calcutta established two appellate courts, one for civil cases and one for criminal cases. The highest civil court of appeal was known as Sadar Diwani Adalat, and it was to be overseen by the Governor and 2 different judges chosen from his council. Likewise, the highest appellate criminal court, Sadar Nizamat Adalat, was to be presided over by an Indian judge appointed by the Governor-in-Council. Experts in Hindu law and also Muslim law were brought in to help the judges.

Trade Regulations

Warren Hastings repealed the dastak, or freebees, system and controlled internal trade. He lowered the number of customs houses and imposed a uniform 2.5 percent tariff on both Indian and non-Indian commodities. Private trade by Company servants persisted, but only within legal binding limits.

Major Wars under Lord Warren Hastings

Under Lord Warren Hastings, the first and the second Anglo-Mysore wars were fought. Hastings' strategy was to eliminate additional expansion and war by forming a series of alliances with neighbouring states. These wars along will important events and treaties are detailed in the section below:

First Anglo-Mysore War

Between 1775 and 1782, the British East India Company and the Maratha Empire fought the First Anglo-Maratha War. The agreement reached between Raghunathrao and the Bombay Presidency was cancelled by the British Calcutta Council, led by Warren Hastings.

  • In 1776, the British Calcutta Council signed a new Purandar Agreement with Maratha Ministers.
  • Raghunathrao was given the only pension, while the British kept Salsette.
  • The British establishment in Bombay violated the Purandar Agreement 1776 by protecting Raghunathrao.
  • On the other hand, Nana Phadnavis granted the French permission to build a port on the west coast.
  • Above conflict resulted in a battle of Wadgaon, near Pune, which saw the Marathas, spearheaded by Mahadji Shinde, destroy the English.
  • The English were compelled to sign a humiliating agreement (Treaty of Wadgaon) with the Marathas in Wadgaon in 1779.

Second Anglo-Mysore War

The Treaty of Madras was violated, resulting in the 2nd Anglo-Mysore War. This caused major disagreements between the British and Haider Ali. One thing led to another, and the result was the 2nd Anglo-Mysore war.

  • When Maratha troops attacked Mysore in 1771, the British violated the Madras Treaty.
  • Haider Ali confronted them, accusing them of betraying his trust.
  • Furthermore, Haider Ali discovered the French to be extremely diligent in meeting the army's requirements for guns, lead, and saltpetre.
  • As a result, he began importing French military supplies to Mysore through Mahe, a French possession on the Malabar Coast.
  • The British were concerned about the growing friendship between the two.
  • As a result, the British attempted to arrest Mahe, who was under Haider Ali's protection. Along with the Marathas and Nizam, Haidar Ali formed a coalition against the British.

Lord Warren Hastings For UPSC Exam

Life of Warren Hastings is an important portion of the UPSC syllabus for the preparation for the IAS Examination. It is important to cover the history of British India in the syllabus, which covers the important events, factors, and rebellions that led to the Anglo-Mysore Wars under his influence. A major part of this topic includes the role of the East India Company and the breach of multiple treaties that led to these wars. It is also important to constantly keep referring to the Indian polity and history books for a good score in the IAS exam. You can also refer to the currently available UPSC study material and UPSC previous year question papers to prepare better.

Lord Warren Hastings UPSC Sample Question

Following is a sample question to help your in-depth understanding of how questions are asked for the topic of Warren Hastings UPSC in the IAS examination. The aspirants must prepare well for the exam and get in-depth knowledge and complete ideation of the topic to solve the questions in the exam.

Question: Which of the following reforms were brought by Warren Hastings:

  1. Judicial reforms
  2. Trade reforms
  3. Abolition of Dual system
  4. None of the above

Choose the correct alternative:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 1,2 and 3 only

Answer: (D)

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FAQs on Warren Hastings

  • Lord Warren Hastings was an imperial administrator who worked for the East India Company in India. Warren Hastings time period was From 1772 to 1785, he served as Governor of Bengal, where he instituted many substantial changes in administration as well as an entirely new and streamlined model of the legal system.


    To improve administrative constraints, Warren Hastings developed a method of revenue administration in 1772, as well as a new judicial system plan, which ultimately laid the groundwork for India's Adalat system. Warren Hastings was appointed as the first Governor of the Bengal Presidency in 1772. Warren Hastings was appointed as the first Governor-General of Bengal later on, in 1774.

  • When Hastings came to India 1772, he realised that the situation of the East India Company was extremely non-ideal. Bengal's dual administration was a colossal flop. Irrespective of having Diwani authority over wealthy states like Bihar, Bengal, and Orissa for many years, the EIC was on the edge of bankruptcy. Officials were highly corrupt, the administration was indeed a failure in its entirety. 


    To improve such constraints, Warren Hastings developed a method of revenue administration in 1772, as well as a new judicial system plan, which ultimately laid the groundwork for India's Adalat system.

  • The obligation for revenue collection was transferred to the Company as a result of the elimination of the Dual system. To that end, a Revenue Board was established in Calcutta to oversee revenue collection. An English Collector was assigned to each district.

  • In order to improve such administrative conditions, Warren Hastings put forward a framework of revenue administration in 1772, in addition to a new judicial system plan, which ultimately laid the groundwork for India's Adalat system.

  • The East India Company elected to serve as Diwan and collect taxes through its own agents. Robert Clive's Dual System was thus repealed. To improve the Company's finances, Hastings cut the Nawab's grants in half and eliminated the Mughal Ruler's annual payment.

  • Between 1775 and 1782, the British East India Company and the Maratha Empire fought the First Anglo-Maratha War. The agreement reached between Raghunathrao and the Bombay Presidency was cancelled by the British Calcutta Council, led by Warren Hastings.

    • The British Calcutta Council and Maratha Ministers signed a new Purandar Agreement in 1776.
    • The only pension was given to Raghunathrao, while the British kept Salsette.
    • By protecting Raghunathrao, the British establishment in Bombay violated the Purandar Agreement in 1776.
    • Nana Phadnavis, on the other hand, granted the French permission to build a port on the west coast.
    • The aforementioned conflict resulted in a battle at Wadgaon, near Pune, in which the Marathas guided by Mahadji Shinde conquered the English.
    • The English were strained to sign a humiliating agreement (Treaty of Wadgaon) with the Marathas in Wadgaon in 1779.
  • Warren Hastings repealed the dastak, or freebees, system and controlled internal trade. He lowered the number of customs houses and imposed a uniform 2.5 per cent tariff on both Indian and non-Indian commodities. Private trade by Company servants persisted, but only within legal binding limits.

  • Frequent questions related to the role of Warren Hastings in British rule have been asked in the examination over the years. It is necessary to be up to date with the events that led to the 1st anglo Mysore war and 2nd anglo Mysore war which were held under his presence. You can also download the PDF of this article on Lord Warren Hastings, using the link below.

    Lord Warren Hasting UPSC Notes

  • The Nawabs misused the power of their position, and the corrupt mindset of the zamindars lead to a surge in corruption in the entire area. There was the introduction of judicial reforms by Warren Hastings, such as the Collector presiding over the civil court and an Indian judge presided the criminal court. The highest civil court was renowned as Sadar Diwani Adalat.

  • Due to the depletion in the finances of the Company and the famine the situation of the country deteriorated. Warren Hastings took over the administration in 1772 and introduced certain reforms to take charge of the depletion. The Warren Hastings policies in India were introduced which included dual system abolition and revenue reforms. As dual system abolition was introduced, the Company's Diwans used to collect taxes. The revenue reforms were also introduced, the taxes were collected by the Company and each district was presided over by an English Collector.

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