The Anarchical and Revolutionary Crimes Act, 1919, popularly known as the Rowlatt Act, was a legislative act passed by the Imperial Legislative Council in Delhi on March 18, 1919, indefinitely extending the emergency measures of preventive indefinite detention, incarceration without trial and judicial review enacted in the Defence of India Act 1915 during the First World War.
Passed on the recommendations of the Rowlatt Committee and named after its president, British judge Sir Sidney Rowlatt, this act effectively authorized the government to imprison any person suspected of terrorism living in the Raj for up to two years without a trial and gave the imperial authorities power to deal with all revolutionary activities.
On the report of the committee, well-known header by Justice Rowlatt, two bills were introduced in the central legislature in February 1919. These bills came to be known as “black bills”. They gave enormous powers to the police to search a place and arrest any person they disapproved of without well-known description of the bills at that time was: No Dalil, No Vakil, No Appeal i.e., no pleas, no lawyer, no Appeal. Despite much opposition, the Rowlatt act was passed in March 1919. The purpose of the act was to curb the growing nationalist upsurge in the country.