Explain the principle and application of the doctrine of lapse:
According to the Hindu law, one can adopt a son in case of no male hair to inherit the property. The question arose whether a Hindu ruler, holding his state subordinate to the paramount power, could- adopt a son to succeed his kingdom. It was customary for a ruler without natural hair to ask the British government whether he could adopt a son to succeed him.
According to Dalhousie, if such permission was refused by the British, the state would "lapse” and thereby become part of the British India. Dalhousie maintained that there was a difference in principle between the right to inherit private property and the right to govern. This principle was called the doctrine of lapse.
The doctrine of lapse was applied by Dalhousie to Satara and it was annexed, in 1848. Jhansi and Nagpur were annexed in 1854. As a result of these annexations, a large part of the central provinces came under the British rule. The new province was governed by a Chief Commissioner from 1861.
Although the Doctrine of lapse cannot be regarded as illegal, its application by Dalhousie was disliked by Indian princes. The advantages of the annexations of Satara, Jhansi and Nagpur were substantial to the British. Dalhousie was blamed for using the Doctrine of lapse as an instrument in pursuing his policy of annexation. After the Mutiny of 1857, the doctrine of lapse was withdrawn.