Complete Indian Legal History –
Administration of Justice at Calcutta - 1660 To 1726 and Charter of 1726 – Part 6
Reality Views by sm -
1. In the year 1668, the grandson of Aurangzed, Azimush-shan, and the Subahdar of Bengal gave Zamindari of villages, Calcutta, Sutanati and Govindpur for annual revenue of 1195 Rupees to the East India Company
2. In the December 1699, Calcutta became Presidency Town and Governor was appointed to administer the settlement.
3. As a zamindar company got all the powers just like other zamindars of that time. Bengal zamindars.
4. In Moghul Empire, zamindars got judicial powers, but collected the revenue and maintained law and order in the zamindari area or villages.
5. For judicial purpose that time Kazis court were established in each district, parganah and villages. They handled civil and criminal matters.
6. Normally village Panchayat solved all problems, In Hindus , elders or Brahmins solved the problems
7. The judicial system was simple, as everyone knew each other and transactions of each other.
8. Moghul Kings never paid any attention to judicial system that time nothing was organized.
9. The post of Kazi was sold many times , the highest bidder became the Kazi
10. Justice was purchased , corruption was rampant
11. Kazi never got salary, so kazi court fined the criminal and earned money, after this demanded money from the complainant for giving him justice.
12. The other Zamindars when gave death sentence , the appeal went to the Nawab but company never did this , the appeal from zamindar , collectors court went to the Governor and council
13. In Calcutta that time Collector enjoyed all the powers upto the year 1727
14. With the charter of 1726 the new system was started in Calcutta Presidency.
15. Before this charter the authority was given by company and zamindar, but the charter of 1726 was a royal charter.
16. The importance of this charter is that this charter introduced Uniformity of justice system in all 3-presidency towns.
17. The charter established civil and criminal courts in each presidency towns.
18. The 2nd important point is that before 1726 the courts got authority from the company but after this charter the courts got their authority from the royal British king , The courts enjoyed same status just like the courts which were present that time in England.
19. With the charter of 1726, the appeals from courts in India went to the Privy Council in England.
20. This way English law system became accepted to Indians, Indians did not find it foreign and Indians did not have any other judicial system as such.
21. With this charter in each presidency town local legislature was established.
22. Charter of 1726 is also known as judicial charter as this is the beginning of development of Indian law system and judiciary.
23. Names of Presidency Towns - Madras, Bombay and Calcutta
24. All the courts established before the year 1726 got the power from company but after this charter courts got their permit, authority from the British King.
Following are the few provisions of charter of 1726
In each presidency Town establishment of corporation consisting of Mayor and nine Aldermen.
Every year new mayor was chosen from the Aldermen
An aldermen hold office for life
Establishment of Mayors Court
The mayor and two council members gave justice and appeal went to the Governor within 14 days. Further appeal could be made to the king in council if matter involved more than 1000 pagodas This way first time Indians got right to file appeal in the king in council.
A sheriff was appointed for each ten miles of area by the Governor and council annually, in simple terms he was the police officer.
When complained was given to the court, the court issued the summons in writing to the Sheriff and he brought the accused in the court, he handed the summons to the concern party.
If party accused did not come on that day, the warrant was issued and Sheriff brought them before the courts, bail was granted sometimes.
For criminal jurisdiction , justice of peace was established same like England
Criminal jurisdiction system followed all the British criminal system and procedures.
Charter of 1726 empowered the governor and his council to make by laws, rules and ordinances for the regulation of corporation.
In Madras charter became effective from the 17th August 1727
In Bombay 10th February 1728
In Calcutta December 1727 the implementation of charter started.
The company directed the courts to maintain records and send them to England to know how they are working.
With these establishments common Indians also start to file the more and more cases in the courts.
Mayors Court, Governor, and Council always got disputes regarding jurisdiction in presidency towns. This fights resulted into the weakening of Judiciary in the future and executive became powerful.
Company adopted policy not to get involved in the Indian customs and disputes but if the matter went to the Mayors Court they adopted English procedures.
Suggested Reading -
Part 7 - Indian Legal History – Charter of 1753
14 March 2010
Complete Indian Legal History –