13 June 2010

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Part 19 – Indian Legal History - Criminal Court System 1790 – Defects and Changes

Part 19 – Indian Legal History - Criminal Court System 1790 – Defects and Changes

Reality Views by sm –
Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cornwallis introduced, made changes in criminal system in 1790
•Lower Level - Magistrate
•Middle Level - Courts of Circuit
•Top Level – Sadar Nizamat Adalat

The judges of the district diwani adalats acted as magistrates.
The main duty of the magistrate was to arrest the accused person; hold inquiries into the commission of crime find the evidence, if evidence was found against accused then commit them for trial to the Court of Circuit which visited each district once in six months.
Cornwallis had instituted 4 Courts of Circuit to try criminal cases arising in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa.
In 1802 court of circuit tried 2,820 cases, charges involving 5667 accused persons.

1790 - Types of Crimes People committed –
•Gang robbery
•Rape etc just named few

The main defect in this type of system was that accused was tried after long time after the commission of crime.
In this period the accused was kept in a jail.
If accused was innocent then he suffered in justice.
Limited number of judges. – Only one magistrate in the district with civil and criminal both functions.

Changes Introduced –
Regulation XIII Of 1796 – The assistants to the district magistrates were authorized
To exercise the judicial powers vested in the magistrates.

Regulation XVI of 1810 provided for the appointment of magistrates other than the district judges as well as of joint and assistant magistrates.
The Governor General in council got power to appoint any person as a magistrate in district.
The joint and assistant magistrates were to have the same powers as the district magistrates but were to be subordinate to the district magistrates.

Regulation XII Of 1818 enhanced the powers of the magistrate to give sentence of 2 years imprisonment with hard labour and a corporal punishment not exceeding thirty stripes.

Regulation IV of 1821 authorized the Governor General in Council to appoint a collector or any other revenue officer to exercise the whole or part of the powers and duties of magistrates.