Графични страници
PDF файл

apprehended." They had merely powers to act as an executive police, leaving the trial and the infliction of punishment to the native Mahomedan officials. Provision was at the same time made for cases where, by especial permission of the Governor-General and Council, "certain zemindars might be invested with such part of the police jurisdiction as they formerly exercised under the ancient Mogul Government." In such cases the European Judge in his capacity of Magistrate, the daroga of the Criminal Court, and the zemindar, were to exercise a concurrent authority for the prevention of crimes.

Under instructions which Lord Cornwallis brought with him from
Lokd Cobitwaxlh. England in 1786, the revenue and

Prion of the offices of Collector, Civil judicial institutions of the country Judge, and Magistrate—1786. were again modified. The Committee

of Revenue changed its designation to that of Board of Revenue. Its authority and functions were continued. The European Civil servants superintending the several districts into which the country was divided were each of them vested with the united powers of Collector, Civil Judge, and Magistrate. In proposing this union of different authorities in the same person, the Court of Directors were influenced by the consideration of its having " a tendency to simplicity, energy, justice, and economy:" they placed on record that they were actuated by the necessity of accommodating "their views and interests to the subsisting manners and usages of the people, rather than by any abstract theories drawn from other countries, or applicable to a different state of things."

It was only in the administration of justice in the cities of Moorshedabad, Dacca, and Patna, that district courts were established, superintended by a Judge and Magistrate.

The administration of criminal justice remained, however,

vested in the Naib Nazim, or Deputy ^ °f the Nawab, to whose courts, which

were superintended by the Mahomedan law officers, almost all criminals apprehended by the Magistrate were referred for trial. The Collector, in his capacity of Magistrate, could only decide upon the most petty charges. But towards the end of 1790 a very important change took place in this arrangement. It was

declared that, with a view "to ensure BritUhiDal admini8tration assumed by fte a prompt and impartial administration

of the criminal law, and in order that all ranks of people might enjoy security of person and property, the Governor-General in Council had resolved to accept the superintendence of the administration of criminal justice throughout the provinces." In conformity with this resolution the Nizam ut Adawlut, or Chief Criminal Court of justice, was again removed from Moorshedabad to Calcutta, to consist of the Governor-General and members of the Supreme Council, assisted by the head native law officers. Four Courts of Circuit, superintended respectively by covenanted servants of the Company, each with their Mahomedan law officers, were in 1793 established for the trial of cases not punishable by the Magistrates.

Lord Cornwallis, moreover, differing from the Court of Directors, and deeming it incompatible with the principles of his system that „ .. , T... • , ,-.„. ., revenue officers should decide on suits

Separation of District Offices; Civil . . . . ...

Judge and Magistrate remain united; the cause 01 Which, Originating 1U their

Collector seriated-1793. own department, might render them

not wholly disinterested in the decision, annulled (1793) the judicial power of all officers of the revenue, and transferred the cognizance of all matters wherein the Government might be concerned to the courts of Dcwanny Adawlut. A new Court of Civil Judicature was established in every district. The new Judge wns a European Covenanted servant, of higher official rank than the Collector,* uniting in his person the powers of Magistrate as well as of Civil Judge, and controlling the police within the limits of his division. This arrangement long continued, one officer in each district being Judge and Magistrate, and another Collector.

To the Courts of Justice a Register and one Or more Assistants were appointed from the junior branch of the European Covenanted Service. The Assistants were Assistants to the Judge and Magistrate in both capacities. As Assistants to the Magistrate they could be empowered by him to decide on cases to the same extent that the Magistrate himself was authorized under the Regulations of 1793. The Register was empowered to try civil causes not exceeding 200 rupees.

At the same time a Regulation was enacted authorizing the appointment of native Commissioners to hear and decide, in the first «, r>- T J, *• a , H«o instance, on suits of personal property

Nativo Civil Judges; Moonsiffs—1793. , ,, f . £ *'

not exceeding the value of 50 rupees. These were of three descriptions, viz. Ameena, or referees; Salisan, or arbitrators; and Moonsiffs, or native justices. The referees and arbitrators were usually kazees appointed by virtue of their offices; the Moonsiffs were more carefully selected. They were not paid by fixed salary, but by commission on the amount of causes investigated by them. Appeals from their decision lay to the Civil Judge.

In order to ensure the hearing of appeals from the Judge, which

had previously lain direct to the ^ Four Provincial Courts of Cucuxt and Govemor-General at Calcutta, Lord

Cornwallis established, by Regulation V of 1793, four Provincial Courts of Appeal. One was instituted in the vicinity of Calcutta, one at the City of Patna, another at Dacca, and the fourth at Moorshedabad, each Court being superintended by three Covenanted Civilian Judges. To these Courts a Register and one or more Covenanted Assistants were attached. An appeal lay from them to the Sudder Dewanny Adawlut, or Governor-General aud Council in Calcutta, when the suit exceeded lis. 5,000 in extent.

These Civil Courts were identical with the Courts of Circuit that were simultaneously appointed, and of which notice has beeu taken above. The same officers, European and Native, were attached to the Courts alike in their civil and criminal jurisdictions.

• The existing Collectors were in point of fact appointed Judges, while their head Assistants wore appointed to the different Collcctorates, for which, said the Government Hinute, " they will be found sufficiently quiililicd."

The territorial jurisdictions of these Courts were as follows :—

(1) Calcutta Division

24-Pergunnahs, Burdwan, Jungle Mehals, Midnapore, Cuttack, Jessore, Nuddea, Hooghly; Foreign Settlements of Chinsurah, Chandernagore, and Serampore.

(2) Dacca Province— ,

Dacca, Mymensingh, Sylhet, Tipperah, Chittagong,
Backergunge, Dacca Jellalpore.*


Moorshedabad, Bhaugulpore, Puraeah, Dinagepore,
Ruugpore, Rajshahye, Beerbhoom.

(4) Patna Division—

Patna, Ramghur, Bchar, Tirhoot, Sarun, Shahabad.

The Governor-General and Council, who were at this period discharging the duties of both the Sudder Dewanny and the Sudder Nizamut

Adawlut, soon found that more of their SadJer Couri." &* COD9titution of the time was occupied in these functions

than could conveniently be spared. Lord Wellesley, moreover, placed it on record that he deemed "it Re l 'n II 1601 essential to the impartial, prompt,

50 a lon'' and efficient administration of justice,

and to the permanent security of the purses and properties of the native inhabitants of these provinces, that the Governor-General in Council, exercising the supreme legislative and executive authority of the State, should administer judicial functions of Government by the means of Courts of Justice distinct from the legislative and executive authority." It was accordingly determined that the Government should relinquish the chief civil and criminal jurisdiction and place it in the hands of a Court of Justice, over which were to preside three Judges; the chief Judge being a member of the Supreme Council, and the other two selected members of the Covenanted Civil Service.

The Sudder Court remained as the Court of final appeal in this Presidency without any radical modifications until it was united with the Supreme Court in 1862, and both together were amalgamated into the present High Court. The Sudder Court was latterly composed of five or six Covenanted Civilians, more or less, as might be necessary.

The Supreme Court, which was an entirely separate institution, was „ „ . governed by English law and adminis

The Supreme Court—1774. f j i . i T j T,

tered by three Judges, Barristers-atLaw, appointed by the Crown, of whom the chief was styled Chief Justice. The Supreme Court was established by the Letters Patent which the King was empowered in the Regulating Act to grant, and dated 26th March 1774. It had full local jurisdiction in Calcutta and

•The districts of Dacca Jellalpore and of the City of Dacca were abolished by Regulation V of 1833 and formed into the single district of Dacca. Jellalpore is tho name of a pergunnah in the Furreedpore district. The original Dacca Jellalpore included that zillah, and the headquarters of the district were in 1812 located at Furreedpore. In 1?33 tho independent JointMagistracy and Deputy Collcctorato of Furreedpore was established, and was declared a full Magistracy and Cullecturate on the reorganization of 1859.

also a personal jurisdiction over all persons in the employment of the Company, including zemindars, revenue farmers and contractors in the Mofussil. This extensive power led to confusion and injustice, and a new Act was passed in 1781, defining and limiting the powers of the Crown Court. In general terms it may be said that till its abolition the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court was confined to the limits of the city of Calcutta between the Hooghly and the Mahratta Ditch, and to the determination of all serious criminal cases in which European British subjects were accused and committed for trial. It was strictly interdicted by law from interfering in matters of revenue.

On the 14th May 1862 the High Court of Judicature in Bengal mv Tt-u^ , . vi•J ,„.«. was established by Letters Patent.

The High Court established—1862. mi. a Jj j o r~i

I he budder and Supreme Courts were abolished at the same time by Act 24 and 25 Vict., Cap. 104. The combined powers and authorities of the abolished Courts, and their jurisdiction, both over the provinces and the Presidency town, were vested in the High Court. On the 1st January 1866 fresh Letters Patent were issued, and further provision was made respecting the jurisdiction of the Court.

In 1795 laws were published for the newly acquired province

of Benares. In 1805 the laws and Change, in the constitution of the regulations that had been established

Board of Revenue, board of l.ommis- . D, , , ,

Bioners in the Upper Provinces—1807. in the ceded and conquered provinces

on the upper Ganges* were codified. In 1807 (Regulation X) a Commission was constituted, consisting of two members, for the superintendence of the settlement of these provinces, and for the general control of the Collectors in the discharge of their several public duties. These Commissioners were vested in those provinces with all the authority that had hitherto been exercised by the Board of Revenue of Calcutta. By Regulation I of 1809 this Board of Commissioners in the Upper Provinces was declared permanent. At the same time all the powers that up to this period had been exercised by the Calcutta Sudder Board of Revenue in the province of Benares were transferred to the Board of Commissioners.

In 1816 (Regulation I) a separate Commissioner was appointed

for the superintendence of the reve

Board of Commissioners in Behar and _____ e Ai .,__„•„„ „f T> . j

Benares—1817. nues ot the province or Benares and

that part of the province of Behar which was-comprised in the zillahs of Behar, Shahabad, Sarun, and Tirhoot, and was vested with all the authority that had previously been exercised in these provinces by the Board of Revenue and Board

• Tho province of Benares was added to the Company's dominions in 1795. By a treaty, bearing date the 20th November lbOl, the Nawab Vizier of Oudh ceded the valuable districts of that province, which were officially known as the ceded district* in Oudh. The conquered provinces of the Regulations were conquered from the Mahratta Chieftains, Scindia, the Bcrar Rajah, and others. These provinces comprehend the principal part of the Dooab, or tract of country between the rivers Ganges and Jumna; the country situated on the right banks of the latter river, from Delhi to near Ha confluence with the Ganges; and the modern province of Onssa.

of Commissioners respectively. By Regulation I of 1817 the authority of the Behar-Benares Commissioner was extended to the districts of Ramghur, Bhaugulpore, and Purneah. In the same year it was found advisable to appoint two Commissioners in place of the single officer. "The Board of Commissioners in Behar and Benares" was accordingly established, and as a special case the general revenues of Dinagepore and Rungpore were also entrusted to this Board. By Regulation I of 1819 the management of the revenues of Dinagepore and Rungpore were replaced under the Calcutta Board of Revenue. The powers of a single member of the Calcutta Board of Revenue to exercise any and all the powers of Board collectively, and the full powers of a commission of the Board into the interior, were also established under Regulation XIII of 1811. The powers thus granted were recently (in 1871) acted upon by Government, and each member of the Board is now empowered to exercise the full powers of the Board of Revenue.

By Regulation III of 1822 considerable changes were effected in

these arrangements: (1) the duties, Ti^-isL^76TM18 f°r °" L°Wer Pr°" Powers, and authority of the Board of

Commissioners in Behar and Benares within the districts of Bhaugulpore and Purneah were vested again in the Calcutta Board of Revenue, which continued to exercise its powers iu the districts subordinate to its authority, and was to be denominated the Board of Revenue for the Lower Provinces; (2) the duties, powers, and authority exercised by the Board of Commissioners in the ceded and conquered provinces within the southern and northern divisions of Bundlecund, and the districts of Allahabad and Cawnpore, were vested in the Board of Commissioners in Behar and Benares, which continued in like manner to exercise its power in the districts hitherto subordinate to its authority with the exceptions just named, and

was to be denominated the Board of ^rd of Revenue for the Central Pro. Revenue for the Central Provinces;

and (3) the several districts of the ceded and conquered provinces, with the exception of the districts above specified, were to continue subordinate to the Board of Commissioners, which was to be denominated the Board of Revenue for the

Western Provinces. In 1829, as will ^Board of Revenue for the Western Pro- preseutlv be explained, the powers of

the several local Boards of Revenue were made over to the Commissioners of Revenue and Circuit under the control of a Chief or Sudder Board of Revenue at Calcutta.

A Superintendent of Police was first appointed under Regulation

„..,„,. X, 1808, for the divisions of Calcutta,

SapenntendentofPohce. flnd Morshedabad) and under

Regulation VIII, 1810, similar arrangements were adopted for Patna, Benares, and Bareilly. These officers were abolished by Regulation I of 1829, and their duties were transferred to the Commissioners of Revenue and Circuit. Under Act XXIV of 1837 the Government was again empowered to appoint a Superintendent of Police, and

« ПредишнаНапред »