The supreme court established under the 1774 charter
The supreme court establishedunder the 1774 Charter , became aninstitution which was disliked anddreaded equally by the officers ofthe government and especiallyIndians. Discuss the major caseswhich led to this situation.
ANSWERThe East India Company became the dominant political power in the 18th Century and passed the Regulating Act 1773.Objectives-• Reform in constitution of the company• Reform in administration in India• To provide remedies against company’s oppression in India.
Features of the Act:Governor was raised to power of governor general.Entire military and civil powers were vested in governor general.Government of presidencies of Madras and Bombay were put under Governor-General at Calcutta.All judges were prohibited from accepting gifts.Even judges can be tried in King’s Bench in England.
The regulating act 1773 authorized the British crown to establish a Supreme Court at Calcutta by issuing a charter of 1774 . Thus establishing the supreme court at Fort Willam, Calcutta.Composition-Chief Justice+ 3 judges- barristers of England with 5 years experience. Appointed by crownSir Impey-Chief Justice of Supreme Court .
Jurisdiction of the Supreme CourtCivil –Territorial in Calcutta and Personal in bengal,bihar and Orissa.Equity-administer justice in a summer mannerCriminal-only to British servantsEcclesiastical-grant willAdmiralty-all maritime casesWrit-writ of certiorari,mandamus,
Merits of supreme court-1. Derives its authority from crown2. Civil and criminal jurisdiction3. Rules now require approval from King in Council4. Court fees was regulated5. Empower to appoint advocates6. Writ power7. Enabled judiciary to control executive.
Defects-1.Relationship between governor general and council and supreme court not defined. Governor general and council rejected the authority of court. Thus it became source of annoyance.2. Relationship between Mofussil Adalats and Supreme court not defined. Whether they were subordinate to the supreme court or not?
3. Jurisdiction beyond the Calcutta was not defined. Court could issue the summons even for people outside the calcutta. Even people were detained in jail till decision.4.Courts applied English Law in India.5.Criminal Law applied in India was harsh.
RAJA NAND KUMAR CASE(1775) RAJA NAND KUMAR , influential man in Bengal brought charges of corruption against Warren Hastings. He was found guilty and directed to remit the amounts. Few days later, Mohan Prasad filed certain charges of forgery against Nand Kumar . Nand Kumar was found guilty and was sentenced to death. In trail defence witness were cross examined by judges , defence collapsed. The court also rejected the application for grant of leave to King in council. Two broad legal issues-a. Was nand kumar under jurisdiction of Supreme court?b. An a person be sentenced to death for forgery?
For first issue it was plead that nand kumar was not resident of Calcutta in 1770 when the offence was committed.For second, how British law can be extended to Calcutta.HISTORIANS CALL THIS JUDICIAL MURDER.
THE PATNA CASE (1777-79) SHAHBAZ BEG, solider in company’s army had no son. So he expressed his desire to adopt his nephew Bahadur Beg and hand him his property. But before that he died. His widow begum claimed the property as gift from his husband after death. Bahadur filed case against Begum. Law officers sealed the property and insulted widow. According to Muslim Law, three-fourth property was given to widow and one fourth to bahadur. Widow approached the Supreme court, which ordered to hand over all property to widow and compensation of Rs. 3 lakh.
Issues with Patna case- Case questioned relationship of Supreme court and Adalats. Court Procedure of arrest of Bahadur and law officers was criticized. Holding of the supreme court that it had jurisdiction over revenue farmers provoked revolt in Mofussil area. Court procedure of awarding Rs. 3 Lakh compensation was crticized. Brought into light internal defects of judicial system ( adalats and council)
Cossijurah Case (1779)1.Cossinaut Baboo filed case of debt against a zamindar, the rajah of cossijurah.the zamindar was indebted to Cossinaut, in the affidavit Baboo stated that rajah was in service of company as a revenue collector thus in the jurisdiction of supreme court.2. Meanwhile the matter was referred to Governor and council at calcutta where it was stated that matter was not in jurisdiction of Supreme court. Council asked to ignore the process of court.3.court sent to arrest zamindar but council sent more force to prevent.4. Dead lock was created.
Cossijurah Case (1779)Brought into defects of the Charter.Charter did nor demarcate the jurisdiction of court and Governor –General – in council.Confusion as supreme court issuse the writ of capias against the council, which council disobey.Dignity of supreme court lowered.Thus , the supreme court established under the 1774 Charter , became an institution which was disliked and dreaded equally by the officers of the government and especially Indians.
Act of Settlement 1781• Was passed to remove confusions in Charter. Governor general and council were excluded from jurisdiction of the Supreme court. Revenue matters were taken out of Supreme court jurisdiction. No person employed by company was subject to supreme court In case of natives, personal law was applicable. Adalats were not liable to Supreme court.