Law reporting in india before 1950


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Law reporting in india before 1950

  1. 2. <ul><li>Precedent means things which are gone before. The term “Judicial precedents” means previous decisions of the superior courts deemed to embody a principle which in a subsequent case raising the same, or a closely related, point of law, maybe referred to as stating or containing the principle which may be at least influential on the court’s decision of it, or even under the principle of stare decisis, decisive of it. </li></ul><ul><li>Since the beginning of the British system of justice in India the theory of precedent gained ground and this has been the main source of inspiration to the practice of law reporting in India. </li></ul><ul><li>Till the end of 18 th century there was nothing like precedents. Cases of Raja Nand Kumar and Cossijurah are its examples. It was Dovin, a Judge, who first recognised the importance of precedents in 1831. the gradual development of the art of law reporting reflects the growth of the authority of precedents. </li></ul>
  2. 3. <ul><li>The legal profession and the litigant public look for the enlightenment in the law of the country by studying the law reports which contain the decisions of the highest court of the country. In the federal setup of India, such decisions emanate only from the High Courts in the States and the Supreme Court at the Centre. </li></ul>
  3. 4. <ul><li>Law reporting started in India with the creation of Supreme Court of Calcutta in 1774. In the beginning there was no system of law reporting. Early reporting was a private enterprise. </li></ul><ul><li>Attempts at reporting were made by the practicing lawyers or judges the purpose was to prevent much contrariety of judgment and to produce uniformity of decision on matters on which a conflict of decisions would be disastrous. </li></ul><ul><li>Sir Francis Macnaghten included certain cases regarding in his Considerations upon Hindu Law, 1824. Sir William Macnaghten wrote Principles and Precedents of Moohamaedan Law, 1825 </li></ul>
  4. 5. <ul><li>Some efforts were made at law reporting by the Barristers and Judges associated with these courts. </li></ul><ul><li>Reports pertaining to the Calcutta Supreme Court are: Morton’s Reports, Fulton’s reports, Boulnois’ Reports etc. </li></ul><ul><li>For Supreme Court at Bombay Perry’s Oriental Cases by Sir Erskine Perry. </li></ul><ul><li>For Supreme Court at Madras, the only collection of cases to be found is that published by CJ Sir Thomas Strange in 1816. </li></ul><ul><li>Most of the above mentioned old reports became too difficult to procure as the went out of print and became rare. They literally became sealed books for long . </li></ul><ul><li>References to the old cases and their citation in courts became very difficult. The value of these old decisions were great as the cases not only contained good law but depicted how the judges laid the foundation of a system of Anglo-Indian jurisprudence in India. </li></ul><ul><li>An attempt was made to reprint the cases in the old reports and re-issue a new series known as the Indian Decisions Old Series. It was edited by TA Venkasawmy Rao in 1911. </li></ul>
  5. 6. <ul><li>The Sadar Adalats were Co. courts and were at the apex of the mofussil judicial system. The Sadar Diwani Adalat at Calcutta had suggested publication of its decisions . The Law Commission had also suggested formation of a digest of decisions of the courts. </li></ul><ul><li>The first printed reports of the cases decided in the Sadar Diwani Adalat at Calcutta were started by Sir William Macnaghten, when he was the Registrar of the Adalat. The series has 7 volumes covering the period of 1791-1849. </li></ul><ul><li>There was another series of reports known as Select Reports of Summary Cases. These reports were adapted to serve as precedents to the inferior courts. </li></ul><ul><li>Act Nil of 1843 directed the Sadar adalats to record their judgments in English and to publish them every month. These were known as Bengal Sadar Diwani Adalat Reports. </li></ul><ul><li>The cases recorded in the Sadar Adalats at Madras were few in no. </li></ul>
  6. 7. <ul><li>For decisions for the Sadar Diwani Adalats at Bombay, there are 2 collections available. Series of reports by Borradaile and a small anonymous publication which appeared in 1843. </li></ul><ul><li>Only 2 series of reports appear to have been printed for criminal cases. One comprises 5 volumes and contains sentences of the Nizamat Adalat at Calcutta. The 2 nd series contains reports of criminal cases determined in the Sadar Faujdari Adalat of Bombay from 1827 to 1846. </li></ul>
  7. 8. <ul><li>High courts were established in 1862. the High Courts brought in their wake official reports. The Madras High Court brought with it the Madras High Court Reports in 8 volumes covering a period from 1862-1875. these reports contained some of the best written judgments of the Madras High Court. </li></ul><ul><li>Similar reports came into existence for the High Courts of Bombay and Calcutta. There are 12 volumes of the Bombay High Court Reports and 15 volumes of Bengal Law Reports. The various High Court Reports were published by the government through the help of official reporters. </li></ul><ul><li>Along with these official reports there came into existence some private publications also, such as, the Weekly Reporter, Indian Jurist at Calcutta, Madras Jurist at Madras etc. </li></ul>
  8. 9. <ul><li>Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, the Law Member of the Government of India, severely criticised the system of law reporting prevailing in the country at that time and brought to light its manifold drawbacks. </li></ul><ul><li>The Law Member pointed out that the private commercial enterprises published the reports did not make any distinction between cases worth reporting and those not worth reporting, and so the private reports contained many cases falling in the latter category. </li></ul><ul><li>It was his view that law reporting should be regarded as a branch of legislation and it was hardly a less important duty of the Government to publish that part of the law which is enunciated by the tribunals in their judgments than to promulgate its legislation. </li></ul>
  9. 10. <ul><li>The Act authorises the publication of the reports of the cases decided by the High Courts, and also sought to control the indiscriminate citation of cases in the courts. </li></ul><ul><li>Although the Act nowhere said that the decisions of the High Court were binding on the inferior courts within its jurisdiction yet it was implied through the provisions that a court would be bound to treat the cases decided by the High Courts as binding. </li></ul><ul><li>The Act, in effect provides that courts are not bound to hear cited any unauthorised series of law reports. </li></ul><ul><li>The Act applied only to the decisions of the High Courts and not to the decisions of the Privy Council, the Federal Court or the Supreme Court. </li></ul>
  10. 11. <ul><li>After the enactment of the Indian Law Reporters Act, 1875, it became necessary to have an official series of reports. The Councils of Law Reporting were set up in the several High Courts and reports began to be published under the authority of the State Govt. </li></ul><ul><li>The CJ of each HC nominates a committee with himself or another Judge as Chairman to supervise the publication of these reports. Each HC had a series of Indian Law Reports for itself e.g. ILR Madras, ILR Bombay etc. These reports came out monthly. </li></ul>
  11. 12. <ul><li>The Law Reports Act could not suppress the publication of a large no. of private reports. The deficiencies in the official series of reports have given rise to the system of private reports, some of which are extremely popular. </li></ul><ul><li>A no. of law reports are being published by non-official agencies on a commercial basis, they cover a very wide range and are published from various point of view. E.g. All India Reporter 1922, Madras Law Journal 1891, Allahabad Law Journal 1904, Bombay Law Reporter 1899 etc. </li></ul><ul><li>There are also a no. of reports of specialised nature devoted to specified areas of law. E.g. Criminal Law Journal, Taxation Law Reports, Sales Tax Cases etc. </li></ul>
  12. 13. <ul><li>The Privy Council served as the highest court of appeal from India and its decisions were binding on all the courts of India. The reports of the Privy Council cases were thus of a fundamental value to the Indian lawyers and courts. </li></ul><ul><li>Some cases of the Privy Council on appeal from India was compiled by Jerome W. Knapp in 3 volumes covering the period from 1829-1836. then E.F. Moore brought out Moore’s P.C. in 15 volumes from 1836-62. </li></ul><ul><li>From 1872-1950, Privy Council’s decisions on appeal from India are reported in 77 volumes of Indian Appeals published annually from England under the superintendence and control of the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting for England and Wales. </li></ul>
  13. 14. <ul><li>With the inauguration of the Federal Court of India under the Government of India Act1935, an official series of reports, known as Federal Court Reports, was started in 1939 and continued till 1949. these reports reported cases determined by the Federal Court of India as well as by the Privy Council on appeal from that Court. </li></ul><ul><li>Besides the official reports, there were unofficial reports also. The Federal Law Journal was started in 1937 to report the proceedings of the Federal Court and the Federal Legislature of India. </li></ul>
  14. 15. POOJA THOMAS I – A 09010303810