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Cossijurah case


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Cossijurah case

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Cossijurah case

  1. 1. 11/17/2013 COSSIJURAH CASE 1779-1780 1
  2. 2. 2 11/17/2013 INTRODUCTION  The conflicts between the supreme court and the Supreme council reached a climax in this case. While the Supreme court issued orders to the sheriff to use force in order to carry out its orders, the supreme council ordered its troops to defend the implementation of its orders. The Supreme court also claimed its jurisdiction over the whole native population which was opposed by the supreme council. Due to these peculiarities this case is of great historical importance.
  3. 3. 3 11/17/2013 FACTS  Raja Sundernarain, zamindar of Cossijurah (Kasijora) was under a heavy debt to Cossinaut Babu (Kashinath).  Though Cossinaut Babu tried to recover the money from the Raja, his efforts were in vain.  He therefore filed a civil suit against the Raja of Cossijurah in the Supreme Court at Calcutta.  The SC issued a writ of Capias for the Raja’s arrest.
  4. 4. 4  Being 11/17/2013 afraid Raja avoided service of the writ by hiding himself.  The council issued a notification informing all the landholders that they need not pay attention to the process of the Supreme Court unless they were either servants of the company or had accepted the courts jurisdiction by their own consent.  The Raja was also specially informed by the council and therefore his people drove away the sheriff of the SC when that official came with a writ to arrest Raja Of Cossijurah.
  5. 5. 5 11/17/2013 CONFLICT  The SC issued another writ of sequestration on 12th November 1779 to seize the property of Raja’s house in order to compel him to appear in the SC.  The Englishmen imprisoned the Raja and its said that they outraged the sanctity of the family idol and entered into the Zenana  In the meantime the Governor General and Council directed Colonel Ahmuty Commander of the armed forces to detach sufficient force to intercept and arrest Sherif with his Party and release Raja.
  6. 6. 6  On 11/17/2013 3rd December 1779 sheriff and his party was arrested and was kept in confinement for 3 days.  Later on they were sent to Calcutta as prisoners, Council released the Sheriff’s party and directed Colonel Ahmuty to release any further writ of the SC.
  7. 7. 7 11/17/2013 LATER DEVELOPMENTS    Cossinaut Babu brought an action against the Governor General and the members of the council individually. The G.G and councilors refused to appear before the court as the act was during their official capacity. The Council declared that persons in Bengal, out of Calcutta need not submit to the court and assured that even with the use of armed forces they’ll protect the interests of the natives
  8. 8. 8  Army 11/17/2013 officials refused to allow the SC’s officials to serve the writ to the members of the Council.  The Judges and members of SC grew angry and felt insulted.  As the members of the council were not served the writ, the SC took an action against North Naylor, Attorney General of the of the Company.  He was committed to prison and no bail was accepted because the punishment was regarded ‘exemplary’.
  9. 9. 9 11/17/2013  Though no action was taken against the members of the council, they were not exempted from the civil action.  While considering the case Justice Impey commented “That if they thought themselves not amenable to the court, they ought to plead to the jurisdiction or demur to the plaint; and if they were discontent with our Judgements, the Charter had given them a remedy by appeal” .
  10. 10. 10  The 11/17/2013 SC would not allow the Councilors to withdraw their appearances but it had no force to compel their appearance.  The conflict between the council and court increased. No one was ready for compromise.  On 12th march, 1780 the plaintiff, coossunaut Babu, withdrew his suit against G.G and council and Raja of Cossijurah.
  11. 11. 11 11/17/2013 OBSERVATIONS AND QUESTIONS The Cossijurah case refers to two important questions for due consideration. 1.) Whether zamindars were subject to jurisdiction of Supreme Court. 2.) Who was competent authority to decide this case? As regards to 1st question, once committed themselves to protect the Raja of Cossijurah, the councilors could not withdraw their protection without damaging their power and prestige. 
  12. 12. 12 11/17/2013  Regarding the 2nd question, the Judges of the SC was the competent authority to determine the legal status of zamindars and the council had no such power.  In his letter to John Purling Warren Hastings pointed out the “I sincerely lament our differences to the Judges: but it was unavoidable. I think you will support us; if you do not, be assured Bengal, and of course India, will, be lost to the British nation”.
  13. 13. 13 11/17/2013  The contents of this letter pointed out that Warren Hastings considered the supremacy of the council more important than his friendship with Impey.  When Warren Hastings ordered the military to arrest the Sheriff of the court he declared “We are upon the eve of an open war with the Court”.  Under these situations in March 1779, a petition, signed by all the prominent British inhabitants of Bengal, Servants of the company, zamindars was sent to British Parliament against the excesses of SC in Bengal.  As result of this a parliamentary Committee was appointed.
  14. 14. 14  The 11/17/2013 Committee presented a detailed report on the conflict between the Supreme Court and the Council.  The Parliament therefore passed an Act of settlement in 1781.
  15. 15. 15 11/17/2013 THANK YOU