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
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
The SC issued a writ of Capias for the Raja’s
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.
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.
3rd December 1779 sheriff and his party
was arrested and was kept in confinement for
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.
Cossinaut Babu brought an action against the
Governor General and the members of the council
The G.G and councilors refused to appear before
the court as the act was during their official
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
officials refused to allow the SC’s
officials to serve the writ to the members of
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
He was committed to prison and no bail was
accepted because the punishment was
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
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.
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
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.
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”.
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
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
As result of this a parliamentary Committee
Committee presented a detailed report on
the conflict between the Supreme Court and
The Parliament therefore passed an Act of
settlement in 1781.