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Legal History UNIT II (a) Reforms of Cornwallis:Judicial Plan of 1787,1790 and1793. (b)Lord William Bentick (with special focus on appraisal of criminal.

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Presentation on theme: "Legal History UNIT II (a) Reforms of Cornwallis:Judicial Plan of 1787,1790 and1793. (b)Lord William Bentick (with special focus on appraisal of criminal."— Presentation transcript:

1 Legal History UNIT II (a) Reforms of Cornwallis:Judicial Plan of 1787,1790 and1793. (b)Lord William Bentick (with special focus on appraisal of criminal law)

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3 Introduction The court of directors on 12th April 1786 directed Lord Cornwallis to vest in one person the revenue, judicial, and magisterial functions. Cornwallis followed the ordered and introduced plan of 1787.

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5 Judicial Plan of 1787 Increased the salaries of collectors. Reduced the number of Diwani districts from 36 to 23 The scheme was introduced through 2 Regulations. – First Regulation dealt with Revenue Administration and it was introduced on 8th June – Second Regulation dealt with administration of justice and it was enacted on 27 June – In each district a company’s English covenanted servant was appointed as collector who collected revenue as well as decided all cases relating to revenue. – Collector also worked as Judge in the district Mofussil, Diwani Adalat to decide civil cases, succession cases and land related cases like boundaries etc.

6 Contd/- Revenue Court was known as mal Adalat.Appeals from mal Adalat went to the Board of Revenue at Calcutta. And it finally went to the Governor General. In Diwani Adalat appeals in the cases where matters involving more than one thousand rupees went to the Sadar Diwani Adalat, where Governor General and council handled the cases. Appeal from Sadar Diwani Adalat went to the King in Council. In each Adalat registrar was appointed as a subordinate officer to help collectors.

7 Judicial Plan of 1787 Registrar was given power to handle decide cases up to rupees 200 and orders passed by him became valid when it were signed by the judge of Mofussil Adalat. As a magistrate, collector was authorized to try and arrest criminals in petty offences. The magistrate got power to hear the cases against the Englishmen who committed crimes against Indians, in this case magistrate made inquiry and he felt that there is ground for trial, he would send the Englishman accused to the Calcutta for trial and if Indian complainant was poor, the government paid all the expenses of travelling to Calcutta.

8 Judicial Plan of 1787 Cornwallis began in 1787 by giving limited criminal judicial powers to the company's revenue collectors, who already also served as civil magistrates He also required them to report regularly on detention times and sentences given.

9 JUDICIAL PLAN OF 1790 Criminal Justice system – In 1790 Cornwallis tried to reform the criminal justice system which was following Muslim criminal law system and Mofussil Fauzdari Adalats were controlled by Qazis, muftis and moulvies. Criminal justice system – transferred to English servants from Muslim law officers. Muslim law officers became advisors to the court.

10 JUDICIAL PLAN OF 1790 Districts got the magistrates, above them were Courts of Circuit and above them was Sadar Nizamat Adalat. Sadar Nizamat Adalat was shifted to Calcutta from Murshidabad and Nawab was divested of his control over the adalat. In Sadar Adalat Governor General and council members sat as judges and Muslim law officers helped them to understand the Muslim law. Mofussil Fozdari adalats were abolished and on their place four court of circuits were established. All districts in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa were arranged into four divisions of Patna, Calcutta, Murshidabad and Dacca. Court of circuit was a moving court and it travelled from district to district in the given division. Court of Circuit consisted of 2 companies covenanted servants and Muslim law officers help them.

11 JUDICIAL PLAN OF 1790 Thus, Governor General took the complete control of criminal justice system Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. Defects of Scheme – – Lot of work for court of circuits – No provision to supervise the collectors, who got unlimited powers

12 JUDICIAL PLAN OF 1793 In May 1793, the Cornwallis code emerged as a legal code, representing a compilation of fort eight regulations. Drafted by Sir George Barlow ( ), it included measures covering both civil and criminal law. In Bengal, the code provided for the Governor-in Council to form both the Sadar Diwani Adalat (civil) and Sadar Nizamat Adalat (Criminal). In 1801, these appellate duties were transferred from the executive to the Supreme Court of Calcutta.

13 JUDICIAL PLAN OF 1793 The Cornwallis code further established four Provincial Courts of Appeal located in Calcutta, Murshidabad, Dacca and Patna. These courts handled cases on appeal from the District Courts of Bengal to prevent overloading the Sadar Diwani Adalat in Calcutta. Each Provincial court accepted appeals from six to nine District courts. They consisted of three English judges which were later raised to 4. They provided original justice in the case of criminal trials. Within the district, the zilla court system provided primary civil justice and the Nizamat Adalat for criminal cases of the first instance. With these systematic developments, the collector gave up his judicial duties.

14 JUDICIAL PLAN OF 1793 Cornwallis code of 1793 further removed the judicial duties formerly held by the collector and passed them to the Diwani Adalat established in each district it included guidelines for the appropriate for Hindu or Mohammedan laws. In order to reduce the case loads at the district level, commissions consisting of Indian officials were developed to hear cases not exceeding 50 rupees in value. The regulation further enacted that judges could commute the sentences of mutilation and amputation awarded by the jutwa of Mohammedan law to hard labour for 7 years.

15 Appraisal judicial reforms by Lord Cornwallis were based on the principal of separation of power. Cornwallis at first sought to separate the revenue administration from the administration of justice. The collector used to be the head of the revenue dept. In a district and also enjoyed the extensive judicial and magisterial powers. However, Cornwallis promoted the separation of power and the Cornwallis code divested the collector of all the judicial and the magisterial powers. Thus, the collectors were given the only power of the revenue administration according to the Cornwallis code. A new class of officer called the district judge was created to preside over the district civil court. The district judge was also given the magisterial and the police function.

16 Appraisal A gradation of civil court was set up. The distinction between the revenue and the civil cases was abolished and the new Diwani Courts were entrusted to try all the civil cases. Munsifs became the lower court which was presided by the Indian officer and they were competent to decide cases involving disputes upto 50 rupees. Registrars became the court next to the munsifs proceeded over by the European officers and tried upto the case worth rupees 200 rupees.

17 Appraisal Appeals from both these courts were laid to the districts or the city courts. District judges presided over the city courts and decided the civil suits with the help of the Indian law officers. Above the district courts were the provincial courts of appeal at Calcutta, Murshidabad, Dacca and Patna. These courts had to also supervise the working of the district court. The Sadar Diwani Adalat at Calcutta presided over by the Governor and his council. Through the Cornwallis Code, regulations are also laid down regarding the procedures to be followed in these courts. Cornwallis administered the Hindu laws according to the Hindus and the Mohammedan laws according to the Muslims.

18 Appraisal Under the judicial administration promoted by Cornwallis, the European subjects in the districts were made subjects under the jurisdiction the local civil courts. No special licence was given to the Europeans unless he submitted himself to the law of the land. Further the government servants were made answerable before the civil courts for any acts done even in the official capacity. Thus, Cornwallis proclaimed the principle of sovereignty of law in India.

19 Lord William Bentick


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