English History

Old Judiciary System of Avadh

Prior to the annexation of Avadh in 1856, under the Kings of Avadh the judicial system was based on Islamic law. The rulers of Avadh paid highest regard to the judiciary. The last three Kings of Avadh, Muhammad Ali Shah, Amjad Ali Shah and Wajid Ali Shah followed the Islamic law and did not deviated in its implementation and never interfered in the smooth course of justice. The incharge of the judiciary was the Mujtahid-ul-asr(the highest priest under the Shia law). His decisions in civil and criminal cases and on religious points were final. In rare cases the King personally heard the appeals. For administration of justice there were three courts. There was Mohakma-e-Sadr-e-Amanat where suits relating to moveable and immoveable properties were dealt by the administrative head of this department known as Sadr-e-Amanat. In his supervision were the works of Amins who used to carried out the investigations and orders were passed on their findings. There was Mahakma-e-Adalat-e-Aliah(High Court) which was established during the reign of Nawab Wazeer(Yameen-ud-daulah) Saadat Ali Khan(1798-1814) and continued upto King Wajid Ali Shah’s reign(1847-1856). This court used to hear cases relating to inheritance, succession, property and liabilities of the deceased. It was attached to the finance department. The plaints were written on a white stamped paper and the suits were decided according to the Islamic law but local customs and precedents were also taken in consideration. Muftis decisions were implemented by the Darogha-e-Adalat. Appeals from the decisions of these courts lay to the Adalat-e-Aliah or the court of Mujtahid-ur-Asr. The orders were signed by the judges and on some instances only the court seal was put on the judgements. The court of Adalat-e-Aliah had several divisional courts which were presided by the Nazims. Nazims used to try all criminal cases except murders which were tried by the Adalat-e-Aliah at the capital. Then there was Mahakma-e-Murafeah(Supreme Court). This department which was established by King Amjad Ali Shah and which was presided over by Mujtahed-ul-Asr Syed Muhammad Sahab(Sultan-ul-Ulema). For the settlement of disputes and disposement of the cases mufti’s were appointed all over the Kingdom. For final adjudication appeals were submitted to this court. It was the Supreme Court of appeal in Avadh. All appeals from the Mofussil courts laid directly to this court. Matrimonial and Inheritance cases were decided in this court according to the Islamic law. Mortgage deeds relating to property were registered in Mahakma-e-Murafeah, which also had jurisdiction for reduction of taxes in city. This court had both original and appellate jurisdiction in murder cases. Actually there was a very stable and meaningful judiciary system prevalent in those days. In those days Avadh was divided into the following twelve judicial divisions. 1- Partabgarh-Jagdishpur 2.Baiswana 3.Aldamau-Tanda 4.Gonda-Bahraich 5.Khairabad 6.Bari-Biswan 7.Nasirabad 8.Muhammadi 9.Rasulabad 10.Daryabad 11.Shahabad 12.Sandila. And following is the list of Divisional Judges who were at the helm in the later part of King Wajid Ali Shah’s rule. 1.Mir Hussain Mufti(Partabgarh) salary 150 Rs. 2. Mir Anwar Ali(Aldamau-Tanda) salary 150 Rs. 3. Mir Muzaffar Ali(Baiswara) salary 150 Rs. 4. Mirza Muhammad(Gonda-Bahraich) salary 150 Rs. 5. Mir Muhammad(Khairabad) salary 150 Rs. 6. Mir Ali Akbar(Bari-Biswan) salary 100 Rs. 7. Mir Dildar Hussain(Nasirabad) salary 100 Rs. 8. Mir Ali Hasan(Muhammadi) salary 60 Rs. 9. Mir Zamin Ali(Rasulabad) salary 70 Rs. 10. Mirza Ali Naqi(Daryabad) salary 60 Rs. 11. Mir Muhammad Raza(Shahabad) salary 60 Rs. 12. Mir Ahmad Hussain(Sandila) salary 40 Rs. Also All over Avadh there were Talukdar’s Katcheri’s presided by the local powerful zamindars or by their Madar-ul-Mohams(Managers) who used to deleiver their judgements and which was accepted by their tenants wholeheartedly and gracefully. The Raja of Baiswara, the Maharajah of Balrampur and the Rajas of Tulsipur, Nanpara and Mahmudabad exercised their power till the very day of annexation. Throughout Avadh , all the large cities had a Kotwali under the supervision of a Police-officer known as Kotwal and there were about 68 police stations in those days. The Kotwal apart from a Police-officer also had magisterial powers of their jurisdictions. The offences of theft, bodily injury, domestic brawls, disputes about water courses and chabutras, suicide, unnatural deaths, arrest of absconded slaves, Sati and other such cases were investigated by the police and thereafter reports were sent to Saiyyad Murtuza for decisions. Saiyyad Murtuza was Khulasat-ul-ulema and was the son of Syed Murtuza,the Sultan-ul-ulema. During the reign of Wajid Ali Shah he was the head of the police department. According to Uttar Pradesh District Gazetteers Vol 37, Mujtahid-ul-Asr was the highest court of civil jurisdiction as well as the highest court

Facebook Comments