Between 1828 and 1835, Lord William Bentinck served as the first official governor-general of British India. Lord William Bentinck became the governor of Bengal in 1828, and the recognized governor of British India in 1833, thanks to the Charter of 1833. Lord William Bentinck’s input was known to be the most useful among the other officials.
He was known as a man of peace, discipline, and economy, and he was a liberal reformist who actively participated in England’s reform movements, and he wished to implement some significant reforms in India as well. His immediate directive was to recover India from its financial crisis or somewhat financial difficulties, and he soon succeeded in revering the deficit in a surplus amount due to which the deteriorating condition of the East India Company was again balanced.
He was a remarkable reformer and was regarded as the first governor to sympathize with the Indians, therefore he instituted a number of significant reforms in a variety of areas, including administrative, judicial, educational, economical, and social reforms.
JUDICAL REFORMS :
1) ABOLITION OF CIRCUIT COURTS
- He observed that the current system of circuit courts, which had extremely broad territorial authority, was responsible for many flaws in the administration of civil and criminal justice.
The number of cases in arrears increased as a result of long delays in determining cases.
- The ability of the court to complete the circuit in six months grew increasingly difficult. Because the provincial courts of appeal also dealt with civil issues, he wanted to abolish the circuit court system.
- Commissioners of Circuit and sessions judges were given the ability in 1832 to enlist the assistance of respectable natives in criminal matters, either by submitting a topic to them as a panchayat for investigation or by summoning them to the court as assessors or jury members.
2) POWER OF JUDGES INCREASED
In 1831 the power of Indian judges was extended more as the claim amount or pecuniary jurisdiction of the Munsiffs was increased to Rs. 300, also the Sadar Amins were authorized to decide on any suit that was referred by Zila or City Judge, but that must be up to the valuation of Rs. 1000. Principal Sadar Amins were also started to decide original suits that come under the Courts of Registrars up to Rs. 5000. In 1831 all the functions of the Provincial Courts of Appeal were transferred to the District Diwani Adalat, so its jurisdiction became unlimited.
3) CIVIL AND REVENUE JURISDICTION TO COLLECTOR
Suits involving rent were moved to the sole jurisdiction of tax collectors, who were given the discretion to make snap decisions. Their ruling was final, pending the filing of a civil suit in the civil courts.
4) JURY SYSTEM:
Regulation VI of 1832 gave the governor general in council the ability to invest any European civil judge in a civil suit original or appellate trial with the power to enlist the help of the Indians in one of three methods. The collector was given the ability to try revenue cases under Regulation XIV of 1834. Act X 1859 made all kinds of tax cases cognizable in one of three methods by collectors of the help of the Indians.
The first judge may send the case to the panchayat, which will provide him with an investigation report. Second, the judge may appoint two or more assessors to assist him during the examination of witnesses, with each assessor issuing a separate report. Third, the judge has the authority to appoint any person as a jury member who will advise the court on areas of investigation or inquiry. In 1837, the Principal Sardar Ammen Act was created, allowing them to trial suits for whatever sum referred to them by the district diwani Adalat. The Bengal Tenancy Act of 1885 established civil courts to resolve disputes between landowners and tenants.
5) SATI WAS MADE AN OFFENCE AS IT WAS DEEMED INHUMAN:
It was a kind of heinous, inhuman rite in which a Hindu widow was compelled to burn herself in her husband’s burning pyre. It was then designated culpable homicide and a penal offense, with any form of assistance for the crime being punished as well.
6) INDIANS APPOINTED JUDICIAL OFFICERS
There is no religious discrimination in becoming an Ammen. The governor-strategy general’s resulted in cost savings because English judges were well compensated while Indian justices were available for a low salary. He acquired the Indians’ trust and loyalty as a result of this. A magistrate may submit any criminal case to a Sadar Ameenor a main sadar Ameen for inquiry, according to Regulation V of 1831. Ammen was an Indian servant of the British judiciary. The appeals of Sadar Ammen and Munsiff were sent to the district diwani adalat. The district diwani adalat’s decision was final. However, Sadar diwani Adalat was granted a special appeal.The judicial powers of registers were removed The munsiff was the poor mans justice provider , he was nearby them so he got speedy justice.
7) The Charter Act of 1833 :
It was considered to be one of the most important charters at the time since it influenced India’s legislative and judicial evolution. For the next twenty years, the East India Company was given territorial possession, and an All India Legislature was established with wide legislative powers.
The Governor-General of Bengal, Lord William Bentinck, was named the first Governor-General of India. The charter aimed to create a chance for the centralization of law by appointing a law minister to the Governor-office General’s to preside over the Law Commission, regulate the Provinces, and remove the freedom to legislate.
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