Write the judicial reform of Lord Cornwallis

Write the judicial reform of Lord Cornwallis:

In the work of judicial reorganization, Cornwallis secured the services of Sir William Jones, who was a judge and a great scholar. Civil and criminal courts were completely reorganized.

  1. At the top of the judicial system the highest civil and criminal courts of appeal, namely Sadar Diwani Adalat and Sadar Nizamat Adalat were functioning at Calcutta. Both of them were presided over by the Governor - General and his council.
  2. There were four provincial courts of appeal at Calcutta, Dacca, Murshidabad and Patna, each under three European judges assisted 64 Indian advisors.
  3. District and city courts functioned each under a European judge. Every district was provided with a court. As already stated Cornwallis had taken away from the collectors of their judicial powers and made them solely responsible for the collection of revenue. As a result, District judges were appointed.
  4. Indian judges or Munsiffs were appointed to all the courts at the bottom of the judicial system.

In criminal cases, Muslim law was improved and followed. In civil cases, Hindu and Muslim laws were followed according to the religion of the litigants. In suits between Hindus and Muslims, the judge was the deciding authority, Cornwallis was merciful by temperament. He hated barbarous punishments and abolished those like mutilation and trial by ordeal.

Cornwallis was better known as a law giver than as an administrator with the help of his colleague, George Barlow, Cornwallis prepared a comprehension code, covering the whole field of administration, judicial, police/commercial and fiscal. This code was based upon the principle of Montesquieu, “the separation of powers”, which was popular in the West in 18th century. In order to curb unduce exercise of authority Cornwallis made all officials answerable to the courts.