The Judicial System of the East India Company: Precursor to the Present Pakistani Legal System
Annual Journal of International Islamic University, Islamabad, Vol. 13 & 14, pp. 53-68, 2005-06
20 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2011 Last revised: 24 Dec 2014
Date Written: April 23, 2011
The work discusses how the British East India Company came to the subcontinent for the purpose of trade in 1604 and how it slowly and gradually started interfering in the local justice system by acquiring revenue collection of 38 villages in 1717 near Calcutta. In 1765 the Company was granted revenue collection as well as customs of three provinces. The Company also acquired the administration of justice in the areas under its control and the role of Muslim qadis and judges was over. Company’s officials, who were traders rather than trained judges, were running the court system and the Privy Council was born as the highest court of appeal. The doctrine of precedent was introduced in the subcontinent which is now institutionalized in India and Pakistan.
Keywords: East India Company, Judicial system of East India Company, trader's justice in India, replacement of Islamic law, role of Mughal rulers, privy council, evolution of precedent in India
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