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Mysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) online

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which the rate of interest was not distinctly laid down, the courts were
not to award a higher rate than 6 per cent. ; but that, where the rate
of interest was expressly noted in the bond, the judge was to draw up
his award in conformity with the agreement.

The language of all judicial proceedings and decisions was Canarese,
but, should the vernacular language of any officer who was head of a
court be other than Canarese, he was bound to write his decision, or
any particular points regarding which he had to call for proof, in his
own language, and these papers having been translated into Canarese,
a copy of both the original and the translation were placed on record.
Should any head of a court, however, be sufficiently conversant with
Canarese to use it instead of his own language he was at liberty to do so.

In the case of a minor, the amount to which he was heir was placed
in deposit in the treasury, the greater portion being, as a general rule,
invested in Company's paper until such time as he attained his
majority, which is fixed at 18 years of age in Mysore ; and during the
interim he was placed under a respectable relation or some trustworthy
person, and a suitable allowance made out of his property for his
education and subsistence. Should there be a large amount due to the
minor's estate, a curator was appointed, whose only duty it was to
recover the several sums due and remit them to the treasury. He
.received on all sums realized a commission of 5 per cent. In the case



UNDER THE MYSORE COMMISSION 671

of insolvents who had a large amount of debts to pay and receive, the
usual course was to assemble a panchayat in the Commissioner's Court,
which, under his special instructions, investigated the affairs of the
estate, and submitted a statement and opinion on the matter. In
some instances, the Adalat settled such matters under instructions from
the Commissioner. In the case of intestates also, a panchayat was
sometimes convened. Should there be no heir, and money have to be
paid and received, a curator was appointed ; should there be no heir,
and no creditors, the amount of which the intestate died actually
possessed, was transferred to the Sivayi Jama ; and should there be an
heir, as soon as he had proved his right to the satisfaction of the
Commissioner, the property was transferred to him ; if he was a minor,
the usual course was pursued.

No individual of the Barr and Sawar departments, which were under
the control of the Military Assistant, could be summoned to attend a
Civil Court unless through that officer, nor could any decree against
them be executed without a previous intimation to him.

The Police Superintendent had power to adjudicate in all suits
originating within the limits of the Cantonment of Bangalore which did
not exceed pagodas 500 or rupees 1,750. His decisions were summary,
and he was not obliged to keep a record of proceedings unless in cases
of landed or house property. He might assemble a panchayat in any
case in which he deemed it advisable. An appeal from his decision
lay direct to the Commissioner in cases of landed property, but he was
not required to transmit appeals in suits regarding personal property.
The Commissioner could, however, take cognizance of any case what-
ever in which he deemed it just and right to interfere.

Suits against His Highness the Raja were filed in the Addlat Court,
under the immediate sanction of the Commissioner.

It was required that in all transactions the bonds, bills of .sale,
agreements, transfers, deeds, and other documents, should be executed
on stamped paper of a fixed value. Any unstamped document
presented in a suit was received and filed, but only on payment of a
sum equal to ten times the amount of stamp duty originally leviable
upon it. No suits for the recovery of vakil fees were permitted to be
filed in the Mysore courts.

Criminal Justice. — The Courts for the administration of Civil and
Criminal justice were identical. The Amildar was head of the police
in his taluq, and to assist him in revenue and magisterial business he
had under his orders a Peshkar, a Killedar, Shekdars, Hoblidars,
Dafadars and Kandachar peons ; of these the Killedar and Hoblidar
only were exclusively police officers.



6 7 2 ADMINISTKA 170 N

In cases of personal wrong, or for petty offences, the Amildar had
power to confine an individual in the stocks for not more than 12
hours, or to confine a person not in the stocks or in irons, for not more
than 14 days. Unless in cases of open violence, however, the Amildar
was not authorized to interfere except at the instance of a complaint.
The Amildar could not keep any person in confinement pending
investigation for a longer period than seven days without a reference to
the Superintendent. The Shekdars and Hoblidars had authority to
confine, for not more than 24 hours, any persons suspected of heinous
crimes, such as murder, burglary, gang, torch, or highway robberies :
within that time they must make such inquiries as would enable them
to release the parties or report to the Amildar for orders, and they were
held strictly responsible for any abuse of this authority. Should a
longer detention appear necessary, they must either send the prisoner
and witnesses to the Amildar, or forward to that officer a statement of
the circumstances for his orders. All offences or unusual occurrences
were regularly reported by the talvars and totis of villages, as also by
the Killedars and Kandachar officers to the Amildar, and by him to
the Superintendent. It was the peculiar duty of the Killedar, and,
under his orders, of the subordinate police officers, to search for
information, and place it before the panchayat in all taluq inquiries.

The Principal Sadar Munsiffs had power to punish to the extent of
two years' imprisonment, with or without hard labour, in all cases
referred to them for investigation and decision by the Superintendent,
but they had no original jurisdiction in criminal matters. The
Superintendent had power to sentence to seven years' imprisonment,
with or without hard labour in irons ; he reviewed all cases inquired
into by Amildars or decided by Munsiffs, and commuted or confirmed
the decisions of the latter. In cases of murder, gang, or torch
robbery, or other offences which involved capital punishment, or a
term of imprisonment m excess of his powers, the Superintendent
referred the matter for the decision of the Commissioner. The Com-
missioner had power to pass sentence of death, transportation for
life, or imprisonment with or without hard labour, on parties convicted
of murder, or of gang or torch robbery, when the latter crimes were
attended with torture or other aggravated circumstances, or when from
the frequent occurrence of such crimes he considered an example
advisable. All sentences of death required to be submitted to the
Supreme Government for confirmation. In criminal matters, the
Adalat Court had no jurisdiction, unless when cases were referred to it
for investigation by the Commissioner.

Panchayats for civil and criminal investigations were summoned irr



UNDER THE MYSORE COMMISSIOX 673

the same manner, and a prisoner had the same permission to challenge
as a plaintiff or defendant. There was this difference, however, that
no criminal investigation was permitted to be carried on without a
panchayat, whereas in civil cases it was optional with the head of the
court to convene one or not as he thought desirable.

The Police Superintendent of the Bangalore Cantonment had
authority to punish, with or without hard labour, to the extent of seven
years, and to the extent of Rs. 50 by fine. The Commissioner, how-
ever, had power to commute or remit any punishment awarded by that
officer. In cases involving a punishment in excess of seven years'
imprisonment, the Police Superintendent referred the case to the
Commissioner.

Magistrates, and district police officers under the orders of the
Magistrate, were permitted to apprehend and place in confinement
persons of notoriously bad character, or whose habits of life were
suspicious, until they could give good and reliable security for their
future good conduct. To prevent undue oppression on the part of
subordinate police authorities under the pretence of carrying out
the provisions of this order, every individual apprehended under its
authority was forwarded to the Superintendent or his Assistant for
examination, and could only be confined or punished under the
express orders of the former, and no individual taken up under the
provisions of this regulation could be confined for a longer period than
three years.

Villagers were authorized and encouraged to use arms of every
description in defending themselves and their property whenever their
village was attacked by either gang or torch robbers, and valuable
bangles were bestowed by the Government on those who distinguished
themselves on those occasions.

The Naiks of the Lamljanies, and the head men of the Kormars
and W'addars — these three castes, but more particularly the two former,
being looked upon as the professional thieves of this part of India-
were obliged to furnish good and reliable security for the good conduct
of their tdndas in the case of the first, and of those under their
immediate control in the case of the others. The different classes
were considered to be permanently under the surveillance of the district
police, and all their movements or changes of abode were watched,
noted and reported. A register showing the name and dwelling-place
of each individual of the different tribes was kept up in each taluq
cutcherry, copies of which were forwarded regularly to the Superin-
tendents of the Divisions.

X X



674 ADMINISTRATION

Transit 10)1 Period, 1856- 1862.

The period of the (lovernor-General Lord Dalhousie's visit to
Mysore, or the year 1855-6, may be considered to mark the termina-
tion of the exclusively patriarchal and non-regulation system of govern-
ment, which, under the statesmanlike control of Sir Mark Cubbon,
and the exertions of his select body of able administrative officers, had
achieved results beyond all praise.

The administration up to this period, as set forth in the reports
drawn up at the time, from which the foregoing accounts have been
compiled, was reviewed by Lord Dalhousie in the following terms,
under date Fort William, the 7th February 1856 : —

" The Governor-General in Council has read with attention, and with very
great interest, the papers submitted. They present a record of administra-
tion highly honourable to the British name, and reflecting the utmost credit
upon the exertions of the valuable body of officers by whom the great
results shown therein have been accomplished.

" In the past autumn the Governor-General had the opportunity of
witnessing some portion of these results with his own eyes, during his
journey from the Neilgherries through Mysore to Madras. His journey
was necessarily a hasty one. Even the cursory examination of the country,
which alone was practicable during the course of a week's visit, enables
him to bear testimony to the extent to which works of public improvement
have been carried in Mysore, and to the favourable contrast which the
visible condition of that Territory and of its people presents to the usual
condition of the Territory of a Native Prince, and even to the state of
Districts of our own which may sometimes be seen.

" During the period of twenty-five years which has elapsed since Mysore
came under the administration of British Officers, every department has
felt the hand of reform. An enormous number of distinct taxes have been
abolished, relieving the people in direct payment to the extent of io| lakhs
■of rupees a year, and doubtless the indirect relief given by this measure
has exceeded even the direct relief. Excepting a low tax upon cotifee
(which is raised on public land free of rent or land-tax), no new tax appears
to have been imposed, and no old tax appears to have been increased.
Nevertheless the public revenue has risen from forty-four to eighty-two
lakhs of rupees per annum.

" In the administration of Civil and Criminal justice, vast improvements
have been accomplished : regularity, order and purity have been intro-
duced, where, under native rule, caprice, uncertainty and corruption pre-
vailed ; substantial justice is promptly dispensed, and the people themselves
have been taught to aid in this branch of the administration, by means of
a system of Panchd.yats, which is in full and efficient operation. And in
the department of Police, the administration of British Officers has been
eminently successful. In short, the system of administration which has



UNDER THE MYSORE COMMISSIOX 675

been established, whether in the Fiscal or Judicial department, although it
may be, and no doubt is, capable of material improvement, is infinitely
superior to that which it superseded : and has, within itself, the elements
of constant progress.''

r>oni that time, the State debts having now been extinguished, com-
menced a period of transition, which continued till 1862, when Mr.
Eowring, on assuming the government, completed the introduction
into every department of the more or less regulation system which has
since been developed. From 1856-7 also began the publication of
Annual Administration Reports.

The earlier changes introduced during this period did not result
from a new policy adopted with regard to the State of Mysore individ-
ually, or from the personal views of I.ord Dalhousie. They operated
equally in all parts of India and arose out of the renewal of the E^st
India Company's Charter in 1854. The preamble of the celebrated
educational despatch of that year from the Court of Directors, which
runs as follows, testifies to this : —

" It appears to us that the present time, when by an Act of the Imperial
Legislature the responsible trust of the Government of India has again
been placed in our hands, is peculiarly suitable for the review of the pro-
gress which has already been made, the supply of existing deficiencies, and
the adoption of such improvements as may be best calculated to secure the
ultimate benefit of the people committed to our charge."

One of the first changes was the appointment, in 1856, of a Judicial
Commissioner, to relieve the Commissioner of a branch of work which
had grown to dimensions beyond his power to discharge in addition to
the various other duties devolving upon the Head of the Administra-
tion. The formation of a regular Department for Public Works, and
the institution of a Department for Education, both date from the
same period. In 1858, a Principal Sadar Munsiffs Court was estab-
lished in the Cantonment of Bangalore, to relieve the Superintendent
of Police of the trial of civil suits. In i860 the head-quarter estab-
lishments were revised, and additional European Assistants appointed.
The Bangalore Police force was reorganized in 1861, and the Head
Kotwal made Sar Amin, with magisterial powers equal to those of an
Amildar. Of other measures, steps were taken for the Conservancy
of Forests, and for the planting of topes and avenues ; Botanical
C.ardens were formed in the old Lai Bagh,' and a (lovernment Press
was established.

' An Agri-IIorlicullural Society was established at Hangalore in 1S39, under the
auspices of the Commissioner, wh



Online LibraryB. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) RiceMysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) → online text (page 80 of 98)