maharaj Yadunathaji Vrajaratanaji.

Report of the Maharaj libel case, and of the Bhattia conspiracy case, connected with it online

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Online Librarymaharaj Yadunathaji VrajaratanajiReport of the Maharaj libel case, and of the Bhattia conspiracy case, connected with it → online text (page 1 of 34)
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KAESAInDASS MOOLJEE, EditOT ajid Proprietor,


MIABHAI EUSTAMJI HMUi, Printer, " Satya Prakash.''



rrintnd at t1in BOMBAY (tAZETTE Press.



The following sheets have been compiled and put in this form
with a view to give an extended circulation to the proceedings of
a trial which has created an unparalleled sensation on this side of
India. They contain a full report of the Maharaj Libel case,*
together with a copious account of the origin, trial and conclusion
of the Bhattia Conspiracy, which arose out of the pleas put in by
the defendants. The argument in the demurrer first hied by the
Defendants is also given in full.

The Maharaj Libel case is in all respects a most extraordinary
one. The plaintiff belonged to a fraternity, the members of which
pretended individually and collectively, to be incarnations of God and
according to the spirit of their theological works, even superior to
God himself. Their inequitous pretensions are tacitly acknowledged
and openly avowed by all their followers. Human nature rises in
rebellion against the morality of a theology wdiich sanctions and
imperatively enjoins adultery and fornication with its teachers as the
only means of salvation !

If it be said that the Maharajas exercise absolute control over
the minds and bodies of their votaries, it would be a statement
that falls short of the truth. Adultery with them is not only en-
joined but an absolute necessity without which no man can expect
happiness in this world or bliss in the next. A course of bestial
licentiousness is their beatitude of heaven. The consequences of this
horrid and revolting superstition, were unfolded for the first time
before a judicial tribunal in the case of Jadunathjee Brizrattanjee
Maharaj vs. Karsandass Mooljee. The cause of morality, it was
expected, could not but gain by the trial and the defendant with
honest confidence in the justiness of his cause accepted the challenge
and in turn dared the challenger. The eyes of India were rivetted

* The varioiis extracts and translations produced during the trial arc also published in this report.

M 10815'?


on the proceedings. The disclosures in court startled the outside
world. They were revelations of a theology the most hateful, a
morality the most outrageous and filthy, a body of religious guides
who may be described as living incarnations of Satan. Nor was the
extraordinary sensation produced by these revelations confined to the
native community. It was a subject of almost daily comment in the
English society and newspapers. Some watched the proceedings with
anxiety, many with mingled hope and fear lest by some mischance
the work of reform may be indefinitely postponed, and all with interest.

The fierce zeal with which the plaintiif sought to crush the defen-
dant, by all the means in his power, will not be a matter of sur-
prise, when we reflect that to him it was a life-and-death struggle.
He must either confound his assailant, or submit to the just criti-
cisms of the press, which cannot in the long run fail to undermine
his power to corrupt and defile the homes and beds of hundreds of
families. The defendant and his friends did what the law expected
them to do. To them it was a labour of love. Fresh from the
perusal of works, imbued with a healthy tone of morality, they could
not tolerate relig-ious vice or relia-ioi^s debauchees. Some idea of the
firm hold which this loathsome system ot religion has on the minds
of its followers, may be formed from the fact that nine of the most
respectable leading members of the Phattia caste, who in their com-
mercial dealings daily come in contact with civilized influences, from
sincere religious convictions, oi'ganized a conspiracy to defeat the ends
of justice, Ijy threatening to put in motion, that most terrible engine
of punishment in India — social excommunication.

The trial of the libel case occupied full twenty-four days. In this
respect it is quite unprecedented in the annals of judicial administration
in India. The ordinary reader cannot but rise from the perusal of the
report with a sjjontaneous conviction that it has afforded him a more
accurate glimpse into the interior of a section of native society, than
that which could be had from works professedly treating of native
manners and customs. The report cannot also fail to be of material
value and impoi-tance to professional men embodying as it does the
arguments of the able counsel on either side.



The Alleged Libel ... 1

Plaint set forth by Jadunathjee Maharaj ... 3

Argument on a Special Demurrer filed by the Defendants 5

Judgment on the Demurrer .. . 18

Pleas set forth by the Defendants 21

Conspiracy Case arising out of the Pleas SO

Trial op the Bhattia Conspiracy Case 81

Argument on the Motion of Arrest of Judgment ., 48

Sentence of the Court 58

Trial of the Maharaj Libel Case 59

Examination of Witnesses for the Plaintiff 60

Argument on the Motion of a Non-suit 72

Court's Decision on the above Application 85

Speech for the Defence 87

Examination of Witnesses for the Defendants 93

Extracts and Translations produced before the Court 95

Rebutting Evidence for the Plaintiff 152

Speech for the Defence on the Rebutting Evidence 177

Speech for the Plaintiff on tlie Defendants' Case 185

Judgment of the Hon'ble Sir M. Sausse 194

Judgment of the Hon'ble Sir J. Arnould 204



(Official Translation of an Editorial Article in the " Snfi/a Prakash" Gujrati Newspaper,
of the 2\st October, 1860.)


In the Purans and other Shasiras of the Hindus it is stated that in the
Kaliyitg there will arise false religions and heresies, and impostors and heretics will
cause adverse pers'iasions and adverse religious systems to be established. According
to the Hindu Shasiras five thousand years have now passed away since t\ie commence-
ment of the Kaliyug. From the Hindu S'/astras themselves it is demonstrated that
during this period of five thousand years as many new persuasions and religious systems
as have arisen among the Hindus, should all be considered spurious hensies. Now, four
hundred years have not as yet elapsed since the birth of VakiM, the projenitor of the
Maharajas. In the books of tlie Vaishnava persuasion it is written that the birth of
Valabhacliarya took place on the 11th of Waisakh Tad of Samvant 1535, the day
of the week Sunday ; since this event 381 years have elapsed to this day, and since
the beginning of the KaViyxg five thousand years have passed. The sect of ValabJiacharya
then originated wiihin the Kal'niwj itself. In the same way as the followers of Dada,
the followers of Sad/ni, the R ■msneld, the Ramanandi, the SIteJanandi and other sects
arose ; so the sect of Va'abhacharya arose ; all these sects have arisen in the KaVyug,
therefore according to the declarations of the Hindu Shasiras they must be heterodox.

Jadunathjee Maharaj snys that in the same way as sonr.e one goes from the gates
of the fort to proceed to Walkeshwar and some one to Bjculla, so exa^ tly the original
courses of the Veds and the Purans having gone forward, have diverged into different
ways. What a deceitful proposition this is. Out of one religious system ten or fifteen
by-ways must not branch off. The course of religion and of morals must be one cnly.
What necessity is there to quit the straight road by which to go to Walkeshwar, and
take the circuitous route of Bycalla ? Each sectary has made every other sectary a
heretic, and one has scattered dust upon tb.e other ; what then is the necessity for
acting thus ? But we have already made known that as regards the weapons with
which the Maharaj has come forth to defend himself, those very weapons will oppose
the Maharaj, and annoy him. The JNIaharaj considers the Hindu Shustras as the work
of GoJ ; he cannot then assert any patticular statement of the Hindu Shastras is
false. The said Maharaj cannot allege that the statement that in the Kaliyug here-
tical opinions will ariae, is false. Then like several other sects, the sect of the Maha-

rajas has arisen in the Kaliyug, consequently it is established by the Hindu Shastras
that it is a false and heretical one.

The sect of the Maharajas is heretical and one delusive to simple people ; that
is proved by the genuine books of the Veds, the Piirans, &c., according to what is
intimated above. Not only this, but also from the works composed by the Maharajas,
it is proved that the Maharajas have raised up nothing but a new heresy and dis-
order. Behold y/ith regard to the subject of Bramh how Gokulnathji has amplified
the original stanza, what a commentary he has made : —

^tWTlfi- ^?[T H[7T[?q;l^^ ^f^^JT^^ HI^rj^lCRR

Fr^[R ^R[R^^^^[^?^^'-f : II 3 II

" Consequently before he himself has enjoyed her, he should make over his own

married wife (to the Maharaj), and he should also make over (to him) his sons and

daughters. After having got married, he should before having himself enjoyed his wife

make an offering of her (to the Maharaj) ; after which he should apply her to his
own use."

Alas ! what a heresy this is, what a sham this is, and what a delusion this is ! We
ask Jadunathjee Maharaj in what Ved, in what Paran., in what Shastra, and in
what law-book it is written that one's married wife should be made over to a Maharaj
or to a religious preceptor before being enjoyed. Not only one's wife, but one's daughter
also is to be made over ! Alas ! in writing this, our pen will not move on. We are
seized with utter disgust and agitation. To render blind people who see with their eyes
and to throw dust in their eyes, and in the name of religion and under the pretence
of religion to enjoy their tender maidens, wives and daughters, than this what greater
heresy and what greater deceit ? In the Kaliyug many other heresies and many sects
have arisen besides .hat of Valabhacharya, but no other sectaries have ever perpetrat-
ed, such shamelessness, subtilty, immodesty, rascality, and deceit as have the sect of the
Maharajas. When we use such severe terms as these, our simple Hindu friends are
wroth with us, and in consequence of that wrath of theirs, we have had and have
much to endure. But when throwing dust in the eyes of simple people, the Maharajas
write in their books about enjoying the tender maidens, — the peoples' wives and daughters,
and they enjoy them accordingly, great flames spring up within our inside, our pen at
once becomes heated on fire, and we have to grieve over our Hindu friends and over
their weak powers of reflection.

Jadunathjee Maharaj has commenced issuing a small work styled " The Propagator
of our own Religion' ; we ask him in what way do you wish to effect the propagation
of religion ? Your ancestors having scattered dust in the eyes of simple people, made
them blind ? Do you wish to make them see, or taking a false pride in the upholding
of your religion, do you wish to delude simple people still more ? Jadunathjee Maharaj,
should you wish to propogate or to spread abroad religion, then do you personally adopt
a. virtuous course of conduct and admonish your other Maharajas. As long as the pre-

ceptors of religion shall themselves appear to be immersed in the sea of licentiousness
for so long they shall not be competent to convey religious exhortation. Gokulnathji
having com[)Osed the commentary abovementioned, has attached to your Vaishnam persuasion
a great blot of ink. Let that be first removed. Scorn the writer of the commentary.
[Oh, you] Maharajas, acting up to that commentary, defile the wives and daughters of
your devotees. Desist from that and destroy at once immorality such as that of the
company at the Ras ffsticcd. As long as you shall not do so, for so long you cannot
give religious admonition, and propogate your own religious faith ; do you be pleased
to be assured of that.



Plea Side.

The fourteenth day of May in the Christian Year One Thousand
Eight Hundred and Sixty-one.

Bombay to Wit. — Jadunathjee Brizruttonjee, Maharaj, by Charles Edmund
Leathes, his Attorney, complains of Karsandass Mooljee, of Bombay Hindoo Inhabi-
tant, and Nanabhov Rustomjee, Raneenah, of Bombay Parsee Inhabitant, and therefore
or otherwise, persons subject to the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, in an action
in the case for that whereas the religion of the Hindus is a religion of vast and
unknown antiquity, and accordingly to the same and to the usuage, custom and practice
in force in the Island of Bombay and in other parts of India, great honor and ex-
traordinary respect and pre-eminence have been and still are awarded, by all good and
worthy Hindus to the members of a certain caste or class of Hindus called Brahamins,
and to the persons called Maharajas, as and being the present chiefs and heads of the
said class of Hindus called Brahamins, and accordingly to the said Hindu religion, and
accordingly to the belief and opinion of all good and worthy Hindus, the said persons
so called Brahamins always have been and still are considered infinitely superior in worth
and dignity to all the other castes and classes of society into which by the religion, sacred-
books, laws, usages and customs of the Hindus, the Hindus residing in the Island of
Bombayaforesaid,and in the other parts of India from time immemorial whereof, the memory of
man is not to the contrary have ever been and still are divided, and whereas also there are certain
sacred books of the Hindus called Parans, Veds and Shakastras, and according to the same
and according to the computation of time the present age of the world is by them divided
and distinguished into four periods of time, called and distinguished Yugs, and which
are respectively called to wit Satya Yug, the Tteia Yaq, the Duoapar Yug and the
Kali or CaliYug, which said last mentioned Yug also called the earthen or iron age,
and whereas also the plaintiff now is and always has been a Brahamin and a Maharaj
and a Hindu high priest of high caste, and is a good, true, honest, just, and faithful

Euliject of our Lady the Queen, and as such has behaved and conducted himself, and until
committing of the grievances by the defendant as hereafter mentioned was alvva}'s reputed
esteemed and accepted by an I a^non:Tst all his neighbours and by and amongst all the
Hindu in'iabitants of Bombay aforesaid, to be a person of good name, fame, credit, and
reputation, and for a long period of time previous to and until the committing of the grievances
by the defendant as hereafter mentioned, he th.» plaintiff had resided in Hombay aforesaid, had
during all the time deservedly obtainel t!ie gtodwill of tlie Hindus and otlier inhabitants thereof,
and whereas also the plaintiff has always been and still is a member of a certain
ancient Hindu religious sect to wit called the sect of Va'bhadiaria or the sect of the
^Jaharajas, and has not ever been guilty, or until the time of tiie committing of the
grievances by the defendant as hereafter mentioned been suspected to have been guilty
of holding heterodox opinions in matters connected with his religion or of offences or
improper conduct hereafter menti ned to have been charged upon and imputed to the
plaintiff or of any of them, or of any other such offjnces or improper conduct, by
means of which the said several premises the plaintiff before the committing of the
grievances by the defendant as hereafter mentione •, had deservedly obtained the good
opinion and credit of all his Hindu neig'ibours and other good and worthy subjects of
our said Lady, the Queen, to whom he was in any wise known to wit at Bombay
aforesaid, yet the defendant well knowing the premises, but greatly envying the happy
state and condition of tlie plaintiff and contriving and wickedly and maliciously intend-
ing to injure the plaintiff, his good character, of a Braha.nin and in his said character
of a j\laharaj and High Priest, and in his said good name, fame, credit and r-^puta-
tion and to bring him into public scandal, infamy and disgrace with and amongst all
his Hindu neighbours and other good and worthy subjects of our Lady, the Queen,
and to cause it to be suspected and be ieved by those neighbours and subjects, that
he, the plaintiff, had been anl was guilty of holding heterodox opinions in matters
connected with his said religion, and that he had been and was guilty of offences and
improper conduct hereafter mentioned to have been charged upon and imputed to him,
and to harass and oppress him heretofore to wit on the twenty-first day of October one
thousand and eight hundred and sixty, to wit at Bombay aforesaid in a certain news-
paper, printed and published at Bombay aforesaid, in the Gujratee language and
character, but circulated amongst and real and understood by divers Hindus and other
inhabitants of Bombiy aforesaid, and of other parts of India, called the Satt/a Prakask,
which being translated into the English language is as follows, that is to say, the light
of truth, falsely, wickedly, willfully, designedly and maliciously did print and publish
falsely, willfully, designedly and maliciously caused to be printed or published, of and
concerning the plaint. ff, and of and concerning the religious opinions of the plaintiff and
of and concerning the conduct and character of the plaintiff as such Brahamin, Maharaj
and Hindu High Priest, of and concerning the said sect to witcalled the sect of Valabhacharia,
and of and concerning the the plaintiff as and being a Member of such sect, and of
and concerning such other circumstances as aforesaid, a certain false, scandalous, malicious,
infamous and defamatiry libel, which said false, scandalous, malicious, infamous, and
defamatory libel was by the defendant printed and published and caused to be printed
and published in the same newspaper on the day and year aforesaid at Bombay aforesaid,
in the Gujratee language, and character, and was and is accordingly to the tenor and
in the words and figure following, that is to say — (Here follows a copy of the alleged
libel in the Gujratee language and character.) And the plaintiff in fact says that the

said false, scandalous, malicious, infamous, and defamatory libel so printed and published
and caused to be printed and published by the defendant as aforesaid correctly translated
into the English language was and is, according to the tenor, following ; that is to say,
(Here follows the English translation of the alleged libel.)

By means of the committing of which said grievances by the defendant, the plaintiff
has been and is greatly injured in his character of a Brahamin and in his character of
a Maharaj and UinJu High Priest and in his aforesaid good name, fame, credit and
reputation, and brought into public scandal, infamy and disgrace with and amongst the
said Hindu Inhabitants of Bombay, and other good and worthy subjects of our said
Lady, the Queen, in so much that divers of those neighbours, inhabitants of Bombay,
and subjects to whom the innocence and integrity of the plaintiff in the said premises
were unknown, have on occasion of the printing and publishing of the said grievances
from thence hitherto suspected and believed and slill do suspect and believe the plaintiff"
to have been and to be a person guilty of holding improper and heterodox opinions in
matters connected with his religion, and of the offence^ and improper conduct so as
aforesaid charged upon and imputed to him by the defendant, and have on that account
from thence hitherto shunneJ and avoided the company and conversation of the plaintiff"
and have wholly refused and still do refuse to have any acquaintance or discourse with
and to bring and other gifts and presents to him as they were before used and accus-
tomed to do and would have done again had not the said grievances been so committed
aforesaid, and the plaintiff has been and is by reason of the committing of the said
grievances otherwi?:, greatly injured, and damnified. To the damage of the plaintiff" of
liupees Fifty Thousand, and thereupon he brings suit, &c.


(Before the Hon'ble Sir M Sausse, Kt., Chief Justice.)
First Day, Tuesday, 2nd July 1861.
Jad'inatlijee Brisraltonjee Maharaj vs. Karsandass Mooljee and another.

Mr. Bayley, with Mr. Scohle, instructed by Messrs. Collier and Leathes, appeared
for the plaintiff".

Mr. Anstey, with Mr. Dunbar, instiucted by Messrs. Acland and Prentis, for the

This case was set down for argument on a demurrer filed by the defendants. The
demurrer was on vai'ious grounds to show that the plaintiff had no hcics standi in the
Court in that form of plaint.


Mr. Baijlet/ took a preliminary objection that the defendants could not be heard
on the ground that they had not complied with the Rule of the Court No. 19 of
1825, which required that on the margin of the demurrer and paper books, some at least
of the grounds of demurrer shouldjfir be specified.

Mr. Ans'ey submitted that the rule had been complied with and that sufficient
cause had been set forth to ♦ entitle the demurrer to be entertained. He adduced
English authorities in support.

The Chief Justice said there was no rule in this Court which prohibited a special
demurrer. But the Court has, since he had the honor of presiding here, discoui-aged
such demurrers. There was no rule prohibiting a special demurrer, and therefore a
party cannot be said to have no right to file one. He thought that under the authorities,
the reference given in the margin to the grounds in the body was sufficient, and he
could not refuse to proceed with the hearing.

The objection having been overruled,

Mr. Anstey opened his argument by stating that a certain Jadunathjee Brizruttonjee
Maharaj was the plaintiff, and two persons, Karsandass Mooljee, a Hindoo, and
Kanabhoy Eustamjee Raneena, a Parsi, were the defendants.

He stated that the plaint set forth was clearly open on the face of it to a general
demurrer, not included in the special grounds. That general ground was public policy.
The grounds of demurrer set forth specially are as follows : — First that in the plaint, it
was not stated, alleged, or specified that the alleged improper and heterodox opinions
surmised to have been imputed to the plaintiff, are or in what manner and to
what extent they are improper and heterodox according to the Hindu religion or
that of the Valabhacharya, or what were or are the doctrines of the said religion
or sect. Secondly, it was not stated, ic. what the alleged offences and improper
conduct are, and to what extent, if they are to any extent, contrary to the said
religion or the doctrines of the said sect on the alleged custom or practice in force
in Bombay and other parts of India. Thirdly, it was not stated, &c. what is the alleged
custom, usage, &c., and by what persons and sects the same is followed and observed
and in particular whether the same is a Hindu or a Christian usage, &c. Fourthly,
it is nowhere stated that it is contrary to the doctrine or discipline or custom, &c. of
the Hindus, kc. for the Maharajs under pretence of religion, to enjoy the tender maidens,
wives, and daughters of the people. Fifthly, for that there is no specific offence charged
against the defendants or either of them. Sixthly, it is not stated, &c. in what sense
the expressions " heterodox opinion" and " offence and improper conduct" are understood
or applied by the plaintiff or the Maharajs, or the Hindus generally. Seventhly, that
the said expressions are insensible and ambiguous, and have no meaning in law. Eighthly,
that the several inuendoes, alleging that the plaintiff and other Maharajs are guilty ot
rascality and shameful conduct, and defile the wives and daughters of their devotees

Online Librarymaharaj Yadunathaji VrajaratanajiReport of the Maharaj libel case, and of the Bhattia conspiracy case, connected with it → online text (page 1 of 34)