Provisions of The Act of Settlement of 1781
Discuss the provisions of the act of settlement of 1781.
Necessity of the passing of the act of settlement of the act 1781 is the three historical cases i:e
1) The Patna case
2) Cossijurah case and
3) Kamaliddin case
Provisions of act of settlement, 1781
The act of settlement of 1781 tried to reconcile the difference between the Supreme Court and of the government.The main provisions of the act are as follows-
1) To keep governor- general and council beyond the jurisdiction of supreme court
The act provided that the governor-general and council were completely immune from the jurisdiction of the supreme court for the orders passed or acts done by them in their public capacity. It further contained that the
persons who acted under the written orders of the governor-general and council would not be liable
either civilly or criminally for their acts. The British subjects were however, held to be within the court’s
2) To keep the collection of revenue matters beyond the jurisdiction of Supreme Court
The SupremeCourt also had no jurisdiction in any matters concerning the collection of revenue or an act done in
obedience of the regulations of the governor-general and council for the collection of revenue.
3) To keep persons possessing any interest over land and rent beyond the jurisdiction of supreme
Sec.9 of the act of settlement provided that the persons who possessed any interest or control over
lands and rents into the provinces of Bengals, Bihar and Orissa were immune from the jurisdiction of
the supreme court. Thus this provision of the Act virtually reserved the Supreme Court’s decision in
4) The exclude the persons under employment of company from the jurisdiction of supreme court
The act provided that the persons who were under the employment of the company or the governor-
general and council were excluded from the jurisdiction of the supreme court in matters relating to inheritances, succession, contracts except for the wrongs of trespasses. These persons were within the jurisdiction of the company’s Mofussil courts in matters relating to civil litigation. While they were under the jurisdiction of the supreme court only for criminals trial.
5) To immune the judicial officers from the jurisdiction of the supreme court for their judicial
The act provided that no action could be brought against any judicial officer in the supreme court for the acts done by him in the exercise of his judicial functions. It provided that in order to initiate an action against a judicial officer for corruption written notice was required to be served on him stating fully the course of complaint. The period of notice could vary from one to three months. Such judicial officers could not be arrested or admitted to bail until he fails to appear after the service of the notice.
6) To recognize civil and criminal jurisdiction of provincial courts
British parliament through the settlement Act 1781 for the first time gave recognition to the civil and criminal jurisdiction of the provincial court existing independently of the Supreme Court. The Sadar Diwani Adalat consisting of the governor- general and council was conferred jurisdiction to hear appeal from the Mofussil Diwani Adalat
in civil cases up to 5000.
7) To preserve the religions and civil rights of natives
The act of settlement specifically provided the civil and religious usage of the natives and their ancient rites were to be preserved and safeguard. Thus the Hindu and Mohammedeans residing in Calcutta were also to be governing by their personal laws in civil matters.
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