Administrative Organization of the British

Army

Army fulfilled four important functions:

  1. Instrument to conquer Indian powers
  2. Defended the British Empire in India against foreign rivals
  3. Safe-guarded against internal revolt
  4. Chief instrument for extending and defending the British Empire in Asia and Africa.

Bulk of the army consisted of Indians. In 1857, of the total strength of 311400, about 265900 were Indians. Highest Indian rank was that of Subedar.

British could conquer and control India through a predominantly Indian army because:

  1. There was absence of modern nationalism at that time
  2. The company paid its soldiers regularly and well, as opposed to the Indian rulers and chieftains.

Police

Cornwallis was responsible for the creation of a modern police system in India. He established a system of Thanas (or circles) headed by a daroga. The police:

  1. Prevented organization of a large-scale conspiracy against foreign control
  2. Was used to suppress the national movement.

Judiciary

Though started by Hastings, the system was stabilized by Cornwallis.

Civil Cases

District: Diwani Adalat (civil court) presided over by the District Judge

Provincial Court: Appeal from civil court

Sardar Diwani Adalat: Highest appeal

There were also, below the District Court, Registrar’s Court (headed by Europeans) and subordinate courts headed by Indians known as munsifs or amins.

Criminal Cases

4 divisions of Bengal presidency. Each had a Court of Circuit presided over by the civil servants. Appeals could be made to Sardar Nizamat Adalat.

William Bentinck:

  • Abolished the provincial courts of appeal and circuit
  • Their work was assigned to District Collectors
  • Raised the status and power of Indians in the Judicial service.

In 1865, High Courts were established at Madras, Calcutta and Bombay.

British brought about  uniformity in the system of law. In 1833, the government appointed Law Commission headed by Macaulay to codify Indian Laws. This eventually resulted in the Indian Penal Code, Code of Civil and Criminal Procedures and other codes of laws.


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