DMPQ- Illustrate the Administrative and Judicial Reforms by Lord William Bentick in British India.

Administrative and Judicial Reforms:

  • The administrative structure of British India had been given shape by Cornwallis. But since the days of Cornwallis the company had made great advances, and defects in that structure became apparent as it had not kept pace with the advance.
  • The judicial system especially suffered from the three great evils of “delay, expense and uncertainty”. Calcutta, the nerve centre of administration, had become too distant for the newly acquired territories. Bentinck set his head to the remodelling of the judicial structure ably assisted by Sir Charles Metcalfe, Butterwarth Bayley and Holt Mackenzie.
  • He abolished the provincial counts of Appeal and Circuit. The duties of the sessions he transferred to the District Judge and established Sadar or chief court of the north-west province to hear appeals from the original courts. These institutional changes removed many of the miseries of the litigant public and helped in the quick disposal of cases.
  • In reconstituting the administrative mechanism be followed in general the path suggested by Metcalf viz., native functionaries in the first instance in ali departments.
  • European superintendents’s, uniting the local powers of judicature police and revenue in all their branches, through the district over which they preside; commissioners over them and a Board over them communicate with and subject to the immediate control of the Government.
  • Accordingly he appointed a Board of Revenue at Allahabad for the N. W. Provinces, appointed Commissioners of Revenue and Circuit; combine the office of collector with that at the District Magistrate with certain judicial power.
  • In his administrative reforms Bentinck combined economy with simplicity and the machinery which he set up, with alternations in minor details, exists to this day.
  • Another anomaly which he removed was the use of Persian as the court language, a language unknown to the judge as well as the litigants. Bentinck abolished the use of pension and in its place substituted the vernacular. This change greatly benefited the people and enabled them to express their grievances in the language know to them.
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