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The Cossijurah Case

(1779-80)
The conflicts between the Supreme
Court and Supreme Council reached
their climax in this case.
Claim of Jurisdiction
Supreme courts claim over whole
native population
It was strongly opposed by the
Supreme Council
Facts of the Case:
Raja Sundernarian, Zamindar of
Cossijurah (Kasijora) was under a heavy
debt to cossinath babu.
Though cossinaut babu tried to recover
the money from Raja through the Board
of Revenue at Calcutta, his efforts
proved in vain
Cossinath babu filed a civil suit against the
Raja in the supreme court at Calcutta.
He also filed an affidavit on 13th August
1777-stating Raja being Zamindar, was
employed in the revenue collection and
therefore under the jurisdiction of the
Supreme Court.
Supreme Court
Supreme Court issued a writ of Capias for
Rajas arrest
Raja avoided service of the writ by hiding
himself
The Council
The collector of the Midnapur, in whose district
raja resided, informed the council about the
incident
The council sought the advice of the Advocate
General
It issued notification informing all the
landholders that they need not pay attention to
process of the supreme court unless they were
servants of the company or had accepted its
jurisdiction by their own consent.
Conflict between the Council and
the Court
The supreme Court issued another writ of
sequestration on 12th November, 1779 to
seize property of the Rajas house in order
to compel his appearance in the Supreme
Court
The sheriff came with armed force
Raja was imprisoned, the Englishmen
outraged the sanctity of the family idol
Action of the Council
The governor General and the council ordered
Colonel Ahmuty, Commander of armed forces to
detach a sufficient force and to arrest the sheriff
with his party.
Colonel Ahmuty sent Lieutenant Bamford for the
same work
The sheriff and his party were arrested and sent
to Calcutta as prisoners
Council released them
Order given to Colonel Ahmuty to resist any
further writ of Supreme Court
Reaction of Cossinath babu
Cossinath babu brought an action for trespass
against the GG and his council members
individually
They refused to appear in the court because
they had done the arrest of sheriff in their
official capacity
Declaration of Council: persons in Bengal, out of
Calcutta need not submit to the Court and
assured that the council would safeguard their
interests even by the use of armed force
Action of the Supreme Court
It issued writs against all the members of the
Council except GG and barewell.
Army officials did not allow the officilas of the
supreme Court to serve this notice to th
councilors
The judges of the Court grew angry, it was
contempt of the Court
The Supreme Court took action against North
naylor, Attorney Genral of the Company
North Naylor was tried for th contempt of
the Court
He was committed to prison, no bail was
granted because the punishment was
exemplary
C J declared that the council had no power
to decide who was under the jurisdiction
of the supreme Court
The members of the council were exempt from
the criminal action but not from the civil action
Councilors pleaded that they were not subject to
the Supreme Courts jurisdiction
The declaration of the Councilors: if they were
held liable before the court, the respect for the
Government in the mind of the Indians would
decrease and the administration would be
weakened.
The councilors refused to submit to the
authority of the Court
A complete deadlock
On march 12th, 1780 Cossinath Babu
withdrew his suit against GG and His
Council and the Raja Of cossijurah
Critical Analysis of the case
Whether zamindars were under the
jurisdiction of the Supreme Court?
Who was competent authority to decide
this issue?
Zamindars were protected by the council
as they were involved in the revenue
collection matters of the company.
The Judges of the Supreme Court did not
get opportunity to inquire into the matter
of Zamindars.