2.13 MAHARASHTRA

2.13.1 Charles II got the Island of Bombay as dowry from Alfonso VI, King of Portugal. He leased the same to the Company of Merchants of London Trading into the East Indies which later emerged as the East India Company in 1669 for an annual rent of 10 pounds. The Charter of 1668 authorised the Company to legislate and exercise judicial authority in the Island of Bombay.

Court of Judicature in each Division :

2.13.2 On 2nd February 1670, First Law Courts were established by the Company. Two benches of justices were appointed for the trial of minor disputes and offences. The reforms of 1670 divided the Island of Bombay into two divisions, one consisting of Bombay, Mazagaon, Girgoam, while the other comprised of Mahim, Parel, Sion and Worli. A Court of Judicature was established in each division at Bombay and Mahim.

2.13.3 The Court of Judicature consisted of five judges. The Customs Officer of each division being an Englishman was empowered to preside over the respective Courts. Some Indians were also appointed as Judges to assist him.

2.13.4 There was a provision for appeal from the decision of each division to the Court of Deputy Governor and Council. Further appeal was allowed in rare cases to the President and Council at Surat.

2.13.5 Under the Judicial Plan 1672, the Portugese Laws and Customs which were left untouched by the reforms of 1670 were totally abolished. Under the Judicial Plan of 1672, a new Central Court known as Court of Judicature was established on 8th August 1672. It had jurisdiction over all civil, criminal and testamentary cases. The Judge of the Court was prohibited from carrying on private trade or business. He was given a salary of Rs. 2,000/- per year to meet his expenses. There was a provision to prefer appeal to the Deputy Governor and Council against the decision of Court of Judicature. Trial of criminal cases was conducted with the assistance of Jury. Attorneys were also allowed to practice. The English procedure including arrest and imprisonment was followed.

2.13.6 On 25th March 1718, the Court of Judicature consisting of 10 Judges was constituted according to the Laws of the Company. The Chief Justice and 5 Judges were Englishmen. The remaining 4 Judges were Indians representing four different communities, viz. Hindus, Mohammadans, Portuguese-Christians and Parsees. Since English Judges were members of the Governor’s Council, they were considered superior in status to the Indian Judges. This Court exercised jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases according to law, equity and good conscience. Appeals were allowed from the decisions of the Court of Judicature to the Court of Governor and Council.

Justice of Peace :

2.13.7 For the purpose of administration of Criminal Justice, Bombay was divided into four divisions, viz. Bombay, Mahim, Mazagaon and Sion. In each Division, Justice of Peace was appointed. He was to be an Englishman. He acted as committing Magistrate to arrest the accused and to examine witnesses. Once a month, the Court of Judicature decided Criminal cases with the assistance of Justices of Peace, who acted as Assessors in the Court.

Court of Conscience :

2.13.8 Under the Judicial Plan 1672, a Court of Conscience was established to deal with petty civil cases. The said Court used to meet once in a week. It dealt summarily Civil Cases valued less than twenty Xeraphins. The decision of the Court was final. After 1690, for a few years, the practice of appointing separate Judge was given up and the administration of justice was also entrusted to the Governor and his Council.

Mayor’s Court :

2.13.9 In 1726, the necessity for more regularly constituted judicial authority was felt. Accordingly, Mayor’s Court, similar to that of Madras and Bengal was created for the trial of all actions between Europeans and dependent factories. Appeal was allowed to the Presidency Government against the decisions of the Mayor’s Court and further appeal was allowed to the King’s Council in cases involving a sum exceeding Rs. 4,000/-1.

Court of Request :

2.13.10 In 1753, these Courts were re-established under the revised Letters Patent and Courts of Request were introduced to try suits of limited pecuniary jurisdiction for Indians only 2.

Readers Court :

2.13.11 In 1797, British Parliament enacted an Act authorising the crown to issue Charters to establish Recorder’s Court at Bombay and Madras. Accordingly, Recorder's Court consisting of a Mayor, 3 Aldermen and a Recorder was established. The Recorder’s Court superseded the Mayor’s Court. In most of the matters, the Recorder’s Court was on the same footing as the Supreme Court at Calcutta. Appeals from the decisions of the Recorder’s Court were to lie to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

Supreme Court :

2.13.12 In 1823, the Act of Parliament authorised the Crown to establish Supreme Court in the place of Recorder’s Court at Bombay by a Royal Charter and the Supreme Court enjoyed the same powers and had similar jurisdiction as that of the Supreme Court at Calcutta.

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1&2: Imperial Gazetteer of India -The Indian Empire, Vol. IV, Administrative, page 143.

2.13.13 Diwani Adalats and Nizami Adalats were established in Thana under the Bombay Regulations III and V of 1799 and in Surat under Regulations I and III of 1800.

Provincial Court of Appeal3:

2.13.14 By Bombay Regulation II of 1805, a Provincial Court of Appeal was established at Broach. It was also a Court of Circuit and in that capacity replaced the Court of Sessions which had been established at Surat in 1800 by Bombay Regulation.

Sadr Adalats :

2.13.15 By Bombay Regulation V and VII of 1820, which came into force on 1st January 1821, the Provincial Court of Appeal or Circuit Court was abolished and then existing Sadr Adalats and Superior Tribunal (Nizami Adalat) were replaced by new Courts viz. Sadr Adalats, retaining the same name, and Sadr Fouzudari Adalats respectively.

Sadr Diwani / Sadr FouzUdari Adalats :

2.13.16 Under the Elphinstone Code, Judicial system was reorganised and Sadr Adalat in the exercise of its Civil jurisdiction was named as Sadr Diwani Adalat and in the exercise of its criminal jurisdiction, the name of Sadr Fouzudari Adalat was retained.

Zilla or District Court :

2.13.17 By Bombay Regulation Act II of 1827, Zilla or District Courts were established and appeals from the decree or order passed by the Zilla Court were to lie to Sadr Diwani Adalat. Further appeals would lie to the Privy Council from the decisions of the Sadr Diwani Adalat by Bombay Regulation Act, 1828.

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3. A.I.R.1986 S.C. 1272.

2.13.18 Under the Bombay Regulation XIII of 1827, the structure of subordinate Criminal Courts and Zilla Criminal Courts was reorganised. Sadr Fouzudari Adalat was vested with superior criminal jurisdiction over the whole of Bombay Presidency except the town of Island of Bombay. It was not a Court of Appeal but it exercised general supervision over the administration of justice in criminal cases.

2.13.19 In about 1852, the Parliament Committee for East India Affairs was considering the proposal to consolidate Supreme Courts and Sadr Courts into one Court in each of the Presidencies of Bengal, Madras and Bombay, in the interest of public administration of justice.

High Court of Judicature AT BOMBAY :

2.13.20 The Indian High Courts Act, 1861 was enacted by Royal Letters Patent issued by Her Majesty, the Queen. By this Act, the Crown was empowered to establish High Court of Judicature at Bombay and accordingly, the High Court of Judicature at Bombay was established on June 2, 1862.

2.13.21 In 1869, Bombay Civil Courts Act was enacted for re-organisation of subordinate civil courts.

2.13.22 There were three classes of Civil Courts, viz. District Judges, Subordinate Judges and Subordinate Judges (II Class), which are now re-designated as District Judges, Civil Judges (Senior Division) and Civil Judges (Junior Division).

2.13.23 Small Causes Court replaced the Court of Request.

2.13.24 Court of Sessions and Court of Magistrates were established as provided under the Code of Criminal Procedure.

2.13.25 In all other respects, the hierarchy of Courts, constituted in Madras and Bengal, was followed in Bombay also.

 

2.13.26 In 1948, the Bombay City Civil Courts Act was enacted to receive, try and dispose of suits and other proceedings of civil nature. Originally, the pecuniary jurisdiction of such suits was fixed at Rs. 50,000/-. By way of amendment, the City Civil Courts have unlimited pecuniary jurisdiction.

2.13.27 At present, Maharashtra Judicial Service Recruitment Rules, 1956 regulate the appointment and service conditions of the Judicial Officers in the State of Maharashtra.

2.13.28 Civil Judges (Junior Division) / Judicial Magistrates First Class are now recruited by the State Public Service Commission from amongst the members of the Bar who have practised at least for three years on the date of the advertisement. The officers would be on probation for a period of two years. The pay scale of the said officers is Rs. 2200-75-2800-EB-100-4000. However, the said officers would start with higher initial pay of Rs. 2,500/- per month. There are 718 posts in the said cadre.

2.13.29 Civil Judges (Senior Division) / Chief Judicial Magistrates / Addl. Chief Judicial Magistrates in the pay scale of Rs. 3200-100-3500-125-4625 is the promotional post to that of the Civil Judges (Junior Division) / Judicial Magistrates First Class (Mofussil). There are 154 such posts.

2.13.30 There are 33 posts of Judges, Small Causes Court and 34 posts of Metropolitan Magistrates at Mumbai in the pay scale of Rs. 3700-125-4700-150-5000. 50% of these posts are filled up by promotion from amongst Civil Judges (Senior Division) / Chief Judicial Magistrates / Addl. Chief Judicial Magistrates (Mofussil) and from amongst the Civil Judges (Junior Division) / JMFCs who have put in more than 7 years of service. The other 50% of the cadre strength is being filled up by direct recruitment from amongst the members of the Bar who have put in 5 years of practice or amongst the officers of the cadre of Civil Judges (Senior Division) / Chief Judicial Magistrates / Addl. Chief Judicial Magistrates / Civil Judges (Junior Division) / Judicial Magistrates First Class, with five years service.

2.13.31 Retired Judges, Small Causes Court and retired Metropolitan Magistrates are also eligible to be appointed as Judges, Small Causes Court / Metropolitan Magistrates, on re-employment.

2.13.32 There are 8 posts of Judges of Small Causes Courts at Pune and 3 posts at Nagpur. These posts are filled up by promotion from the cadre of Civil Judges (Senior Division) / Chief Judicial Magistrates / Addl. Chief Judicial Magistrates or by transfer from the cadre of Judges, Small Causes Court / Metropolitan Magistrates of Mumbai.

2.13.33 Additional Chief Judges, Small Causes Court / Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrates at Mumbai, though a promotional post from that of the Judges, Small Causes Court / Metropolitan Magistrates get the same salary with special pay of Rs. 350/- per month. The Addl. District Judge is also eligible for selection to the said post with his consent, on transfer.

2.13.34 There are 10 Additional Chief Judges of Small Causes Court and 14 Addl. Chief Metropolitan Magistrates at Mumbai.

2.13.35 The post of the Additional District Judges at Mofussil, is the promotional post from that of the Civil Judges (Senior Division) / Chief Judicial Magistrates / Additional Chief Judicial Magistrates and Civil Judges (Junior Division) / JMFC with 7 years of service. The pay scale of this post is Rs. 3700-125-4700-150-5000. There are 137 such posts.

2.13.36 The next higher cadre post is that of the District Judges at Mofussil places in the pay scale of Rs. 4500-150-5700 with a special pay of Rs. 400/- per month. At present, there are 53 such posts. 50% of the cadre strength is filled up by direct recruitment from amongst the members of the Bar who have put in at least 7 years of practice and the remaining 50% is filled up by promotion from the cadre of Addl. District Judges (Mofussil).

2.13.37 One post of the Chief Judge, Small Causes Court and one post of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate at Mumbai with the same scale of pay and special pay as that of the District Judge (Mofussil) are to be filled up by selection from the cadre of Addl. District Judges (Mofussil) / Addl. Chief Judge, Small Causes Court / Addl. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (Mumbai). The District Judge (Mofussil) is also eligible for selection to the said post with his consent on transfer.

2.13.38 There are 7 posts of District Judges (Selection Grade) at Mofussil places in the pay scale of Rs. 5900-200-6700. These posts are purely promotional posts from the cadre of the District Judges (Mofussil).

2.13.39 Judges, City Civil Court (Mumbai) is a separate cadre in the running pay scale of Rs. 5400-150-6300-200-6500. There are 74 such posts. 50% of these posts are filled up by direct recruitment from amongst the practicing advocates of 7 years standing. The remaining 50% are earmarked for promotion from the cadres of the District Judges / Addl. District Judges (Mofussil) / Chief Judge, Small Causes Court / Addl. Chief Judge, Small Causes Court / Chief Metropolitan Magistrate / Addl. Chief Metropolitan Magistrates (Mumbai).

2.13.40 There are 3 posts of Principal Judge / Addl. Principal Judge in the City Civil Court, Mumbai, carrying a pay scale of Rs. 5900-200-6700 to be filled up by promotion from the cadre of the Judges of the City Civil Court or by transfer of the District Judges (Selection Grade), Mofussil. The Principal Judge is entitled for a special pay of Rs. 400/- per month.

2.13.41 The District Judges (Mofussil), Judges, City Civil Court / Judges of Small Causes Court at Mumbai directly recruited from the Bar shall be on probation for a period of one year.

 

Jurisdiction :

2.13.42 The District Judge (Mofussil) has territorial jurisdiction over the District.

2.13.43 The District Court shall be the Principal Court of original civil jurisdiction in the district with no limit of pecuniary jurisdiction.

2.13.44 The territorial jurisdiction of a Civil Judge is as fixed by the State Government by notification in the Official Gazette from time to time. The pecuniary jurisdiction of such Civil Judges (Senior Division) extends to all original suits and proceedings of civil nature with no limits. The pecuniary jurisdiction of the Civil Judges (Junior Division) extends to all original suits and proceedings of civil nature wherein the valuation of the subject matter does not exceed Rs. 25,000/-.

2.13.45 The territorial jurisdiction of City Civil and Sessions Judge extends to Metropolitan City of Mumbai. He has unlimited pecuniary jurisdiction.

2.13.46 The Judges of the Small Causes Court at Pune and Nagpur have got jurisdiction within those cities.

2.13.47 The territorial jurisdiction of the Small Causes Judges in the Metropolitan City of Mumbai is as per the Zones made in the Mumbai Civil Courts Act and as per the declaration made under the Presidency Small Causes Courts Act.

2.13.48 The High Court may invest any Civil Judge with the jurisdiction of the Court of Small Causes for the trial of suits cognizable by such Courts upto such amount as it may deem proper, not exceeding in the case of a Civil Judge (Senior Division) Rs. 3,000/- and in the case of Civil Judge (Junior Division) Rs. 1,500/-, under Section 28 of the Mumbai Civil Courts Act.

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