Friday, 26 September 2014

The Judicial Function at its Purest

In his 'History of Bengal' Prof. Charles Stewart mentions an interesting case of 1490 before Qazi Sirajuddin, the Qazi -e-Subah of Bengal.

One day while the Sultan was practising archery, one of his arrows accidentally wounded a boy, the son of a widow. The widow immediately came before the Qazi and demanded justice.
The Judge (the Qazi ) was confounded , and said to himself " If I summon the Sultan to my court, I may be myself punished, but if I overlook the Sultan's act, I shall one day be summoned before the Court of God to answer for my neglect of duty. "

After much reflection, he ordered one of his officers to go and summon the Sultan.

The officer, dreading to obey such an order, thought of a device. He ascended the minaret of the mosque next to the palace and at an improper hour called the people to prayers. On hearing this , the Sultan ordered some guards to bring the officer before him.

When the officer appeared before the Sultan he related the circumstances of his call for prayers at an improper hour, and also conveyed the summons to the Sultan.

The Sultan instantly rose, and concealing a short sword under his garments, went before the Qazi, who far from showing him any mark of respect said to him " You have wounded the son of this poor widow. You must therefore immediately pay her adequate compensation, or suffer the sentence of the law. "

The Sultan made a bow, and turning to the widow gave her a sum of money which satisfied her, and after doing so said to the Qazi " Worthy Judge, the complainant has forgiven me. " The Qazi then asked the woman if she was satisfied, to which she assented, and the case was then dismissed.

The Qazi then came down from his seat and made obeisance before the King, who, drawing the sword from beneath his garment, said " O Qazi, in obedience to your command I came instantly to your Court, but if you had not done your duty I swear that with this sword I would have taken off your head. Thanks to God I have in my dominion a Judge who acknowledges no authority superior to the law. "

The Qazi then took up a whip and said to the King " I also swear by Almighty God that if you had not complied with the injunctions of the law this whip would have made your back black and blue. It has been a trial for both of us. "

 This story will be appearing in my forthcoming book on the Indian Judiciary


  1. I on behalf of 50 Lacs accused under S.138 of Negotiable Instrument Act pray to you, to take up the issue as stated in below post. The judiciary has goofed up the interpretation of S.139 of NI Act.....and people are suffering. My mails to SC and law commission has gone to deaf ears.

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