Choultry Courts

Choultry Court was established in Madras Patnam at the first stage of the establishment of judicial institution of Madras Presidency. This court was headed by the ‘Adigar’ as a judge. ‘Adigar’ was the headman of the village. He decided petty civil and criminal cases. In the Black town besides this court, there was no other court. This court also served a custom House. There was no provisions for the trial of serious offences. In 1641, an Indian was accused of murdering a woman. After some inquiry, which was informal, he was found guilty for the offence. The Agent communicated the findings to the Raja who ordered that justice should be done according to English Laws and the accused was hanged. In 1642, a British soldier was killed by a Portuguese. The council was unwilling to deal with the matter as accused being an European. But Raja ordered that accused be executed, and the accused was shot dead. These instances show that in serious case reference was made to the Raja and punishment was executed only thereafter.

Reorganisation of Choultry Court

After 1666, this court was reorganised and now onward it was headed by English servants of the company. Three officers Mini Master, Pay master and Custom Master used to sit at the Choultry Court on two days in the week. They were authorised to decide cases upto 50 pagodas and petty criminal cases. Appeal from this court lay to the Governor General and council.

After 1683, when Mayor’s Court and Admiralty Courts were created, Choultry Court’s jurisdiction was diminished. Now only two Aldermen used to sit twice in a week at the Choultry Court to decide petty cases.


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Also Read Recorder’s Court
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Also Read East India Company Act or Pitt’s India Act 1784
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Also Read Choultry Courts
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