Patna Case

Patna case identified the defects of administering justice by the company’s judicial system in Mofussil.

Facts of the Case

1. One Shahbaz Beg Khan a native of Kabul, came to India and became a soldier in Company’s Court and earned huge money and settled in Patna.

2. He was having no issue so he called his nephew Bahadur Beg to live with him. He intended to adopt his nephew and to handover property to him. But before he could do so he died.

3. After his death dispute took place between Bahadur Beg and Nadira Begum, the widow of Shahbaz Beg, Begum claimed the entire property on the basis of deed of gift executed in her favour and Bahadur Beg claimed on the basis of adoption

4. Bahadur Beg filed a case against Begum in Patna Provincial council which was also a Diwani Court for Patna city.

5. Judges in Council gave the case to Mohammedan law officers for their opinion and also ordered that “an inventory of the property for the deceased in presence of both disputants is to be made by them and consequently to collect the money and the goods and seal them up and provide for their safe custody and lastly to report to us as to the rights of parties according to the ascertained facts and legal justice. They were further directed to submit their report in writing clearly indicating as to who is entitled for the share and how much is to be given according to the Koran and the decree.”

Report of the Mohammedan law officers

In June, 1777 the law officer reported that Bahadur Beg had claimed the entire property on the basis of being a nephew and an adopted son of Shahbaz Beg who addressed him that he was his brother’s son, therefore, in place of his own son he has made him master of his property and after delivering him the charge of every thing he will go to Kabul.

The widow claimed the whole inheritance on the basis of dower deed or Meharnama, Hibanama and Ikrarnama etc.

Decision of Provincial Council

On the basis of report of Kazi and Muftis the Council decided that property of Shahbaz Beg must go to Bahadur Beg as representing his father and not as representing Shahbaz Beg. Kazis and Mufties were of the opinion that the claim of widow was not correct, but based on forged documents. The court also ordered that the agent of widow should face trial for forgery in Fauzdari court.

Because of resistance made by widow the decree could not be executed, as she left the houses, thereupon nephew made a petition to the Provincial Council that she should hand over title deeds of the property to him.

Appeal to Supreme Court

According to regulations the right remedy for widow, if she considered to be aggrieved was to make an appeal to Governor-General and council. But she took up her case to Supreme Court charged Bahadur Beg, Kazi and Mufti with assault, battery breaking her house and depriving her of her property and brought a suit for Rs. 6,00,000 claiming as damages.

Warrants were issued against all the defendants, they were arrested, they were called on at Calcutta and were put behind the bars and bail was not given.

Objections of defendants

Bahadur Beg objected to the jurisdiction of the court. But court ruled that every renter is indirectly the servant of the company, therefore, he is under court’s jurisdiction Kazis and Muftis took defence that what they did, they did in their judicial capacity in obedience to lawful orders of their legal officers therefore, they should not be liable for any damages

Decision of Supreme Court

Unfortunately the court treated it as contempt, and granted the widow the damages for Rs. 3,00.000 with cost. As the defendants were not able to pay this huge amounts they were lodged in Jail where they remained till 1781 when the British Parliament came to their help.


The Patna case created a reign of terror in the hearts of the people. Partners of Bihar requested the Government to relieve them for their charge since one of them, ie, Bahadur Beg, had been held subject to the Supreme court’s jurisdiction whose law, language and procedure was foreign to them.This decision also reveals in a very telling manner the defects of company’s judicial system. The provincial council had abdicated their entire judicial functions to their law officers. That is why the Supreme court held that delegatus non potest delegate delegare”, though Supreme court’s intervention in the matter was looked with great resentment by the Governor-General and council. But this case in fact exposed that company’s judicial system for top to bottom was in need of immediate reform.



Kamaluddin and Patna cases brought to fore controversies between the Supreme Council and the Supreme Court. Illustrate.


“Patna Case identified the defects in the administration of justice of that time.” How ?


Write short notes on Kamaluddin and Patna Cases.


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