Trial of Raja Nand Kumar:
The case of Nand Kumar stands in a class by
itself. It brings out the conflicts between Warren Hastings and the majority in the
council , on the hand , and between the courts and the majority, on the other,
Nand Kumar was the proteye of the majority in the council and his trial before
the supreme court thus become in a way a trial of strength between the court and
The case illustrates forcefully the anomalous charter of the
first impact of the English law on the Indians and depicts what kind od
difficulties arise. When a foreign system of law is transplanted suddenly in a
society and is enforced with all its rigours.
The court's constitution
jurisdiction , powers, law, and language were all foreign and unknown to the
Indians and were completely out of harmony with their customs and traditions .
All these aspects of the matter were dramatically brought out in the Nand Kumar
Raja Nand Kumar, an influential man in Bengal, encouraged by the council
majority brought some charges of corruption and bribery against Warren Hastings
before the council Warren Hastings was very much annoyed at this, he even left
the council meeting when these charges were being heard. A few days later,
Mohan Pershad filed certain charges of forgery against Nand Kumar was tried by
court with the help of a jury was found guilty of having forget certain
documents and was sentenced to death.
Nand Kumar trial has also been looked upon with suspicion. Nand Kumar was a
victim of Hastings. Impey was a good friend of Warren Hastings. Warren hasting
conspired with Impey to put Nand Kumar out of Hasting's way. Nand Kumar out of
Hastings way, Nand Kumar trial formed one of the charges in Impey's impeachment.
The charge of the
conspiracy against Impey is based only in circumstances and the sequence of
events. It has been said in favour of Impey that he was not alone in convicting
Nand Kumar. He was tried by the whole court consisting of four judges with the
help of a jury of 12 Englishmen.
The court did not perhaps be a stronger case
deserving excising of the court's power. The act of 1728 under which Nand Kumar
was convicted had never been formally promulgated in Calcutta and the people
could not be expected to know anything about it. The Hindu or Muslim law never
regarded forgery as a capital offence.
The judges wanted to prove that the court
was independent and could not be influenced or dictated by a hostile executive.
The trial and executive of Nand Kumar administered a rude shock to the Indians.
Points To Ponder:
The court held that the statue of 1728 was applicable to the
Presidency town. Now whether and English state was applicable or not to a place
depended on two factors:
- Whether or not suitable to the conditions prevailing there; and
- The date when the English law was introduced there.
The defence in Nand Kumar's case never challenged this view. The court
held that the statue of 1728 was operative and according sentenced Nand Kumar to
death for forgery. The charter of 1753 and even the supreme court charter of in
1774 had re-introduced English law into Calcutta.
Quite a good amount of this law was repugnant to the customs and morals
of the Indian people.