Mughal Judicial System

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Mughal Judicial System


The Mughal Judicial System was robust and operated effectively. The emperor was supreme in all matters of justice. At the imperial level was the emperor’s court – the court of final appeal. It tried both civil and criminal cases, and had appellate and revisional powers.

There were separate courts for military matters.

Revenues casess were dealt with by courts set up specifically for the purpose. The imperial diwan presided over the chief revenue court. Appeals from revenue courts lay to him at the central level. At the provincial level was the diwan-i-subah who dealt with appeals against the amil’s orders. He also had original powers in revenue cases.

There was also a sarkar level judiciary who entertained appeals from the pargana amils. At the pargana level was the kachahri where petty municipal offences were tried.

The lower courts functioned hierarchically as follows in regard to civil and criminal cases :

  1. Subah: At this level, there was the nazim’s court with original, appellate and revisional authority and the qazi-i-subah’s court which tried canon law cases.
  2. Sarkar: The district courts were presided over by the qazi-i-sarkar, from whose decisions appeals lay to the qazi-i-subah, and he faujdari adalat for law and order cases.
  3. Pargana – The adalat pargana had a qazi-i-pargana as its presiding officer, from whose decisions appeal lay to the qazi-i-sarkar.

As regards the administration of justice, only Islamic law was covered by the courts. The Mughal Emperor attended to through open court on a specified day of the week. Humayun is said to have introduced a system of judicial trumpets. Jahangir had installed a golden chain 28 meters long with 60 bells. Anyone could ring these bells at any time to seek justice.

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