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Resident to Amar Singh
April 27, 1891

Legal Document No 31

1. I am directed by His excellency the Viceroy and GovernorGeneral in Council to communicate for the information of the Kashmir State Council the following observations regarding the arrangements which the Government of India consider necessary for the exercise of Criminal and Civil jurisdiction within the territories of His Highness the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir.

2. The Government of India consider that the Regulations published with the assent of His Highness the late Maharaja in Foreign Department Notification No. 615-P. of the 28th May 1873 are not entirely suited to the present time. Since the publication of those Regulations considerable changes have been effected within His Highness' territories, and year by year the number of persons visiting Kashmir increases and the opening of the Jhelum Valley Road will doubtless attract more and more British capital into the valley of Kashmir. On the other hand the Government of India are glad to notice that there has been considerable improvement of late in the machinery for the administration of justice in Jammu and Kashmir, and that if the late Council continue to devote attention to this important question, it is believed that the Courts of the State will in time command the confidence of the general public.

3. Inasmuch as the Governor-General in Council possesses full personal jurisdiction over subjects of Her Majesty, who may happen to be within the territories of the Maharaja, it would not ordinarily be necessary to peaus before issuing such orders concerning them as might appear from time to time to be necessary. But the existing Regulations having been published with the assent of the late Maharaja, and therefore, out of courtesy to His Highness the present Maharaja and the Kashmir State Council, the Government of India have desired me to communicate to the Council their intention of making alterations, suitable to the existing conditions, in the present procedure.

4. The changes that will be made are embodied in the accompanying notification, and may be summarized as follows:

Criminal

(a) Arrangements are made for investing the Resident in Kashmir and his Assistants with the necessary powers for enquiry into or trial of cases against
  1. European British subjects. 
  2. Americans
  3. Europeans of any nationality other than British.
  4. Christians of European descents
  5. Native Indian subjects of Her Majesty, such Indian subjects being either merely visiting the territories of His Highness or acting as servants of an European British subject, or
  6. British subjects accused of having committed offenses conjointly with European British subjects.
(b) The trial of Native Indian subjects who ordinarily dwell or carry on business or personally work for gain within the said territories will ordinarily rest with the Courts of the Durbar. At the same time it is to be distinctly understood that any such person convicted by such Courts has the right of making a presentation to the Resident in Kashmir, and that if that officer considers there is ground for interference, his representation on the subject to the Durbar will be attended to.
Civil

(d) Arrangements are made for investing the Resident and his Assistants with powers to dispose of Civil suits in which

    Both parties are subjects of Her Majesty.

    The defendant is an European British subject.

    The defendant is a Native Indian subject of Her Majesty and at the time of the commencement of the suit does not ordinarily dwell or carry on business or personally work for gain within the territories of the Maharaja.

(e) All other suits between subjects of Her Majesty on the one hand and subjects of the Maharaja on the other hand will ordinarily be triable in the Courts of the State.
  1. With regard to clauses (a) and (d) above, I am to request that the Kashmir State Council will favour me with am assurance that they will enforce the attendance of witnesses being subjects of the Maharaja and residing in his territories regarding whom processes have been issued by the Courts thus. constituted by the Governor-General in Council.
  2. Again, in regard to clause (e), I am directed to suggest to the State Council that, now that they have secured the services of officials who have had an opportunity of acquiring: a certain amount of judicial and Magisterial experience in British India, it would be wise to issue orders that all cases, Civil and Criminal, in which British subjects are concerned, should be tried before specified Courts in Jammu and Srinagar, respectively and that the officers appointed to such Courts should invariably be chosen from among the best trained officials in the service of the State. By this means it is hoped the Courts of the State will command the confidence of British and Indian traders, and increased capital will be attracted. into the country.
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