The Patna Case (1777-79) – Case Summary

The Patna Case (1777-79)

The Patna Case took place in years of 1777, 1778 and 1779. The Patna Case took an eminent place in the Indian legal history because it had revealed the system of judicial administration. This case brought to light the conflict and dissatisfaction among the Supreme court and the supreme council.

In this case two issues were involved:

  1. jurisdiction of supreme court and right of supreme court to try action against judicial officers of the company.
  2. Whether the provisional diwani Adalat which consisted of members of provisional council legally constituted a court of Justice.

Shabaz Beg Khan came to India and settled at Patna. He married Naderah Begum and earned a large amount of money. In December 1776 he died at Patna without leaving any male or female as his heirs. He left behind a large sum of money and property. Shahbaz did not have any issue; he called Bahadur his nephew to live with him at the time when he was alive. Bahadur was living with him after the death of Shahbaz in 1776 his widow and nephew came into open conflict and litigation began between them. Each of them climbing the whole property. Nadirah claimed property as the widow of the deceased.

Bahadur stated that as an adopted son he was living with the deceased and this being his legal heir after his death. Bahadur took his first step and presented an application before provisional council at Patna. Law officers Kazi and Mufti directed the case and passed orders for the custody of property collected in one place under the name of legal justice.

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Widow took shelter in dargah. He also requested the court to protect the property from being abused by the widow of the deceased. The Nadirah Begum designates the Mohammedan Native Law officers i.e. Mufti and Kazi to find out his claim in the property.

Compatibility of the Provincial Council’s orders, the Kazi and Mufti went house of the deceased and gathered the property and took stock of it. During the investigation they abused Nadirah Begum as a result of which she left the house and took shelter in a “Dargah”.

Further, when the case was before the court, it was argued that the dower was already paid by the deceased to his Begum during his lifetime, a sum of Rs.1200 and her counsel had neglected to submit the dower deed. It was further contended that the other two documents, the gift deed and the acknowledgement, were forged documents and therefore the share of the property should be divided into four shares; three should be given to the nephew and the remaining share to the Begum as per the Muslim law of succession.

The Provincial Council also gave its decision in favor of the nephew by looking into the report of the Kazi and Mufti. However, aggrieved by this decision, the Begum approached the Sadar Diwani Adalat of Calcutta and she also filed a suit against the Kazi and Mufti for assault, battery, other injuries and alleged the damages of rupees six lakhs.

Author: Pooja Pawar,
NBT law college Nashik

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