Though it had its achievements, the exclusion of Indians from the system was a key feature of judicial reforms introduced by Cornwallis. Analyze.

Lord Cornwallis (1786-1793) is regarded as the father of modern administration in India. He introduced reforms in police, judiciary, land revenue systems, etc.

The judicial reform of Cornwallis had the following features:

  • Separated criminal and civil courts
  • Established hierarchy of courts with criminal side headed by Sadar Nijamat Adalat and civil side by Sadar Diwani Adalat
  • Courts were headed by judicial magistrates (separation of powers)
  • House courts of Munsifs and Amins remained
  • Introduced rule of law, all were same in eyes of the law


  • Rule of law – However, different courts for Europeans, only judged by European judges
  • Streamlining of the judicial system
  • Removal of Zamindari’s judicial powers
  • Removal of inhuman punishment of Muslim law

These reforms, however, resulted in the exclusion of Indians from the judicial system. The judicial powers of Zamindars or village headmen were taken. Justice thus became expensive and time taking. It only involved Indians at the lowest levels.

Reasons for exclusion:

  • The British system of justice with British principles could only be undertaken by the British.
  • Corruption of Indian officials
  • Racial discrimination

Thus, however, administrative reforms were taken but not always for benefit of Indians, only for better exploitation of India.


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