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This profile was last updated on 12/8/11  and contains information from public web pages.

Sir Elijah Impey

Wrong Sir Elijah Impey?

Employment History

  • Chief Justice
  • Chief Justice
    Supreme Court
  • Hastings's Managing Role
  • Chief Justice
    Supreme Court of Calcutta
  • Judge
    The Sadar Diwani Adalat
26 Total References
Web References
SHARE ONE PLANET, 8 Dec 2011 [cached]
The scientific name commemorates Lady Mary Impey, the wife of British chief justice of Bengal, Sir Elijah Impey.
Midnapore - india news, 18 Aug 2003 [cached]
Also voting to recall Hastings' long-standing friend, Sir Elijah Impey, Chief Justice of the Bengal Supreme Court, the House was most critical of Impey's connivance in the judicial hanging of Rajah Nuncomar--who had unsuccessfully sought to make Hastings answer to charges of bribery.However, the East India Company's Court of Proprietors refused to recall Impey, claiming that the House of Lords would have to support the vote of the Commons.
Nuncomar had subsequently been arraigned by Hastings on charges of corruption, found guilty by Sir Elijah Impey, and hanged.
The assertion that they were murdered by betrayal and corruption distinguishes these poems as a separate subgenre of the traditional elegies. (48) Resonances of a poetry denouncing the plot "dar crochadh flaith na gCoitireach le dioltas namhad" (by which the prince of the Cotters was hanged by the revenge of the enemy) appear both in Burke's fury at Hastings's managing role in the show trial and execution of Nuncomar and in his efforts to bring the judge, Sir Elijah Impey, to justice.
What the park street tragedy taught us, 6 Feb 2014 [cached]
Park Street: A profile Park Street, recently renamed as Mother Teresa Sarani, is probably the most prestigious stretch of Kolkata, deriving its name from a deer park of Sir Elijah Impey, first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court between 1773 and 1789.
Sir Elijah Impey, First ..., 7 Sept 2011 [cached]
Sir Elijah Impey, First Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Calcutta, 1775, oil on canvas,size: 140.9 X 110.9cm.
Development of Adalat System during the time of Warren Hastings, 4 Jan 2011 [cached]
Lastly, the appointment of Impey helped in fulfilling the need of reforming the judicial system under the control and supervision of a powerful authority. In fulfillment of his duties, his work of compiling the Civil Procedure Code was quite recommendable.
Impey, being an experienced and trained lawyer was expected to discharge judicial functions in a far better way and curb out evils from the judicial establishment of the Company.[11]
Elijah Impey was, therefore, appointed the sole Judge of the Sadar Diwani Adalat in October, 1780. He continued in this office till November, 1782 when he was recalled to England. In fulfillment of his new duties, Impey prepared thirteen articles of Regulations for the guidance of the Civil Courts. They were afterwards incorporated, with additions and amendments, in a revised Code, consisting of ninety-five articles, which was passed in July, 1781. This was the first Civil Procedure Code of India. The aims were to explain such rules, orders, and regulations as might be ambiguous, to revoke such as might be repugnant or obsolete to frame a consistent Code, to formulate the procedure and jurisdiction of the civil courts, to prescribe a general table of fees, to make the law of civil procedure cognizable to the people, to provide for arbitration and appeals to the Sadar Diwani Adalat, to provide for the limitation of suits, giving in most cases a term of twelve years, to protect the litigating people from the extortions or frauds of the unscrupulous officers of the Courts, and so on.
Reforms by Impey: Sir Impey remained in his office for about a year but during this time he made very important reforms in the administration of judiciary of that time. He issued regulations for the improvement of all the courts existing in the Mofussil area. By those regulations the following new changes were made.
3. The most distinguished work which Impey did was the compilation of a Civil procedure Code which was first of its kind ever introduced in this country. The Code was promulgated by the Governor General and Council on 5 July 1781. Although the Code did not make very far reaching Changes, it put the law on solid and certain grounds so that the people could know as to what the procedure of courts was. It also bound down the courts to follow the procedure specified in it. The Code consisted of 95 clauses.
4. The provision regarding the application of personal laws in certain categories of cases viz., inheritance, marriage, caste and other religious usages or institutions was incomplete so far as the rule of decision in other cases was concerned. Besides, adding the word 'succession' to the word 'inheritance', Impey filled up the gap by providing that in all cases for which no specific directions were given, the Sadar Diwani Adalat and the Mofussil Diwani Adalats were to act according to justice, equity and good conscience, This was a remarkable provision which completed the rule of decision in all civil cases of Hindus and Mohammedans.
5. Another important feature of the Plan was putting the Sadar Diwani Adalat on a· sounder basis. Impey brought the union of the powers of a Board of Superintendence with those of a Court of Appeal.
The appointment of Impey to the Sadar Diwani Adalat was actually a good step for the reformation of judicial system and he himself also worked very vigorously and sincerely to reform it. But his holding the twin offices of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the Judge of the Sadar Diwani Adalat was not favoured by the authorities in England. They thought it was a violation of The Regulating Act which had established a judicial system at Calcutta independent of all control from the Company. To them, by accepting the judgeship of the Sadar Diwani Adalat, Chief Justice, Impey had put himself under the subordination of the Company from whom he got his appointment and also the salary as judge of the Sadar Diwani Adalat. Although after few months Impey refused to draw his salary as judge of the Sadar Diwani Adalat unless the Lord Chancellor gave him a clearance. His sincerity was doubted in England and he was recalled on May 3, 1782 from his office of judgeship of the Sadar Diwani Adalat as well as from the Chief Justiceship of the Supreme Court. After the recall of Impey the Sadar Diwani Adalat again came into its previous from, i.e., the court was again constituted of Governor General Council.
Though Impey was accused of compromising his judicial independence as a Crown's Judge, and was, therefore, called back, he gave no opportunity to anyone to say that he, as the sole Judge of the Sadar Diwani Adalat, acted in a way which compromised his judicial independence as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Whatever the criticism, his Code was an extraordinary contribution giving new directions to Judges of the Diwani Adalats and litigants. Its compilation was the first attempt of its kind in India, and it made the law of civil procedure certain to some extent. Under the judgeship of Impey the whole judicial system indefinitely became much better. Thus the act of appointing Impey was later regarded as one of the wisest measures which Warren Hastings carried through.
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