Indian Legal History: Sultanate Period

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  • Topic: Delhi Sultanate, Mughal Empire, Babur
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  • Published : February 9, 2013
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Sultanate of Delhi:
The Delhi Sultanate is a term used to cover five short-lived dynasties, Delhi based kingdoms or sultanates, mostly of Turkic and Pashtun (Afghan) origin in medieval India. The sultanates ruled from Delhi between 1206 and 1526, when the last was replaced by the Mughal Dynasty. The five dynasties were the Mamluk dynasty (1206–90); the Khilji dynasty (1290–1320); the Tughlaq dynasty (1320–1414); the Sayyid dynasty (1414–51); and the Afghan Lodi dynasty (1451–1526).

(i) Administrative Units: The civil administration of the sultanate was headed by the Sultan and his Chief Minister (Wazir; উজির). The sultanate was divided into administrative divisions from the province (Subah) to the village level. The province was the composition of districts (Sarkars). Each district was further divided into parganas. A group of villages constituted a pargana.

(ii) Constitution of Courts: The Mediaeval India the Sultan, being head of the State. was the supreme authority to administer justice in his kingdom. It was one of the important functions of the Sultan. It was done in three stages: Diwan-e-Qaza (arbitrator বিচারক), Diwan-e-Mazalim (Head of bureaucracy প্রধান প্রশাসনিক কর্মকর্তা), Diwan-e-Siyasat (Commander-in-Chief of forces সেনাপতি). The courts were required to seek his prior approval before awarding the capital punishment (ফাঁসি দেওয়ার আগে কোর্টকে সুলতানের অনুমতি নিতে হইতো)

The judicial system under the Sultan was organized based on administrative divisions of the kingdom. It was classified in a systematic divisions of courts and the powers and jurisdiction of each court was clearly defined.

1. Central Capital:
Six Courts which were established at the capital of the Sultanate are follow:

a. The King’s Court
b. Diwan-e-Mazalim
c. Diwan-e-Risalat
d. Sadre Johan’s Court
e. Chief Justice’s Court
f. Diwan-e-Siyasat

The King’s Court was presided over by the Sultan. It has both original and appellate jurisdiction on all kinds of cases. It...
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