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Shodhan, Amrita (2015) 'The East India Company’s Conquest of Assam, India, and “Community” Justice: Panchayats/Mels in Translation.' Asian Journal of Law and Society, 2 (2). pp. 357-377.

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The East India Company troops fighting the Burmese aggression on the frontier of Bengal in Eastern India “freed” upper and lower Assam territories in 1825. David Scott of the Bengal Service was appointed to oversee the establishment of civil and revenue administration in these frontier territories. He established a hierarchical multiple structure of “native courts”—called panchayats—as the chief medium of civil and criminal justice. This was ostensibly continuing a traditional Assamese form of dispute resolution—the mel; however, the British criminal jury as well as the expert assessor model animated the system. After his death in 1831, the system was brought in line with the rest of the Bengal administration based on the British court system. His experiment, paralleled in many other newly conquered and ceded districts from the Madras territories to Central India, suggests the use of this mode in post-conquest situations by British administrators in South Asia.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Law - History, Assam - History, Community and Law
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of History
ISSN: 20529015
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2018 08:40
Related URLs: ... 017/als.2015.12 (Publisher URL)

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