In the beginning there was no proper arrangement for dispensation of justice. For the first time in 1871 three courts CIVIL, CRIMINAL and REVENUE were established in the Capital. Subsequently in the year 1884-85 there courts were abolished and separate NIZAMATS were established. Appeals against their decisions were heard by RAJ SABHA AND LATER ON BY IZLAS-KHAS.
During the minority of Late His Highness Shri Ganga Singh there was a REGENCY COUNCIL which used to hear appeals against decisions of Nizamats. In the year 1887 an APPELLATE COURT (Chief Court) was established.
The Tehsildars and Nayab Tehsildars were given Jurisdiction to hear and decide petty matters. The Nayab Tehsildar had powers of a Third Class Magistrate and Tehsildar had powers of a Second Class Magistrate. The NAZIM had powers of a First Class Magistrate. Wherever there was no Munsiff or District Judge, The Nayab Tehsildar and Tehsildar had Jurisdiction to hear Civil matters upto Rs. 50/- and Rs. 200/- respectively.
There was Honorary Magistrates in Bikaner, Churu and Nohar.
Munsiff Courts were established at Bikaner, Ratangarh, Bhadra, Churu and Ganganagar. The Munsiff had Jurisdiction of Second Class Magistrate and to hear Civil matters upto Rs. 2000/-
There were five District Judges viz Bikaner, Rajgarh, Sujangarh, Surathgarh and Ganganagar. The District Judge had powers of a First Class Magistrate and to hear Civil matters cases upto valuation of Rs. 10,000/-.
On 3rd May 1922 a High Court was established at Bikaner on the pattern of Presidency Towns i.e., on the pattern of Calcutta, Bombay etc. High courts by a charter granted by His Highness. The High Courts consisted of three Judges in the beginning. Later on the strength was raised to four. The High Court had both Civil and Criminal original jurisdiction. The Session trials used to take place before the high court with the adi of assessors. In civil matters the High Court had Jurisdiction of all matters above the valuation of Rs. 10,000/-. The High Court had the Appellate Jurisdiction to hear appeals from decisions and judgments of all subordinate courts.
Against the appellate decision an appeal could be filed before the judicial committee of the Executive Council. Against decision of the High Court on the original side an appeal could be filed before the Judicial Committee of the Executive Council.
This system continued upto the date of merger of Bikaner State to Rajastha. After merger the circuit Bench of the Rajasthan High Court was established at Bikaner which continued to function upto February 1950.
Proclamation by General His Highness Maharajadhiraj Raj Rajeshwar Narendra Shiromani Maharaja Shri Ganga Singhji Bahadur, G.C.SI., G.C.I.E., G.C.V.O., G.B.E., K.C.B., A.D.C., L.L.D., Maharaja of Bikaner, dated the Twentieth Day of August 1940, relating to the High Court of Judicature, Bikaner State. Whereas on the first day of October 1910, the Chief Court of Bikaner was established by me for the judicial administration of the whole of my State, and such jurisdiction, power and authority were conferred upon and vested in the said Chief Court as was at the time deemed fit and proper: And whereas for the greater well-being of my people and the better administration of justice I established the present High Court, in place of the Chief Court, by a Proclamation dated the 3rd of May 1922, and the High Court was to exercise all such powers and authority for and in relation to the administration of justice in my territories, as was prescribed therein: And whereas I have now resolved, in the interests of my people, to effect certain further changes
1. I hereby revoke my Proclamation dated the 3rd of May 1922, but do by this fresh Proclamation grant, direct and ordain that, notwithstanding such revocation, the High Court of Judicature at Bikaner shall be, and continue, as from the time of the original establishment thereof, the High Court of Judicature at Bikaner, and that all proceedings commenced in the said High Court prior to the date of publication of this Proclamation shall be continued in the said High Court as if they had commenced therein after such date and that all rules and orders in force in the said High Court prior to such date shall continue in force, except in so far as the same are altered hereby, until the same are altered by competent authority. General
2. I do hereby appoint and ordain that the said High Court of Judicature shall be a Court and Record, and does, and shall, consist of a Chief Justice and as many Judges as I or my heirs and successors may, from time to time, think fit to appoint.
3. And I do hereby ordain that the Chief Justice and every Judge of the said High Court of Judicature previous to entering upon the execution of the duties of his office, shall make and subscribe the following declaration before such authority or person as I may commission to receive it- “ I (A.B.), having been appointed Chief Justice (or Judge) of the High Court of Judicature, do solemnly declare that I will Faithfully and honestly perform the duties of my office to the best of my ability, knowledge and judgment.”
4. And I do further ordain that all the Judges of the said High Court of Judicature shall hold office during my pleasure.
5. And I do hereby ordain that the said High Court of Judicature shall have and use, as occasion may require, a Seal bearing a device and impression of my Coat of Arms within an exergue or label surrounding the same, with the inscription: “The High Court of Judicature, Bikaner”.
6. And I do hereby further grant, ordain and appoint that all writs, summons, precepts and other mandatory process to be used, issued or awarded by the said High Court of Judicature shall run and be in the name and style of myself or of my heirs and successors and shall be sealed with the Seal of the said High Court.
7. And I do further ordain that the Chief Justice of the said High Court of Judicature shall take rank and precedence with the Members of my Executive Council according to seniority of permanent appointment, shall be generally responsible for the proper and efficient working of, and the maintenance of discipline in, the High Court and all Courts under its supervision, and shall be consulted on all matters affecting the Judicial administration of my State.
8. And I do Further ordain that- a. The Said High Court of Judicature shall be the highest Court of Appeal under me and shall be vested with superintendence and control over all Courts subject to its appellate jurisdiction and shall have and exercise original jurisdiction in my State and it shall administer justice according to law, equity and good conscience. b. It Shall have original, appellate and revisional, civil, testamentary, intestate and criminal jurisdiction, as defined in the laws for the time being in force, and shall subject to such laws exercise all such powers and authority for and in relation to the administration of justice as have been granted to it by me hereunder. c. It shall have power to punish according to its discretion any person committing a contempt of Court against itself or any of its Judge anywhere within the limits of its original jurisdiction and for the above purpose the High Court shall be the sole and exclusive Judge of what amounts to a contempt. Civil Jurisdiction
9. And I do further ordain that the said High Court of Judicature, in the exercise of its ordinary original civil jurisdiction, shall be empowered to receive, try and determine suits of every description arising within my territories.
10. And I do further ordain that the said High Court of Judicature shall have power to direct the transfer of any civil case or appeal from any Court to any other court of equal or superior jurisdiction, or to remove, and to try and determine, as a Court of extraordinary original jurisdiction, any superintendence, when the said High Court shall, for purposes of justice, think proper to do so, the reasons for so doing being recorded in the proceedings of the said High Court.
11. And I do further ordain that an appeal shall lie to the said High Court of Judicature from the judgment of one Judge of the said High Court exercising original civil jurisdiction and that the said High Court of Judicature shall be a Court of Appeal from all Civil Courts subject to its superintendence and shall exercise appellate jurisdiction in such cases as are subject to appeal to the said High Court by virtue of any laws or regulations which are now in force, or may hereafter come into force.
12. And I do further ordain that the said High Court of Judicature shall be a Court of Reference and Revision from all Civil Courts subject to its appellate jurisdiction and shall have power to revise the decision of any such Court. Criminal Jurisdiction
13. And I do further ordain that the said High Court of Judicature shall have ordinary original criminal jurisdiction within the limits of my territories and shall, in the exercise of the jurisdiction, be empowered to try all persons brought before it in due course of law.
14. And I do further ordain that the said High Court of Judicature shall have extraordinary original criminal jurisdiction over all persons residing in places within the jurisdiction of any Court now subject to the superintendence of the said High Court, and shall have authority to try at its discretion any such persons brought before it on charges preferred by the Inspector-General of Police or other officer specially empowered by Government in that behalf.
15. And I do further ordain that an appeal shall lie to the said High Court of Judicature from the sentence or order passed or made in any criminal trial before one Judge of the said High Court exercising original criminal jurisdiction, and that the said High Court of Judicature shall be a Court of appeal from all Criminal Courts subject to its superintendence and shall exercise appellate jurisdiction in such cases as are subject to appeal to the said High Court by virtue of any laws or regulations which are now in force, or may hereafter come into force.
16. And I do further ordain that the said High Court of Judicature shall be a Court of Reference and Revision from all Criminal Courts subject to its appellate jurisdiction, and shall have power to hear and determine all such cases referred to it, and to revise all such cases tried to any Court possessing criminal jurisdiction.
17. And I do further ordain that the said High Court shall have power to direct the transfer of any criminal case or appeal from any Court to any other Court of equal or superior jurisdiction, and also to direct the preliminary investigation or trial of any criminal case by any Officer or Court otherwise competent to investigate or try it, though such case belongs in ordinary course to the jurisdiction of some other Officer or Court. Powers of single Judges and Division Courts
18. The said High Court of Judicature may, be rules approved by my Government, provide for the exercise, by one or more Judges, of the original and appellate jurisdiction vested in the said Court.
19. If the appellate Bench is composed of two or more Judges and the Judges are divided in opinion as to the decision to be given on any point, such point shall be decided according to the opinion of the majority of the Judges, if there is a majority, but if the Judges should be equally divided, they shall state the point upon which they differ and the case shall then be heard upon that point by one or more of the other Judges sitting with these Judges and the point shall be decided according to the opinion of the majority of the Judges who have heard the case including those who first heard it. When the point to be decided is in respect of appeal from a judgment of the original side of the said High Court, and on the appellate side of the High Court there are only two other Judges and they are divided in opinion, such point shall be decided according to the opinion of the Judge who agrees with the judgment of the original side. Procedure
20. And I do further ordain that it shall be lawful for the said High Court of Judicature, from time to time, to make rules and orders for the purpose of regulating the practice of the said High Court and subordinate Civil Courts in civil cases. Provided always that the said High Court shall be guided in making such rules and orders by the provision of the Code of Civil Procedure in force for the time being.
21. And I do further ordain that the proceedings in all criminal cases brought before the said High Court or any subordinate Criminal Court shall be regulated by the Code of Criminal Procedure as it may be in force from time to time. Appeals from the High Court
22. And I do further ordain that any person or persons may appeal to me, my heirs and successors from any final judgment, decree or order made in appeal by the High Court, where- a. The sum or matter at issue is Rs. 10,000 or above or the value of the subject matter of the appeal is the same or more, or the decree or final order involves directly or indirectly some claim or question to, or respecting, property of like amount or value; or b. Some substantial question of law or custom is involved, provided that special leave to appeal is granted by me; or c. The case concerns agricultural land- i. Which forms an entire estate or part of an estate and is held as a Jagir, or ii. Which if not held as a Jagir is valued at a sum of not less than Rs. 5,000 for purposes of payment of Court Fees; or d. The High Court certifies that the matter is a fit one for appeal.
23. And I further ordain that an appeal shall lie to me, my heirs and successors from a judgment, sentence or order made by the said High Court in appeal or revision in the exercise of its criminal jurisdiction in the following cases- a. Against a sentence of death, or of imprisonment for a term of ten years or more. b. Against any other sentence or order where- i. There is an illegality patent on the face of the judgment or order, or ii. There has been an omission or irregularity which has in face occasioned a failure of justice and to which objection was taken at an earlier stage in the proceedings, or iii. The High Court certifies the case to be a fit one for appeal.
24. And I do further ordain that no sentence of death shall be carried into effect unless the same has been upheld by an appellate Bench of the High Court and until the further appeal of the accused has been rejected by me or, if there is no appeal, the order is confirmed by me.
25. And I do further ordain that the said High Court of Judicature shall, in all suits entertained by me and appeals and petitions to me, conform to and execute or cause to be executed such judgment and orders as I shall think fit to make, in such manner as any original judgment, decree or decretal orders or other order or rule of the Said High Court should or might have been executed. Calls for Records, etc., by the Government
26. And it is my further will and pleasure that the said High Court of Judicature shall comply with such requisitions as may be made by my Government for records, returns and statements in such form and manner as they may deem proper. General
27. Nothing in the Proclamation or in any Rules and Regulations that may at any time be issued shall affect the Sovereign Powers and Prerogatives of myself and my heirs and successors as Ruler of the State to entertain any petition of appeal or to create any special tribunal for any purpose, to modify or alter the constitution of the said High Court of Judicature, or to pass any order or take any other measures which may seem fit in the interest of justice and equity, or as an act of mercy.
Given at Lallgarh under my hand and seal, this TWENTIETH DAY OF AUGUST NINETEEN HUNDRED AND FORTY A.D. GANGA SINGH, M.R. MAHARAJA OF BIKANER