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Colonial Cases

Baboon Wallad Raja Katik v. Darood Wallad Nunnoo 1841

[hereditary office]

Baboon Wallad Raja Katik v. Darood Wallad Nunnoo

Judicial Committee of the Privy Council
23 February 1841
Source: The Times, 24 February, 1841

(Present., Lord Brougham, Lord Denman, Mr. Justice Bosanquet, the Judge of the Court of Admiralty, and Sir E. H. East.)
  Baboon Wallad Raja Katik, appellant; Darood Wallad Nunnoo, respondent.
  The subject in dispute in the appeal is the right to the hereditary office of mhetari, or head of the caste of butchers, in the city of Ahmedmuggar, in the presidency of Bombay. The appellant and respondent agree in stating that the office was originally granted to Motee Lal, in the year 1060 of the Hegira, and the question is therefore one of pedigree alone. The appellant contends that the office has descended through many generations, from Motee Lal to one Baboon, who was the grandfather of the appellant. The respondent contended, that besides the weakness of the appellant's proofs of his descent, he had been out of possession of the office for 30 years, during which time it was enjoyed by the respondent or his progenitors.
  Mr. Millar, Mr. J. Wigram, and Mr. CV. R. M. Jackson appeared to support the claim of the appellant butcher; the interests of the respondent were committed to Mr. Serjeant Sparkie, Mr. E. J. Lloyd, and Mr. Edmund P. Moore.
  The damages in the original action were laid at a sum in Indian currency which was equivalent to about 26 l. The Moonsheef who presided over the jurisdiction of the "first instance," after having examined the evidence, oral and documentary, decided that the plaintiff was the heir of the head butcher Baboon, and his Lordship modestly and piously concluded his decree by saying, "further than this God only knows."
  Upon the report of the Moonshee, the junior assistant judge made a summary decree, assigning the butchership and all its rights, members, and appurtenances thereunto in any wise belonging, to the plaintiff in the suit. From this decree an appeal was made to the senior assistant judge, who directed the junior to reverse his judgment. The junior judicial functionary accordingly proceeded to rehear the case, but persevered in the decision which he had made in favour of the grandson of the butcher Baboon. The case was carried back again to the senior assistant, who reversed the second decision of his junior. From this decree the present appellant appealed to the Court of the Zillah Judge, who reversed the judgment of the senior judge; so that the effect of the Zillah judgment was to invest the head butchership in the original claimant. The case was, however, considered of too much importance to be allowed to stop here, and accordingly an appeal was made from the Zillah Court to the Sudder Dewanny Adawlat, who reversed the decision of the Zillah Court with as little ceremony as that court had reversed that of the senior assistant, or as the senior assistant had reversed that of the junior.  From the decree of the Sudder Dewanny Adawlat the present appeal was brought before Her Gracious Majesty in Council.
  One of the documents put in evidence below contained a suggestion which seems not unworthy of the notice of appellate jurisdiction. It was a letter to the caste of butchers by one of the fraternity, who was 92 years old, and who said, "it is therefore my advice, that a dispute which produces nothing ought not to be allowed." The appeal, however, proceeded before the Lords in Council. The original proceedings for the recovery of the 26 l. commenced in the year 1826.
  Mr. Millar and Mr. Wigram stated the case upon the part of the appellant.
  Mr. Serjeant Sparkie addressed the Court for the respondents.
  Mr. Loyd was about to follow upon the same side, when the Court rose, and the further hearing of the case was adjourned till tomorrow (this) morning.

The Times, 25 February, 1841
Wednesday, Feb. 24.
 The arguments in this case having been concluded,
  Lord Brougham delivered the judgment of their Lordships, in favour of the respondent, who is thus preserved in the possession of the hereditary butchership of Abdelmugger, in the Presidency of Bombay.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School