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Ohupra, March 18th, 1858. SIR,
I beg to report for your information the death of Maharaja Chutterdhạree Shahee of Hutwa, which took place on the afternoon of the 16th instant at Hutwa.
Throughout the crisis which has lately passed, the deceased Rajah proved himself a staunch ally of the British Government; his loyalty was never for one moment doubted, and from the very outset of the rebellion, the whole of his resources were placed at the disposal of the authorities in this district for the preservation of peace and order.
The pergannah in the vicinity of Hutwa, as you are no doubt aware, adjoins the Gorackpore District, and yet when that District had been temporarily abandoned to anarchy and rapine, not a village on the Saran side of the boundary became the scene of disorder.
By the decease of the Raja of Hutwa Government has lost a truly loyal subject.
I have, etc.
Offg. Collector of Saran.
Dated 22nd January, 1858. Sir,
I have the honor to forward herewith a translation of an urzee ad. dressed to me by Koomar Rajendro Protap Shahee together with its enclosures; and two Khureetas, one for the Governor-General, the other for the Lieutenant-Governor.
2. Rajendro Protap Shahee represents that he has obtained Certificate of the Civil Court under Act XX of 1841, and that the petition of his uncles has been rejected; he prays therefore that he may be vested with the usual khilat, and that the title of Maharaja may be conferred on him.
3. It is no doubt possible, though I think not probable, that the uncles may succeed in obtaining a reversal of the Judge's order and procuring a partition of the property. But the succession to the Raj is a matter quite apart. It rests with the Lieutenant-Governor to bestow the title on whom he pleases. There can be no ground for bestowing it on either of the two uncles who claim a share of the property,
for they are the two youngest and have not distinguished themselves in any way known. Rajendro Protap's father is the eldest grandson and the person to whom the title if hereditary would fall. He waives it in favour of his son. The second brother acquiesces in the propriety of this arrangement. The young man's character is good, and the Raja's dying request to Messrs. Lynch and Macdonell was, that the Government would support him, a request which, considering the late Raja's good services to Government, I do think some attention should be paid. The result of the uncles' claims to a share of the property cannot affect in any way that I see, the claims of the eldest grandson or of his son to the title. I therefore recommend the young Koomar's application to the favorable consideration of the Lieutenant-Governor. It is of considerable importance to Government that, whatever doubt there is about the property, there should be none about the title, and that there should be a Raja of Hutwa bound to us by ties of gratitude, and able to exert bis hereditary influence in our behalf.
I have, etc.
Calcutta, November 23rd, 1858. MY DEAR SIR,
I promised your Vakeel that I would write and let you know when the Governor-General had been pleased to bestow on you the title of Mabaraja Bahadoor in succession to your late grandfather. I now fulfil my promise.
The order has been given by the Governor-General and will sharply be communicated to you officially by the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, through the Commissioner of the Patna Division.
I have known your late excellent grandfather since the year 1837, when I was an Assistant at Chupra, and I always entertained a high respect for him, especially for the exemplary way in which he discharged his duties as a landlord, and as a loyal subject of the British Government.
The manner in which he behaved from the first breaking out of these unhappy mutinies until the day of his death, was such as to.command the admiration of all his friends, and to entitle him to a high place in the estimation of the Rulers of his country.
The services he rendered' have had their weight in inducing the Government to confer his titles and honorus upon you who is his chosen representative.
It is my earnest hope that you may live long to enjoy these honours, and that you may follow the example of your excellent grandfather by discharging faithfully, as he did, the duties of your high position in every relation of life, as a leader of society, as the head of your family as a Zemindar and a loyal subject of Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria, the sovereign alike of Englishmen and of the natives of Hindoostan. I remain, my dear Sir, with best wishes,
Yours very faithfully,
(Sd.) CECIL BEADON.
LORD H. ULICK BROWNE,
Under Secretary to the Government of India.
R. THOMPSON ESQ.,
Dated, Fort William, the 17th October, 1860.
I am directed to acknowledge the receipt of your letter No. 2602 of the 21st ultimo, and in reply to state that the reward proposed to be given to Maharaja Rajendro Protap Shahee, Raja of Hutwa, for eminent services rendered by him and his predecessor during the late disturbances, is considered by the Governor-General in Council to be well deserved.
2. His Excellency in Council authorizes the Honorable LieutenantGovernor to confer on the Maharaja the proprietory right in confiscated villages in Shahabad, yielding a gross rental of 20,000 Rupees according to recent enquiry, and assessed in perpetuity to Government at Rupees 10,000 a year.
I have, etc. (Sd.) H. ULICK BROWNE. Under Secretary to the Government of India.
(Before the Hon'ble Messrs. O. Steer and E. P. Levinge, Justices).
Cases No. 361. 371, 374 of 1860,
Maharaja Rajindro Protap Shahee
Defendants, Respondent. Regular appeals from the decisions of the Judge of Sarun, dated 24th August, 1860.
(Extract.) We do not find that it is anywhere definitely laid down what a Raj is. There are many decisions in which estates have been found to be Raj or Principalities, but what exactly constitutes a Raj has not, as we are aware, been anywhere set forth. We think, however, that the estate of Husseypore contains all the essential characteristics on account of which other large landed estates have before this been regarded as Raj, and that it is entitled to be so regarded by us.
There is no sunnud, or other patent of nobility, owing probably to all such papers having been carried off by Futteh Shahee at the time of his rebellion. His heirs are not likely, even if they have such a document to give it up to another branch of the family, who has supplanted them in the honours and possessions of their ancestors, who appear to have held that rank. The Husseypore Estate was in Fatteh Shahee's hands a very extensive one, and his means and power were, as the British Government experienced, both very considerable. An estate of this sort, both large and ancient in such hands, is not to be regarded as an ordinary zemindaree. Even where proprietors are not nobles, if their estates are very large they are regarded, according to Colebrooke, by modern Hindoo lawyers as Raj or Principalities. There is evidence of a very high character, namely, the evidence of men who are either Rajahs or descendants or connections of such, that this is a Raj, and has always been so regarded by them and by their families. It has been held in the same family for many generations, and has descended entire to one heir in exclusion of the rest of the family. The authorities in speaking and writing of this property have designated it a Raj, and it is commonly called a Raj to this day, and in recognition of it as such the title of Maharajah was accorded to Chutterdharee by the Government (not immediately but some years subsequent to his accession to the estate) on the representation of the highest local authorities that the preceding proprietors had all been Rajahs. Then as to the family custom we need say but little. Having found that the property is a Raj, as Raj there must of necessity be impartibility, and we find that it is sufficiently established by the evidence, and by the genealogical statement put in by the principal defendant, the accuracy of which has not even been impeached in the written pleadings, that the rule of the family has invariably been that the property descends entire to the eldest
There is, we say, actual evidence of this, and the very existence of the property up to this day in its present state is proof of it. Had there been any other rule, the Estate could not have come down to the present generation with such a princely inheritance as it is. Had there even been any partition, nothing could have been easier to the plain.
tiff than to have pointed out and cited as witnesses, parties and members of the family who have received part of the Husseypore estate in any previous partition, but this obvious and facile mode of proving their own case and of utterly upsetting that of their opponents has not been attempted.
We have held that there was family custom down to Fatteh Shahee's time, by which the estate devolved to the eldest male heir. Government took the estate subject to the custom, for as there was no extinction of the Raj there was no extinction of the custom which was incident of the Raj. The Government then handed over the same estate as they received to Chutterdharee. He received it subject to the custom. Those who claim through him, as both the parties to this suit do, are bound by the custom by which he was himself bound. The heirs of Fatteh Shahee might no doubt have attacked the title of Chutterdharee on the ground of his not being entitled to the Estate by custom, but it is not competent to Chutterdharee's heirs to raise the same conteution.
Whatever defect might have attached to the origin of Chutterdharee's will, it has been subsequently finally established by not having been impeached for half a century, and it is now as good as if it had never been capable of question. Acquiring as he did an estate subject to a particular custom, and having himself not done anything destructive of that custam, his heirs take it subject to the custom.
The Judge thinks that Rs 2,000 a month is proper allowance, but this seems to us out of all proportion. Besides the appellant there are two others as near relatives who are equally entitled to maintenance. If they are to get Rs 2,000 each also, the defendant will have to pay, by way of maintenance, Rs 72,000 yearly. The estate is no doubt a valuable one, but the revenue payable to Govermment, which of course bears some proportion to the yearly gross income, is only Rs 1,73,997. Seventytwo thousand as maintenance out of such an estate, or out of any estate, seems to us decidedly high to pay as maintenance to these junior members of the family, and we think that as Rajah Chutterdharee, during his minority, was only allowed by Goverment, who were his gurdians, Rs 1,000 a month for his maintenance and state, the plaintiff can very well support himself and keep up the position of his rank upon the same sum. We, therefore, halve the allowance which the Judge awarded to him.
Extract of the Judgment of the Lords of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, on the the appeal of Baboo Bir Protap Shahee, and cross appeal from the High Court of Judicature at Fort Williain, in Bengal, delivered March 4th, 1868.