Previous Page [Digital South Asia Library] Next Page

Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 4, p. 60.

Graphics file for this page


or Chief under the suzerainty of Her Majesty, exercised
through the Governor-General of India, or through any
Governor or other officer subordinate to the Governor-General
of India.' We may say, then, that the Native States consist of
territory in India, not being within His Majesty's dominions
yet under his suzerainty, which in the case of I75 States,
including those of the greatest importance, is exercised by the
Supreme Government, and in the case of the remainder,
numbering about 500, is entrusted to the Provincial Govern-
ments. The most obvious test of dominion is supplied by the
constant action of courts of law. In whose name do writs run
and in whom is jurisdiction over the territory vested? The
courts of British India rest upon the law of Parliament and the
legislative powers which that law has entrusted to British
authorities in British India, whereas the courts which administer
justice in any Native State exist under the authority of the ruler
of that State. This authority, it must be remembered, is not
impaired by the sanction, express or implied, given by such a
ruler to the establishment within his territory of courts intro-
duced by the executive authority of the Governor-General-in-
Council, for such courts are in theory the courts of the Native
State. In other words, the jurisdiction sometimes exercised by
the Government of India in a protected State is, from the
British-Indian point of view, extra-territorial, and is part of the
internal sovereignty of the State, in which the British Govern-
ment has a share by treaty, cession, or other lawful means. Its
existence does not convert suzerainty into dominion. Some-
times a question arises whether this or that block of territory
in India is or is not within British dominion, and the Privy
Council has more than once been appealed to on this point.
In particular, doubts have occurred as to whether the British
Crown possesses territorial dominion, and not merely
suzerainty, over Kathiawar, the Tributary Mahals of Orissa,
and those of Chota Nagpur. Whether or not a so-called
Native State is what it professes to be is a question of fact
which, in the absence of a legal decision, must be settled by
the present action of the British paramount power. If the
persons who reside in the territorial area, not being by birth or
naturalization British subjects, are treated by the courts of
India as foreign subjects, it may be concluded that the country
to which they belong is a Native State.
Attributes The position of the territorial chief, or ruling authority, is
of sove- of less importance. The status of the territory and not that of
divisible. its ruler is the essential point. The generally accepted view is

Previous Page To Table of Contents Next Page

Back to Imperial Gazetteer of India | Back to the DSAL Page

This page was last generated on Monday 18 February 2013 at 16:20 by
The URL of this page is: