178 POONA DISTRICT
is Political Agent for the Bhor State, which is included in the District
for some administrative purposes.
The District and Sessions judge, who is also Agent for the Deccan
Sardars, is assisted by a Small Cause Court Judge, a Special judge
under the Dekkhan Agriculturists' Relief Act, and six Sub-Judges.
There are thirty-eight officers to administer criminal justice in the
District. The. city of Poona forms a separate magisterial charge under
a City Magistrate. There are also two benches of magistrates to assist
him in criminal work. There is a Cantonment Magistrate for Poona
cantonment, and another at Kirkee. The commonest forms of crime
are theft and housebreaking.
The earliest revenue system of which traces remained at the
beginning of British rule was the jatha, that is, the family estate, or
the thal, that is, the settlement system, under which the whole arable
land of each village was divided among a certain number of families.
The lands occupied by each family were distinguished by the original
occupant's surname, even when none of his descendants remained.
These holdings were called jathas or family estates. The head of
the family was held responsible for any land revenue due for the lands
belonging to the family, and was styled mukaddam. In theory the
leading family estate and its head were responsible for the whole
rental of the village, and were bound to make good the failures of
minor family estates. This responsibility, however, could not be
enforced, and the Government was frequently content to accept less
than the full rental. Malik Ambar's settlement was introduced between
1605 and 1626. It was based on a correct knowledge of the area
of the land tilled and of the money value of the crop, coupled with
a determination to limit the state demand to a small share of the
actual money value of the crop. It is generally thought that, under
Malik Ambar's survey, areas were fixed by an estimate or nazarpdhdni.
The rates were intended to be permanent and were therefore moderate.
Between 1662 and 066 a more correct measurement of the land was
made; but owing to the state of the country, which had suffered from
war and pestilence, Malik Ambar's system had to be discontinued.
In 1664 in its stead a crop division was introduced. In 1669, when
Sivaji reconquered Poona, he introduced a cash rental instead of
payment in kind. The settlement was by village, or mauzawdr. The
village had therefore to make good a lump sum, and the villagers were
left free to arrange for the recovery of the state dues on land which
had fallen waste. Land deserted by its owner became the joint
property of the village, which either divided it or cultivated it jointly.
Under this system Sivaji's rental was uncertain, as individual property
in land had a tendency to vanish, and this led to Malik Ambar's
system of a fixed money rent for the whole village being restored in