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MANUAL OF MILITARY LAW

 

PART I

 

CHAPTER I

 

INDIAN MILITARY LAW—ITS ORIGIN AND EXTENT

 

(i) Introductory

 

1.Origin of the Indian Army. —The Indian Army sprang from very small beginnings. Guards were enrolled for the protection of the factories or trading posts which were established by the Honourable East India Company at Surat. Masulipatam, Armagon, Madras, Hooghly and Balasore in the first half of the seventeenth century. These guards were at first intended to add to the dignity of the Chief Officials as much as for a defensive purpose, and in some cases special restrictions were even placed by treaty on their strength, so as to prevent their acquiring any military importance. Gradually, however, the organization of these guards was improved  and from them sprang the Honourable    East India Company's European and Indian troops. Both these steadily increased in numbers, until  in  1857, it numbered  (including local  forces and  contingents, and  a body  of 38,000 military police)  no less than  3,11,038 officers and men, (Imperial Gazetter of India, 1907, Vol IV (Ch, XI).

 

2.E.I.,Company's Mutiny Act.—Statutory provision was first made for the discipline of the Honorable East India Company's troops by an Act (27 Geo II, Cap 9) passed in 1754 for "punishing Mutiny and Desertion of officers and soldiers in the service of the United Company of Merchants of England trading to the East Indies,and for the punishment of offences committed in the East Indies, or at the Island of Saint Helena". Section 8 of this Act empowered the Crown to make Articles of War for the government of these troops, and such articles were accordingly made and published. The terms of the Act were wide enough to cover both European and Indian troops, but the language of the articles themselves showed that they were originally intended for Europeans only. In the absence of any other code, however, the Government of Bengal, Madras, and Bombay seem to have applied these articles, with such modification and omissions as appeared necessary, to the bodies of Indian troops maintained by them, of which the present Indian Army is the descendant. In 1813, owing to doubts having arisen as to the legal validity of the existing arrangements for the discipline of the  Indian  troops, provisions were inserted  in the Act (53 Geo III, Cap 155 ss 96 and 97) which was passed in that year to extend the company's privileges for a further term, which legalised the existing system and gave power to each of the Governments of Fort William, Fort Saint George and  Bombay to make, laws, regulations, and  Articles of War for the government of all Indian officers and  soldiers in their respective services. It was further provided in 1824 (4 Geo IV, Cap 81,s 63), that such legislation should apply to the Indian troops of each presidency, wherever serving, and whether within or beyond His Majesty's dominions.

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