MUMBAI: There was a time when Qazis were appointed by the British government in Indian courts to deliver justice in criminal and civil cases .After the fall of Indian native rule Britishers took control of the government. They gradually developed a new system of governance and judiciary.
During earlier regimes, criminal justice system in India was largely in the hands of native judges and officials while criminal cases were administered according to the Mohammaden Penal Laws .Therefore , Qazis and Muftis were appointed in the criminal courts also to help administration of justice.
They issued Fatwas in various criminal cases .They were appointed as higher judicial officers in Sadr Courts .But the British government abolished the Sadr Courts in 1862 .
In the beginning of 19th Century, the British government appointed Qazis in the courts of The Bombay Magistrates of Police.
But they were to advice Magistrate of Bombay Police in the matters which pertained to the question of law, tradition, customs, interpretation of laws related to Muslim community.
During the British rule in Bombay, Qazi were appointed as the officials of magisterial courts, but they advised the British Magistrate of Police, presiding these courts in the matters which related to the persons from Muslim community and there was a need of interpretation of Islamic law, or interpretation or tradition or custom in their case .
It is being said by the historians that during British rule in Bombay, Qazi was given the status and powers as the authority on all the matters which pertained to the Muslim community.
But, the British rulers also appointed religious scholars and authorities from other religion in the magisterial courts, who helped the British Magistrates in the matters which pertained to their community.
A Bhatt, the Hindu Brhamin was appointed to give advice the court in the matters of persons pertaining to Hindu community .An Andaru or Parsi priest was appointed to advice the court in the matters of Parsi citizens and persons .During that time the Parsi Personal law was not codified .Therefore the Andaru , the Parsi priest was appointed in the courts to advice and decide in the matters of Parsi marriages , divorces , inheritance etc.
The Bombay Police Magistrate court also had a Jew Cauzee to advice the court in the matters of persons belonging to Bene Israel ,or Jewish community .Jews were the part of British armed forces in very large number at that time .