The other day, I had an occasion to go to the Court of the City Magistrate. The Magistrate was sitting in a chair placed on a high platform. His clerk or Peshkar was sitting to his left. On the table lay a heap of files. The court peon called up the parties in a criminal case. The complainant and the accused appeared with their pleaders, and stood before the Magistrate. The Magistrate recorded the statement of the complainant, in which he complained that the accused had abused him and beaten him on such and such a date and at such and such a place. The pleader on behalf of the accused cross-examined him at length, and made him contradict his own statement.
Then the witnesses were called, and their statements were also taken down by the Magistrate. The pleader of the accused cross-examined every one of them. Then the statement of the accused was taken. He denied the charge, and produced some witnesses. After this, the pleaders argued the case on behalf of their respective clients, and quoted law in their favour. In the end, the Magistrate pronounced orders, and acquitted the accused, holding that the charge was not proved. The parties and the pleaders retired, and there was great rejoicing among the friends of the accused.
The court peons demanded bakhshish, and were satisfied. Inside the court, throughout the trial of the case. solemn silence prevailed. Though there were several spectators, yet there was no noise at all. The Magistrate sat dignified and majestic and heard very patiently all what the parties had to say. He was perfectly cool and self-possessed. This was the first time for me to see a court, and I was very much impressed by the scene.