[ The Alipore Bomb Case, 1908 to 1909; Indian Nationalism ] Three printed documents annotated by appeal judge Sir Richard Harington: Jenkins's 'Judgment. | Alipore appeal.'; Carnduff's dissenting judgment; Harington's final judgment.
The Alipore Bomb Case was the trial of a number of revolutionaries of the Anushilan Samiti in Calcutta (their object, according to Harington, being 'to deprive the King of the Sovereignty of British India by force'), held at Alipore Sessions Court, Calcutta, between May 1908 and May 1909. The trial followed in the wake of the attempt on the life of Presidency Magistrate Douglas Kingsford in Muzaffarpur by Bengali nationalists Khudiram Bose and Prafulla Chaki in April 1908, as a result of which two ladies (Mrs and Miss Kennedy) died. Among the accused were the poet and mystic Aurobindo Ghosh (1872-1950), and his brother the journalist Barindra Kumar Ghosh (1880-1959), tried alongside thirty-seven other Bengali nationalists. The three items are from the papers of one of the three appeal judges in the case, Sir Richard Harington (1861-1931) of Ridlington, 12th Baronet, Puisne Judge in the High Court of Justice at Fort William in Bengal, 1899-1913. For the background to the appeal see Harington's own account, in Item Three, below. All three documernts are in fair condition, lightly aged and worn. The first two are signed in the top-right corner of the first page 'Harington J[udge].' ONE: Jenkins's judgment. First page headed 'In the High Court of Judicature at Fort William in Bengal. | The 23rd November 1909. | Criminal Jurisdiction. | Present: | The Hon'ble Sir Lawrence Hugh Jenkins, | Knight, Chief Justice. | and | The Hon'ble Mr. Justice Carnduff.' Last page signed in type: 'L. JENKINS. | The 23rd November 1909.' 67pp., 8vo. Stitched. With a few light annotations by Harington, and indexed by him on the blank reverse of the last leaf. A closely-argued document, filled with information on what it describes as 'a shocking outrage'. There are 18 appellants, of whom two ('Barindra Kumar Ghose and Ullaskar Dutt') have been sentenced to death, and ten sentenced to transportation for life. According to the prosecution, 'the appellant, Barindra Kumar Ghose, has throughout been the master mind; he conceived the scheme; he designed the means; and he inspired the work. As far back as 1903 or 1904, he began what he believed to be his mission of preaching throughout Bengal the independence of India. Then he returned for a while to Baroda, where his brother Arobindo Ghose was a Professor in the Gaekwar's College. In 1905 came the partition of Bengal, which, according to the case for the Crown, was "unquestionably a landmark in this attempted revolution," and was used for its promotion. [...]'. Regarding sentencing the document states: 'The question of punishment is one of considerable difficulty: those who have been convicted are not ordinary criminals; they are for the most part men of education, of strong religious instincts, and in some cases of considerable force of character.' TWO: Carnduff's dissenting judgment. Untitled. Signed in type on last page 'H. W. C. Carnduff. | The 23rd November, 1909.' 'Calcutta: Printed by Supdt. Govt. Printing, India, 8, Hastings Street.' 31pp., 8vo. Stitched. Index of names in Harington's autograph on back cover. The document begins: 'Carnduff, J. - I agree with most, but, unfortunately, not with all, of the conclusions arrived at by my lord the Chief Justice on this appeal. Our difference of opinion is, in effect, limited to the question whether the guilt of a few of the appellants has been proved or not. But there are some remarks which I feel called upon to make, as briefly as may be, on my own account, both on the case as it presents itself to me as a whole, and on certain points connected with it, although we are in substantial agreement regarding them.' The document that follows is closely argued, and includes separate judgments in the cases of Susil Kumar Sen, Birendra Chandra Sen, Krishna Jiban Sanyal, Sailendra Nath Bose and Indranath Nandi. THREE: Harington's final judgment. First page headed: 'In the High Court of Judicature at Fort William in Bengal. | The 18th February, 1910. | Criminal Jurisdiction. | Present: | The Hon'ble Mr. Justice Harington. | In the matter of a Reference under Section 429 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in Appeals Nos. 474 and 480 of 1909. | Kirshna Jiban Sanyal, Sailendra Nath Bose, Birendra Chandra Sen, Susil Kumar Sen, and Indra Nath Nandi, … … … Appellants'. 20pp., 8vo. Stitched. Signed in type at end: 'The 18th February, 1910. R. HARINGTON.' Printed as Item Two. A few minor emendations in Harington's autograph. Harington begins by explaining that 'These persons together with 14 others were convicted before the learned Sessions Judge of Alipore of offences under Chapter VI of the Indian Penal Code. All the 19 prisoners appealed: one died pending appeal; as to 13 the learned Judges who heard the appeal were agreed: as to the remaining five they differed. The Chief Justice held that the appeal should be allowed in the cases of the five persons whose names I have mentioned, while Mr. Justice Carnduff was of opinion that these persons should be convicted under Section 121-A of the Indian Penal Code for conspiring to wage war on the King and to deprive him of the Sovereignty of British India.' He continues: 'there is not doubt that the conspiracy was a particularly formidable one. Its objects and the methods of the conspirators appear in the confessions of the prisoners, and in the documents which have been produced in this case. The object of the conspiracy was to deprive the King of the Sovereignty of British India by force. To the attainment of this object the minds of the people generally were to he inflamed against the English. To this end the Jugantar newspaper was employed and calumnies and slanders against the English were interwoven with appeals to the readers of the paper to unite to destroy the British rule. Young men were prepared for revolution by the teaching of the originators of this conspiracy – arms and ammunition were collected – bombs and high explosives were prepared for the purposes of murder. The teaching bore fruit; on November 5th, 1907 an effort was made to blow up the train in which the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal was travelling and before the 7th of the following month two similar attempts, happily unsuccessful, had been made. | On the 11th of April 1908 an attempt was made on the lives of the Mayor of Chandernagore and his wife with a bomb which was thrown into the room where they were sitting together. This machine though powerful enough to have wrecked the room, and killed all the persons in it, fortunately failed to explode, but on the 30th another bomb outrage was committed which was unhappily more successful. A bomb, said to be intended for Mr. Kingsford, was thrown at a carriage containing Mrs. and Miss Kennedy – it exploded with fatal results to the two ladies.' The document continues with a detailed judgment, discussing those of the other two judges. Harington concludes: 'I should like to add one word in commendation of the police who appear to have carried out the task of tracing out this complicated and formidable conspiracy with great skill and industry – and in my opinion they deserve great credit at the hands of the pubic for the able way in which they have carried out their work.' No other copies of any of the three traced, either on OCLC WorldCat or on COPAC.