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The erstwhile State of Nizam comprised areas covered by the present Telangana of AP State, Bidar, Raichur and Gulbarga districts of present Karnataka State and Osmanabad. Bheed, Nanded, Latur, Aurangabad and Parbhani districts of the present Maharashtra State. Hyderabad was the Capital of Nizam. As per the available records, the Police Commissionerate system existed way back from the year 1847.

The Nizam of Hyderabad used to appoint the Commissioners of Police who were officers of the Hyderabad Civil Service and they used to function during his pleasure. They were answerable to the Nizam directly on various matters of policing in Hyderabad city. However, as far as administrative matters were concerned the Commissioner of Police used to correspond with the Home Department directly. The Commissioner of Police was popularly called as the “Kotwal-e-Balda” and was responsible for maintenance of law and order, prevention & detection of crime etc. The correspondence used to be only in Urdu. Kotwal enjoying a high position and look upon with great respect of fear had always been appointed from an early period and composed of various nationalities and a number of detectives.

The “Kotwal” combined in his office not only the powers and privileges of the police head but also was in enjoyment of certain judicial and civil powers. He had direct access to the king and had his ears. He was the chief adviser to the monarch in all police matters. He was primarily responsible for the maintenance of law and order, for the prevention and control of crime, and prosecution of criminals. He occupied a unique position not only in the administration of criminal justice but also a very honourable place in the king’s “Durbars” . He received the “Roznamachas” (Daily reports) from the Thanedars about the happenning in the city, kept a watch on the British Residency and maintained a number of paid informers. The “Kotwal-e-Balda” was both respected and feared by the general Public. The last of such powerful “Kotwals” was Raja Bahadur Venkatrama Reddy during the reign of Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan, Nizam-VII. He even resolved major litigations between Gadwal and Wanaparthi “samasthans” through negotiations. In the big “Samasthans”, policing was being done by the big feudal lords, who owned vast chunks of land, and organized their respective police forces and separate judicial service.

The Head of the “Thana” (Police Station) came to be called “Amin” The rank equivalent to the inspector was known as “Sardar Amin” . The Assistant Commissioner of Police and the Deputy Commissioner were called “Madadgar Kotwal” and “Naib Kotwal” respectively. The entire city police force had distinctive uniforms and badges of rank. At the “Thana” level there was a “Jemadar” (General Duty Head Constable) and a Mohriri (Writer Head Constable). The Constable was called Barkandaz in the beginning and later called “Jawan”. He was getting Rs. 6-00 in 1902 A.D. as pay and two annas per day was his daily allowance, whenever he had to travel outside Hyderabad City.

The Judicial system prevailing in the city comprised of the Diwani Adalats (Civil Courts) and Faujdari Adalats i.e Criminal Courts, Organised in a hierarchical pattern, having both the original and appellate jurisdiction. The lowest combined criminal and civil courts under the Munsif Magistrate with 1st Class powers of the trial at the original level at all taluk headquarters.

The prosecuting agency consisted of Police functionaries of inspector rank as far as the city was concerned. They were under Naib Kotwal Seghal Jaraim i.e. Dy. Commissioner of Police Crime. The strength of city police in the early years of this century was hardly a few thousands, quite commensurate with the limited needs of the populations of Hyderabad, which was barely 2.5 lakhs, enclosed within an impregnable fort-wall running round the city. There were thirteen huge gates and as many windows which used to be closed by the Police Armed guards from dust to dawn, by an order of the City Police Commissioner. This system ensures automatic “Nakabandi” and no burglar or thief having operated in the city could dare leave the limits of the city without being caught and interrogated. The city police budget in 1906 was a meagre few lakhs. Except for Police Station “Thana and outpost “Naka” buildings, of which there was a network, there were few Administrative Police Buildings. The Past Commissioner Office “Kotwal Balda” which is more than hundred years old is situated in “Purana Haveli” locality in the heart of the old city. There were no motor vehicles, wireless equipments and telephone facility. But there many records maintained in Urdu at the P.S. level, a few obsolete fire arms and hand-cuffs and leg-lrons. The concept of respecting the rights of the individual was not at all there and criminals were dealt with harshly to say the least. Surveillance over criminals was effective and “Goondas” and rowdies were kept under check Mostly, religious processions and assemblies were in evidence those days and hardly labour or student troubles. Strikes by Government employees were unheard of and hardly any forms of protests by political parties were noticed.

In 1271 Fasli, the total police under the control of the kotwal composed, as it was comprised of Arabs, Sikhs, Bharkandazes and Harkaras numbered 1524 foot men and 136 mounted and cost Rs. 82,364/- for its maintenance.

In 1294 Fasli, a Detective police force was inaugurated. The city police had three superior officers, 2 Muhatamims, 10 Sadar Amins, 27 Amins, 3 Naib Amins, 49 Sowars, 2830 Constables of all grades, 128 Arabs and 64 miscellaneous men. The strength of the city police rose to 3434 by the year 1337 Fasli. Cases of corruption were very rare. Among all the Commissioner of Police who served during the Nizam period. Raja Bahadur Venkatram Reddy who worked for nearly 14 years created a history in the city for his outstanding police administration and he commanded a great respect among the public.


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