Military Trial of Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar: An Assessment of its Legitimacy


Mir Waheed Akhlaq,Muhammad Akmal Soomro


The East India Company's rule in India (1757-1857) facilitated the transfer of wealth to European nations amidst widespread indigenous resistance, notably within the Company's military. Responding with force, the Company arrested Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, tried him for sedition, and exiled him. In London, Governor-General Warren Hastings faced accusations of economic exploitation, avoiding impeachment despite a prolonged legal battle. The British Parliament swiftly convicted Bahadur Shah Zafar of treason, highlighting the breach of earlier treaties recognizing Mughal sovereignty. This study examines the unjust military trial within the context of international law, asserting it as an act of treason. Queen Victoria's endorsement of Bahadur Shah Zafar's sentencing underscores British government complicity. The trial, marked by extrajudicial practices and misappropriation of funds, saw the King portrayed as a criminal defendant. Simultaneously, the Company pillaged Delhi while adjudicating charges against Bahadur Shah Zafar. Legislation following his conviction transformed India into a British colony, leading to the Company's expulsion and asset forfeiture.


How to Cite
Mir Waheed Akhlaq,Muhammad Akmal Soomro. (2024). Military Trial of Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar: An Assessment of its Legitimacy. Harf-O-Sukhan, 8(2), 343-359. Retrieved from