Treaties relating to Sikkim

Table of Contents in the Asian Legal Encyclopedia

Treaties and Agreements relating to Sikkim

Treaty between the Raja of Sikkim and Government of India, 10 February 1817

TREATY, COVENANT, or AGREEMENT entered into by CAPTAIN BARRE LATTER, AGENT on the part of HIS EXCELLENCY the RIGHT HONORABLE the EARL of MOIRA, K.G., GOVERNOR-GENERAL, &c., &c., &c., &c., and by NAZIR CHAINA TENJIN and MACHA TEINBAH and LAMA DUCHIM LONGDOO, Deputies on the part of the RAJAH Of SIKKIMPUTTEE, being severally authorized and duly appointed for the above purposes, 1817.


The Honorable East India Company cedes, transfers, and makes over in full sovereignty to the Sikkimputtee Rajah, his heirs or successors, all the hilly or mountainous country situated to the eastward of the Mechi River and to the westward of the Teesta River, formerly possessed and occupied by the Rajah of Nepaul, but ceded to the Honorable East India Company by the Treaty of peace signed at Segoulee.


The Sikkimputtee Rajah engages for himself and successors to abstain from any acts of aggression or hostility against the Goorkhas or any other State.


That he will refer to the arbitration of the British Government any disputes or questions that may arise between his subjects and those of Nepaul, or any other neighbouring State, and to abide by the decision of the British Government.


He engages for himself and successors to join the British Troops with the whole of his Military Force when employed within the Hills, and in general to afford the British Troops every aid and facility in his power.


That he will not permit any British subject, nor the subject of any European and American State, to reside within his dominions, without the permission of the English Government.


That he will immediatley seize and deliver up any dacoits or notorious offenders that may take refuge within his territories.


That he will not afford protection to any defaulters of revenue or other delinquents when demanded by the British Government through their accredited Agents.


That he will afford protection to merchants and traders from the Company’s
Provinces, and he engages that no duties shall be levied on the transit of merchandize beyond the established custom at the several golahs or marts.


The Honorable East India Company guarantees to the Sikkimputtee Rajah and his successors the full and peaceable possession of the tract of hill country specified in the first Article of the present Agreement.


This Treaty shall be ratified and exchanged by the Sikkimputtee Rajah within one month from the present date, and the counterpart, when confirmed by His Excellency the Right Honorable the Governor-General, shall be transmitted to the Rajah.

Done at Titalya, this 10th day of February 1817, answering to the 9th of Phagoon 1873 Sumbut, and to the 30th of Maugh 1223 Bengallie.









Ratified by the Governor-General in Council, at Fort William, this fifteenth day of March, one thousand eight hundred and seventeen.


Acting Chief Secy. to Govt.

Copy of a SUNNUD granted to the RAJAH of SIKKIM, dated 7th April 1817.

The Honorable East India Company, in consideration of the services performed by the Hill tribes under the control of the Rajah of Sikkim, and of the attachment shown by him to the interest of the British Government, grants to the Sikkimputtee Rajah, his heirs and successors, all that portion of low land situated eastward of the Meitchie River, and westward of the Maha Nuddee, formerly possessed by the Rajah of Napaul, but ceded to the Honorable East India Company by the Treaty of Segoulee, to be held by the Sikkimputtee Rajah as a feudatory, or as acknowledging the supremacy of the British Government over said lands, subject to the following conditions:

The British Laws and Regulations will not be introduced into the territory in question, but the Sikkimputtee Rajah is authorized to make such laws and regulations for their internal government, as are suited to the habits and customs of the inhabitants, or that may be in force in his other dominions.

The Articles or Provisions of the Treaty signed at Titalya on the 10th February 1817, and ratified by His Excellency the Right Honorable the Governor-General in Council on the 15th March following, are to be in force with regard to the lands hereby assigned to the Sikkimputtee Rajah, as far as they are applicable to the circumstances of those lands.

It will be especially incumbent on the Sikkimputtee Rajah and his officers to surrender, on application from the officers of the Honorable Company, all persons charged with criminal offences, and all public defaulters who may take refuge in the lands now assigned to him, and to allow the police officers of the British Government to pursue into those lands and apprehend all such persons.

In consideration of the distance of the Sikkimputtee Rajah’s residence from the Company’s Provinces, such orders as the Governor-General in Council may upon any sudden emergency, find it necessary to transmit to the local authorities in the lands now assigned, for the security or protection of those lands, are to be immediately obeyed and carried into execution in the same manner as coming from the Sikkimputtee Rajah.

In order to prevent all disputes with regard to the boundaries of the low lands granted to the Sikkimputtee Rajah, they will be surveyed by a British Officer, and their limits accurately laid down and defined.

Deed ceding Darjeeling to the English, 1 February 1835

TRANSLATION of the DEED of GRANT making over DARJEELING to the EAST INDIA COMPANY, dated 29th Maugh, Sumbut 1891, A.D., 1st February 1835.

The Governor-General having expressed his desire for the possession of the Hill of Darjeeling, on account of its cool climate, for the purpose of enabling the servants of his Government, suffering from sickness, to avail themselves of its advantages, I, the Sikkimputtee Rajah, out of friendship to the said Governor-General, hereby present Darjeeling to the East India Company, that is, all the land south of the Great Runjeet River, east of the Balasur, Kahail, and Little Runjeet Rivers, and west of the Rungno and Mahanuddi Rivers.


Superintendent of Darjeeling,

and in charge of Political relations with Sikkim.

Treaty on the Restoration of Friendly Relations between the Governments of India and Sikkim, 28 March 1835


Whereas the continued depredations and misconduct of the officers and subjects of the Maharajah of Sikkim, and the neglect of the Maharajah to afford satisfaction for the misdeeds of his people have resulted in an interruption, for many years past, of the harmony which previously existed between the British Government and the Government of Sikkim, and have led ultimately to the invasion and conquest of Sikkim by a British force; and whereas the Maharajah of Sikkim has now expressed his sincere regret for the misconduct of his servants and subjects, his determination to do all in his power to obviate future misunderstanding, and his desire to be again admitted into friendship and alliance with the British Government, it is hereby agreed as follows:


All previous Treaties made between the British Government and the Sikkim Government are hereby formally cancelled.


The whole of the Sikkim Territory now in the occupation of British forces is restored to the Maharajah of Sikkim, and there shall henceforth be peace and amity between the two States.


The Maharajah of Sikkim undertakes, so far as is within his power, to restore within one month from the date of signing this Treaty, all public property which was abandoned by the detachment of British Troops at Rinchinpoong.


In indemnification of the expenses incurred in 1860 by the British Government in occupying a portion of the territory of Sikkim as a means of enforcing just claims which had been evaded by the Government of Sikkim, and as compensation to the British subjects who were pillaged and kidnapped by subjects of Sikkim, the Sikkim Government agrees to pay to the British authorities at Darjeeling the sum of 7,000 (seven thousand) Rupees in the following instalments, that is to say:

May 1st, 1861……………………………………1,000
Nov 1st, 1861……………………………………3,000
May 1st, 1862……………………………………3,000

As security for the due payment of this amount, it is further agreed that, in the event of any of these instalments not being duly paid on the date appointed, the Government of Sikkim shall make over to the British Government that portion of its territory bounded on the south by the River Rummam, on the east by the Great Runjeet River, on the north by a line from the Great Runjeet to the Singaleelah Range, including the monasteries of Tassiding, Pemonchi, and Changacheling, and on the west by the Singaleelah Mountain Range, and the British Government shall retain possession of this territory and collect the revenue thereof, until the full amount, with all expenses of occupation and collection, and interest at 6 per cent. per annum, are realized.


The Government of Sikkim engages that its subjects shall never again commit depredations on British territory, or kidnap or otherwise molest British subjects. In the event of any such depredation or kidnapping taking place, the Government of Sikkim undertakes to deliver up all persons engaged in such malpractice, as well as the Sirdars or other Chiefs conniving at or benefiting thereby.


The Government of Sikkim will at all times seize and deliver up any criminals, defaulters, or other delinquents who may have taken refuge within its territory, on demand being duly made in writing by the British Government through then accredited agents. Should any delay occur in complying with such demand, the Police of the British Government may follow the person whose surrender has been demanded into any part of the Sikkim territory, and shall, on showing a warrant, duly signed by the British Agent, receive every assistance and protection in the prosecution of their object from the Sikkim officers.


Inasmuch as the late misunderstandings between the two Governments have been mainly fomented by the acts of the ex-Dewan Namguay, the Government of Sikkim engages that neither the said Namguay, nor any of his blood relations, shall ever again be allowed to set foot in Sikkim, or to take part in the councils of, or hold any office under, the Maharajah or any of the Maharajah’s family at Choombi.


The Government of Sikkim from this date abolishes all restrictions on travellers and monopolies in trade between the British territories and Sikkim. There shall henceforth be a free reciprocal intercourse, and full liberty of commerce between the subjects of both countries; it shall be lawful for British subjects to go into any part of Sikkim for the purpose of travel or trade, and the subjects of all countries shall be permitted to reside in and pass through Sikkim, and to expose their goods fur sale at any place and in any manner that may best suit their purpose, without any interference whatever, except as is hereinafter provided.


The Government of Sikkim engages to afford protection to all travellers, merchants, or traders of all countries, whether residing in, trading in, or passing through Sikkim. If any merchant, traveller, or trader, being a European British subject, shall commit any offence contrary to the laws of Sikkim, such person shall be punished by the representative of the British Government resident at Darjeeling, and the Sikkim Government will at once deliver such offender over to the British authorities for this purpose, and will, on no account, detain such offender in Sikkim on any pretext or pretence whatever. All other British subjects residing in the country to be liable to the laws of Sikkim; but such persons shall, on no account, be punished with loss of limb, or maiming, or torture, and every case of punishment of a British subject shall be at once reported to Darjeeling.


No duties or fees of any sort shall be demanded by the Sikkim Government of any person or persons on account of goods exported into the British territories from Sikkim, or imported into Sikkim from the British territories.


On all goods passing into or out of Thibet, Bhootan, or Nepaul, the Government of Sikkim may levy a duty of customs according to such a scale as may, from time to time, be determined and published, without reference to the destination of the goods, provided, however, that such duty shall, on no account, exceed 5 per cent. on the value of goods at the time and place of the levy of duty. On the payment of the duty aforesaid a pass shall be given exempting such goods from liability to further payment on any account whatever.


With the view to protect the Government of Sikkim from fraud on account of underevaluation for assessment of duty, it is agreed that the custom officers shall have the option of taking over for the Government any goods at the value affixed on them by the owner.


In the event of the British Government desiring to open out a road through Sikkim, with the view of encouraging trade, the Sikkim Government will raise no objection thereto, and will afford every protection and aid to the party engaged in the work. If a road is constructed, the Government of Sikkim undertakes to keep it in repair, and to erect end maintain suitable travellers’ rest-houses throughout its route.


If the British Government desires to make either a topographical or geological survey of Sikkim, the Sikkim Government will raise no objection to this being done, and will afford protection and assistance to the officers employed in this duty.


Inasmuch as many of the late misunderstandings have had their foundation in the custom which exists in Sikkim of dealing in slaves, the Government of Sikkim binds itself, from this date, to punish severely any person trafficking in human beings, or seizing persons for the purpose of using them as slaves.


Henceforth the subjects of Sikkim may transport themselves without let or hindrance to any country to which they may wish to remove. In the same way the Government of Sikkim has authority to permit the subjects of other countries, not being criminals or defaulters, to take refuge in Sikkim.


The Government of Sikkim engages to abstain from any acts of aggression or hostility against any of the neighbouring States which are allies of the British Government. If any disputes or questions arise between the people of Sikkim and those of neighbouring States, such disputes or questions shall be referred to the arbitration of the British Government, and the Sikkim Government agrees to abide by the decision of the British Government.


The whole military force of Sikkim shall join and afford every aid and facility to British Troops when employed in the Hills.


The Government of Sikkim will not cede or lease any portion of its territory to any other State without the permission of the British Government.


The Government of Sikkim engages that no armed force belonging to any other country shall pass through Sikkim without the sanction of the British Government.


Seven of the criminals, whose surrender was demanded by the British Government, having fled from Sikkim and taken refuge in Bhootan, the Government of Sikkim engages to do all in its power to obtain the delivery of those persons from the Bhootan Government, and in the event of any of these men again returning to Sikkim, the Sikkim Government binds itself to seize them, and to make them over to the British Authorities at Darjeeling without delay.


With a view to the establishment of an efficient Government in Sikkim, and to the better maintenance of friendly relations with the British Government, the Maharajah of Sikkim agrees to remove the seat of his Government from Thibet to Sikkim, and reside there for nine months in the year. It is further agreed that a Vakeel shall be accredited by the Sikkim Government, who shall reside permanently at Darjeeling.


This Treaty, consisting of twenty-three Articles, being settled and concluded by the Honorable Ashley Eden, British Envoy, and His Highness Sekeong Kuzoo Sikkimputtee, Maharajah, at Tumloong, this 28th day of March 1861, corresponding with 17th Dao Neepoo 61, Mr. Eden has delivered to the Maharajah a copy of the same in English, with translation in Nagri and Bhootiah, under the seal and signature of the said Hon’ble Ashley Eden and His Highness the Sikkimputtee Maharajah, and the Sikkimputtee Maharajah has in like manner delivered to the said Honorable Ashley Eden another copy also in English, with translation in Nagri and Bhootiah, bearing the seal of His Highness and the said Hon’ble Ashley Eden. The Envoy engages to procure the delivery to His Highness, within six weeks from this date, of a copy of this Treaty duly ratified by His Excellency the Viceroy and Governor-General of India in Council, and this Treaty shall in the meantime be in full force.





Ratified by His Excellency the Viceroy and Governor-General of India in Council at Calcutta on the sixteenth day of April 1861.


Under-Secy. to the Govt. of India.

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