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Norton, John Eardley

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(19.02.1852 — 13.07.1931), barrister-at-law of Madras engaged by the Bengal Government as the counsel for prosecution in the Alipore Bomb Case (1908-09) in all the three courts — the Magistrate’s, the Sessions Judge’s, and the High Court. Norton tried to prove Aurobindo’s guilt. He confirmed that Aurobindo knew about teriristic action of his brother (Barindra) but his proofs were not admitted as insufficient.

The son of John Bruce Norton of the Indian Civil Service. Graduated in arts from Merton College, Oxford. Studied law at Lincoln’s Inn; called to bar in 1876. In 1879, he set sail to India. Practised as a lawyer in Madras (1879-1907). Elected to the Imperial Legislative Council (India) in 1894 but had to resign within a month due to an adultery suit against him. Norton was a close friend of G. Subramania Iyer, who founded The Hindu. He wrote a column in The Hindu called “Olla Podrida” under the pseudonym Sentinel (May 1889 — December 1889). Norton started the Indian Aluminium Company for the manufacture of utensils in 1900. Norton participated in the 1887 session of the Indian National Congress at Madras and after it he became a member of the committee which drafted the constitution of the Indian National Congress. Norton also participated in the tenth session of the Congress in Madras in 1894 and the Mysore session in 1903. Norton was instrumental for the creation of an UK chapter of the Indian National Congress. Accordingly, the UK-wing came into existence in July 1889 under the leadership of Bradlaugh who was accorded the title “Member for India”. Norton was also part of the Congress’ first deputation to England in 1889.


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