Nepali historiography has generally explained the projection of state sovereignty either through a framework of military-fiscalism or as an inevitable process of centralization radiating outward from Kathmandu. As a result, it has mostly shied away from examining the role of the subject population in the construction of the early state sovereignty. Archival evidence from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century suggests a much more nuanced interplay between local customary rights and the centrally promulgated judicial regulations in the shaping of the early state sovereignty. This paper looks at how one ethnic group in Eastern Nepal (Limbu), articulated specific sets of ancient rights to simultaneously demand, defend and deter the intervention of the rising state power. Subsequent series of regulatory communication between the state and local community established exceptions for a constellation of cultural and economic practices for the Limbu community, which survived over a century through several tumultuous periods in Nepali history. As such, the legal cum regulatory set-up required constant vigilance especially in the politically flux landscape of the period. This was best illustrated in the Limbu community repeatedly calling on the state to safeguard its rights against the threats of state officials and local potentates. The paper particularly seeks to understand how, in linking their traditional rights to the concept of justice deliverance promoted by the state as a tool of statecraft, the Limbu community eventually aided in the expansion of the state power in the region.