HC Deb 15 July 1833 vol 19 cc662-4

The House resolved itself into a Committee on the East-India Company's Charter Bill.

On the 42nd Clause being read, which gives the Governor-General power to make laws for Europeans as well as natives,

Mr. Wynn

objected to the clause, as giving to the Governor General a vast and unnecessary power. The clause established principles totally different from those on which the government of India had been conducted for the last fifty years. He understood, the reason for it was to enable the Governor General to have some control over the Supreme Court; but there never had been a contest between the two to justify such an enactment.

Mr. Robert Grant

said, that the power to be given by the clause was absolutely necessary, for the greatest inconvenience had already been experienced by an opposition between the Executive power and the Courts of Judicature, which neither party had the power to put an end to. There was an effectual control over the conduct of the Governor General, possessed by the Board of Directors and the Board of Control; but there was no control over the Supreme Court, except that which was given by this clause.

Mr. Hume

admitted the necessity of the Governor General having great power; but he wished that it were subject to some control by public opinion. He desired to see all his laws made public before they were acted on, and he should also desire that the debates in the Council might be known to the public. He wished to know whether a native might not be appointed a member of each of the different Councils?

Mr. Charles Grant

said, there was nothing to prevent a native of British India becoming a member of the Council, and filling that fifth place which was not to be filled by a servant of the Company. As to promulgating the laws, the Board of Directors were by one clause directed to establish regulations for promulgating them.

Sir Robert Inglis

said, it was quite certain, that the Governor General must have large discretionary power; but his power was so limited by several subsequent clauses, that it was perhaps not too great.

Mr. Cutlar Fergusson

said, that the Supreme Courts in India were established to protect Europeans from the power of the Governor General, and that principle had been wholly overlooked in this clause. He believed that, to remove these Europeans from under the protection of the Supreme Court would shake the security of property at Calcutta. The hon. and learned Gentleman moved an Amendment, the object of which was to secure to the British and other residents of the town of Bombay, Madras, and Calcutta, all the rights and privileges of British law, as now administered by the King's Courts in those presidencies respectively.

On this Amendment the Committee divided: Ayes 33; Noes 114—Majority 81.

The Clause agreed to.

List of the AYES.
Aglionby, H. A. Bellew, R. M.
Attwood, T. Duffield, T.
Buckingham, J. S. Godson, R.
Briggs, R. Gillon, W. D.
Baldwin, Dr. Green, T. G.
Blackstone, W. S. Hume, J.
Blake, M. Lowther, Colonel
Brotherton, J. Lister, C.
Manners, Ld, Robert Stanley, E.
O'Brien, C. Sheil, R. L.
O'Connell, D. Talbot, J.
O'Connell, J. Vyvyan, Sir R.
O'Dwyer, A. C. Wynn, W. C.
Palmer, R. Whitmore, W.
Pryme, G. Wilks, J.
Roche, W.
Ruthven, E. TELLER.
Russell, C. R. C. Fergusson.

Clauses to the 54th inclusive were then agreed to. The House resumed—the Committee to sit again.