HC Deb 26 April 1855 vol 137 cc1785-6

said, he wished to put the following question to the right hon. Baronet the Home Secretary:—By a clause in the Burial Act a discretionary power was vested in the Secretary of State for the Home Department, to grant a licence in certain specified cases for interment in vaults. That power, however, was never exercised except on the report of a Government Inspector, but that report could never be obtained in time for use. He would, therefore, beg to ask the secretary of state, whether in any town, where a primâ facie case can be shown that such licence may be granted without detriment to the public health, he would cause an inspection to be at once made of all such vaults as the proprietors may wish to have reported upon?


said, the hon. and gallant Gentleman had stated the effect of the provision in the Act with perfect accuracy. The discretionary power vested in the Secretary of State was qualified by law. He was to exercise it when it could be done without prejudice to the public health, and of course he would not feel justified in doing so, except upon the report of a medical inspector. Everything must depend upon the circumstances of the case, and it was necessary that a strong prima facie case should first be made out. The licence was obviously impracticable where a person was dead, because there would not be time to make previous inspection, and the Secretary of State was not justified by law in granting a licence without the report of a medical inspector.

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