HC Deb 24 May 1875 vol 224 cc787-8

asked the Under Secretary of State for India, Whether, as it appears by a Despatch which has been laid upon the Table of the House, that the Indian Government admits that it has broken its engagement with the civilians of the North-west Provinces, and that the Indian Government decline to apply any efficient remedy to the injury which it has thus inflicted, the Secretary of State for India will take speedy and efficient measures for redressing the wrong committed by the Government of India?


Sir, before I answer the Question of the right hon. Gentleman, perhaps I may be permitted to point out—first, that he has assumed that the Indian Government has not only broken its engagement, but also admits having done so. Now, Sir, I cannot allow that assumption to pass without contradiction. The only contract or engagement existing between the Secretary of State and the Government of India on the one hand, and the Indian Civil Service on the other, is the Indian Civil Service Act of 1861, which Act does not apply to appointments in the non-regulation Provinces. The present complaint is, however, exclusively directed to the appointments made in the non-regulation Provinces. The civilians of the Northwest Provinces complain to the Government of India, that certain rules promulgated by Lord Dalhousie, affirmed by the Secretary of State in 1864, and approved of by subsequent Governments, for regulating the proportions of civil servants to be employed in the non-regulation Provinces have not been carried out, and that in consequence their promotion has been retarded. The Government of India admit that this contention is, in the main, borne out by facts, though the results of which they complain have been brought about by causes which unavoidably led to them in former years, and which are no longer in operation. They propose the following remedy:— We intend, therefore, to arrange with the different Administrations a systematic rule of procedure, whereby the preferential claims of civilians shall he brought forward and considered by the Government of India whenever an office falls vacant for which civilians are eligible, and to which no other officer has his superior claim by reason of seniority, local standing, or special qualifications. We think that this course ought to he followed, not only in the non-regulation Provinces, but also in appointing to the chief offices in those special departments of Government which are mainly administrative. And in taking these measures we shall he careful that the rights of individuals, as well as the interests of the public service, are upon no occasion overlooked or postponed to minor considerations. The Duke of Argyll expressed his strong approval, in which the present Secretary of State concurs, of these instructions, which are now being carried out. The Marquess of Salisbury has no reason to believe that these remedies will prove inadequate, and until he has received proof of their insufficiency, he does not propose to take any special action.


gave Notice that, on going into Committee of Supply, he would call attention to the subject, and move a Resolution.