HC Deb 09 December 1878 vol 243 cc307-8

asked the Under Secretary of State for India, Whether, in view of the provision contained in the 41st section of the Government of India Act of 1858, which runs as follows:— That the expenditure of the Revenues of India, both in India and elsewhere, shall be subject to the control of the Secretary of State in Council, and no grant or appropriation of any part of such Revenues, or of any other property coming into the possession of the Secretary of State in Council by virtue of this Act, shall be made without the concurrence of a majority of votes at a meeting of the Council; if he will inform the House by what authority the expenditure hitherto incurred in connection with the military expedition against the Ameer of Afghanistan has been sanctioned?


Sir, the expenditure was incurred on the authority of the Secretary of State for India. The matter was fully considered in 1869, and the Duke of Argyll, speaking in the House of Lords on behalf of his Government, said— It is the opinion of all whom I have consulted, including the Law Officers of the Crown, that under the present Statute it is unquestionably in the power of the Secretary of State for India to order in India any service which may be required. Payment for this service is made in India, and the disallowance of that payment is not competent to the Council, without the sanction of the Secretary of State."—[3 Hansard, cxcv. 1074.]


As I feel that the question is one of very great importance, and as I believe the money has been spent not only in India, but beyond the Frontier of India—["Order!"]—I am only desirous of having an opportunity of calling attention to the subject; and I will on an early occasion move a Resolution to the effect that, in the opinion of this House, the Secretary of State, by sanctioning the expenditure which he had done, has infringed the spirit and the letter of the Government of India Act.