HC Deb 03 June 1878 vol 240 c1071

asked the Under Secretary of State for India, If he can state what are to be the functions of the Press Commissioner lately appointed by the Government of India with the rank of a political agent of the first class; and whether the Secretary of State in Council has approved of that appointment; also, whether Papers will be laid on the Table containing the dissents on the subject by Members of the Council of India, in accordance with the provisions of the law?


Sir, the duty of the officer appointed to superintend the working of the Vernacular Press Act is to make himself thoroughly acquainted with the legitimate wants and aspirations of the Press, to receive and reply to references and complaints from editors, to act as the referee of the Press in its communications with the Government on the one hand, and on the other as the responsible adviser of the Government in its dealings with the Press under the new law. It was also to be his duty to read and revise the proofs submitted by those editors who desire to withdraw themselves from the restrictive provisions of the law. I have laid upon the Table of the House the Papers relating to this subject, and from the last despatch it will be seen that the Secretary of State in Council has requested the Government of India to refrain from putting that portion of it into operation which relates to the examination and revision of the proofs by a Government officer. As regards the last Question of the hon. Member, the proceedings and speeches in Council have usually been treated as confidential, and my noble Friend is not disposed to regard them in any other light upon the present occasion.


said, he would take the first opportunity which presented itself to move for Copies of the Papers in question.