HC Deb 12 April 1883 vol 278 cc81-2

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, "Whether his attention has been drawn to statements made by the opponents of the Indian Criminal Code Amendment Bill, that said Bill is not desired by the Native opinion; whether, on the contrary, practical unanimity exists in the native Press upon the subject; whether a joint memorial from the British Indian Association, the Indian Association, the Mahomedan Literary Society, the National Mahomedan Association, the East Bengal Association, and the Vakils' Association of Calcutta, has been presented to the Viceroy, expressing— Feelings of deep satisfaction and thankfulness for the introduction into the Viceregal Council of the Criminal Procedure Code Amendment Bill with the view to removing judicial qualification of race in the trial of European British subjects in criminal cases as a step towards establishing equality in the eye of the Law, without invidious distinction of country, race, or religion; and, whether Government will take any steps to supply Parliament with authentic information upon the wants and wishes of the Native people of India upon the question of establishing equality before the Law between all subjects of the Crown in India?


Sir, it is not in our power to give the particular information to which the hon. Member's inquiry refers, and which probably he has obtained from the public journals; but our impression is very much to the effect that the hon. Member appears to desire to convey through the Question—that is, that the Indian vernacular Press, speaking generally, is very much united in approval of the measure which has been introduced by Lord Ripon and his Government. A Native Member of the Council, it is said, was opposed to the measure; but it is also stated that he was severely taken to task by those who considered themselves his constituents for adopting that course. Her Majesty's Government has not any means of ascertaining in an official and completely authentic manner the sentiments of the Native population, and can only learn them from the Native Press, and from those with whom the Natives communicate.


asked, whether the Bill preceded the Memorial, or the Memorial the Bill?


in reply, said, that the Bill was introduced antecedently to the Memorial, and the Memorial was in support of the Bill.