HC Deb 30 April 1883 vol 278 cc1410-1

asked the Under Secretory of State for India, Whether his attention has been called to the following statement, which lately appeared in the Indian correspondence of the "Times:"— While the Criminal Procedure Code of 1882, which it is now sought to amend, was pending before the Legislature, criticisms upon the measure were invited from the local Governments, and from the officials interested in the administration of the criminal Law. Upwards of one hundred and fifty reports from officials, many of whom were Natives, were received in answer to that invitation. Among these were fifteen reports from High Court Judges, thirty-two from Sessions and Assistant Sessions Judges, fifty-seven from District Magistrates, four from Presidency Magistrates, thirty-two from Commissioners of Divisions, seven from Judicial Commissioners, six from Chief Commissioners, and five from Inspectors General of Police, besides others from Small Cause Court Judges, moonsiffs, Residents in Native States, and Law officers of the Government. Only one of these reports, that of a Native, not belonging to the Covenanted Civil Service, who was then acting as Chief Magistrate of Calcutta, advocated the abolition of the existing rights of European British subjects; and, whether the statements contained in the said letter are substantially accurate?


Sir, the Criminal Procedure Code of 1882 is merely a consolidating and amending Act, and made hardly any substantial alteration in the law. In May, 1879, the Government of India issued a Circular, calling for opinions on the draft Bill, which was first published in the Government Gazette in the spring of that year, and afterwards became law as the present Criminal Procedure Code Act of 1882. The replies to that Circular were submitted in 1879 and early in 1880, and appear to be the reports referred to by the right hon. and learned Member. As, however, the Bill did not propose or suggest any alteration of the privileges of European British subjects, it is not remarkable that none, or scarcely any, of the officers consulted made any observations on this point.