HC Deb 26 August 1886 vol 308 cc536-7
MR. MURPHY (Dublin, St. Patrick's)

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether his attention has been called to the case of Mr. Andrew Morton, of the Engineering Service, Public Works Department, India, and who was, in 1884, employed on the Nizam of Hyderabad's State Railways; whether Mr. Morton was arrested on a charge of embezzling the Railway funds, and committed by a Colonel Dobbs for trial before the High Court of Bombay, where he was acquitted by the jury without calling on his counsel to reply to the case made against him; whether, subsequently, a Departmental inquiry into Mr. Morton's conduct took place under the presidency of Lieutenant Colonel Bullock, and whether the Committee of Inquiry reported that "the clerks in Mr. Morton's office had combined to deceive him;" that at the time the defalcations with which he was charged occurred "he was overwhelmed with work," having "the duties of Manager, Traffic Superintendent, and Storekeeper, in addition to his other work," and that "his mind was distracted by a multiplicity of duties arising from the arrival and departure of the Viceroy;" and whether the Committee completely exonerated him from being guilty even of gross carelessness; whether, after many months' suspension, being reinstated in his office, he was obliged to proceed to a station in Northern Bengal at his own expense, and his increments of pay stopped down to the present time; and, whether the Indian Government will order that Mr. Morton's incremental pay be restored to him, and that he shall receive suitable compensation for the indignity which he suffered?


(who replied) said: Mr. Andrew Morton, while employed on the Nizam of Hyderabad's State Railway, was arrested on a charge of embezzlement, and committed for trial before the High Court of Bombay, but the charge was afterwards withdrawn. A Departmental Inquiry took place with the result substantially as stated in the Question. The Committee of Inquiry exonerated him from "the charge of gross negligence," but considered that he had been unbusiness like in his dealings, especially in regard to documents on which payments of money had to be made. When released and reinstated in his office, the arrears of his pay and the expenses incurred in his defence were passed to him, and he was transferred in the same grade and on the same pay to Bengal. The Government of India, however, thought that his unbusiness-like method could not be passed over, and therefore left him to proceed to his new station at his own expense, and directed that his salary should remain stationary till further orders. The Secretary of State in Council saw no reason to interfere with the discretion of the Government of India in this matter.