HC Deb 14 May 1888 vol 326 cc157-8

asked the Under Secretary of State for India, Whether the new Calcutta Municipality Bill, now before the Bengal Legislative Council, contains novel features unknown to like legislation in the United Kingdom; for example, giving the power of voting under the municipal franchise to the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce and to the Calcutts Trades' Association, the members of which Bodies already possess the right of voting in their private capacity as citizens; and multiplicity of votes, it being alleged that plurality voting according to property qualification and by the cumulative system obtains in English municipal franchise procedure; whether he is aware that the proposed measure is unpopular with a large majority of the inhabitants of Calcutta, owing partly to the inclusion on arbitrary grounds of certain suburban places within the future municipal limits of Calcutta, although such places are already included in a local municipality; and, whether the Secretary of State will instruct the Viceroy in Council not to sanction the Bill until the inhabitants of Calcutta have had an opportunity, by deputation or otherwise (advantage to be taken of such opportunity before the close of the present Session) of expressing to the Secretary of State their objections to the measure as at present framed?


The Calcutta Municipality Bill, which contains provisions of the kind referred to by the hon. Member, has been for two years under discussion in the Bengal Legislative Council; and the inhabitants of Calcutta have had ample opportunities of expressing their objections to the Secretary of State, if they thought fit to do so. No such representations have been made; and the Secretary of State has no intention of interfering with the discretion which the Governor General possesses under the Indian Council Act of assenting to or withholding his assent from the Bill after it has passed the Bengal Legislative Council.