DR. CAMERON (Glasgow, College Div.)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for India whether it is true that in the course of the evidence recently given before the Crawford Commission certain native magistrates, under promise of indemnity from the Government of Bombay, gave evidence that they had corruptly purchased their judicial appointments and promotion; and whether it is true that the Judges of the Bombay High Court specially responsible for the representations of minor courts and officers sent the Bombay Government a protest pointing out the illegality of maintaining on the Bench magistrates who had corruptly purchased appointments and promotion; and, if so, what steps have been taken to put an end to the scandal against which the Judges of the Bombay High Court protested?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA (Sir J. GORST,) Chatham
This is substantially the same question as that put to me by the hon. Member on the 19th March. I have nothing to add to the answers already given, except that the Secretary of State has been informed that further papers in reference to the incriminated magistrates are on their way to this country.
But all I was told previously was that papers were on their way to this country. The really important question is whether these magistrates are still occupied on the Bench or whether they have been suspended?
§ *SIR J. GORST
I said on the former occasion it was the opinion of the Secretary of State that no public statement could be made without detriment to the public service.
I do not ask for any statement; all I wish to know is whether these corrupt magistrates are still on the Bench? [Cries of "Answer!"]
§ *SIR J. GORST
Nothing is further from my intention than to be disrespectful to either the House or the hon. Member. This matter is before the Secretary of State in a judicial capacity; he has it under consideration with the aid of his Council; and he has instructed me to say that any official statement would be detrimental to the interests of justice. I appeal to the House whether they will not sanction my preserving for some short time the silence which the Secretary of State has imposed upon me.