HC Deb 11 July 1889 vol 338 cc113-5
Dr. CAMERON (Glasgow, College)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for India whether he can yet inform the House if it is true, as stated in the Calcutta correspondence of the Times of the 24th ultimo, and repeated in the Calcutta telegram in the Times of the 1st instant, that the High Court of Judicature of Bombay has pronounced a judgment affirming that the currupt Mamlutdars and Magistrates are, by the operation of 49 Geo. 3, c. 125— Disabled persons in law to all intents and purposes to have, occupy, or enjoy the office or offices— For which they have paid bribes; also, whether it is true, as stated in the Times' Calcutta telegram of the 7th instant, that the Bombay Gazette, of 27th June, contains a notification, authorizing the clerks of eight Magistrates to exercise each the power of the Magistrate, under the Mamlutdars Court Act of 1876; if so, are the Magistrates referred to among those who swore that they had corruptly purchased their positions; what steps have been taken to secure the requisite legal knowledge on the part of the clerks thus called on to perform the duties of the Magistrates; and, what extra pay do they receive in consideration of the new duties imposed upon them?

MR. WALTER M'LAREN (Cheshire, Crewe)

Upon the same subject, I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for India whether the statement is correct, as given in the Times' Indian telegram on the 8th instant, copied from the Bombay Gazette of June 27th, that— Authority is given to the clerks of eight Magistrates to exercise each the power of the Magistrates, under 'The Mamlutdars' Court Act of 1876;' Whether these eight Magistrates are permanently or temporarily suspended from their duties; whether the suspension is because of corrupt acts in connection with Mr. Crawford; whether it is legal to allow Magistrates' clerks to act as Magistrates, and how long they are likely to continue in this position; and, whether Assistant Commissioner Sathe, who is mentioned in page 221 of the Correspondence on the Crawford Case, No. 5701, has been suspended, or in any way punished?


There has not yet been time for the Bombay Gazette of June 27 to arrive in this country. But the Bombay Government directed some time ago that in the Talukas in which the Mamlutdars were deprived of all judicial functions, the head Karkuns should be invested with the powers of a Mamlutdar in order to exercise that jurisdiction of which the Mamlutdar was deprived. A head Karkun is not a clerk to a Magistrate or Mamlutdar, but holds a distinct and independent office; and it is a constant practice to invest them with magisterial powers. Their qualification for exercising such powers has no doubt been ascertained in the usual way; and the Secretary of State has no reason to think that they receive extra pay. The practice of investing head Karkuns with magisterial powers is perfectly legal. Sathe is no longer Assistant Commissioner. He was transferred last autumn to the post of Deputy Collector at Ratnagiri.


When will the Judgment and the other Papers be laid upon the Table?


As soon as the Secretary of State has seen the Judgment. I shall be happy to answer any question about it; but before I can answer any question, I must see it.