HC Deb 26 June 1890 vol 346 cc68-9

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for India when the repeatedly promised Papers relating to Kashmir will be presented to this House, and whether, in view of the present painful position of His Highness the Maharajah, the Secretary of State will at once authorise a judicial inquiry into the grave charges made by the Government and solemnly denied by His Highness?


I have to-day laid the Papers on the Table. The action of the Government in Kashmir has been based, not upon grave personal charges made against the Maharajah, but upon the long-continued misgovernment of Kashmir, which rendered it necessary, in the interest of the people, to put an end to chronic oppression and misrule. Neither the Secretary of State nor the Government of India, as I have several times stated in Parliament, have ever attached any importance to certain treasonable and criminal correspondence attributed to the Maharajah. It is obvious that the conduct of the Government in making such arrangements as involve the withdrawal of the Maharajah for a time on political grounds from active participation in the Government of the State cannot be made the subject of investigation by a judicial officer.


I will ask when the Papers are likely to be circulated to Members, and whether, if they disclose a different state of things from that which has just been stated, the Government will afford any opportunity for this unfortunate gentleman to repel accusations which ho declares to be absolutely without foundation.


The distribution of Papers does not rest with me. It depends on the printing authorities of the House, over whom I have no control. With regard to the second part of the question, I think the hon. Member had better wait until he sees the Papers.


In view of the excessive gravity of the matter, as I understand the Papers, I shall avail myself of such opportunities as the Forms of the House permit unless the Government afford some opportunity to this unfortunate gentleman to answer the charges made against him.