HC Deb 05 March 1891 vol 351 c250

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for India whether the Secretary of State will direct the Government of Bombay to so amend the new Bombay Salt Act that it shall not be possible for such acts as the boiling of water containing salt, duly purchased, accidentally spilled therein, or the boiling down of dirty salt, bought openly in the bazaar, to purify it, to be described as the "manufacture" of salt, rendering parties doing these things liable to punishment; (2) whether a recent judgment of the High Court of Bombay, while holding the punishment inflicted for the offences described above was excessive, and that the sentences should be nominal only, yet held that they were offences under the Act, punishable with fine and imprisonment; (3) whether, in legislation relating to the Government, salt monopoly in India prior to the Bombay Act of 1890, similar provisions were contained; and (4) whether in other parts of the Empire Salt Acts contain like clauses; and, if not, why such provisions should be required for Bombay?


The attention of the Government of Bombay has been called to the subject by the questions which have been asked in this House. The Secretary of State does not consider it necessary to issue the directions suggested. The answer to the second paragraph of the question is—yes. The answer to the third paragraph is that the provisions of the present Bombay Act for the protection of the Salt Revenue are more precise than those contained in the former Act; and the answer to the fourth paragraph is—yes.


I am not quite satisfied by the answer of the right hon. Gentleman whether any steps are being taken by the Indian Government to prevent the evils complained of.


I believe the Secretary of State considers that the law as it is administered is satisfactory.