HC Deb 16 March 1891 vol 351 cc1046-7

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for India whether the official, since dead, to whose mistake, in refusing to suspend a part of the Land Revenue in Gurgaon in 1877, he has publicly attributed the losses of human life and cattle during the years 1877 and 1882, and the great indebtedness then incurred, was Mr. Gore Ouseley, then Financial Commissioner of the Punjab; (2) whether, in the year 1877, a circular was issued by the Government of India from Simla, commanding that as large a proportion as might be possible of the revenues were to be collected; (3) whether Mr. Gore Ouseley was bound to obey that Circular; and, if so, why he is to be held more to blame for the disaster than his superior officers; (4) whether he is aware that the prevention of similar mistakes for the future in the Gurgaon District depends not upon the general Famine Codes, as stated by him on 18th February last, but on the terms of a Resolution, referred to by Sir James Lyall in his Orders on the Gurgaon Settlement, in which it is stated that the full revenue of insecure tracts shall not be realised in years of severe and long continued drought; and (5) what security exists that this Resolution will not be set aside if (as was the case in 1877) Imperial necessities forbid a relaxation?


In reply to the first question of the hon. Member, I have to say that the Secretary of State respectfully declines to give the name of the deceased officer. The answer to paragraph 2 is that no such circular can be traced. In regard to paragraph 3, officers are bound to obey general orders unless special circumstances justify a departure. As to paragraph 4, my answer on the 18th of February last was correct; and the reply to the last question of the hon. Member is, that the securities which exist are the vigilance of the Government of India, of the Secretary of State in Council, and of the Imperial Parliament.

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