HC Deb 05 April 1892 vol 3 cc694-5
MR. SCHWANN (Manchester, N.)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for India whether the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal intends to introduce into the Bengal Legislative Council a Bill to amend the existing Bengal Municipal Act; whether he is aware that the statement to the effect that this was intended has caused widespread alarm throughout the Province as being subversive of the principle of local self-government introduced by successive Viceroys in the Viceregal Legislative Council, and that meetings have been held at Hugli, Howra, Searsole, Bankura and other places protesting against the Bill; and whether in view of the strong and unanimous feeling expressed, the Secretary of State will ascertain the intentions of the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal and of the Government of India with reference to the Bill, and lay them before this House?


The proposed legislation to amend the Bengal Muni- cipal Act has not yet reached a stage when the Secretary of State would be in possession of official information, but he understands from the newspapers that the question of amending the Bengal Municipal Act is under consideration. So far as the Secretary of State is aware, the contemplated amendment of the Municipal Act is in no way aimed at the principle of local self-government and affords no grounds for alarm. The draft of the Bill has been sent to various Municipal and other Public Bodies for criticism, and these criticisms will receive full and careful consideration before any Bill is introduced in the Bengal Legislative Council. The rules for the conduct of business in the Legislative Councils provide for full publicity, and the Secretary of State sees no reason to take the special steps suggested by the hon. Member.