HC Deb 24 April 1893 vol 11 cc1016-7
MR. PAUL (Edinburgh, S.)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for India whether, since the year 1862, all cases committed to the Court of Session in the six districts of the Province of Assam into which trial by jury was then introduced have been tried by jury; whether the great proportion of cases committed to the Sessions were cases of murder and culpable homicide; whether the Governor General in Council by a letter of the 25th August, 1892, suggested to Mr. Ward, the Chief Commissioner, that these cases should be withdrawn from juries; whether any other cases previously triable by juries have also been withdrawn; whether the Chief Commissioner has given effect to the Governor General's proposals by issuing any Notification; whether the Governor General in Council has made similar proposals to the Governor of Bombay to limit the operation of trial by jury, and whether that Government has issued any Notification; and whether the Notifications, if any, issued by the Chief Commissioner of Assam, limiting the operation of trial by jury will be reconsidered by the Government of India now that the similar Notification published by the Government of Bengal has been cancelled with the approval of the Government of India?


My hon. Friend has asked me to reply to this question. From 1862 to 1868 all criminal cases were triable by jury in the Assam Valley districts; from the latter year trial by jury was restricted to the same classes of cases as were so triable in Bengal. The statistics in the possession of the Secretary of State do not enable him to answer the second question of my hon. Friend. The answer to the third, fourth, and fifth questions is, Yes. A similar suggestion was made by the Government of India to the Government of Bombay, but the latter Government have not issued any Notification on the subject. As the Bengal Notification has been cancelled, the Secretary of State has no doubt that the Assam Notification has been, or will shortly be, also withdrawn. If an early Gazette does not show that this has been done, the attention of the Government of India will be called to the matter.