HC Deb 07 July 1893 vol 14 cc1071-2

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for India whether the Secretary of State is aware that the District Superintendent of Police for Barisal, Bengal, in 1893 threatened, by circular, his subordinates with loss of promotion and perhaps their posts if they failed to secure 75 per cent. of convictions in cases sent up by them for trial; whether the Deputy Magistrate of Backergunge, Bengal, has issued a circular to his subordinates directing them in effect to do their best to convict all persons brought before them on charges of committing breaches of the peace, and that, in consequence, no less than 3,338 persons were bound over to keep the peace; and, if so, why have such severe measures been necessary in this district; whether the Secretary of State is aware of the strongly prevailing opinion in Bengal, founded on statements in official Papers, that unless Magistrates show a large percentage of convictions in the cases sent before them by the police there is no hope of their obtaining promotion; and whether he will lay upon the Table of the House the Correspondence which has taken place between the Government of Bengal, the High Court at Calcutta, and other Papers bearing on this matter?


To the first of my hon. Friend's four questions my answer is in the negative. With regard to the second, the Secretary of State is not aware of the existence of any such circular; but it is true that, owing to an increase in the number of riots in that district, it was found necessary to bind over 3,338 persons in the year 1891 to keep the peace. The Secretary of State has seen statements to the effect that in some places in Bengal a belief prevails, or did prevail, to the effect set forth in the third of my hon. Friend's questions; but whether there is, or ever was, any foundation for such a belief he is unable to say. The attention of the Government of India has been called to the matter, the importance of which is fully recognised, and will not be lost sight of. The Correspondence to which the fourth question refers is as yet incomplete. When it is complete, the question whether it is desirable to lay it on the Table will be considered, but the Secretary of State is unable to give any promise as to the decision which may be then arrived at.