§ MR. KNATCHBULL-HUGESSEN (Kent, Faversham)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for India whether the Law Officers of the Government of India or the Government of Bengal have been consulted on the question of the legality of the proposal of the Bengal Government to impose the heavy burden of the cost of the Behar Cadastral Survey, by au Executive order, exclusively on the landlords and tenants of that Province without special legislation; whether all the Native Associations of Bengal connected with agriculture have submitted a Joint Memorial to the Viceroy, urging that this order is ultra vires and illegal, and intimating that any attempt on the part of the Government to recover such cost is likely to be generally resisted in the Law Courts; whether the Viceroy will instinct the Government of Bengal to introduce a Bill on the subject into the reformed Legislative Council, with permission to the Official Members to vote thereon as they may think proper: and whether the Correspondence on the subject, including the opinions (if recorded) of the Law Officers, can be laid before Parliament?
§ * THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA (Mr. G. RUSSELL,) North Beds.
(1) The order for undertaking a Cadastral Survey in North Behar was issued under the Bengal Tenancy Act. The Secretary of State is not aware whether the Law Officers of the Government in India were consulted respecting the order, or upon the question of apportioning the cost of the work under Section 114 of the Tenancy Act. (2) The Secretary of State has not heard that the payment of the cost of the Survey is likely to be contested in a Court of Law. (3) If the existing law sufficiently provides for the Cadastral Survey, it is not probable that the Indian 638 Government will introduce a Bill on the subject. (4) The Secretary of State will consult the Government of India as to the possibility of laying Papers before Parliament on the subject.