HC Deb 15 June 1893 vol 13 cc1051-2
SIR SEYMOUR KING (Hull, Central)

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for India (1) whether the Secretary of State has altered or withdrawn in any way the declarations made on behalf of the Secretary of State by the then Under Secretary of State to the Select Committee of 1890, on the grievances of Civil servants in India, in Questions 72 and 97, that the rule in the Civil Service Pension Code merely gives the Secretary of State power to make rules and regulations within the conditions and contracts under which the Civil servants have entered his service, and that any rule which had the effect of making an alteration in the conditions of service would be ultra vires; and that the Secretary of State claims no power of depriving, gentlemen, by ex post facto rules, of rights which have accrued to them; (2) whether the validity of these declarations is now in practice admitted and enforced by the Secretary of State and Government of India in dealing with Indian Civil servants; (3) if so, whether these declarations are also admitted and applied to the case of military officers serving the Indian Government; and (4) whether the Secretary of State, with regard to such officers, claims or exercises the power of depriving them, by ex post facto rules, of rights which have accrued to them, and of making rules or regulations which have the effect of making an alteration in the conditions of their service?


(1) The Secretary of State has not altered the declarations made to the Select Committee on the grievances of Civil servants. While the Government reserves to itself the right of changing the Leave and Pension Rules at its discretion, when necessary in the interests of the Public Service, the Secretary of State has given instructions to the Government of India that when, owing to the exorcise of that discretion, any case of apparent hardship arises through the alteration of the rules, the claim is to be examined when the officer applies to retire, and it is to be considered whether the new rules should not be modified in the particular instance. In several cases since 1890 this has been done. (2) Yes. (3 and 4) As regards military officers, it has been repeatedly laid down that the Secretary of State has the right of altering the conditions under which they are employed. But it has always been understood that, as a rule, some counterbalancing benefit should be given to compensate for any advantage taken away, if the loss is so great in degree as to call for compensation.