§ MR. KNATCHBULL-HUGESSEN () Kent, Faversham
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether the Government of Bengal, or the Government of India, propose to introduce into the local Legislative Council a measure to legalise their own interpretation of the words "a local area," in the Bengal Tenancy Act, in opposition to high legal authority, so as to enable them to impose further taxation on the land of Behar for the purposes of the Behar Cadastral Survey; whether those Governments propose also to empower themselves to collect by a summary process from each landlord all his tenants shares, in addition to his own share, of the costs of the Cadastral Survey, the landlord being left to recoup himself as best he can by the ordinary tedious process of law; whether the local officers have reported that this procedure will embitter the relations between the landlords and the tenants of Behar, without reconciling the tenants to the Government survey policy; whether the official members of the Legislative Council will be permitted to vote on these questions as they think fit; and whether the further correspondence, including the Reports of the local officers, can be submitted to Parliament before the Debate on the Indian Budget?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA (Mr. H. H. FOWLER,) Wolverhampton, E.
I am not aware of any proposal such as is suggested in the first clause of the question. The Government of India are acting on the advice of their Advocate General as to the interpretation of the words "local area." It is proposed to collect the costs of the Survey, so far as that cost is not borne by the Government, from and through the laud-lords, by the same procedure as that by which the road cess has been collected during the past 23 years. I am not aware of any Reports by local officers to the effect mentioned in the question. As 764 regards the votes of the official members of the Legislative Council, there will be no difference between the Behar Survey Bill and any other Government measure. The further Papers moved for by my hon. Friend were laid upon the Table on the 6th of July, and were distributed to Members to-day.