HC Deb 26 February 1894 vol 21 cc1035-6

I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for India whether the attention of the Secretary of State for India has been drawn to a Petition, dated 30th of November last, from the retail tobacco dealers of Bombay to the Bombay Government, in which they complain that persons charged with offences against the Rules and Regulations issued under the Tobacco Act IV. of 1857 are tried by officers of the Customs Department; that Petitioners are refused copies of the Rules and Regulations under which they are tried; that these trials are not held in public; and that the persons accused are not allowed to be represented by their legal advisers; and whether the Secretary of State will direct that copies of the said Rules and Regulations be supplied to Petitioners, and will advise the Bombay Government to amend the Act of 1857, so that offences under it may be tried by the ordinary tribunals under the usual sanctions?


The Secretary of State has not seen the Petition described in the question. Offences under Act IV. of 1857 are triable by any Magistrate in Bombay; and any judicial act done by such Magistrate is subject to appeal to, and control by, the Superior Courts and the High Court of Bombay. The Secretary of State does not, as at present advised, see reason for action in the direction suggested by my hon. Friend: but he will forward a copy of my hon. Friend's question and of the present reply to the Bombay Government for any observations they may desire to offer on the subject.