§ SIR WILLIAM WEDDERBURN (Banffshire)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether he has received a memorial from the Bombay Presidency Association against the appointment of Mr. C. N. Macleod, barrister-at-law, to be second Judge of the Bombay Small Cause Court, and what his decision on that memorial has been; whether under the Secretary of State's Dispatch of 12th September 1889, a barrister, in order to hold this post, must be of ten years' standing, and possess a thorough knowledge of the vernacular languages; and whether Mr. Macleod possesses these qualifications; whether the Secretary of State has issued any unpublished instructions modifying the Dispatch of September 1889; and if so, whether he will lay them upon the Table of the House; whether the appointment of Mr. Macleod involves the supersession of Mr. Cursetjee, the third Judge, a barrister of 26 years' standing, who has served as a Judge for 22 years, and has acted as first Judge of the Court on three occasions; and whether, seeing that the fourth and fifth Judges, 523 who are also superseded, are officers of experience and long standing, the Secretary of State will veto the appointment of Mr. Macleod?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA (Lord GEORGE HAMILTON,) Middlesex, Ealing
I have received no memorial against the appointment of Mr. Macleod to the Bombay Small Cause Court. It was decided by the Secretary of State in Council, in compliance with the prayer of a memorial, which had the support of the Government of India and of the Government of Bombay, that the restrictions laid down for the Provincial Service in the Dispatch of 12th September, 1889, should not apply to this office. That decision was conveyed in a Dispatch dated August 25th 1892; and I shall be ready to lay the correspondence on the Table if the hon. Member will move for it. The appointment is by law within the discretion of the Government of Bombay; and I cannot admit that the fact of certain gentlemen having already served as Judges gives them a claim in preference to any other person who, in the opinion of the Government, may possess higher qualifications.