§ SIR WILLIAM WEDDERBURN (Banffshire)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India, whether the Select Committee of the Madras Legislative Council, in reporting on the Bill, which afterwards became Act II. of 1894 (Madras Proprietary Village Service Act), stated that they had no information regarding the duties of village servants, other than the village accountant; whether the Act has been brought into force, and, if not, will he explain for what reason; and whether, according to Mr. J. D. Rees, Head Assistant Collector at Tinnevelly, and other authorities, interference with the ancient village police system has led to an increase of crime?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR INDIA (Lord GEORGE HAMILTON,) Middlesex, Ealing
The Select Committee gave their want of information as a reason for leaving to the Board of Revenue the definition of the duties of the various classes of village officers, instead of attempting to define them in the Act. I am not aware that the Act has been brought into operation. The delay is presumably due to the necessity for thoroughly investigating the conditions of each locality before bringing it under the Act. Under the "ancient village system" in force in the particular locality of which Mr. Rees was writing, the villagers were in the 193 habit of engaging as policemen professional robbers, who divided their remuneration with their caste-fellows, it was probably the suppression of this blackmailing which in Mr. Rees' opinion led to an increase of crime in 1878, but a more obvious cause is the famine of the previous year.