HC Deb 12 March 1896 vol 38 c778
SIR HENRY FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India, whether his attention has been called to the statement in the Standard of the 10th March, as to the case of Surgeon-Major Clarence Smith; whether the allegations contained in that statement with respect to the gravity of the offence charged against Surgeon-Major Smith, the action of the Government of Madras and of the late Secretary of State are correct; and, whether he will lay upon the Table of the House the Report of the Commission appointed by the late Secretary of State to investigate this case?


The offence for which Surgeon-Major Smith was required to retire from the service was more serious than would be gathered from the article alluded to, and there was on that point no difference of opinion whatever between the right hon. Gentleman and myself. A Commission had been appointed before I took office to inquire into the accuracy of the allegations made, and their Report was only received a short time back. The delay that thus occurred in settling the case resulted in a postponement of the date of the retirement of the officer in question, which secured him, according to the existing regulations, certain advantages in respect of pension. It would be contrary to the practice both of the War Office and of the India Office to make public any papers affecting the conduct of an officer upon which the Secretary of State has passed orders, and I am not prepared to depart from that practice in this case.