§ SIR WILLIAM WEDDERBURN
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India, whether it is the case that, up to the present time, the Members of the Bengal Legislative Council have, under No. 7 of the Rules sanctioned by the Governor General in Council, enjoyed the right of asking questions regarding the Provincial Budget; whether, on the 4th of April last, the Lieutenant Governor expressed an intention of taking away this right; whether the Secretary of State will state upon what grounds it is proposed to take away this right, and whether it can be taken away without an alteration of the Rules sanctioned by the Governor General in Council; whether he is aware that in 1894 18 questions were asked regarding the Provincial Budget, in 1895 16 questions, and in 1896 10 questions; and whether it is alleged that this right of interpellation has been in any way 1011 abused; and, whether the Secretary of State will make inquiry, and direct that this much valued right, enjoyed under Section 2 of the Indian Councils Act, 1892, shall be continued?
§ LORD GEORGE HAMILTON
It is true that in the last three years a number of questions relating to the Budget have been asked, before the discussion of the Budget, in the Bengal Legislative Council. As to the action of the Lieutenant Governor, I know nothing officially; but from a newspaper report I gather that in his opinion the practice is irregular and inconvenient, and tends to waste time, and that what he proposes is to assimilate in this respect the practice of his Council to that of the Supreme Council. I see no reason for any special inquiry.