HC Deb 06 July 1899 vol 74 cc14-5

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been directed to the Madras Court of Wards Amendment Act, 1899, passed on the 9th of June by the Madras Legislative Council, by which the Court of Wards is empowered to take charge of the estates of bankrupt Zemindars, manage their estates officially, and eventually, when cleared of debt, hand them back to the original proprietors; and whether, before sanctioning this legis- lation, he will make inquiry as to the grounds on which this alteration in the laws relating to bankruptcy is made, and one class of proprietors treated differently in the event of insolvency from the vast mass of Indian proprietors.


I have not yet received a copy of the Act referred to in its final form, and can therefore give no undertaking on the subject. But I may say that, so far as my knowledge goes, I do not admit the accuracy of the description of it contained in the question. I believe that it applies only to the estates of persons who, by reason of age, or sex, or otherwise, are incapable of managing their affairs, and not to the whole class of Zemindars, nor to any estates which are so encumbered by debt as to be incapable of restoration by proper management. I also believe that legislation on the lines of this Act is in accordance with the customs and the wishes of the people.