HC Deb 17 July 1899 vol 74 cc996-7

The following question appeared on the Paper:—

SIR SEYMOUR KING (Hull, Central)

To ask the Secretary of State for India whether in September, 1878, Kumar Shri Ranjitsingji Vibhaji, commonly known as Prince Ranjitsingji, was formerly raised by his adoptive father, the late Jam Saheb of Nowanagar, to be the heir and successor of His Highness to the Gadi of Nowanagar, in accordance with Rajput custom, with the sanction and approval of the Indian Government, subject to the condition that nothing should be allowed to disturb his settled status and succession except the birth of a son born to Jam Saheb by one of his Rajput wives, wedded to him by such nuptial ties as alone were sanctioned amongst Rajputs by law, custom, and religion, and were then entitled to the rank, dignity, and appellation of a Rani; whether he is aware that the late Jam Saheb had thirteen legitimate Rani wives and five Mohammedan concubines, four of whom were sisters, and that none of the Rani wives bore him a son who survived; will he explain why in 1885, notwithstanding the above arrangement, the Indian Government, without any previous notice to Prince Ranjitsingji or his natural father, and without public and legal inquiry into the facts, decided to allow the Jam Saheb to set aside Prince Ranjitsingji as heir to the Gadi in favour of Jasvantsingji, the son of one of the aforesaid Mohammedan concubines, who was not a Rani, and whose son, even if born to the Jam Saheb, was excluded from the succession by the instrument to which the Government was a party, under which Prince Ranjitsingji's adoption and heirship could only be nullified by the birth of a legitimate son to a Rani; whether, in spite of repeated applications, Prince Ranjitsingji has not been informed by the Indian Government of the grounds on which the Gadi was taken from him, and has been refused any inquiry into his rights; and whether he will order that a commission of inquiry shall issue as to the legal rights of Prince Ranjitsingji in the circumstances, under Rajput law and custom, and the engagement of the Indian Government.

The Question was not asked, the hon. Member in whose name it stood having postponed it at the request of the noble Lord the Secretary of State for India.

MR. J. M. MACLEAN (Cardiff)

I desire to ask you, Sir, whether it is in order for an hon. Member of this House to suggest, as is done in this question, that a native Prince who has been duly recognised by the Government of India may not be the son of Ids supposed father, and that his mother was one of a family of four sisters, who were all concubines of the late Rajah?


The question, I understand, is not asked at present. The hon. Member had better wait until it is asked.

SIR H. H. FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)

May I call your attention to the question, Sir, and ask you whether it is in order to put into a question a great many disputed questions as statements of fact? It is a very serious mode of making accusations both against the Government of India and certain native Princes which, I think, when the Question comes to be answered, will be found to be without basis in fact.


My attention has not been particularly called to the exact framing of the question, but I will look at it carefully; and if I think it is irregular I will take care that it is put down in an amended shape or not at all.