MR. H. ROBERTS (Denbighshire, W.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether he will state whether it is true that a Bill to regulate mining and the exploration of minerals in India has been drafted by the Indian Government and will shortly be presented in Council; and, if so, whether, in view of the great importance of the question to British capitalists, he will lay a copy of the Bill upon the Table of the House?
§ THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOB FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Mr. BRODRICK,) Surrey, Guildford
Perhaps I may be allowed to answer this Question. It is true that a Bill on the subject of mining has been drafted and will shortly, I believe, be brought before the Legislative Council of the Viceroy. But to lay on the Table of this House a copy of a Measure which is under discussion in that Council is contrary to the established practice, and would have the effect of transferring to the House of Commons a responsibility which by law rests, firstly, with the Legislative Council, and, secondly, with the Secretary of State, who has the power of disallowing any Measure which the Council may pass. I have already stated in this House that I do not think this would be right; and I cannot, therefore, undertake to do what the honourable Member suggests.