HC Deb 11 December 1906 vol 167 cc122-3

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been drawn to a petition of the Mahajana Sabha, of Madras, praying the Government of India to constitute a special board to realise the assets of the late firm of Arbuthnot & Company; and whether, looking to the distress occasioned by this failure and the inadequacy of the existing law to deal with such a case, he will advise the Government of India to initiate legislation to protect the interests of the thousands of small depositors whose savings, amounting to about four crores of rupees, are involved in the present crisis.


I have seen the memorial referred to. I am advised that the statute provides for the appointment by the Court of special assignees, and also, empowers the creditors to apply to the Court for the appointment of assignees to be elected by them. I understand that this course would answer the purposes, which the memorialists have in view, and I have no doubt that the question whether it should be adopted has been, or will be, placed before the Court by the parties interested and carefully considered by the Court. I see no reason for special measures for the purpose of taking the matter out of the Court's jurisdiction.

*MR. REES (Montgomery Boroughs)

asked whether the right hon. Gentleman, was aware that the distress occasioned by this failure was very widespread and exceptional, and that if he could see his way to take any action in the direction indicated by his hon. friend, or to associate the Government with the bankruptcy proceedings it would have a good effect in restoring confidence in Southern India.


said he was giving his attention to all the circumstances connected with this unfortunate failure, but he doubted very much whether he could assent to the course proposed.