HC Deb 01 November 1906 vol 163 c1320
MR. HAROLD COX (Preston)

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that, under an Act recently passed by the Natal Legislature, His Majesty's Indian subjects resident in Natal, many of whom are large ratepayers, will be deprived of the municipal franchise; and whether it is the intention of His Majesty's Government to sanction this Act.

MR. BYLES (Salford, N.)

At the same time, may I ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been directed to a petition of the Natal Indian Congress lately received, complaining that British Indians resident in Natal are deprived by the Corporations Consolidation Bill, recently passed, of the municipal franchise which they have hitherto enjoyed; and whether, seeing that besides indentured labourers there is in the Colony a free population of some 15,000 Indians, chiefly belonging to the mercantile class, and many of them highly educated, he will say what action, if any, His Majesty's Government proposes to take to prevent this act of disfranchisement.


The Bill excludes for the future from the municipal franchise persons who are disqualified for the Parliamentary franchise unless they are exempted as provided in the Act No. 8 of 1896, but saves the rights of those persons already on the burgess rolls and otherwise qualified. The Petition from the Natal Indian Congress has been received, and it and the Bill are still under consideration.