HC Deb 15 April 1907 vol 172 cc592-4

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies what punishment is the magistrate at Nairobi empowered to inflict on natives for insulting white women; and, in view of recent occurrences, is it proposed to add to his powers.

†See (4) Debates, clxvii., 1078.


Under Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code, which is in force in the East Africa Protectorate, an insult to the modesty of a women is punishable with imprisonment for one year and with a fine. The law, of course, applies irrespective of the colour or race of the offender. The Secretary of State is not aware that any offences against this law have recently occurred, and he does not see any reason to increase the penalty

MR. CATHCART WASON (Orkney and Shetland)

asked whether the alleged insult to a white women by natives consisted of language, gesture, or anything approaching personal insult or personal outrage?


said that from the information telegraphed the Secretary of State formed the impression that nothing in the nature of an insult to the modesty of the lady in question took place, but for the complete particulars they must wait until the account by mail arrived.

SIR C. HILL (Shrewsbury)

I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether prior to the occurrences which led to the imprisonment of Captain Grogan and others, the Colonial Office had received any representation from the Colonists' Association at Nairobi, alleging that the local authorities are powerless or unwilling to deal effectively with cases in which the white population are exposed to insult or danger from the coloured inhabitants; and, if so, what is the date of such representation, and what reply was sent to it.


The only representation of the kind which has been received at the Colonial Office is in the address of the Colonists' Association to the then Secretary of State, dated the 23rd of August, 1905, in which representations were made as to the alleged danger of a native rebellion and it was recommended that white troops and police should be substituted for the existing native forces. In replying to this address the present Secretary of State, while welcoming the assistance of the white colonists in maintaining order and trusting that they would render such assistance by joining the Volunteer Reserve, expressed the opinion that the general substitution of white troops and police was impossible not only on account of their greater cost but also because at least they would be less suited to operations in the tropical parts of the Protectorate. At the same time the Secretary of State expressed his conviction that just treatment of the natives was the surest safeguard of the settlers, and that, if this were accorded, the settlers would have no cause to fear them.

VISCOUNT TURNOUR (Sussex, Horsham)

Was the memorial referred to the same as the joint petition to this House?


I cannot say until I have had an opportunity of perusing the documents.

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