§ MR. HAROLD COX (Preston)
To ask the Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been called to a recent case in Bombay where a mill operative was fined ten rupees, practically the equivalent of a month's wages, for scraping up a small quantity of natural salt from the sea-shore, amounting to about half an ounce in weight; whether such penalties are necessary to protect the Government revenue; and, if so, whether he will press upon the Government of India the importance of rigidly limiting expenditure so that the salt tax may be finally repealed at the earliest possible date.
(Answered by Mr. Secretary Morley.) I have seen mention of the case in the Bombay newspapers. I will ask the Government of Bombay to report particulars, and to say whether, in the circumstances, the fine imposed was excessive. The accused might have purchased for one-hundredth part of a penny the quantity of salt which he is alleged to have made illicitly. The salt duty has already, as my hon. friend knows, been reduced by three successive steps, at a cost to the revenues of over£3,000,000.