§ MR. SMEATON (Stirlingshire)
To ask the Secretary of State for India whether the Punjab Colonisation Bill imposed more onerous conditions as to tenure and rent on the existing colonists than they had previously been accustomed to; whether it was on those grounds that the Viceroy refused his assent to the Bill; and, if not, what were the grounds on which the Viceroy refused his assent.
(Answered by Mr. Secretary Morley.) The Bill did not deal in any way with the rents of existing or future colonists. Its primary object was to repair omissions in the past procedure for making grants of land, and to prescribe a simpler procedure for future grants. It also laid down the conditions subject to which grants in future would be made, and in certain respects it applied these to existing grants. The Viceroy refused his assent to the Bill on grounds of public policy, as it had been strongly opposed for its retrospective character in the Punjab Legislative Council, and its provisions were evidently misunderstood and had created genuine alarm in the colonies.