HC Deb 08 July 1908 vol 191 c1644
MR. E. H. LAMB (Rochester)

To ask the Under-Secretary of State for India whether, in 1904, on the death of the late Khachar Shri Ala Chela, Chief of the third-class State of Jasdan, in Kathiawar, the undisputed customary law of succession was set aside and the law of primogeniture substituted, whereby two of the late chief's sons and two of his grandsons were disinherited and deprived, unheard, of their patrimony, in spite of the agreements made by Colonel Walker in 1807–1808 with the Kathiawar chiefs and confirmed by the royal proclamation of 1858;; and, if so, what steps does he intend to take to restore to the disinherited chiefs their rights of inheritance.

(Answered by Mr. Buchanan.) The Queston suggests that a recognised law of succession was ignored in the settlement of the Jasdan succession, and that the settlement also was in conflict with the Queen's proclamation and the guarantee of internal sovereignty given by Colonel Walker. The real fact is that a strict adherence to the past custom in regard to Jasdan would, by dividing the small state into fragments, have defeated the liberal policy expressed in Lord Canning's Sanads as well as the guarantees given in 1807. There is a limit to the possible disintegration of internal sovereignty which would have been overpassed if, on the death of Khachar Shri Ala Chela, the sixty-two villages under his rule had been divided into four parts. To "perpetuate the Government of the chief and continue the representation and dignity of his house," in the words of Lord Canning, the Secretary of State's predecessors set aside the local custom of equal inheritance, thus maintaining an estate large enough to support internal sovereignty. The only other alternative was to allow the sub-division, and provide for the public administration under British control and the Thana system. Provision was of course made for the maintenance of the other sons and grandsons, of the late chief.