HC Deb 04 November 1909 vol 12 cc1987-8

asked whether, in the Native State of Baroda, there has been for many years a complete separation of judicial and executive functions; if so, whether the system has been followed by satisfactory results; whether there has been for long a demand for a like separation in British India; and, if so, whether the Secretary of State will consider the desirability of terminating the system under which the same official orders a prosecution and then tries the person prosecuted?


The changes in judicial arrangements recently made in Baroda are not of long standing, and the conditions in that State differ in many respects from those in force elsewhere in India. The working of these arrangements in Baroda is no doubt being watched with interest by the Government of India; but they are still in an experimental stage. The Government of India have long had before them the question of the separation of judicial and executive functions; to a certain extent it has been carried out already. Whether it is expedient to carry it still further, by terminating the judicial functions now exercised by the executive head of the district, is a difficult and complicated question. Opinions are greatly divided, and the Secretary of State has not received from the Government of India any final conclusions. Meantime, the situation is not accurately stated in the question. It is not the same official who "orders a prosecution and then tries the person prosecuted." The district officer tries very few cases himself, and whenever a district officer initiates proceedings in a case which does not come before him either on complaint or upon a police report of the facts, he is required by law to inform the accused, before any evidence is taken, that he is entitled to have the case tried by another court, and if the accused claims that this should be done the case is transferred or committed to some other court.