HC Deb 05 October 1909 vol 11 cc1827-8
Mr. KEIR HARDIE (on behalf of Sir Henry Cotton)

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been called to the fact that the speeches of Mr. Arabindo Ghose were laid before the court as evidence against him in the Alipore conspiracy case; that the judge who tried that case took those speeches into his consideration and declared in his judgment that those speeches in themselves seemed to advocate nothing more than the regeneration of his country, and that Mr. Ghose was acquitted; and whether, having regard to these facts, His Majesty's Government will direct the release of Mr. Kolhatkar, who has been sentenced to 15 months' hard labour for republishing the speeches of Mr. Ghose in his newspaper?


The charge against the person referred to was that he disseminated seditious matter. It was tried by an Indian judge. The sentence was taken on appeal to the highest Court of Appeal in the province. That Court upheld the conviction but reduced the sentence. An obiter dictum by the Sessions Judge in the Alipore conspiracy case, who was careful to state that he was not concerned with the question whether a charge of sedition could be laid at Mr. Ghose's door in respect of his speeches, is not relevant in regard to the decision of a judge of equal rank in Nagpur, upheld, so far as the establishment of the charge of sedition was concerned, by the highest tribunal of the province.


Is it not a fact that the sedition referred to consists solely of perpetuating certain speeches which have been held to be non-seditious?


May I ask the hon. Member whether the gentleman who made that speech is not a notorious enemy of British rule and British administration?