HC Deb 19 June 1911 vol 27 cc31-2

asked the Undersecretary of State for India whether any change of status has been effected in regard to the Maharaja of Benares and his relations with the Government of India; whether any territories have been constituted a native State and placed under his control; whether any change has been so operated in the status of the inhabitants of such territories; and whether legislation will be necessary?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Colonel Seely)

My hon. Friend has asked me to reply to this and the following questions. The Maharaja of Benares has been established as a ruling chief, with full powers, subject to the suzerainty of his Majesty. Certain districts previously administered by the British Government have been constituted as a State and granted to his Highness under the restrictions and conditions necessary for safeguarding to their residents the rights and privileges which they have enjoyed under British administration. The residents in question have thereby become subjects of the State of Benares. The Secretary of State is advised that no legislation is necessary for these purposes.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it is the theory of the Government of India that such cessions of territory involving such change of status can be made without the authority of legislation in ordinary times of peace, I mean, when there is no question of actual war, or of the termination of war?

Colonel SEELY

I am afraid I can hardly reply to a broad question of policy of that kind. I will tell my hon. Friend a question has been put, and no doubt he will give an answer.