HC Deb 06 August 1912 vol 41 cc2897-8

asked the Under-secretary of State for India if his attention has been called to certain cases which have recently occurred where Indian feudatory princes have incurred debts in this country and refused to pay them, subsequently successfully pleading the non-jurisdiction of English Courts; and if, in the interests of the public and the Indian princes themselves, he will take steps to prevent the recurrence of these incidents?


Two instances in which a ruling chief pleaded non-jurisdiction of the English Courts in respect of debts alleged to have been incurred by him have been brought to the notice of the Secretary of State in the last four years. As the hon. Member will recognise, the subject presents certain difficulties. So far as the public are concerned, they have to estimate in each particular case the advantage of giving credit for large amounts to customers not resident in this country. As regards the chiefs themselves, it is clear that if such cases were to become numerous they would destroy the respect and confidence with which their distinguished class is regarded in this country. But the Secretary of State is reluctant to generalise from particular instances with the details of which he is not acquainted, and he believes that they may be trusted to do what their position requires of them.


May I ask the Under-Secretary whether the Secretary of State would consider the appointment of a Departmental Committee to inquire into this question to see if a way cannot be found to avoid these incidents in future without in any way diminishing the dignity or status of Indian feudatory princes?


I do not think at present I can add anything to my answer.