HC Deb 06 August 1912 vol 41 cc2894-6

asked the Under-secretary of State for India whether his attention has been called to the facts connected with the expulsion of Lalas Pyari Lal and Devi Dayal from the Jullundar Cantonment, Punjab; whether Lalas Pyari Lal is sixty-five years of age and is the head of a respectable firm of bankers and traders; what is the nature of the charge against them which has led to their expulsion without trial and solely on the order of the cantonment magistrate, Lieutenant-Colonel A. Newnham; whether he will cause full inquiry to be made into all the facts of the case and, pending such inquiry, order the restoration of Lalas Pyari Lal to his home; and whether his attention has been drawn to the case of Badri Dass, of the Jullundar Cantonment, who was fined 20 rupees for having allowed a band, of which he was secretary, to play-in connection with a religious festival of the Jains, and for which he had obtained a special permit from Colonel Falcon, the commandant of the cantonment; whether on appeal the sentence was reversed and the fine ordered to be refunded; whether Lalas Pyari Lal, subsequently expelled from the cantonment without trial, is the head of the local Jain community and grandfather to the said Badri Dass; whether Lieutenant-Colonel Newnham, who fined Badri Dass, also issued the order of expulsion against the grandfather; and whether inquiry will be made into the whole circumstances to ascertain the fitness of Colonel Newnham for the position he now occupies?


The Government of India, at the request of the Secretary of State, have inquired into and reported on the subjects of the hon. Member's question. It appears that Lalas Pyari Lal, who describes himself as "aged sixty-five, leading cloth merchant, banker, big landlord, and head of local Jain community," and Devi Dayal were hostile to the action of the Cantonment Committee, Jullundar, in removing a vegetable market to a more sanitary site, and that in order to foment discontent against this improvement they promoted libels and vexatious petitions against the cantonment magistrate, Lieutenant-Colonel A. Newnham. In the opinion of the officer commanding the Jullundar Brigade, their presence in the cantonment was "dangerous to good order," and they were expelled in October, 1911, with the sanction of the General Officer Commanding, Lahore Division (not by Lieutenant-Colonel Newnham on his own authority), under a provision of the Cantonment Code. On 6th March they submitted an apology, accompanied by an assurance of future good behaviour, and they were readmitted in April. The Secretary of State sees no reason for further inquiry into their case. With regard to the latter part of the question, Badri Dass, who is stated to be a grandson of Lalas Pyari Lal, was fined twenty rupees by Lieutenant-Colonel Newnham, not for having allowed a band to play in connection with a Jain festival, but for selling cloth in the regimental lines without a hawker's licence. The sentence was subsequently set aside, on appeal, by the Chief Court of the Punjab, and the fines remitted. Lieutenant-Colonel Newnham left India in March last on leave preparatory to retirement in ordinary course. The Secretary of State thinks further inquiry unnecessary.