HC Deb 07 March 1912 vol 35 c537

asked the Under-Secretary for India whether his attention has been called to the case of Mr. Chidambaram Pillia, who was convicted of sedition, and whose sentence on appeal was reduced to six years' transportation, which has not been carried out, the prisoner still being in gaol undergoing rigorous imprisonment; and whether, in view of the fact that prisoners sentenced to transportation obtain many relaxations denied to those in the ordinary gaols of India, there is any reason why such amenities should not be given in the case of Mr. Pillia?


The Secretary of State has carefully considered this case in all its aspects. The sentence of transportation for life passed on Chidambaram Pillia was reduced by the Madras High Court on appeal to one of transportation for six years. Originally all convicts sentenced to transportation were sent to the penal settlement in the Andamans, but under an Indian Act of 1882 the Executive Government have been empowered to appoint certain gaols in India where prisoners sentenced to transportation may be confined; and now only life-sentence convicts are usually sent to the Andamans. Pillia is accordingly serving his sentence in an Indian gaol. The conditions of detention are so different that the special rules mitigating the severity of convict life in the Andamans are not applicable to gaols in India. I may add that on the occasion of the Coronation Durbar Pillia was granted a remission of six months of his sentence.