§ 16. Mr. FERENS
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman is aware that in the Viceroy's Legislative Council, on 18th September, 1912, Sir R. Craddock, speaking on behalf of the Government, said that the replies to the latest reference on the subject, that made in 1911, indicated clearly both that the traffic in minor girls was on the increase and also that there was a sensible development of public opinion among the educated classes in favour of fresh legislation; whether he is aware that on the same occasion Sir R. Craddock stated that any required changes in the law ought to find a place in a Government Bill rather than in a private one and enumerated certain specific Amendments which the Government were prepared to endorse, including the raising of the age of consent; and whether he can say how soon the legislation thus foreshadowed is likely to be introduced?
The Secretary of State is aware that the language used by Sir R. Craddock was generally as stated, but he made clear that the Government would reserve its final decision, both as to the mode and scope of the legislation to be undertaken, until the opinions of the local governments and the High Court of Calcutta had been received. The views of these authorities were due by the 15th January last.