HC Deb 21 April 1914 vol 61 cc731-2

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India, as regards the directions given by the Governor-General in Council on the 30th April, 1872, after the Kuka rebellion, whether they were published in the "Gazette of India"; whether they were meant to be a statement of the law for the guidance of the magistrates when confronted with rebels with arms in their hands, gangs of dacoits banded together for the purpose of robbery and murder, persons in the act of waging war against the Crown, and all who aid and abet them, so as to authorise the magistrates and the military called to aid the civil power to use any degree of military force which might be necessary for the purpose of defeatng and breaking up such rebels or criminals; whether these directions have in any way been modified since 1872 so as to prevent civil or military officers taking action upon them in presence of such emergencies until the Government have decided whether the ordinary processes of law are sufficient to protect society, or whether the magistrate, confronted with armed bands of rebels or other criminals, is still held to the duty of preventing their escape and of attacking and defeating them without delay, or whether in all cases he must refer to the Government for instructions before using military aid?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Mr. Charles Roberts)

The letter of the Government of India of the 30th April, 1872, was not published in the "Gazette of India." The Secretary of State does not read the particular paragraph to which my hon. Friend refers as a direction to magistrates, but as a descriptive statement of what the common law of England was at the time. It was strictly subordinate and subsidiary to the enunciation of principles that had been violated in the Kuka case. I am not aware that it has been modified by any later statement of a similar kind. It had no statutory authority. The Criminal Procedure Code invests magistrates with all needful powers for dealing with unlawful assemblies, and for employing force for the capture of criminals. It defines the conditions under which a magistrate may, on his own initiative, seek the aid of the military.

Back to