HC Deb 09 May 1918 vol 105 cc2335-6
92. Mr. SNOW DEN

asked the Secretary of State for India, having regard to the policy of the British Parliament in establishing the High Courts in India by the Act of 1861, as judicially noticed by Sir John Edge in 16 All. 149, and also of the speeches of the Under-Secretary of State for India in 1911, that the experiment of appointing temporary judges was with a view to get rid of the temporary congestion of work brought about by protracted trials, will the Government obtain the opinion of their legal advisers as to whether there has been a departure in the policy of the appointment of High Court judges since the amendment of 1911; if this has been the case, whether the appointment of two and four temporary judges, first for a period of two years and then for a further period of two years, then for six months, then for a year, and then for another six months, from 1912–17, is a violation of statutory power; and will he also explain the principles guiding the Government of India in exercising the powers vested in them to appoint temporary judges?

Lieutenant-Commander DUDLEY WARD (Vice-Chamberlain of the Household)

The opinions expressed in the judgment of the Allahabad High Court related only to the terms of the Act of 1861. By the Act of 1911 the Government of India were given a power, that they did not before possess, to appoint additional temporary judges for periods not exceeding two years. It was stated in this House when the Bill was before it that the power would be used to enable the Courts to deal with arrears of work, and to settle by experiment the number of permanent judges really needed. The Secretary of State for India is satisfied that the temporary appointments made in the Madras High Court, to which the hon. Member presumably refers, are within the statutory powers conferred in 1911, and are consistent with the policy of the Statute. The temporary appointments in question were, made for the purpose of reducing arrears, and of testing the permanent requirements of the Court. The permanent strength of the Court has since been raised by three judges. There are now only two additional temporary judges. Before any further change is made in the permanent strength of the Court more experience of the amount of litigation likely to come before it in the future is required.

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