HC Deb 25 February 1920 vol 125 cc1655-6
8. Colonel YATE

asked whether the exclusion of Ministers from being sued in the High Courts in India, as provided for in the Government of India Act, will have the effect of differentiating the constitution of India from that of all the Dominions and of this country, and of denying to the peoples of India any means of re dress in the case of illegal proceedings by Ministers; and, if so, whether this position will be reconsidered?


I understand that my hon. and gallant Friend is referring to the Amendment made by means of Part II. of the Second Schedule to the Government of India Act, 1919, whereby Ministers appointed under that Act are brought within the scope of Section 110 of the Government of India Act, 1915–16. The Amendment referred to has no effect at all in five of the major provinces in India. In three provinces it has the effect of placing Ministers in the same legal position as that occupied by Governors and Lieut.-Governors of provinces and members of their Executive Councils. To a limited extent no doubt the position of Ministers in India will in this respect be different from that of Ministers in the Dominions, but it must be remembered that Ministers in India are not in all respects on the same footing as Ministers in the Dominions. It is not the case that the Amendment will have the effect of denying to the people of India all means of redress in the case of illegal proceedings by Ministers. Proceedings may be taken against Ministers under other provisions of the Act. I may also remind my hon. and gallant Friend that the provisions of the section in question may be repealed or amended at any time by the Indian Legislature.

Colonel YATE

Will the right hon. Gentleman undertake to institute an Amendment to put these Ministers on a proper and equal position with Ministers in any other part of the Empire?


No, Sir. That is a matter expressly left to the Indian Legislature.