HC Deb 24 November 1920 vol 135 cc405-6

asked the Secretary of State for India if any communications passed between himself and the Viceroy after the date of the amnesty and the release of the prisoners regarding the pardoning of the 27 men who were convicted in connection with the Punjab rebellion of 1919, and subsequently released under the amnesty; and, if so, whether he will state what those communications were, who it was that desired that those men should be specially pardoned to permit them to stand for election to the new councils, and what reason was adduced to warrant the Government of India Act, by which Parliament imposed this disability on convicted persons, being set at nought at the first opportunity?


No, Sir. I find that I sent no communications on this subject to the Viceroy except that I communicated to him a question and answer asked in this House. As regards the second part of the question, the Government of India announced in a communique to the Press on the 18th September that they had always contemplated, in the case of persons not found guilty of personal participation in serious deeds of violence, action which would remove the electoral disability. They have informed me that their action was taken after consultation with the local government. As regards the last part, I would refer the hon. Member to Rule V (2), as approved by Parliament.


Did not the right hon. Gentleman state, in answer to a question from me, that these men were not being pardoned in order to enable them to take part in the elections?


No, I do not think so. I think I stated that they were not pardoned, but I will refresh my memory.