HC Deb 28 November 1922 vol 159 cc487-8
18. Colonel WEDGWOOD

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any steps have yet been taken to revise the constitution of Ceylon, as promised; and will he scrutinise the scheme, when drafted, so as to eliminate the communal system of representation?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Mr. Ormsby-Gore)

Certain proposals discussed in the Legislative Council of Ceylon were submitted some time ago to the late Secretary of State by the Governor, and are now under consideration. Representations have been received urging the continuance of communal representation from Burgher, Tamil, Mahommedan, Indian and European Members of the Legislative Council, and owing to the existence of this system in the past in Ceylon and its continuance in India, I doubt whether it will be practicable to abolish the system for some time to come. It must be borne in mind that in the discussion in the Legislative Council members were unanimously in favour of the retention of the non-territorial electorates and the representation of minorities provided for in the present constitution.


In view of the hon. Member's known views on the question of communal representation, will he see that such representation is reduced to a minimum, and will he reconsider from that point of view the constitution that it is proposed to give Ceylon?


I have not had time to go into that matter, and I shall be very happy to receive representation on the point.

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