§ Postponed Proceeding resumed on Amendment proposed on Consideration of Bill, as amended (in the Standing Committee).
§ Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. BANKS
I should like to associate myself with the criticisms which have been made by the Noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton). As the Clause stands, it has this effect, that where a man comes home upon leave in connection with his health or private affairs he must, if he does not return to India, repay his allowance, whereas in the ease of a servant who comes over in the public interest he may be relieved of the liability to repay his leave-allowances at the discretion of the Secretary of State. If I have rightly followed the Amendment, the effect in future will be that the person who comes over on private affairs or leave may likewise be relieved at the discretion of the Secretary of State. I am very glad that that discretion is given in connection with an Indian servant who comes over here on matters of health or private affairs, because I can conceive many circumstances in which it would be only proper that this concession should be made.
I feel very strongly that the Viceroy or the Commander-in-Chief earning home from India on leave stand upon a different footing from anybody who for whatever reason are over here in regard to private affairs. That distinction is properly drawn in the preceding Clause because it recognises that, whereas the person who comes over on private affairs has his office vacated from the beginning of his leave, in the case of a person coming over in the interest of the State his office is not so determined. These two classes stand upon a different footing. The Governor-General or the Commander-in-Chief, if he 1627 comes over on urgent business of public importance is summoned, and he is bound to come and it is one of the duties of his office to answer the call. Therefore he should not be exposed to any risk at all in the matter.
In the case of a person not coming over in the public interest the Secretary of State should have the discretion to put the matter right, but when the Commander-in-Chief or any of the higher officials in India come over it is inconceivable that they should come here except on business of a very important character, and they should feel that their leave allowances are secured to them as a matter of right. The, hypothetical case which was put by the Noble Lord is one which might very well occur in the present state of India. Great events will have to be discussed there before very long which may necessitate a visit from some of these high officials in India, and it would be very mean and shabby that this country should bring over either of these two great officials on important public business and not allow them to feel that they are entitled to their leave allowances as a matter of right.
§ Mr. RICHARDS
With regard to the point made by the Noble Lord as to the possibility of a conflict between the Commander-in-Chief and the Secretary of State, I quite appreciate the possibility of that taking place, but I think the matter is safely left in the discretion of the Secretary of State in Council. This Bill has been very carefully debated is another place by a number of those who have had actual experience of the present, procedure. It has been debated there at very great length, and the suggestion made was that the matter should be left to the discretion of the Secretary of State in Council.
§ Earl WINTERTON
I do not quite follow what the hon. Gentleman has said as to what took place in another place. There was no reference at all to the Secretary of State when the Bill left another place.
§ Earl WINTERTON
May I point out that Sub-section (5) of Clause 1 provides thatWhere a person obtains leave of absence in pursuance of this Section he shall be entitled to receive during his absence such leave-allowances as may be prescribed by rules made by the Secretary of State in Council, but, if he does not resume his duties upon the termination of the period of the leave, he, shall, except where in the case of a person granted leave for urgent reasons of public interest the Secretary of State in Council otherwise directs, repay, in such manner as may be so prescribed as aforesaid, any leave-allowances received under this Sub-section.This proviso was put in by the Committee upstairs.
§ Mr. BANKS.
That must have been so, because in the Bill as it left another place there was no distinction drawn between public and private interests.
§ Mr. RICHARDS
The words of the Amendment areexcept where in the case of a person granted leave for urgent reasons of public interest.That Amendment was inserted upstairs. The argument upstairs, which I have tried to meet in the new Amendment, was that that discretion should be extended to all three classes. I know it is difficult to draw a distinction between a man who is brought home on business and a man who comes home for reasons of health and is unable to return. We also find that it is difficult to draw a distinction between a man who comes home on account of his health and a man who falls ill while he is at home.
§ Mr. BANKS
The hon. Gentleman has not quite answered my objection, which is that, while I quite agree with and welcome the further concession which he has made, he still leaves it discretionary in the case of the servant who comes over in the public interest. In the view of the Noble Lord and myself, he should be on a different footing, and should be entitled to his allowances whatever happens. I do not think the hon. Gentleman addressed himself to that point.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."1629
§ Earl WINTERTON
I am very glad that the Government are putting this Bill into operation, but I should like to say again, if I may, that I trust that in future, when Amendments are introduced in Bills of this character, which are more or less agreed Bills, due notice will be given. What has happened on the Report stage of this Bill is very inconvenient.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read the Third time, and passed, with Amendments.