§ Order read for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment to Question [4th December], "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
§ Which Amendment was: To leave out the word "now," and, at the end of the Question, to add the words "upon this day three months."—[Mr. Scurr.]
§ Question again proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ Mr. LANSBURY
When the Debate was adjourned on the last occasion, I was 364 trying to point out to the House that this was a Bill to make provision whereby the pension and other payments due to certain civil servants in India would be safeguarded and that a large number of other lower-paid civil servants were left out. and that in fact the Bill was taking care only of a section and not of the whole. I was trying to make the point that the Bill was amending the Government of India Act, and instead of proceeding in this sort of way to take away certain powers from the Legislative Assembly and the Councils that had been set up in India, we ought not to safeguard the civil servants and others in this fashion, but that if they needed safeguarding, we ought to safeguard them by finding the money ourselves if we were not satisfied that the Indian authorities would do justice.
I want at the outset to join with the other speakers who objected to this Bill on Friday in saying that I have not the least objection to paying everybody a fair salary and a fair pension, because it is a cardinal principle of the Socialist faith that people should be well paid for any real services they render to the community. What I object to is the method that has been adopted here and the exclusion of the other people. I would like to say that it is rather an extraordinary thing that a Bill of this kind should be discussed to-night following the Debate to which we have just listened, because I am certain there is very much in what has been described as the traffic history of Ireland which contains a good many lessons for us to keep in mind in our treatment of India. We started India, as Mr. Montagu said, on the road to self-government, and I think it would be admitted that this sort of pin-pricking policy, in defiance of the expressed view of the Legislative Assembly, is not calculated to promote the spirit of goodwill that everyone desires in the relationship between the two countries. Further than that, I would like to point out that when the Indians desire to amend this Act, to make it more acceptable to them, they are continually told that it must be allowed to go on working until the date when an inquiry is to be held, and if that inquiry reports favourably, some amendment will take place. Considering that the Legislative Assembly has rejected the Lee Report it is very 365 bad that we should be passing a Bill to amend the Act over their heads, and at the same time tell them when they are demanding an extension of reforms, that those reforms cannot be considered until the proper date arrives. I consider that is a very great injustice. If hon. Members will look at the Bill they will see that Section I takes out Section 67A of the original Act and certain Sub-sections, and proposes to put in their place the words you will find in the new Bill. If you take Section 67A and Sub-section (3) of the said Section, which relates to proposals for the appropriation of money, you will find that it reads:The proposals of the Governor-General in Council shall not be submitted to the Vote of the Legislative Assembly, nor shall they be open to discussion by either Chamber at the time the annual statement is under consideration unless the Governor-General otherwise so directs.''Then the Bill sets out a number of things that the Legislative Assembly shall not deal with. What is now proposed is to add to the things which the Legislative Assembly shall not deal with, and they give a number of other eases. The reason for this is said to be that an Indian Judge or official may offend the local council or some members of the Legislative Assembly, and when the time comes to deal with his salary or pension they may pay him out by not giving him a rise and not dealing justly with him. If you trust the Indian people at all in the spending of their own money, you ought to trust them all the way. If it is said that a Britisher may sometimes do something which may aggravate an Indian and set his back up, you may want to penalise him and you want to defend your fellow-countrymen but he should be defended by money voted in this House, and you should not impose upon the Legislative Council and upon the revenue of India something which the Legislative Council would say should not be levied.
I think that is a situation which, as I said on Friday last, would not be tolerated in this country or in any country that considered itself self-governing. That is the whole kernel of this business. It seems to me that this is just one of those little insults levied, no doubt quite innocently, but whatever your motives are it is an insult to say to a Legislative Council, "We will not trust you to do justice to these people, but we 366 will take the power out of your hands altogether and give it to an authority that may override you and may compel you to do this kind of thing."
It has been said that this is a very small question, but these small questions cause a very great deal of friction between the Indians and ourselves, and between the Indians and the Civil Service in India. In conclusion. I would like to say that the whole business, or, rather, the whole attitude of mind towards India, ought to be put on a better footing. I cannot help thinking that the step which Mr. Montagu took a few years ago was a very big one, find as I want a very big measure of self-government for India I am still sensible enough to realise that what Mr. Montagu did, when he staked his whole future on the Bill, which is now an Act we are amending, was a tremendous thing. It marked a great big advance in our relations with India. The terrible thing to me is that, over and over again, sometimes by a big thing and sometimes by a small one, we seem to pull back from that position.
I should like to hear from the Undersecretary some argument why we should do this thing in the teeth of the opposition of the Legislative Assembly. If hon. Members would put themselves for a moment in the position of the Indians, then, small as this thing may be, it would loom large to them as an insult. I do not think the House ought to give a Second Reading to this Bill. I wish it could be withdrawn and some better arrangement made with the Indian people, or with the representatives of the Indian people. I have had to live through a period when it was not thought wise to treat ordinary working people to do justice to exactly the class of people who are being dealt with here. The same argument that is used now that the officer, or the Judge, or the civil servant, may do something to bring him in conflict with the Indians, and, therefore, he may be unjustly used, was always used about us in local affairs and in big national affairs such as we have to deal with here. Yet I venture to say that no one who knows the working of local government in this country will deny that the workers, wherever they have got control, have always behaved fairly and justly to the experts and others to whom they have had to pay very much more money than any of 367 those who voted it were earning. I cannot help feeling that the experience in regard to us here must be the same; one very seldom hears any of us objecting to paying properly for expert work and for services which we consider to be of special importance. I want to treat the Indians in the same manner. There is very little education in India. The great mass of the people are uneducated, and I do not deny that they have had very little experience in local government or in national government; but I am certain that, the more you trust people, the more you put it up to them to do the right thing, the better it is. I repeat that I cannot help thinking that the step which we are taking in this Bill is a very backward step, and I very much hope the House will not give the Bill a Second Reading.
§ Sir FRANK NELSON
In view of the fact that some throe days have elapsed since this Debate was adjourned, I think the House will, perhaps, pardon me if I briefly recapitulate exactly what the Bill sets out to do. The Government of India Act, 1919, removes from the vote of the Legislatures then set up under its provisions the salaries and pensions of certain classes of Indian public officials, and this present Bill—which, after all, merely sets forth the recommendations of the Lee Commission—is designed to increase slightly the range of those officials whose salaries and pensions shall be removed from the vote of the Indian Legislatures. The Lee Commission has, perhaps, in the year that has elapsed since this Bill was drafted been rather lost sight of, and more especially its terms of reference, and I should like to remind the House what those terms of reference were.
In the first place, the Commission was to have regard to the necessity for maintaining a standard of administration in conformity with the responsibilities of the Crown for the Government of India. That is to say they were to make no recommendation which would in any way upset or conflict with those responsibilities. In the second place, the attention of the Lee Commission was invited to the declared policy of Parliament in respect of the increasing association of Indians in every branch of administration. In other words, they 368 were directed to explore the possibilities of further advances in the Indianisation of the public services. Lastly, they were directed to keep in view the experience now gained of the operation of the system of government established by the Government of India Act in respect of the superior Civil Services of India. That is to say, they were required to say whether the actual operation of the scheme of government established by the Act of 1919 had disclosed anomalies in the organisation and general conditions of the Services which ought to be adapted or removed.
I think the House ought to be quite clear that the Lee Commission was in no sense asked to amend or alter the present Constitution of India at all. They were not asked to do that in any sense, but to anyone who has studied their Report it will be perfectly obvious that uppermost in their minds throughout their deliberations was the possibility of a future alteration of the Constitution of India. A great deal of time has been devoted by the three hon. Members who have spoken in favour of the Amendment to pointing out, if possible, that this step is a retrograde step.
Turning to the Amendment itself, I should like to take this opportunity of saying that one gratifying fact does emerge from all of the three speeches that have been delivered in support of the proposal that this Bill should be thrown out, and that is the great tribute to the tremendous services rendered by the Civil Servants of India, and a great tribute, I think, to their honesty of purpose, their hard work, and generally to the wonderful administrative, work which they have done and, I have no doubt, will continue to do. The hon. Member for Mile End (Mr. Scurr), in the course of his criticism said—I hope he will correct me if I misquote him—that he believed it to be to a considerable extent true that the Indian Civil Service, or the Government of India, is a system of outdoor relief to the upper middle classes of this country. I think I have quoted him fairly correctly. I deprecate with all the force at my command any such statement, and I think I cannot do better, in endeavouring to refute this state of mind, than by quoting to the hon. Member the words of Sir Alexander Muddiman, who, in the Debate 369 in the Indian Legislative Assembly at Simla, which has already been alluded to, used the following words:I have often discussed this question with Indian friends, and I hope I have many Indian friends, and I cannot help feeling that in the backs of their minds there has always been a feeling that Englishmen in this country desire to keep up English recruitment for selfish reasons— they wish to keep their jobs for their children"—
§ Sir F. NELSON
The hon. Member says "Hear, hear," but will she let me finish? Sir Alexander Muddiman went on:They have at the back of their minds some reservation of that sort. Now, I ask you, Sir. Forty-five British recruits is the present quota necessitated by the Civil Services of India. Is that a fact that is going to affect a country like ours, or race like ours? Forty-five recruits! There are many big commercial undertakings which require nearly that number of recruits.The present number in the All-India Services is, roughly, about 3,000. I ask the hon. Member for Mile End does he seriously think that a recruitment of 45 members a year is going, to use his own words, to prove a system of outdoor relief to the upper middle classes of this country? I do not think so for one moment, The hon. Member for Mile End, as well as the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury), has made a considerable point of the fact that the obligations in respect of Indian civil servants ought to be paid for by this country.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
No. My point was that I understand this Bill to be one to safeguard certain people who may come under the ban of the Council or of the Legislative Assembly, and I say that, if you want to take away from the Legislative Assembly or the Council the power to deal with the officials whose salaries they pay, you ought to find the money, and not make them find it.
§ Sir F. NELSON
May I put it in this way? If I understand the hon. Member correctly, he states that the question of the right of Parliament to control the expenditure necessary to keep the Indian Civil Service up to its present pitch should not devolve upon the Government of India, but upon the Home Exchequer.
§ Sir F. NELSON
It is a very curious thing that in the Legislative Assembly, when the Motion was put forward by the Indian Government that the findings of the Lee Commission should be sanctioned —it was, as the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley perfectly correctly states, thrown out—that Motion was debated for, I think, five days, and a tremendous amount of oratory was expended upon it; but, although I have read nearly all of that this morning, I am unable to find in the whole of that Debate—and I will make a present of it to the hon. Member —any mention whatsoever of any grievance on the part of Indian politicians in regard to this particular point which he raises, that if we control certain services in India the cost should fall upon the English Exchequer. I am unable to find any expression whatever, in the whole of that Debate, of any such grievance in the minds of Indian politicians.
§ Sir F. NELSON
They threw it out, but surely if there is any real grievance on the lines the hon. Member suggests we might very well leave it to the very competent authority of these Indian politicians to give expression to it themselves. I do not really think it is part of his very over worked part in this Parliament to endeavour to jump into the breach.
The hon. Member for North Battersea (Mr. Saklatvala) also made a speech in support of the Amendment, distinguished alike for its commendable brevity and at the same time for one of the most remarkable statements I have ever read in regard to India. I am sorry he is not in his place. I informed him that I was going to endeavour to show that one of the statements he made bears but a dim resemblance to the truth. He informed me, however, that he has an engagement elsewhere. He said:The Government of India have no scruple in employing a few million human beings on Government railways, in the police, in the Army, as clerks and as teachers, at the wretched wage of £2 a month, the excuse being that an Indian public servant does not require much money.I put it to this House that the first claim on those revenues is from those 371 wretched people who are now, in 1925, paid literally £2 a month, when the cost of living in India is declared by the Government themselves to be £4."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th December,. 1925; col. 2809, Vol. 188.]In the Accounts and Papers 1924–25. Volume 1, page 631, among other things there is evidence to show that in certain industries and in certain parts of India a substantial margin now exists between wages and the cost of living, and I am in a position to assure the hon. Member, among other things, that the average wage—I am talking mainly of Bombay at the moment—for men in the cotton mills there has exactly doubled between 1924 and 1923. The average wage for men in 1923 was 36 rupees, which really is about £3 and not £2. Further I have made it my business to inquire this morning from official sources and I am informed that no figures have been published by the Government of India which in any way support those given by the hon. Member on 4th December as to the monthly cost of living (namely, £4 per month), nor are any figures available which would render such a statement possible. I only wish he was in his sent to endeavour to explain exactly what he means by "an army of clerks and teachers at a wretched wage of £2 a month," for I have now in my own firm in Bombay office messengers who are getting more than £2 a month. I have drivers of motor cars who are getting as much as £5 a month, and the average clerk's wage in Bombay, in a commercial office, I should think starts at about £6 to £7 a month, and, so far as I know, there is possibly some difference, but very little, between the rates at which the ordinary Government clerk is paid and that of a commercial clerk.
The hon. Member also alluded to the Army. I do not think one can go into that at length because the pay of an Army Sepoy carries with it food, clothing and housing. But taking the general aspect of the Bill, which I sincerely hope we shall pass, the difficulties of the Indian civil servant can hardly be appreciated by anyone who has not had personal contact and knowledge of them. The hon. Member for Bow and Bromley alluded to the difficulties of an Indian Judge, who might run up against the Indian local council. There is a substratum of truth 372 in what he put forward. If you take the case of a civil servant administering a tract of country, say, as big as possibly two or three English counties put together, and assuming that he is ordered by the policy of the Assembly, or one of the local legislative councils, to put into force a certain kind of administration which may run counter to the interests of a very influential section of the Indians in that district, it surely must be obvious to anyone that his position is exceedingly difficult. He is merely carrying out the orders given him, the policy of which is decided by the Indian Legislatures. He puts into force this administration, which may quite conceivably run counter to the interests of really influential Indian magnates and Indian interests. Sooner or later it is also conceivable that if he continues to push forward this administration he may find himself in exceedingly bad odour, either in the local council or the Legislative Assembly, and surely when these people, who are bearing the heat and burden of the day, who have done such wonderful work, as is admitted by all Members above the gangway, ask that their pensions and their salaries shall be in the last resort under the jurisdiction of this House, for that is what it amounts to, I really cannot see why there should be any rooted opposition to it. If we are to reach that goal to which I think all parties in the House really desire to reach, it wilt be mainly because of the past work done by the Civil Service and the public services of India, and also I think their future work will have a bearing upon that goal which we all desire to reach of bringing understanding as between the Indian nation and ourselves which will. I hope hasten the day, which we are all sincerely anxious shall come as soon as it is humanly possible, when we can extend full Dominion self-government to India.
§ Mr. W. BAKER
The conclusion to be drawn from the speech that has just been delivered is that Indian Home Rule must be accelerated as much as possible. I want to associate myself with the speeches that have been made by my hon. Friends the Members for Mile End (Mr. Scurr) and Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury). I believe that the first-named Member accurately stated the position when he said that under this Bill and 373 under the system that exists at present the obligation to maintain these people who are now carrying out the administration of India is not thrown upon those in this country who benefit from the government of India, but upon the people of India themselves. Having associated myself with my friends in that way, I want to urge another objection to this Bill, namely, that, as I understand it, it is designed to benefit materially certain members of the higher Indian Civil Service, while it fails in any way to confer similar advantages upon men of a more lowly status who, being of European birth, should be entitled to somewhat equal treatment.
The men on whose behalf I speak tonight are employed in the Indian subordinate services, and are recruited for service with the Army Department of India. I gather that these men are organised in an organisation known as the Foremen's Association of India, In addition to complaining that they are not included within the recommendations of the Lee Commission, nor within the terms of this Bill, they are very dissatisfied with their general conditions of employment, and that their representations to the Indian authorities do not reach the Secretary of State in London with that speed which one would hope for, having regard to the statements which we have heard in this House. I am assured that a memorial was presented to the Indian authorities—
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Earl Winterton)
Is the hon. Member aware that these men are not covered in any sense by this Bill?
§ Mr. BAKER
That is the point which I am submitting to the House as an objection to the Bill, that it deals with the more highly placed officials in India while it fails to deal with the men at the other end of the scale. The memorial which these men submitted to the Indian authorities in July, 1924, was, I understand, not forwarded to the Secretary of State by the middle of February, 1925. If the Indian authorities were unable to deal with that memorial, such delay would appear to be unjustified. This organisation is affiliated to the Civil Service Confederation, a well-known organisation in this country, and the Civil Service Confederation give me to understand that 374 they have endeavoured to make representations to the Secretary of State at the India Office, but that they have not been successful in that endeavour. I hope that the Noble Lord will be able to-night to give an undertaking that he will look into the conditions of service so far as these men are concerned, and that he will endeavour to provide machinery whereby their reasonable representations may be brought to the notice of the Secretary of State.
I am given to understand that these men are recruited for service in India at a comparatively late period in life, for a fixed term of years, and that one of their biggest difficulties is that, with family responsibilities, their salaries are not such as will permit them to give an adequate education to their children in India. They ask that special attention shall be directed to that point, because they feel that, being of European origin, they are entitled to give their children an education up to the secondary standard in this country.
I gather that whilst, as far as the higher sections of the service are concerned, provision is made for members of the Civil Service and their families to visit their homeland during their period of service, these men are not fortunate enough in having any such provision. The appeal I want to make is that every man of European origin in India who is employed in the Civil Service or in any way connected with that service shall be considered as being entitled to the benefits which are being granted to the higher civil servants.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. James Hope)
The hon. Member cannot go into the question of the privileges of civil servants who are exempt from the jurisdiction of the Secretary of State. I think the hon. Member is in order in suggesting that those other servants should be brought under the scope of the Bill, but I do not think he can go into the general question of the service.
§ Mr. WARDLAW-MILNE
Those of us on this side of the House who take a special interest in India cannot but be grateful to the- hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury) and his friends for the interest which they take in Indian affairs. Perhaps they will allow me to say that in the remarks which the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley made to-night he appears to be under some slight misunderstanding as regards the objects and the scope of this Bill. The question of what contributions should be made by Great Britain to India or by India to Great Britain, or what amount of revenue of India should pass through British hands for administration, is one of very great interest, and one which, I feel confident, we could discuss for a considerable number of days before we convinced each other or arrived at a solution on very debatable points. That has nothing whatever to do with the discussion on this Bill to-night.
The position which hon. Members opposite take up is quite clear. They say that men who are doing good work should get good pay. There is no point of quarrel with them when they suggest that the question of the pay of the Civil Service should be reconsidered. It is another question as to whether, the pay being what it is, that pay should be administered by the Indian Legislative Assembly or be under the control of the Secretary of State for India. There is nothing new in the suggestions in this Bill. The appointments of these servants are made by the Secretary of State, and the whole object of the Bill is to ensure that the Secretary of State in making the appointments should also retain the control of those servants. I would point out to the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley and his friends that that matter has been put very clearly by no less a person than the representative of the Labour party in another place. The words which he used could not be improved upon. He said:The objects of the Bill are to secure that, no matter what constitutional change may hereafter take place, when a public servant has been appointed by the Secretary of State, acting on behalf of His Majesty, the direct contract entered into with him shall be safeguarded and observed.If that contract is entered into with him by the Secretary of State, then the object of this Bill is to ensure that such servant 376 shall have the right of appeal to the person who appointed him.
I do not want to go into the conditions which led up to the Reform Act of 1919, or in any way to anticipate what may happen when a further Commission is appointed to consider the matter in 1929, or in any other year. It is within the knowledge of the House that a certain section of residents of India, European residents principally, while in no way ignoring the fact that the time had come for a considerable advance, thought that perhaps some of these reforms were coming too quickly and perhaps, at that time, went too far. At any rate, it is not unnatural that a class of educated men who have been appointed to certain posts in the Civil Service of India would not desire, however much goodwill may exist between different sections of the community, that their future should in any way pass under the control of those who perhaps, owing to different circumstances and different surroundings, have a different outlook in life and different ideals, both of service and of life in general. The conditions would be quite different if we were dealing with men admitted on a new basis by the Indian Legislative Assembly or its officers. That would be a new contract, and there would be no grievance on the part of men appointed under those conditions if their positions were altered or they were entirely under the control of the Legislative Assembly.
These appointments are made by the Secretary of State, and all that is asked is a right of appeal to the Secretary of State. It is not a matter only of finance: it goes much deeper than that. There are, of course, financial considerations, which are important, but the question is not only financial. When you have a service of the highest standard and with a wonderful history, the men should not be worried either by financial considerations or by questions of security of tenure. The Lee Commission Report was a compromise. It set out to secure to those who were in any difficulty or fear as to their future, on the one side security of tenure, and at the same time to try to convince as far as possible the people in India of the intention and desire of the British people to carry out, in the letter and in the spirit, the Act which they had set their hands to in 1919. That Report was unanimous.
377 This is not a question of European against Indian at all. The Bill with which we are dealing affects members of the Service, whether European or Indian. It is merely a question of securing for those appointed by the Secretary of State that they shall remain under his jurisdiction. There is, however, one point with which it is necessary to deal shortly. The last speaker referred to certain of the subordinate services which are not within the scope of the Bill. It is quite clear, whatever the rights or the wrongs of the case that he brought forward so eloquently, that they do not come within the scope of the Bill. There is a class of members of the Service in India, however, who probably come within the scope of the Bill, in regard to whom I want to make an appeal to the Undersecretary. When the Bill of 1919 was passed, there was a complete split-up of what were then the non-covenanted services. They were split up into three. First, you had the provincial services, which were liable to be transferred from one Presidency to another. They are now called the All-India Services. Then there were the services under the control of the Central Government, now called the Central Services. Thirdly, there were the services of men whose duty all lay within one Province. Now they are called the Inferior Provincial Services.
This Bill undoubtedly applies to the first and second categories, but it is not clear that it applies to the third category. It is very desirable that we 9.0 P.M. should not leave these men with any grievance at all. I understand from the Debate in another place that there is a little difference of opinion technically as to whether these men come under this Bill or not, and there is also the difficulty that the Secretary of State referred to when he said it was not clear how many of the men would come under the Bill. It is clear to my mind that the services I have referred to do not include the subordinate services, which are recruited separately, generally by heads of Departments in India. The men to whom I refer were recruited from this country, British officers of non-Asiatic domicile, recruited for special work in India, and for services in which a minimum number of British officers has been considered essential. These men have done extraordinarily good work.
378 There are said to be under 200 of them. They are getting towards the end of their time in India, and they will be seriously affected if the terms of the Lee Commission Report and of this Bill do not come to their aid and give them the benefits which the Report would give to other classes. It is a very technical subject, and difficult to deal with in a speech of this kind. The matter might be easily rectified by putting in an Amendment to have these men reappointed by the Secretary of State.
I am not pressing the matter to-night, nor do I in any way desire to delay the Bill. On all sides there is full appreciation of the fact that the Bill is overdue and that it would have a very bad effect in India to delay the Bill. But I do ask the Under-Secretary to look carefully into the case of these men, to see to what extent the Bill affects them, and, if it does not affect them, to see whether any Amendment can be made to bring them within the scope of the Bill. It is necessary and desirable that the recruiting of these men should be stimulated. In answers to questions recently, the Undersecretary of State said clearly how essential it was that our recruiting for the Civil Service should be improved. That recruiting depends largely upon the passage of a Bill of this kind. Equally it is essential that the prospects of men in the provincial services should be secured. I suggest that, just as this Bill as it stands is of the greatest importance to secure the future of the Civil Service in India, so it is equally important that it should embrace those who are in the provincial services. I do not think anyone who knows the condition of India and who agrees that India is passing through a difficult time, in which both she and Great Britain are learning what is the best course for the future, will deny that at this time above all others it is essential that we should recruit the best men for these great services. We want men who will live up to the wonderful traditions of the past and who will feel that in undertaking public service in India, they are taking up a life work and following in the footsteps of those who have made the Indian Civil Service probably the finest service in the Empire. These services, whether Indian or European, should be inspired by the same high ideals as in the past, and be free from political influence. These 379 men are training the Indians now, and they should train them with a view to the day when real democratic government will be possible in India the day— to which, perhaps, hon. Members opposite are specially looking forward, when Indians will entirely control their own affairs, the day towards which all our energies are directed when India will be ready for Dominion status.
§ Mr. SNELL
It is rightly assumed that the general principle of willingness to pay adequately for services rendered to the Empire, is believed in by every section of the House. There is no dispute on that point as between hon. Members in favour of the Bill and those who are opposed to it. I had the privilege of being on the Joint Standing Committee of the two Houses when this matter was fully and carefully discussed, and I think I showed in those discussions that I had no hostility to the adequate payment of these men. It is of the utmost importance to the Indian people that the Indian Civil Service should be a contented, a happy and an efficient service. Its happiness and efficiency depends not only on the amount paid to its members, but on the security of that payment and the general conditions. I think it is common ground between the supporters and the opponents of the Bill that any unfavourable conditions in the service will react unfavourably on the Indian people. On the wider question there is considerable room for doubt as to the wisdom of this particular Measure presented in this particular way. The Title of the Bill expressly states that it is for the purpose ofexempting proposals for expenditure upon certain salaries, pensions, and other payments from submission to Indian Legislatures.That phrase is extremely unfortunate. It conveys to India a belief in the minds of the promoters of this Bill that the Indian people are unwilling and could not be trusted to pay adequately those engaged in Indian administration. Whatever may be said of the political attitude of the Indian people to this country, their generosity and sense of justice ought not to be challenged. A further difficulty is that this Bill places a. charge upon a people who are inadequately represented in the legislatures 380 of India and as this Measure has been before those legislatures and has been rejected by them, it cannot be assumed that the Indian people welcome the Bill in its present form. We wish, in whatever we do, to draw the Indian people and ourselves closer together, and we should think, not once but twice and thrice, before we take any step which will create new suspicions in their minds. What will inevitably occur to the Indian people in this connection will be that the governing Act concerning the Indian people themselves cannot be reconsidered until 1929, but the needs of these servants of ours can be considered at any time, and for their purpose the Act can be broken through and their case regarded as urgent. In the presentation of the Bill the Government should have considered providing some sort of accommodation in that matter. I do not wish to hold up a decision. This Bill will doubtless pass, but it will go from this House to the Indian people with the suggestion that they are not trusted to do the right thing by these services, and so far as I have any claim to do so, I regret that reflection.
§ Sir HENRY CRAIK
I recognise the moderation of the speech of the hon. Member who has just sat down and, as his colleague on the Joint Committee to which he referred, I recognise the fact that it is not the first time he has shown moderation and care in his judgments on this question. I may be able to remove from his mind some of the suspicions which he seems to entertain as to certain aspects of this Measure. I think he fears, and fears unnecessarily, that it will provoke suspicion, doubt, difficulty and perhaps jealousy among our Indian fellow subjects. I suppose that on a question of this sort we must have all sorts of views put forward, and that a great Imperial question of the first importance to the Empire cannot be discussed without the intrusion of suspicions of the sort mentioned by the hon. Member for Mile End (Mr. Scurr). Those suspicions are doubtless becoming, to the hon. Member's own genial personality, and I presume that he was persuading the House to accept his view by suggesting that this service provides a system of outdoor relief to the upper middle classes of this country. I wonder would the hon. Member make that statement if he knew, as I know, the 381 men among my own constituents who compose about one-third, of the Indian Civil Service. Does he think it is a fair description of these men who have been trained for this service from their early years, who have passed difficult examinations and who spend the best part of their lives working under hard conditions. I wonder if the hon. Member would go among the valleys and mountains and the villages of Scotland from which most of the recruits for the Indian Civil Service come and suggest that these men are receiving outdoor relief as members of the upper and wealthier classes. The whole thing is as contemptible as it is worthless to the making up of our minds on the question.
I am not looking at the interests of the Civil Service when I consider this question. The interests of a. Service, of the members of that Service, of this man or that man, are a mere trifle compared with what is involved in really doing your duty, as this House is asked to do, by your servants in carrying out a great Imperial task. It is not the interests of the Civil Servant that are here concerned, it is the interests of the 300,000,000 natives in India. That is what is at stake. I am in contact weekly, and have been for years past, with those who are engaged in Indian administration. I am besought by them week after week to do what I can as a representative up the Scottish Universities to keep up the supply from those Scottish Universities that have done in the past so great a work for India. I have a responsibility to my constituents. I cannot say to them, "Go in for this," unless they have some security, not in the matter of payment of money of this or that amount, but the security that gives some chance that they may not be cast to the wolves. . That is really a thing that one must take into account before one gives advice. I have done it, and I have not hesitated to give that advice, because I know from those who are now administering in India how essential for the advantage of India it is that we should have carried on this great stream of worthy recruits for her Service.
There is one who is very close to me, and who has a very important post to discharge in India. He writes to me that he is constantly asked by the native administrators in the provincial Govern- 382 ment for which he is partly responsible: "For Heaven's sake, give us some Englishmen. We cannot decide between the fundamental differences of the Mohammedans and the Indians fairly unless at the beginning you give us an impartial administrator such as we find in the English officials." Over and over again he has been obliged to write to these native administrators and say that he has no British officer available. We are making no accusation against our Indian fellow citizens when we point out the fundamental fact that they are divided into two almost unbridgeable compartments. A gulf lies between them. They suspect one another. I remember walking with an Indian administrator in a remote station in India some years ago, and he told me what a native had said. My friend said to him: "In the days of your grandchildren and mine, shall we still be here?" The native pointed to the water butts bearing the two labels" For Indian gentlemen," "For Mohammedan gentlemen," and said: " As long as these two inscriptions are there, we cannot do without you."
We have seen in the Punjab the desperate difficulty of the Sikh dissensions, where there was dire feud between different sections of the natives. It has now been settled. I had a letter the other day from one concerned, in which he said, "For five years this has been the nightmare of my life, and I think we have now got it settled." You cannot advance step by step, as we desire to advance, to the full independence of India without the help of English administrators. We have put our hand to the plough, and we are not going to turn back. I am not one of those who would wipe out the advances we have made; but if you are to achieve full success, you must in the intermediate period have the help of those unbiased and independent representatives of our own nation who can give great help and play a magnificent r61e in smoothing the difficulties between sections of the natives. You will not do that if you allow constant attacks, if you allow uncertainty and almost despair to grow up. You felt that in order to help forward the work on which you were engaged, the first step was to give some stability to what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George), when he was Prime 383 Minister, called the "iron frame of administration." To have an iron frame in your administration does not mean a tyrannical thing, but merely some fixity, some impartiality, some continuity. You felt that in order to do this you must send out this Commission, as you did under Lord Lee of Fareham. You now have their unanimous Report, the Report of a Commission drawn from all political parties in this country and from the natives of India as well, and this House is asked to implement the undertaking of that Commission and to do its duty to a Service upon whose continued existence for a certain period of years the welfare of India depends.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
The prophet Jeremiah denouncing the sins of Jerusalem was as nothing compared with the right hon. Member for the Scottish Universities (Sir H. Craik) denouncing the hon. Member for Mile End (Mr. Scurr) for his quotation—not his own statement—that the Civil Service in India was for the outdoor relief of the upper classes of this country. Really, if that absurd statement has any foundation in fact, it must be derived from some of the Debates in this House on India.
§ Sir H. CRAIK
The hon. Member for Mile End (Mr. Seurr) used these words himself and adopted them as his own.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
He used them as a quotation. I have the words here. If it is said about the Indian Civil Service, it is due to the Debates we have had in this House on this question.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I sympathise with the hon. Member for Kidderminster in his difficulty in explaining what he wants because I have spent many weary hours trying to make out what, this Bill means. I ask the Prime Minister to have one casual cursory glance at this astonishing Bill introduced on Friday afternoon last. No man in his senses reading this Bill can make out what one word of it means. You cannot make out what it means by referring to the documents. Clause 1 runsSections sixty-seven A and seventy-two D of the Government of India Act shall ….Then it goes on to the minor alterations of these mysterious Sections. You turn 384 up the Government of India Act, 1919, and find it has only 42 Sections. You are referred to the parent Act of 1915 as amended in 1916, and you find it has Sections running as far as 72, but there are no "A's" or "D's " attached to them. Unless you are an India Office official or an official of the Government of India, you must be unable to make out what the Bill means. Surely it was desirable that the Noble Lord, in introducing the Bill, should give an adequate explanation of what the Bill was about. We could not find out from the Bill what it was. The Noble Lord made a short speech of 10 minutes and as far as I can make out there were two points in the Bill to which he referred, and I presume these two points are all that are included in the Bill. The two points were, firstly, that whereas the 1919 Act made it quite certain that the established services in India should have security of pay and tenure independent of the Indian Legislature, there appeared to be some doubt as to weather the Legislature had not some control over allowances. Apparently under the 1919 Act the Assembly as well as the Governor-General in Council may have had some control over the allowances to civil servants home on leave. The second point was that there were certain other small classes whom this Bill withdrew from the control of the Legislature and of the Minister and put in similar secured positions enjoyed by established civil servants. He did not tell us either the amount of expenditure by India nor did he tell us the number of the newly privileged class who are to be independent of Indian control in this way, nor, most serious of all, did he tell us whether those two samples he gave of what the Bill meant were exhaustive and included all that is in the Measure.
Before we vote on this Bill we should have, not merely in the interest of this House, but of the Indian people, a clear statement as to exactly what this Bill involves. It will not do to refer us, as the Noble Lord did, to debates in another place. We are entitled in this House to have full and adequate explanation of any Bill varying the Government of India Act, 1919. The first thing I want to make clear to the House in regard to this Bill is that the alterations that are being made are thoroughly bad in 385 principle. We are altering the Government of India Act, which we said could not be altered for 10 years and without a Royal Commission inquiry into alterations. We are altering it in an undemocratic direction. It is not merely a question of whether people's salaries should be secured or whether they are adequate. The alteration is that we are withdrawing the hold over those civil servants from the Indian Legislature and transferring it to the Secretary of State. No hon. Member who has read the evidence given before the Muddiman Commission by the various Indian. Ministers could fail to observe that the principal complaint of all the Indian Ministers is the absence of control over their civil servants and of constant friction owing to the independent regime of the Civil Service and the Ministry. That has been the origin of nine-tenths of the dissatisfaction. Here in this Bill we subtract from the control of the Legislature and the Ministers a little bit more of their power and their control over those people who ought to be their own servants.
We certainly want to know if the Indian people approve of this change which is proposed to be made by this amending Act. We know that they rejected the Lea Report. We on these benches ought to be very careful indeed how we whittle down the small amount of democratic control there is in the Civil (Service at present; how we indicate to the Indian people that, when we do make changes in the Government of India Act, they are changes in the direction of increasing the power of the steel frame whereas we know the urgent necessity there is for gradual development of democratic principles in India. If instead of developing that democratic education, we withdraw the control over the Civil Service from the legislatures, we are going in the wrong direction and making it more difficult to carry out what they want. Could we not possibly leave changes such as this till the Royal Commission is appointed? Before 1929 we must have a Royal Commission into the working of this Act, a Royal Commission which will be bound to frame the next step forward in Indian development. It may be that when that Royal Commission reports they may make representations such as these, and any recommendations they make on 386 these lines are bound to be infinitely more palatable to the people of India if they are combined with developments in a democratic direction in other ways.
I do submit to the House that, in view of the extremely critical state of mind of the Indian people at the present moment, in view of the fact that now at last the Swarajist party seems to be adopting the sensible course of co-operating in the development of democratic institutions, in view of the fact that Lala Lajpat Rai has been elected for Lahore, and gone on to the Assembly in order to carry out a policy of constructive co-operation, this is the worst possible moment to put another pin prick into the Indian people, to toll them we are altering the Act of 1919, and in an undemocratic direction, altering it in the interests of the Civil Service, that we are not making the alterations which the Minority Report of the Muddiman Committee recommended, and we are not making any compensating concessions in any other direction, but are merely looking to the interests of the established Service.
I think we might possibly have postponed this, too, for one other reason. One of the principal grievances of the Indian Civil Service has been that the cost of living has risen and the rupee has been more or less depressed. At the present moment it is well known that the rupee is being kept to 1s. 6¼d. A Cora-mission has been appointed to consider the currency question, and to decide what the rupee should be fixed at, or whether it should be fixed at all. It will go to a higher figure than it stands at to-day, in all probability: but as the rupee goes up so the financial position of everybody in the Civil Service improves. If it is fixed at 1s. 9d., it means that everybody's salary in India is automatically increased by about 15 per cent., and therefore the position of the Indian Civil Service will enormously improve. When they remit their pay to this country, in order to educate their children or pay their holiday expenses, it is going to make the position of the Indian civilian enormously better, and enable him to have the same good time that he had in 1920. I do submit that, until this Commission has reported, and has indicated to us exactly what the financial position of the Indian civilian is going to be, we 387 might very well postpone this question of withdrawing from the Indian people any control over the salaries of these various Services.
There is a final word I would like to say on this Bill. When we are dealing with the salaries and the security of the salaries for the higher ranks of the Indian Civil Service, I think we ought, at the same time, to cast a, passing glance at the salaries paid to the lower branches of the service. The whole of the postal service is, of course, paid by the Government. The pay is exceptionally low. The postman's wage even in Bombay is not up to the standard of the mill-worker. When in Calcutta, the most un popular thing I did—and I did a great many unpopular things in India—was to pay my bearer 60 rupees, when, apparently, the ordinary bearer pay was 30 rupees a month, and I do not suppose the wages have gone up since then. The whole standard of wages in the Civil Service in India is appalling for the lower paid. Teachers, postal workers, railway workers are all getting a standard of wage which would horrify not only any trade union secretary, but any hon. Member of this House if he came to work it out in pound?, shillings and pence at its purchasing power in this country. That being so, I think we may ask the Noble Lord whether it will not be possible, now we are making this change in the Government of India Act, to appoint a Commission to go into the question of the wages of these State workers in India, so that we may have all the facts and figures before us, and so that the conscience of India may apply itself to a problem which shows no sign of improvement, and which certainly demands the careful attention of the Imperial Parliament.
§ Mr. PILCHER
I am aware that this House is waiting rather eagerly to hear my Noble Friend the Under-Secretary. I do not propose to detain the House more than a very few moments, but I can plead that I am perhaps the only Member in this House who was called as a witness before the Lee Commission, whose recommendations this Bill seeks to implement. I have the interests of the services in India very closely at heart, not because I regard them in their capacity as a close corporation or a par- 388 ticular class. I have their interest at heart because I feel they are absolutely essential to the future prosperous development of India, and I would like to detain the House for a few minutes if I may to consider some of the points that have been raised during the Debate. As I sit here and listen to hon. Members and right hon. Members on the Labour benches, who really have the interests of India at heart, the thing that strikes me more and more every time I hear them talk is the extraordinary lack of exact knowledge which they bring to bear on this extremely difficult problem. I recognise their goodness of heart and their goodness of intention, but it is pathetic to see how far they do really stray from reality.
I should like to refer to the speech of the right hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood). It seems to me the gravamen of his criticism on this Bill is that it proposes an alteration in the existing constitution of India in an undemocratic direction. The Secretary of State is accused of desiring to whittle down the amount of control which was conceded to the Indian Parliament in 1919. This Measure is alluded to as a "pinprick." We heard a number of expressions of that kind used by the right hon. Gentleman on the Front Bench. It seems to me the right hon. and gallant Member simply has not in any way followed the phase of Indian development which led up to the introduction of this Measure It is said this Measure is due to the tact that we are trying to "limit the democratic control of these legislatures in India, when we are actually engaged in a further extension of that democratic control several years before, according to the Statute of 1910, it became due. May I remind, hon. Members that an essential part of the Lee Commission's recommendation was that the recruitment of two or three of the great Indian Services should be handed over, lock, stock, and barrel to the Ministers who were in these areas, and responsible for them. The root proposal of the Lee Commission was to give the recruitment of the Education Department, the Agricultural Department, and the Forestry Department in several of the provinces to the Ministers responsible to the local legislature. That is the prime necessity to meet which 389 this Bill has been put forward. It is to meet the case of a number of those public servants in India who Have hitherto relied on the protection of the Secretary of State, and of the Government of India, and are now going to be handed over to the Ministers to take their part in the new provincial services controlling the provinces. It has been necessary to safeguard the position of Englishmen who are present are temporaily in those jobs, but ultimately will be replaced by Indians. That is one of the purposes of the Bill.
The second essential purpose—and I should like here to refer to the right hon. and gallant Member's suggestion that we might postpone this) Bill—the second reason that the Bill has been undertaken has been just precisely those disturbing economic developments in India to which he has referred. For several years we had all these major services in India in a condition of economic stress and difficulty. It is impossible adequately to describe to hon. Members the state of things. It would be necessary for hon. Members to see how these public servants were living, the stress to which their wives were put, and the difficulties they encountered in educating their children and sending them home periodically. One could not understand unless you have seen them contending against these difficulties under Indian conditions. And it is quite impossible to explain how urgent this Bill is from the point of view of actual facts. It is necessary, in view of these various considerations, that this Bill should be passed almost immediately if only to indemnify the Government of India and the Secretary of State for the measures which they took 18 months ago to meet the perfectly intolerable conditions under which these public servants lived.
If the right hon. and gallant Gentleman will cast his memory back to 1920 at the time when he was in India, he will remember probably the enormous cost of the passage to and from India. It became essential for the families of the public servants in India who had to return to England as often as necessary to give them some sort of concession, to cover something like a 50 per cent. or 60 per cent. increase in the cost of the passages to and from England since the War. A number of these concessions had 390 to be made. It now becomes necessary to implement or to cover them by legislation. That is the second major object of the Bill.
It also became necessary to re-define the term "salaries and pensions." Under the Montagu-Chelmsford Reform they were guaranteed from attacks by the Legislatures. There is no new principle at all introduced into this Bill, but it has become necessary to re-define those terms, because some Legislatures actually made attacks on the allowances for travelling and other purposes, and it was desirable that these allowances should be incorporated in these terms. These are the three essential purposes of the Bill.
I would call the attention of the House to the fact that there is no substance whatever in the suggestion that this Bill is in any way undemocratic or departs from the principle laid down in the Montagu-Chelmsford Reform scheme. One of the reasons for that charge being brought forward is obviously that the Imperial Legislative Assembly declared against the Bill. It has been suggested that the proposals were undemocratic and were not representative of the people of India. I should like to point out that the actual vote at the last General Election for the Indian Assembly was 343,000 voters out of a population throughout British India of 240,000,000. I would ask the House in what real sense can that vote be said to be democratic, and by what right did the Assembly denounce this Bill?
§ Mr. PILCHER
My point is that they only represent some 343,000 in an enormous population, as large as the population of the whole of Europe without Russia.
§ Mr. PILCHER
Remarks put forward by the hon. Member for Woolwich (Mr. Snell) suggest that the restrictions imposed on legislative action in India are calculated to arouse suspicion and misunderstanding there. May I point out that the restrictions imposed are the same in kind as those in the Montagu-Chelmsford Reform Act. They do not 391 reflect in the least upon the generosity of the Indian people. They are simply a safeguard against the inexperience of the new legislatures. Powers to reserve some sort of control were necessary, and one of them had reference to the welfare of the public servants on which the future progress of India very much depends.
I should like to make a very special appeal to the Labour Benches above the Gangway not to press the Amendment which they have on the Paper to defer the Second Heading of the Bill. A speedy passage of this Bill is urgent. It is urgent in the interests of the Services, but still more urgent, I am perfectly convinced, in the interests of the people of India. The continual presence of the Services is necessary, not for themselves, not for the people of the class from which they are drawn. Might I remind the House from what class these servants are actually drawn. They are drawn from the most brilliant classes in all our Universities. They are not men who need to go abroad. They are the cream of the Universities. They could have got honourable appointments very easily in almost any country in the world. It is not for them that this matter is pressed; it is for the people of India who need the services of the English public servants there. May I remind hon. Members that during the period of grave disorder which followed the enactment of the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms we had constant appeals from various classes of the Indian community for the assistance of just these men whose presence in India has been criticised to-night. There were very serious riots on more than one occasion. The gaols were full of people charged with seditious behaviour and other serious crimes, and special requests were made to let them have a British Judge to try these cases. We had those sort of appeals coming in constantly, and those who know the country, who know the districts, and who know the masses, know perfectly well that, despite anything the Assembly may say to the contrary, the work of these men is most deeply appreciated by the ryots, the agricultural cultivators, who really make up the mass of the population.
There is just one other point I would like to make, which is, that among the masses in India there still is an immense 392 class of illiterates. As I listen to these Debates I sometimes, wonder whether people here realise that only V per cent. of the whole population of the country are literate in any language at all. The vast majority are quite incapable of reading the newspapers, and there is no newspaper in the country which has a circulation of 50,000. They cannot study these questions, or demand a response from the Members who represent them, or appear to represent them, in the Assembly or in Council. They are in a very special sense still a charge and a trust of this House. I do appeal to this House, and particularly to Members on the Labour Benches, to give us the Second Heading of this Bill which is being asked for to-day and assist Us enactment before the House rises for Christmas.
§ Earl WINTERTON
By leave of the House, and in response to the appeal made to me by the right hon. Gentleman on the Front Bench opposite, I rise to say a few words, and at the same time to request the House, if they will do so, now to come to a decision on this Bill. In the first place it is obvious to me, from what occurred as the result of my speech on Friday last, that the demand which is said in some quarters to exist in the House for speeches of not more than 10 minutes' duration is more honoured in the breach than in the observance. I read in the newspapers in the early part of last week that there was a demand that speeches on all matters other than those of first-rate importance should not exceed 10 minutes, and I can say with all sincerity that it was in deference to that demand that I made a speech of exactly 9½ minutes' duration; and I thought I had succeeded, in that time, in explaining all the provisions of a Bill which is not a first-class Measure although it deals with an important matter. However, I did not succeed in explaining it satisfactorily to the mind of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood). Let me say one thing in reference to his speech. I do not make any complaint of the tone of his speech, or of any speeches from the benches opposite, though I think those hon. Members are mistaken in their attitude to the Bill. But I was rather surprised to find such opposition to the 393 Bill in view of the fact that, as I understood from a careful perusal of his speech, the Noble Lord who represents his party on Indian affairs in another place, and who was formerly Secretary of State for India, gave his blessing to the Bill and was prepared to support it, at any rate, taking no steps to divide against it. The criticisms which have been directed against the Bill are summed up in the statement made by the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley (Mr. Lansbury). He asked, "What should we say in this House if the power of controlling our own money were taken away from us?" I think the position can best be explained by a reference to the original Act and the amendments which this Bill proposes to make in that Act. It will show that we are, in effect, doing nothing of the sort. I am sorry the right hon. Gentleman had difficulty in finding a copy of the Act in question. The Government of India Act (As amended up to 1st August, 1924) can, I am sure, be found in the Library and in the Lobbies of this House.
§ Mr. LANSBURY
I would like to say that there was only one copy in the Library, and that I tried to buy one at Abingdon Street this morning, and could not do so.
§ 10.0 P.M.
§ Earl WINTERTON
I am obliged to hon. Members for calling my attention to this. I do not know if it is a matter that rests with my Department, or whether it is a matter for Mr. Speaker and the officers of the House, but I will take the matter up and inquire into it. I shall be glad to provide hon. Members who desire it with copies of the Act, up to a reasonable number. What are the relevant words of the Act in question? Under Section 67A, in Sub-section (3) are these words:The proposals of the Governor-General in Council for the appropriation of revenue or moneys relating to the following heads of expenditure shall not be submitted to the vote of the Legislative Assembly, nor Shall they be open to discussion by either Chamber at the time when the annual statement is under consideration, unless the Governor-General otherwise directs:Those words are in Sub-sections (3) and (4), and those are the two Sub-sections it is proposed to amend by the present Bill, the words being
- (i) Interest and sinking fund charges on loans; and
- (ii) Expenditure, of which the amount is prescribed by or under any law; and
- (iii) Salaries and pensions of persons appointed by or with the approval of His Majesty or by the Secretary of State in Council; and
- (iv) Salaries of chief commissioners and judicial commissioners."(iii) Salaries and pensions payable to or to the dependents of—The House will see that here we follow the wording of the original Act. Then it goes on:
- (a) persons appointed by or with the approval of His Majesty or the Secretary of State in Council:
- (b) chief commissioners and judicial commissioners."(iv) Sums payable to any person who is or has been in the service of the Crown in India under any order of the Secretary of State in Council, of the Governor-General in Council, or of a Governor, made upon an appeal made to him in pursuance of rules made under the Act.The object of that particular Sub-section, which, though it may appear very complicated in its language, is really very simple, is that if on an appeal made by any officer who is affected by this Bill he has, as the result of the appeal, further emoluments of any kind, it shall be made effective under the Act; that is to say, it shall not come within the purview of the Legislature.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Will the right hon. Gentleman say how many people, approximately, are affected by the extension?
§ Earl WINTERTON
It is obviously impossible to say. It depends entirely on the number of appeals. Perhaps I can explain the matter best in this way. It does not include any more persons that those who wore intended to be covered by the 1919 Act, except in so far as this Act proposes to extend the number of those persons, to whom I shall refer in a moment. It depends solely on the number of appeals made. I should say, speaking from an experience now of nearly four years (with an interval when another Government was in power), that the number of persons so affected would be wry small indeed. I should hardly like to make an estimate. The Clauses which 395 are the most important Clauses in the Bill, one might say the only important Clauses in the Bill, make exactly the same alterations in the case of the Governors' legislative councils as are made in the case of the Assembly. They add the following persons:Persons appointed before the first day of April, ninteen hundred and twenty-four, by the Governor-General in Council or by a local Government, to services or posts classified by rules under this Act as superior services or posts; and …Here, again, these words may seem to be complicated and difficult, but in reality their effect is very simple. In the first place, this Sub-section proposes to give the concessions advocated by the Lee Commission, and which have been put into effect by administrative act, to those persons who were appointed either by the Governor-General in Council or by local governors to services or posts which are classified by the Rules under this Act as superior services or posts. There are some Members who feel, and that feeling was given expression to by the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Wardlaw-Milne), that that extension should go further. My Noble Friend the Secretary of State, after giving it most careful consideration and after the fullest consultation with the Government of India, decided that the Sub-section as it appears in the Bill would adequately cover all those persons who, as the result of his investigations and of the recommendations of the Lee Commission, ought to be included in the Bill and brought under what may be described as the protection of the Act. As regards the Clause referring to pensions, there again all that is intended is to put the pensions of persons who are under the 1919 Act outside the purview of the Assembly.
May I now sum up what is my case for the Bill and the arguments for it, by saying this; I, like the right hon. Gentleman opposite, was a close observer of the progress of the 1919 Act through this House, and I certainly thought at that time, as I believe he thought and others like the right hon. Member for the Scottish Universities (Sir H. Craik). who was also a very close observer of the- Act, that the intention of the Act was to exclude absolutely from the purview of the Assembly the salaries of persons appointed by the Secretary of State in 396 Council. Indeed, I should not have been in favour of it if it had not been so, and I and the Under-Secretary for the Colonies, who took great interest in the Bill, would have strongly opposed the proposals, for it was because we believed, for reasons which it is unnecessary to go into now, that those appointed by the Secretary of State in Council should not come under the purview of the Legislative Assemblies, that we supported the Bill. All that these rather complicated Clauses do is to make clear and definite what we believe to have been the intention of Parliament at that time. I deny absolutely, with all respect and, I hope, with all courtesy, the contention made by the hon. Member for Bow and Bromley, that this is in any way a breach of the spirit or the letter of that Act.
There is only one other Clause of importance in the Bill, and that is Clause 2, which states that no rules or other provisions made or confirmed under this Section shall be construed to limit or abridge the power of the Secretary of State in Council to deal with the case of any person in the Civil Service of the Crown in India in such manner as may appear to him to be just or equitable. This has not been raised in the Debate, but the reason for the Clause is that, in 1919, for the first time, the Indian Civil Service and other services comparable to it were brought under a code of Rules made by the Secretary of State in Council. I believe the reason was that Mr. Montagu felt, in view of the changed conditions in which they were going to serve, Civil Servants would in future like to have a code of Rules under which to serve, similar in some respects to the Royal Warrant under which officers of the Army serve. On the whole, I think that has been satisfactory, but my noble Friend has found it impracticable in some cases, and I have had personal experience of them, for as a result of these Rules, when a hard case arises where it is obviously desirable to make some allowance or concession, we are precluded by the Rules from doing it. We therefore, under this Clause, take the opportunity of obtaining powers from Parliament to enable the Secretary of State to dispense with those Rules in particular cases. I need hardly give the assurance that that power will only be exercised comparatively rarely.
397 I hope I have succeeded in explaining to the satisfaction of the right hon. Gentlemen and the House generally what the purpose of this Bill is. I would only add that it is in no sense a. racial Bill, as has been suggested in some quarters. Indeed, I am not sure that the speech to which we have just listened did not, to some extent, give the impression that it was a Bill which only concerns Europeans. That is not so. It concerns Indians and Europeans. It is not a racial Bill. It is quite true that the Assembly, by a majority, rejected the Report of the Commission, but it is equally true that every Indian member of the Commission signed the Report, and that the Report was unanimous. It was a striking tribute
§ to the way in which Indians and Europeans can work together that they should have produced so excellent and so unanimous a Report. Whatever may be the opinion of some Indians who have been quoted by hon. Members opposite, I believe the great bulk of opinion in India which, after all, is sensible, reasonable and fair-minded opinion, is in favour of adequate salaries and emoluments being paid to Indians and Europeans alike who serve under the Crown in India.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 241; Noes, 77.399
|Division No. 472.]||AYES.||[10.13 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Crookshank, Cpt. H.(Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.|
|Agg-Gardner, Rt. Hon. Sir .lames T.||Cunliffe, Joseph Herbert||Herbert, Dennis (Hertford, Watford|
|Albery, Irving James||Curzon, Captain Viscount||Herbert, S. (York, N.R., Scar. & Wh'by)|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Davies, Dr. Vernon||Hills, Major J. W.|
|Alexander, Sir Wm. (Glasgow, Cent'l)||Davies, Sir Thomas (Cirencester)||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. sir S. J. G.|
|Allen, J. Sandeman (L'pool, W. Derby)||Dixey, A. C.||Hogg, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (St. Marylebone)|
|Applin, Colonel R.V. K.||Drewe, C.||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F.||W. Duckworth, John||Homan, C. W. J.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Eden, Captain Anthony||Hope, Sir Harry (Forlar)|
|Atkinson, C.||Edwards, John H. (Accrington)||Hopkins, J. W. W.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Elliot, Captain Walter E.||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster, Mossley)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Elveden, Viscount||Hore-Belisha, Leslie|
|Barnett, Major Sir Richard||England, Colonel A.||Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.|
|Barnston, Major Sir Harry||Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univer.)||Hudson, Capt. A. U.M.(Hackney, N.)|
|Benn, Sir A. S. (Plymouth, Drake)||Everard, W. Lindsay||Hudson, R. S. (Cumberland, White'h'n)|
|Bethell, A.||Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Hume, Sir G. H.|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Fenby, T. D.||Huntingfield, Lord|
|Boothby, B. J. G.||Fermoy, Lord||Hutchison, G. A. Clark (Midl'n & P'hl's)|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Crolt||Fielden, E. B.||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)|
|Bowater, Sir T. Vansittart||Finburgh, S.||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Fleming, D. P.||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)|
|Briggs, J. Harold||Ford, P. J.||Jacob. A. E.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Jephcott, A. R.|
|Brooke, Brigadier-General C. R. I.||Forrest, W.||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Brown, Maj. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Foster, Sir Harry S.||King, Captain Henry Douglas|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Foxcroft, Captain C. T.||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Fraser, Captain Ian||Lamb, J, Q.|
|Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan||Ganzoni, Sir John||Lane-Fox, Colonel George R.|
|Burman, J. B.||Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Loder, J. de V.|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Gates, Percy||Looker, Herbert William|
|Cadogan, Major Hon. Edward||Gault, Lieut.-Col. Andrew Hamilton||Lougher, L.|
|Campbell, E. T.||Gee, Captain R.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere|
|Cassels, J. D.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Goff, Sir Park||MacAndrew, Charles Glen|
|Chapman, Sir S.||Gower, Sir Robert||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Grace, John||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Chilcott, Sir Warden||Grant, J. A.||McLean, Major A.|
|Christie, J. A.||Greene, W. P. Crawford||Macmillan. Captain H.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Gretton, Colonel John||McNeill, Rt. Hon. Ronald John|
|Churchman, Sir Arthur C.||Grotrian, H. Brent||Macquisten, F. A.|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Maitland, Sir Arthur D. Steel-|
|Clayton, G. C.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Manningham-Buller, Sir Mervyn|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Margesson, Captain D.|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Hanbury, C.||Merriman, F. B.|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Meyer, Sir Frank|
|Cope, Major William||Harland, A.||Mitchell, S. (Lanark, Lanark)|
|Coupor, J. B.||Harney, E. A.||Mitchall, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)|
|Courthope, Lieut.-Col. George L.||Harrison, G. J. C-||Moore, Sir Newton J.|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Hartington, Marquess of||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)|
|Craig, Ernest (Chester, Crewe)||Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Murchison, C. K.|
|Craik, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Haslam, Henry C.||Nelson, Sir Frank|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Hawke. John Anthony||Neville, R. J.|
|Crook, C. W.||Henderson, Lieut.-Col. V. L. (Booths)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)|
|Crooke, J, Smedley (Deritend)||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Newton, Sir D. G. C. (Cambridge)|
|Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Sandon, Lord||Ward, Lt.-Col. A.L.(Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Oakley, T.||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|O'Connor, T. J. (Bedford, Luton)||Savery, S. S.||Watts, Or. T.|
|Pease, William Edwin||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)||Wells, S. R.|
|Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Shaw, Capt. W. W. (Wilts, Westb'y)||Wiggins, William Martin|
|Perring, William George||Shepperson. E. W.||Williams, A. M. (Cornwall, Northern)|
|Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Shiels, Dr. Drummond||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Pilcher, G.||Simms, Dr. John M. (Co. Down)||Williams, C. p. (Denbigh, Wrexham)|
|Power, Sir John Cecil||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Preston, William||Smith, R. W.(Aberd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Wilson, Sir C. H. (Leeds, Central)|
|Price, Major C. W. M.||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Wilson, M. J. (York, N, R., Richm'd)|
|Radford, E. A.||Smithers, Waldron||Wilson, R. R, (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Ramsden, E.||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Winby, Colonel L. P.|
|Rees, Sir Beddoe||Stanley, Col. Hon. G. F.(Will'sden, E.)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Reid, D. D, (County Down)||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Remer, J. R.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)||Wise, Sir Fredric|
|Rentoul, G. S.||Steel, Major Samuel Strang||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Rhys, Hon. C. A. U.||Streatfeild, Captain S. R.||Womersley, W. J.|
|Robinson, Sir T. (Lanes., Stretford)||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.||Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)|
|Ruggles-Brise, Major E. A.||Tasker, Major R. Inigo||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'dge & Hyde)|
|Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Templeton, W. P.||Wood, Sir Kingsley (Woolwich, W.)|
|Rye, F. G.||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)||Woodcock, Colonel H. C.|
|Salmon, Major I.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)||Wragg, Herbert|
|Samuel, A M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)||Yerburgh, Major Robert D. T.|
|Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)||Thomson, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Mitchell-|
|Sandeman, A. Stewart||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Sanders, Sir Robert A.||Vaughan-Morgan, Col. K. P.||Commander B. Eyres Monsell and|
|Sanderson, Sir Frank||Wallace, Captain D. E.||Colonel Gibbs.|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. W. (Fife, West)||Hartshorn, Rt. Hon. Vernon||Stamford, T. W.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hayes, John Henry||Stephen, Campbell|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Stephen, J. (St. Rollox)|
|Baker, Walter||Hirst, W. (Bradford, South)||Sutton, J. E.|
|Barnes, A.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Taylor, R. A.|
|Barr, J.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Batey, Joseph||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Townend, A. E.|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Laith)||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Trevelyan, Rt. Hon. C. P.|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Kelly, W. T.||Viant, S. P.|
|Broad, F. A.||Kennedy, T.||Wallhead, Richard C.|
|Bromley, J.||Lansbury, George||Walsh, Rt. Hon. Stephen|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||Lawson, John James||Watson, W. M. (Dunfermline)|
|Buchanan, G.||Lindley, F. W.||Watts-Morgan, Lt. Col. D. (Rhondda)|
|Cape, Thomas||Lunn, William||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Charleton, H. C.||Mackinder, W.||Weir, L. M.|
|Cluse, W. S-||March, S.||Welsh. J. C.|
|Compton, Joseph||Murnin, H.||Wilkinson, Ellen C.|
|Cove, W. G.||Naylor, T. E.||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Day, Colonel Harry||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Williams, Dr. J. H. (Llanelly)|
|Dennison, R.||Pethick, Lawrence, F. W.||Wilson, C. H. (Sheffield, Attercliffe)|
|Duncan, C.||Potts, John S.||Windsor, Walter|
|Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Richardson, R. (Houghton-le Spring)||Wright, W.|
|Gibbins, Joseph||Riley, Ben||Young, Robert (Lancaster, Newton)|
|Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Ritson, J.|
|Graham, Rt. Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Robinson, W.C. (Yorks, W. R., Elland)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Hall, F. (York, w. R., Normanton)||Scrymgeour, E.||Mr. Thurtle and Mr. Scurr.|
|Hardie, George D.||Snell, Harry|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read a, Second time, and committed to a Standing Committee.