HC Deb 15 June 1925 vol 185 cc5-6

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India if he will inquire into the case of the temporary sub-divisional clerks of the Public Works Department, some of whom are still after 15 to 20 years' continuous service drawing wages of from Rs.40 to Rs.45 per mensem; whether the Committee set up in 1921 made any recommendation on this matter; what action the Government propose to take; and whether the Government propose to continue their employment on a temporary or a permanent basis?


On a point of Order. You are aware, Mr. Speaker, of the decision given by your predecessor with regard to questions relating to the Government of India. Important and leading questions, your predecessor held, might be brought before this House, but is it in order, or is it consistent with the measure of self-government that we have endeavoured to give to India, that questions of detail such as are dealt with in this question should be raised in this House? Are they not better left to the responsible Government of India?


I adhere strictly to what my predecessor said on that matter. It is difficult sometimes exactly to draw the line between questions of policy, which would rightly be discussed on the salary of the Secretary of State, and minor questions. I have observed a tendency to put in this House questions which have already been put in the National or in one of the Provincial Assemblies of India. I ask hon. Members to remember that we have delegated certain powers in India, and to use their discretion in accordance with the general rule.


I would urge hon. Members, if they wish independence granted to India, if they wish this Protectorate—. [HON. MEMBERS: "Order, Order!"]


Arising out of the point of Order and the reply, is it not now a fact that, so far as Bengal is concerned, there is no independence of Government whatever?


I can only repeat that I must ask hon. Members, in drafting their questions to Ministers, to remember the large constitutional questions of the Empire.


Under the Government of India Act "Public Works" is a Transferred Provincial subject, and the Governor of each Province, acting with his Ministers, has full power to determine the conditions of service of the clerks in its Public Works Department. My Noble Friend, therefore, is not in a position to interfere even if he desired to do so.