HC Deb 18 April 1928 vol 216 cc178-9

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India the reasons which led the Government of India to arrest the ex-Maharajah of Nabha and keep him in detention some thousands of miles away from his home and wife and five young children whether any charges have been communicated to the ex-Maharajah, or if it is intended to inform him why he is imprisoned; and whether any period has been fixed for his imprisonment without trial?


A condition subject to which the ex-Maharajah of Nabha was permitted in 1923 to sever his connection with Nabha State was that he would remain subject to the obligations of loyalty and obedience to the British Crown and the Government of India which are imposed on the Rulers of Nabha by the Sanad granted to them in 1860. It was also a condition that should the Maharajah fail to fulfil any of the obligations then imposed on him, the Government of India would hold itself free to annul or modify any of these conditions. It was after having satisfied themselves that the ex-Maharajah had repeatedly taken part in disloyal activities since his departure from Nabha and after having clearly warned him of the consequences, that the Government of India deprived him of his title, rights and privileges as Maharajah, and took the action against him referred to by the hon. Member. He was informed on his apprehension of the reasons for his detention for which no period has been fixed.


The ex-Maharajah, since the date of his severance in 1923, has actively engaged in a propaganda associated with notorious agitators, and has spent considerable sums on Press campaigns in several Provinces, some of a virulent and untruthful character. In so doing, he has broken the engagement he gave to the Government of India in 1923.


Will the noble Lord say whether it is proposed to keep this man indefinitely in prison without any trial at all? I must press for an answer because it is contrary to British conceptions of justice.


I have already answered the hon. Member's question in the last paragraph of my answer: He was informed on his apprehension of the reasons for his detention, for which no period has been fixed.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

What is the difference between detention and duress?


May I ask whether the arrest of this man and his detention without any charge being brought against him, has not caused considerable dissatisfaction in India, especially in the Sikh community, of which he is the reputed leader?


The only dissatisfaction caused in India has been among the notorious and disloyal agitators.