HC Deb 19 November 1928 vol 222 cc1353-4

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India what is the location, area, and total population of territories placed under the direct administration of the Western India States Agency; are the people in these territories considered British subjects purely or do they owe allegiance to any other sovereign authority; what rights of representation do these people possess as British subjects; what voice have they in the matter of taxation and general administration conducted by British officials; and to whom are these British officials responsible for their policy and conduct of affairs?


The total area of the territories included in the Western India States Agency is about 35,000 square miles and the population about 3½ millions. The people of these territories are not considered British subjects, but owe allegiance to the Rulers of the various States, and no question arises therefore of their having rights of representation as British subjects. The British officials employed in the Agency are responsible, through the Agent to the Governor-General, to the Government of India. If the hon. Member's question is intended to be limited to petty estates or other areas in which the functions of the officers of the Agency may for various reasons be more directly administrative, I regret that I have not the detailed information that would be required to answer the question.


Will the right hon. Gentleman make it clear, if the British political agents are responsible to the Governor-General, the British Viceroy, what right the people in these Agencies have to approach the same officer with regard to their grievances or to mal-administration?


I think that I have answered the question on the paper fairly fully in my original answer. It is impossible within the compass of a parliamentary answer to explain the divergent and varying conditions in this Agency.