HC Deb 15 July 1929 vol 230 cc3-4

asked the Secretary of State for India whether he proposes to take any steps to secure that the 31 Labour and Youth Movement officials now on trial at Meerut shall be transferred to a court where they can be tried by jury?

The SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Mr. Wedgwood Benn)

No, Sir. The case has passed into the hands of the courts, and I am not prepared to interfere.


Was it not an executive decision to hold the trial at Meerut, and is it not possible for the right hon. Gentleman to reverse a decision made before his accession to office?


I have nothing to add to the answer, because, as the case has passed into the hands of the courts, I am not prepared to interfere.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this case is causing considerable ill-will in India against this country, and is he not prepared to do anything in the matter to relieve the state of strain?


I can add nothing to the answer which I have given to my hon. Friend. The case is before the court, and I cannot interfere.


Does the right hon. Gentleman subscribe to the opinion that the hon. Member has just put forward, that this case—


I do not think that that arises out of the question.

4. Major POLE

asked the Secretary of State for India what special arrangements have been made for the reporting of the proceedings of the Meerut trial for the Press; and why the Government of India has deputed the director of public information to Meerut for this purpose?


I have no information beyond what has appeared in the Press in India. I assume that the director of public information will arrange for the grant of all possible facilities to the usual agencies and I have telegraphed to make sure that this is done.

Major POLE

Will the right hon. Gentleman also make sure that the reports of this trial are not circulated through India and over here at the expense of the Government of India, instead of in the usual way?


Inasmuch as the ordinary agencies will have the opportunity of making their own reports, I think that probably the case is met.

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