HC Deb 02 April 1935 vol 300 cc305-23

9.20 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 125, line 17, after "Governor General," to insert: in the exercise of his individual judgment. The Committee will realise that Clause 230 deals with the recruitment and conditions of service, and the opening Subsection provides: Except as expressly provided by this Act, appointments to the civil services of, and civil posts under, the Crown in India, shall, after the commencement of Part III of this Act, be made— (a) in the case of services of the Federation, and posts in connection with the affairs of the Federation, by the Governor-General or such person as he may direct. The purpose of the Amendment is, after the word "Governor-General," to add the words "in the exercise of his individual judgment." It has been a little difficult in the past discussions on this Bill to arrive at any very definite information as to the meaning of the words in the exercise of his individual judgment," but, as far as we can make anything of the various statements that have been made, we on these benches have arrived at a certain conclusion. It is that where the words "in his discretion" are used there is no obligation for the Governor-General to consult anyone. Where, as in Clause 230, nothing is said, it is assumed that not only will the Governor-General consult his Ministers, but that he must accept what his Ministers advise. If, however, this Amendment is inserted, there will be an obligation on the Governor-General to consult his Ministers, but he need not take their advice. We hold strongly to the view that this Clause will be immensely strengthened if these words are added. The Services to which reference is made are those Services the recruitment of which lies in the hands of the Governor-General, and not in the hands of the Secretary of State. They are, in fact, the Services other than those enumerated in Clause 233.

I am anxious not to revive in any detail the charge that is frequently and often properly made as to Oriental nepotism and corruption, but there is every expectation that under this new Constitution those time-honoured practices, which are very frequent even under the present Constitution, will flourish exceedingly. We feel that if these words are added and there is only an obligation for the Governor-General to consult his Ministers but not to accept their decision, there will be far less opportunity for corrupt patronage and nepotism. Although we oppose the Bill fundamentally, we are anxious that it should work if, as seems likely, it is placed on the Statute Book, and we want to minimise to the greatest extent the possibility of the Constitution being brought into disrepute, and the whole intention of Parliament being neutralised by these practices being encouraged. We feel that if the Amendment is accepted there will be an opportunity for the Governor-General, and, if the next Amendment is accepted, for the provincial Governor, to safeguard his officials from the enmity of ministers. It has frequently been advanced on behalf of those who support this Bill that with the measure of responsibility that is being given there will come a realisation on the part of the Indian ministers of their responsibilities, and we believe that in this particular situation they will focus their indignation on the Governor-General and on the Governor in the Province if he is not safeguarded in the way that we propose he should be safe guarded.

9.24 p.m.


The hon. Member has made clear the intention of this Clause, which applies to the appointments to the Civil Service in the case of the particular services of the Federation, which are known as the Central Services, and which comprise such services as the railways, Indian post and telegraphs, Imperial Customs, and similar services. The second Amendment applies to Provincial Services, which are under the Provincial Governors and which conduct some of the affairs of the Provincial Governments. The hon. Member desires that in every case of appointments to the Services I have mentioned we should go back on the present practice and that the Governor-General should be brought in in his individual judgment. The hon. Member, therefore, means and desires that we shall bring in the Governor-General in the ease of the Central Services, and in the case of Provincial Services the Governor, for the appoint ment in every case I have mentioned. We consider that would be going too far. These particular services are those which are, in the case of the Federation, under the future Federal Government, and, in the case of the Provinces, under the Provincial Government. They have been in the case of the Provincial Government transferred for some time, and it would seem to be rather excessive caution, and would impose an excessive burden on the Governor-General and the Governor, to insist that they should be brought into every appointment. In addition, this would imply distrust in the Federal and Provincial Governments in the future, if it was considered in these particular circumstances that they were unable to make the proper appointment. It is for these reasons I regret very much that we are unable to accept the Amendment, although I see its point.

9.27 p.m.


I do not think the Under-Secretary sufficiently realises the significance of the Amendment. According to paragraph (a), which deals with the affairs of the Federation, if the Amendment is carried in the exercise of his individual judgment the Governor-General is enabled to do this, by "such person as he may direct." Therefore, it is not necessary, as the Under-Secretary suggests, if this Amendment is carried for the Governor-General personally to carry through all appointments. I am not satisfied that the drafting is complete. Not being a lawyer, I am not quite certain about the words, but I am clear about their intention. The Under-Secretary made his reply on the assumption that on every one of these jobs he would personally have to go through the qualifications of every individual. He entirely overlooked the other words, "or such person as he may direct." These other persons would be directed, by the Governor-General and not by ministers. Therefore, the argument is not in the least met by the Under-Secretary, who bases the whole of his reply on the fact that it would be imposing an intolerable burden of work on the Governor-General, who is perfectly well able to say to some persons, "I appoint you to make this class of appointment. In the case of appointments above that, you will refer them to me for my personal direction." This is no answer to the Amendment, and, quite clearly, the words already in the Bill have been overlooked.

9.30 p.m.

Duchess of ATHOLL

I think the Amendment requires more consideration than the Under-Secretary has given to it. We have to remember in the matter of these appointments for how much community and caste count, and the pressure to which ministers may be subjected on this ground in regard to appointments. It is just in regard to the type of appointments described here that there is this pressure. It is just in regard to the Central or Provincial services that I understand there is apt to be so much pressure, particularly in the lower grades. It has been said to me, both by Indians and British, how much ministers may be apt to do in the way of getting friends appointed to services, particularly Provincial services. It has been said that there can be a sort of paralysis among the men serving from fear of being pushed out of their posts or done out of promotion, because the minister seeks appointments for his friends. Indian members of the service are even expected to help ministers in finding posts. Many Indian members of the services entertain great fears of serving under ministers, because their posts might depend on whether a minister wanted posts for his friends. I do not think it is a thing that can be dismissed lightly. As my hon. Friend the Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams) said the Governor may waive his powers in the case of a minister in whom he has confidence. I may remind the Committee that the Joint Select Committee were very anxious that canvassing for promotion or appointments should disqualify candidates and they suggested that for postings or promotion in the higher grades there should be the personal concurrence of the Governor. This Amendment is moved on the authority of the Joint Select Committee, and I feel I must support it.

9.32 p.m.


I wonder if we cannot come to a compromise. It does seem as if the Under-Secretary has spoken a little hastily. After all, the Governor-General has full powers. All such persons as he may direct may supervise appointments for the post office or railway, such as the ministers in charge. It does enable the Governor-General, if necessary, to cover himself, yet this was the whole of the case on the basis of which lay the objections of the Under-Secretary. I certainly would not support the Amendment if it meant going back on the present position. I do say that if words of this kind somewhere near the Amendment can be put in, the Governor-General might easily be able to make the appointments in that way without having to exercise special powers. Quite frankly, I do not like the idea of the Governor-General having to exercise special powers very often. It does seem that some Amendment of this kind might be inserted on the Report stage of the Bill, which would enable the Governor-General to make particular appointments if he thought it necessary. I simply put it from that point of view because I am sure that we want some safeguard here, and I am equally certain that we do not want to go back on the present position. The Clause as it stands, even with this Amendment, would undoubtedly mean that the Governor-General could transfer whole blocks of appointments to a Minister, which is what is wanted, but I think we ought to put in the Bill some words which will give him a reserved position. I would appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to assure the House that he will consider the point carefully to see whether it is not possible to put in some safeguard.

9.36 p.m.


I am quite sure that this Amendment either goes much too far, or is not any good at all. It goes much too far in making the Governor-General and the Governor personally responsible not only for innumerable appointments but also for all the dismissals. If it had a wide scope it would mean that the Governor-General and the Governor would be doing little or nothing except dealing with individual cases, and, moreover, cases connected with Departments which have already been transferred. If, on the other hand, the last words in paragraph (a) of Clause 230 are to have a wide intention, it would mean that he would delegate his powers to somebody else, and the Amendment therefore would have no effective result at all, or little or no effective result. In any case I suggest that it is unnecessary to have any provision of this kind. The Governor-General and the Governor are the heads of the public services, and the public services are the services of the Crown and not of the local Governments, just as they are the services of the Crown here; but that does not mean that the Governor-General and the Governor are personally responsible for all these appointments, without any ministerial responsibility at all in. wide fields of government which have already been transferred.

So far as the reserved Departments are concerned, the question does not arise. So far as the Secretary of State's services are concerned there are all the various safeguards connected with the Secretary of State's services. So far as the transferred Departments are concerned, it would be a great mistake, after these Departments have been transferred for many years, to attempt to withdraw responsibility from the Ministers at a time when we are trying to increase the field of responsibility generally in India. In these latter cases there will be, first, the safeguard of the Public Services Commission, which I regard as a very effective safeguard—we shall come to that Chapter of the Bill shortly—and, secondly, there is the general responsibility of the Governor-General and the Governor to safeguard the legitimate interests of the services. In view of these safeguards it is unnecessary to go any further, and it certainly is unnecessary to accept an Amendment such as that which is proposed.

9.40 p.m.


The right hon. Gentleman said that the Amendment was not at all satisfactory on the ground that the Governor-General could transfer that responsibility to such persons as he may direct, but as the Clause stands the Governor-General, in making appointments, would act on the advice of Ministers, because where nothing is said to the contrary he has got to take the advice of Ministers. If he delegates the power to such persons as he may direct, quite clearly the Ministers' advice must come in. He cannot relieve himself of taking the Ministers' advice by asking some other person to do the job, as the other person must act on the Ministers' advice. If the words "in his discretion" are put in the Governor-General does not take the Ministers' advice, and logically such other person as he may direct does not take the Ministers' advice. That was the burden of the remarks I tried to make earlier to the effect that, whether right or wrong, it is a real and effective transfer of responsibility to the Governor-General from the Ministers, or to such other person as the Governor-General in his judgment may direct; but, quite clearly, the ultimate decision is taken away from the Ministers. Therefore, the interpretation of the Secretary of State, like the interpretation of the Under-Secretary, still seems to ignore the significance of the words "such person as he may direct" as qualifying the Amendment.


Would the Secretary of State address his mind to the converse proposition? If the Amendment be not accepted and the words remain, does that mean that the Governor-General can never make an appointment of his own volition without consulting the Ministers?


That is a very wide question. Obviously, the answer is, No. In the matter of the reserved Departments the Governor-General has the sole word as to appointments. Here we are dealing with transferred Departments, and that is a very different question, and I say that in the case of the transferred Departments appointments should be made upon the advice of the Ministers.

9.43 p.m.


The Government on this occasion seem to think that we are urging that the Governor-General should always interfere in appointments, but we only want to give him a discretionary power. We all hope that the optimism of my right hon. Friend will prove to be well-founded. On the other hand, we can say without any offence to Indians that the family feeling among them is so great that it is well known that whenever any man attains to any sort of power in India all his brothers and sisters, aunt and cousins expect to get jobs. I am not saying that offensively towards Indians, because that is the recognised thing all through the East. I think the hon. Member who interrupts will admit that that is a very common fact, admitted by everyone who has come from India with the exception of himself.

At one time I was connected with a big business in India, and I had very frequent reports showing that in this respect the family feeling is very strong. I thought it was generally known. The more one knows of the East the more one knows it to be true. A man is considered a fool if he does not give a job to a relation. Let us be frank about it. Let us go to Indians who have been in the higher posts in India and ask them whether it is not a fact, as I have been told, that their lives have been made a perfect burden owing to the fact that all their numerous relatives regard it as a right that they should be given jobs. Of course we hope that all that is going to change in a night, that under the reforming spirit the whole character of the East is going to change. We are all hopeful, and the right hon. Gentleman is the greatest Micawber among us. He is always hoping that some new way is going to turn up, but the fact remains that we are up against this difficulty and in view of the widespread tendency in this direction would it not be wise for the Governor-General or the Governor to have power, in his judgment, to intervene to see that these tendencies are checked? That is all we ask.

9.45 p.m.


I wonder whether hon. Members who constantly make these allegations about nepotism and jobbery pause to think how they may be regarded from the other side. Such jobbery is not confined to India. While sitting here I like, sometimes, to take up "Dod's Parliamentary Companion" and to work out relationships. Of course I know that every appointment here is made on its merits and that it is merely an accident that there are cousins, second cousins and grandsons in this list. It is rather unfortunate that so many allegations are made that everything is done by jobbery on the other side. The Indians may see high appointments going to political friends of people in this country, and of course they do not understand that everybody a Conservative Government appoint is always on merit but that whenever an Indian is appointed it is always a job. That kind of assumption is going too far. We have had it alleged several times in this Committee by Members of the party opposite. This country was stiff with jobbery about 100 years ago, and the fortunes of many families in this country were made by nepotism; yet they are throwing stones at the Indians all the time and wanting extra precautions. If we had an examination into some of the aristocratic families of England and Scotland only 100 years ago it would be found that the kind of thing they did was far worse than anything done in the East.


May I ask the hon. Member why he objects to the setting up in India of a public service commission called the Federal Public Service Commission with the same rigidity of powers as our own for taking over the obligations, duties and powers of making appointments?


The answer is that I do not object. On the contrary, I was one of those who recommended it on the Indian Statutory Commission, and I voted for it on the Joint Select Committee. I might answer by asking the hon. Member whether he is prepared to allow public appointments in this country to be made by the Civil Service Commission such as to the British Broadcasting Corporation, the judges and so on?


We had better get back to the Amendment.

9.49 p.m.


I do not want to follow the hon. Member for Limehouse (Mr. Attlee) into the history of this country, but if he will examine the list of his own party in this respect—


The hon. Member is now proposing to do what he said he did not want to do, and what I murmured to myself he had better not try to do.


I will not dispute your Ruling, but I would say that the fact that nepotism exists in other countries is not an argument for extending it. We are proposing to prevent the evil from growing in the new Constitution which we are building, and it is surely incumbent upon us to build the Constitution as free from any form of vice or graft as we can. The Secretary of State rather confined his

reply to the Governor-General. He forgot that there is a second Amendment under discussion at the present time, referring to the Governors of the Provinces. He said that because of the Governor-General the reserved subjects would be well away from any chance of nepotism, but he forgot to remind the Committee that in the Provinces there are very few reserved subjects, and that the bulk of the Provincial appointments will be in the hands of the elected ministers. The Governor, or any person whom he may appoint, is entirely at the mercy of the Ministers' advice. It is quite certain that Indian Ministers must have a great number of obligations to repay before they become Ministers, and the difficulty of their task will not be less by throwing the burden of these appointments on them. Surely it is very much better, without any appeal to them to relieve them of the responsibility of disappointing their relatives. By removing them from the odium which they may incur by refusing to appoint, perhaps, some prominent supporters, we shall make their task much easier.

If this Amendment were accepted it would make it possible for the Governor not to make these appointments himself, but to delegate the making of them to some entirely impartial person who is not affected by the whims of a popular election. In the case of major appointments he might undertake the responsibility himself. Surely it is reasonable to ask that. We are endeavouring to secure the most efficient form of civil administration among people for whom we have a responsibility, and the least we can do is to remove their appointments from the possible swing to and fro of party politics. At the moment we are condemning them to a system very much like that in the United States, where so many offices are dependent upon a wave of popular passion. It is in our power to avoid that. I think the Secretary of State might give us rather more sympathetic consideration.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 38; Noes, 248.

Division No. 138.] AYES. [9.54 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Balfour, George (Hampstead) Brown Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Break., Newb'y)
Alexander, Sir William Blaker, Sir Reginald Burnett, John George
Atholl, Duchess of Bracken Brendan Courtauld Major John Swell
Bailey Eric Alfred George Broadbent, Colonel John Craddock Sir Reginald Henry
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Templeton, William P.
Davison, Sir William Henry Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest) Thorp, Linton Theodore
Donner, P. W. Nail, Sir Joseph Wayland, Sir William A.
Doran, Edward Perkins, Walter R.D. Wells, Sydney Richard
Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Black pool) Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, B'nstaple) Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Greene, William P. C Raikes, Henry V. A. M. Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John Reid, David D. (County Down)
Gritten, W. G. Howard Remer, John R. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne) Mr. Emmott and Mr. Wise.
Knox, Sir Alfred Taylor, Vice-Admiral E.A.(P'dd't'n, S.)
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst McEwen, Captain J. H. F.
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Fleming, Edward Lascelles McKie, John Hamilton
Albery, Irving James Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) McLean, Major Sir Alan
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.) Fremantie, Sir Francis Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Ganzoni, Sir John McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Gardner, Benjamin Walter Magnay, Thomas
Aske, Sir Robert William Gauit, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton Mainwaring, William Henry
Assheton, Ralph George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Mander, Geoffrey le M.
Attlee, Clement Richard Gillett, Sir George Masterman Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.
Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M. Glossop, C. W. H. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Goldie, Noel B. Martin, Thomas B.
Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)
Balniel, Lord Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Maxton, James
Banfield, John William Grenfell, E. C. (City of London) Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.) Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)
Batey, Joseph Griffiths, George A. (Yorks, W. Riding) Milne, Charles
Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell Grimston, R. V. Milner, Major James
Blindell, James Groves, Thomas E. Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres
Bossom, A. C. Grundy, Thomas W. Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)
Boulton, W.W. Gunston, Captain D. W. Munro, Patrick
Bower, Commander Robert Tatton Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Hamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd) Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Hammersley, Samuel S. O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir Hugh
Brass, Captain Sir William Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.
Briscoe, Capt. Richard George Harbord, Arthur Orr Ewing, I. L.
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Harris, Sir Percy Paling, Wilfred
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenn'gt'n) Palmer, Francis Noel
Brown, Col. D.C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham) Haslam, Henry (Horncastie) Parkinson, John Allen
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Patrick, Colin M.
Browne, Captain A. C. Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth) Peake, Osbert
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G. Pearson, William G.
Burghley, Lord Hornby, Frank Penny, Sir George
Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie Horsbrugh, Florence Percy, Lord Eustace
Butler, Richard Austen Howard, Tom Forrest Petherick, M.
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley) Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.
Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport) Pownall, Sir Assheton
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Hume Sir George Hopwood Ramsay, Alexander (W. Bromwich)
Cassels, James Dale Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)
Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.) Ramsden, Sir Eugene
Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H. Rankin, Robert
Champman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring) James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Christie James Archibald Jamieson, Douglas Reid, William Altan (Derby)
Clayton, Sir Christopher Jenkins, Sir William Rickard, George William
Clayston, Sir Christopher Ross Taylor Walter (Woodbridge)
Cleary J. J. Jesson, Major Thomas E Ruggles-Brise, Colonel
Cochrane, Commander Hon A. D. Joel, Dudley J. Barnato Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)
Colforx, Major William Philip John William Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)
Colman, N. C. D. Jones Morgan (Caerphilliy) Salt, Edward W.
Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J. Ker, J. Campbell Salt, Edward W.
Cook Thomas A. Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose) Salter, Dr. Alfred
Crooke, Douglas Kirkpatrick, William M Samuel, M. R. A. (W'ds'wth, Putney).
Crooke, J. Smedley Kirkpatrick, William M. Sandys, Duncan
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Galnsb'ro) Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.
Croom-Johnson, R. P. Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Culverwell, Cyril Tom Lawson, John James Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Daggar, George Leckie, J. A. Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C. Leech, Dr. J. W. Shute, Colonel Sir John
Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery) Leighton, Major B. E. P. Simmonds, Oliver Edwin
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Leonard, William Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)
Davies, Stephen Owen Lewis, Oswald Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)
Denman Hon. R. D. Liddall, Walter S. Smith, Sir J. Walker- (Barrow-in-F.)
Dickie, John P. Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Dobble, William Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest Smith, Sir Robert (Ab'd'n & K'dine. C.)
Doran, Edward Loder, Captain J. de Vere Smith, Tom (Normanton)
Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel Loftus, Pierce C. Smithers, Sir Waldron
Duggan, Hubert John Logan, David Gilbert Somervell, Sir Donald
Dunglass, Lord Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander Soper, Richard
Eastwood, John Francis MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C.G. (Partick) Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T, E.
Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey MacAndrew, Capt. J, O. (Ayr) Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Emrys-Evans, P. V. Macdonald, Gordon (Ince) Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.
Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.) MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw) Spens, William Patrick
Evans, David Owen (Cardigan) McEntee, Valentine L. Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)
Stevenson, James Todd, A. L. S. (Kingswinford) White, Henry Graham
Stones, James Train, John Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Strauss, Edward A. Tree, Ronald Williams, David (Swansea, East)
Strickland, Captain W. F. Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F. Turton, Robert Hugh Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Summersby, Charles H. Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey) Wills, Wilfrid D.
Sutcliffe, Harold Wallace, Sir John (Dunfermline) Wilmot, John
Thompson, Sir Luke Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull) Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock) Worthington, Dr. John V.
Thorne, William James Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.
Tinker, John Joseph Warrender, Sir Victor A.G. TELLERS FOR THE NOES—
Titchfield, Major the Marquess of Watt, Major George Steven H. Sir Walter Womersley and Major
George Davies.

Question, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.

10.2 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 12.5, line 36, at the end, to insert: Provided that it shall not be necessary to make rules regulating the conditions of service of persons employed temporarily on the terms that their employment may he terminated on one month's notice or less, and nothing in this Sub-section shall be construed as requiring the rules regulating the conditions of service of any class of persons to extend to any matter which appears to the rule-making authority to be a matter not suitable for regulation by rule in the case of that class. The Government of India is apprehensive that there might be danger, if there were not some limitation of the rule-making procedure, of having every case of a temporary appointment bound up with a vast mass of regulations. If hon. Members are apprehensive of inserting this proviso, they will be comforted by the special responsibility of the Governor for the different interests of the Services, and if there was any case likely to arise where any interest of any particular member of some subordinate Service appointed for one month was affected by the insertion of these words, I believe that would be covered by the special responsibility to which I have referred.

10.3 p.m.


Can the hon. Member say whether any restrictions are to be imposed as to the extent to which persons can be employed temporarily?


That does not arise on the Amendment.


This is a proviso dealing with the services of persons employed temporarily, and in respect of those persons rules will not be made. This is a perfectly sensible proviso, subject to the condition that there is no abuse of it and large numbers of persons are, not going to be regarded as nominally on a monthly basis, but really for life. Every Member of this Committee will be familiar with the difficulties we have ex- perienced through the recruitment into our Civil Service of men who served in the War, some of them known as the "P" class and some as the "S" class, and will remember the settlement made by Mr. Walter Guinness, as he then was, now Lord Moyne, with regard to those endless troubles. I am very anxious that there shall not be established in India the same kind of difficulty which we have had of large numbers of people in the public service with no security of employment, no pensions at the end, no conditions laid down, and no rules regarding them. I have no objection to this wording here to cover the conditions of the persons taken on temporarily, but I am perturbed lest under the cover of this wording it may be open for large masses of people to be given in fact permanent jobs. I should like to have some assurance from the Under-Secretary that there will be some precautionary words inserted to prevent the kind of trouble arising in India which has given us so much difficulty in this country.

10.6 p.m.


The terms of the proviso are permissive, and I think I can give the hon. Gentleman an assurance straight away that it is not intended under the cover of these words to allow temporary appointments to be made which will in fact last for life. As regards his request that the matter should be considered, we have already been in touch with the Government of India on this subject, which is one in which they are very interested. I will look into the point he has raised, knowing the experience which he has had in these matters.

Amendment agreed to.

10.7 p.m.

Duchess of ATHOLL

I beg to move, in page 126, line 32, to leave out Subsection (4).

I do so chiefly in order to get an explanation of this Sub-section. It is not very clear to the uninitiated what the other provisions of this Act are to which reference is made. Nor am I clear whether persons serving His Majesty in a civil capacity in India include members of the All-India Services recruited by the Secretary of State or whether the Subsection refers to members of the Central and Provincial services.

10.8 p.m.


The Noble Lady, with her great knowledge of documents in this matter of India, will remember that in paragraph 293 of the Report of the Joint Select Committee it was suggested that local governments should be empowered in the case of the provincial services to regulate, for example, the recruiting conditions of service of personnel locally recruited by them. That is the object of this Sub-section (4). It in fact implements the recommendations in paragraph 293 of the Joint Select Committee's report. To take an example, it will give a province power to regulate the conditions of service of persons serving His Majesty in a civil capacity recruited locally. With regard to her further remarks, I am sure that the Noble Lady will have paid attention to the proviso of Sub-section (4): provided that nothing in any such Act shall have effect so as to deprive any person of any rights required to be given to him by the provisions of the last preceding Sub-section. She will also have noticed the further provisions in Sub-section (5), which add a safeguard in respect of the Act so passed under Sub-section (4). In view of the recommendations on this subject of the Joint Select Committee and in view of the power which the Committee would wish to give to a Provincial Legislature in these matters, I think that it would be rather unreasonable to leave out the powers given in this particular Sub-section.

10.10 p.m.

Duchess of ATHOLL

Are we to understand that Sub-section (4) relates only to members of a provincial service, and is the Sub-section designed to give the improved status and security which I understand the Joint Select Committee wished given to members of these Services?


The terms of the Subsection say "the appropriate Legislature in India." In this case, that will apply to the federal service.

Duchess of ATHOLL

To the central services?


The central services under the control of the Federation.

Duchess of ATHOLL

Would the hon. Gentleman answer my second question: whether it is designed to give these services the improved status and security which the Joint Select Committee wish to give them?


That is the design of the Bill, to implement what the Joint Select Committee said about the status of the provincial and central services.

Duchess of ATHOLL

In view of the explanation, I beg to ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

10.12 p.m.


Before we pass this Clause finally, I should like to ask the Under-Secretary if he considers this Clause really satisfies and allays all the fears of the Civil Service in India. In the three Round Table Conferences and the Joint Select Committee the Secretary of State was at great pains to meet the wishes of the politicians of India, but he was very anxious always to avoid giving offence to their feelings. After all, for the Civil Service it is really a matter of their livelihood. This Clause is the most important in the whole Bill as regards their future and the future of their dependants. I would like to ask what steps he has taken to ascertain whether this Clause meets the wishes of the Civil Service in India. We know that the Civil Service will be to a large extent exposed to dangers under this new Constitution. We have heard from very responsible Indian politicians that in their pursuit of economy they will first attack military expenditure and secondly that they would like to attack the pay, Pensions and recruitment of the Civil Service. They would like to get a cheaper Service. I would like to know to what extent the rights of the Civil Service in India are to be safeguarded. They are more responsible than any one in India for building up the conceptions of a country; if that great sub-continent is ever a country, it will be largely the work of the Civil Service. Before we hand them over to people whom, in the memorandum which they put before the Joint Select Committee, they did not hesitate to say they looked upon with some apprehension, we should make it quite certain that their livelihood is safeguarded.

10.14 p.m.


Before the hon. Gentleman replies, I wonder whether he could answer one other question. The wording of the Clause seems to me slightly obscure. It would seem that the Secretary of State as the Clause stands can empower some new authority, not specified, who can alter the rules to the disadvantage of the Civil Service. As I understand it there is no indication who such an authority is to be. It might perhaps be an Indian minister. I wonder if my hon. Friend can answer, that point; it is the significance of the lines 8 and 9 particularly.

10.15 p.m.


In reply to my hon. Friend the Member for West Islington (Mr. Donner), lines 8 and 9 on page 126 give power to the Secretary of State to give directions in the respects referred to in the previous lines, and in those previous lines reference is made to an authority, such for example as the Railway Authority. The Clause is particularly designed so that the position of the officers of the Railway Authority, for example-which of course would make, under a succeeding Clause, rules for its own personnel-shall be safeguarded by the fact that the Secretary of State himself will have to give the directions as to who the new authority shall be. The example I have taken is the new Federal Railway Authority. I hope that this explanation will allay the anxiety of my hon. Friend on that score.

With regard to the points raised by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Wycombe (Sir A. Knox), Clause 230 does not, of course, go quite so far as my hon. and gallant Friend supposes. It does not, for instance, take in the whole question of the livelihood and future of the Services in India, because it refers primarily to Services not recruited by the Secretary of State, and that is the reason for the words, Except as expressly provided by this Act, which are the opening words of the Clause. If my hon. and gallant Friend will refer to Clause 233, he will see that that exception is there made good, and that Clause 233 and the following Clauses deal with the Services expressly recruited by the Secretary of State. I am afraid I must further limit the scope of the Clause, because it is not only in this Clause that we find all the various safeguards as to provision for the future happiness and livelihood of the Services not recruited by the Secretary of State. There are some important questions not coming within the scope of this Clause, which refers to the recruitment and conditions of these Services. Within that limited scope I believe the Clause does fulfil what my hon. and gallant Friend would desire. It does include, for example, in the proviso to Sub-section (4) and in Sub-section (5), very important safeguards for the Services not recruited by the Secretary of State.

My hon. and gallant Friend asked in conclusion how far we have been in touch with the representatives of the Services. I think he may rest assured that, throughout the very long discussions of the last five years, it has been the first wish of my right hon. Friend to keep closely in touch with the Services and to do his best for them, and I believe that, by enacting in this Measure so many of what were formerly only statutory rules, we have done even more for the Services than has been done in the past, in so far as many of these provisions will now be established in the Act. I believe that the Services not recruited by the Secretary of State will appreciate the status which they are given by this Clause, and I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend that it is the first intention of the Government to do their best, by a provision such as this, to make the future of those Services safe.

10.19 p.m.


The Under-Secretary has mentioned that the Secretary of State has done his best to keep in touch with the Services during all this time, but I suppose he would not suggest that the Services have had any real opportunity of expressing their views except through their Service organisation. There is no doubt that a very large number of Civil servants in India have felt rather gravely the suggestion, which has been made from time to time in this country, that they were in favour of the general proposals embodied in this Clause. The Civil servants, as they have so repeatedly stated, are not permitted to give their views, and they very much resent the fact that it has been stated in public in this country that they have so expressed their views. I think my hon. Friend will agree that through the various Service organisation representations have been made to the effect that they have the very gravest anxiety with regard, not only to this Clause, but to many other points.

10.20 p.m.


I will only reply quite shortly to my hon. and gallant Friend. I am certain that the Services realise that we are trying to do our best for them, and that we have done our best for them in this particular Bill. I have always tried to avoid dragging the Services into any of our discussions. Their job is to do their job in India, and there is no better body of people to do it. We are all, including my hon. and gallant Friend, equally desirous of doing our best for them, and he may rest assured that during these long discussions there have been frequent interchanges with India and that we have done our best to put in the Bill what is considered to be best for all the interests concerned.