HC Deb 11 April 1935 vol 300 cc1389-91

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

6.2 p.m.


On a point of Order. May I ask whether you are going to call our Amendment—in page 1, line 8, to leave out "Government of India," and to insert, "Dominion of India Self-Government."?


No, I do not propose to call that Amendment.


Will it be in order to advance some of the arguments in favour of our Amendment?


The position under Clause 1—I may put it shortly this way—is that the only point which can be discussed is whether the Title of the Bill is a misleading one.


I will address myself to that point. I should very much regret if it went out to the people of India that the definition of the purpose of this Bill, in the Title, is in any real sense expressive of what we regard as the proper government of India. However, I realise that if I pursue that line I shall be acting contrary to your judgment, Sir Dennis, and therefore, I will not pursue it.

Captain FULLER

The Title of the Bill is "The Government of India Bill." Would it not be possible to put something in the Title about Burma, inasmuch as it applies to the Government of Burma as well?

6.3 p.m.


In the Clause that we are now discussing the word "may" appears and not the word "shall." It seems to me that we might well make the position much stronger if we used the stronger word. When we are laying down the Title of the Bill it is surely better for legal purposes to put in the word "shall." It is riot, however, worth while challenging the Clause on that account.


Legally, "may" and "shall" are interchangeable terms.


I thank the hon. Member, but I am not in the habit of having my opinions dictated to me by any lawyer. It would give a stronger line for the Government if we used the stronger word "shall"—a word which the ordinary English-speaking public know and understand. I do not care whether the two words are interchangeable or not. Lots of things are interchangeable in a legal sense. I should prefer the stronger word.

6.4 p.m.

The SOLICITOR - GENERAL (Sir Donald Somervell)

The word "may" is the common form. If we put in the word "shall" it might be that people might think that they would be committing an offence if they used any other form of words. It is permissive, it is a common form and is followed in official documents. With regard to the insertion of Burma in the Title, I might say that it is intended ultimately to split off the Burma portion of the Bill, because Burma, if and when separation occurs, will have its own Act Therefore, ultimately the Burma part of the Bill will be separated. I hope the Committee will pass the Clause after these explanations.

Question put, and agreed to.