HC Deb 20 March 1935 vol 299 cc1213-21

Question again proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

3.39 p.m.


I regret that, in spite of what you have said, Sir Dennis, I must detain the Committee for a few minutes on this Clause which some of us regard as important and perhaps we may get a reply from the Secretary of State on the points which I am raising in connection with it. As I was saying when the Debate was interrupted, we think that the responsibility indicated in paragraph (a)—the prevention of any grave menace to the peace or tranquillity of a Province—should not mean the withdrawal of certain legislation which may be objected to by a certain minority in the Province. We have always held that social abuses can most effectively be dealt with by Indians themselves. As the result of dealing with abuses certain disorders may arise, and we think those disorders ought to be dealt with by the forces of law and order but that it would be putting a premium upon disorder to allow the Governor to exercise the power of ordering the withdrawal of a Bill. We think that two ill-effects will follow from that sort of procedure. The first effect will be to weaken the responsibility of Ministers, and the second will be to concentrate opposition upon the Governor. Both these things are extremely undesirable. With regard to paragraph (c), we agree that members of the public services should be secured in their legal rights, but we feel that "the safeguarding of their legitimate interests" is rather a wide phrase. In the Instruments of Instructions the Governor is instructed to safeguard not only the legal rights of the members of the civil service but to safeguard them against any action which, in his judgment, will be inequitable. We think that that is a power which should not be placed in the hands of one person, but should be referred to the Public Services Commission for discussion and decision. Paragraph (d) refers to the question of discrimination in the sphere of executive action. In the Instruments of Instructions the Governor is required, to differ from his Ministers if in his individual judgment their advice would have effects of the kind which it is the purpose of the said Chapter to prevent even though the advice so tendered to him is not in conflict with any specific provision of the said Act. In other words, the advice may not be in conflict with any law, but, in spite of that, the Governor can take action. That is a wide power to be entrusted to any one person. Only an exceptional individual should be entrusted with a power such as that. It is not a power which I should like to exercise, and it is a matter that should be settled by the courts. In all these cases we feel that the real safeguard should be the personal influence of the Governor in his day-today contact with the ministers. If an exceptional crisis arises he has always the power of veto. He has also the power of dismissing his ministers, of dissolving the Legislature, and of causing measures to be put on the Statute Book even without the approval of the Legislature. We think that, in view of these powers, the other special responsibilities should only be exercised in the case of grave crisis and that they should be more precisely defined in the way I have suggested. I hope that the Government will see fit to meet us on some of these point on the Report stage.

3.43 p.m.


This Clause deals with the special responsibilities of the Governor, and one of the responsibilities referred to him is the safeguarding of the legitimate interests of minorities. I want to know from the right hon. Gentleman how he thinks the legitimate interests of the minority in Sind will be looked after. There we have had the case in the last few years of a Hindu belonging to the minority being prosecuted for writing partial history, as it might be by Hilaire Belloc. He is two years under that charge, and while he is being tried he is seized by Mohammedans. Two men hold him while another sticks him with a knife. Justice is proceeded to be done on the murderer, and immediately a crowd of 20,000 people denounce the execution of the sentence and a riot which might have developed into a massacre at Karachi, is stopped by the action of British troops. It is stopped quite rightly. It is the responsibility of this House that such action is stopped and that we do not get mob violence in Karachi or in Sind. It is perfectly well known to the right hon. Gentleman that passions between Hindu and Mussulman run higher in Sind than in any part of India. How is the Governor to carry out his responsibility to the legitimate interests of the Hindus in that Province? Why is that Province being made? At present Sind is part of Bombay and is governed by the Governor of Bombay under the existing constitution—


That matter has been discussed already and does not arise on this Clause. I must remind the right hon. and gallant Gentleman that we cannot repeat the discussion.


In view of the news from India in. the last few hours it is exceedingly germane to this Clause. I want to ask the right hon. Gentleman how the new Governor of Sind is going to protect the interests of the minority there? We are handing over law and order, which at present is administered from the Centre. What sort of justice do you expect to get in that country under existing circumstances? How do you expect any Governor to manage to maintain law and order on his own? The issue in this Bill is how far we are going to hand over the administration of Provinces like Sind, and of Sind in particular, to people who are absolutely incapable of carrying out the administration of the districts on impartial lines? If the right hon. Gentleman were Governor of Sind and responsible for law and order there, what steps would he take, first, to see that a man is not murdered when he is being tried; second, to see that the murderer is executed; and, finally, to see that the results of that execution do not lead to a pogrom against the minority of Karachi?

3.46 p.m.

Wing-Commander JAMES

I want to thank the Secretary of State for accepting the two Amendments to this Clause on the Order Paper in my name and to express the hope that further investigation which I believe he will now undertake into the position of what used to be called the backward areas will show—


On a point of Order. Is that in order on this Clause?

Wing-Commander JAMES

—that when we reach the appropriate point the Secretary of State will find that some Amendments to the Sixth Schedule are necessary.

3.47 p.m.


I am sure that the Committee was interested in the many arguments used by the hon. Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Cocks) at the conclusion of our last sitting, which he resumed for the benefit of the Committee this afternoon. He wished the special responsibility under paragraph (a) of Clause 52 to be restricted in scope, as I understand him, on the lines of the proposal of the British India delegation to the Joint Select Committee. I can understand the principle of his argument, but I would remind the hon. Member that we had the privilege of discussing these points with members of the British India delegation, and the Committee will have bad the opportunity of reading their declaration which is attached to the volume of Records in the Report of the Joint Select Committee. I am afraid we have been unable to restrict this special responsibility any further. Its terms have been considered for several years, and we consider them the most suitable for giving the Governor in a particular Province the requisite powers to deal with any grave menace to the peace or tranquillity of his Province.

We think that if we further restrict these words we shall take away from the Governor powers which might be necessary to him in certain emergencies. The restrictions suggested by the hon. Member are therefore impossible to accept. The hon. Member's view of the relationship of the minister to the Governor is one which we cannot entirely accept. We believe naturally that the Governor should work with the minister and should use that tactful persuasion to which the hon. Member referred as much as possible. We do not deny that in the Governor's private relations with the minister there will be opportunities for consultation. At the same time we find it necessary, as we have explained before, to include the words for the purposes which I have outlined. With regard to the other special responsibilities, I think the same general remarks that I have just made in reply to the hon. Member apply to them.

We regard it as of first class importance that under paragraph (c) the the Governor should have the power to defend the interests of the services. We had a discussion on the wording of this on the Federal Clauses, and I do not think it would be proper for me to take the time of the Committee in repeating the arguments used on that occasion. In regard to paragraph (d), the words in the Instrument of Instructions are to give the Governor every power to see that in the executive field he has exactly the same power as is given to him administratively under Chapter III of Part V of this Bill. Therefore, we must keep the words in the Instrument of Instructions in order to be quite sure that in the realm of administration no action can be taken which would, in fact, be discriminatory, and so deprive the Governor of his power of intervention in such a case. As to the arguments of the right hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood), I should not myself like to use any words which would further exacerbate feeling or render the position in Sind more difficult at the present time. Therefore, I do not propose to follow him in arguing from that particular instance to the general, but I would say that in any regrettable emergency of a similar kind to that the Governor would be endowed with exactly the same powers, necessarily corresponding with the powers of to-day, to deal with that emergency.


Would the Hindus in Sind be classed as a minority. Would this Clause protecting minorities protect the Hindus?


Certainly, this Clause would cover a minority, and if the right hon. Gentleman will turn to the Instrument of Instructions he will see that full instructions are given to the Governor to deal with troubles of minorities in a very comprehensive manner. I would refer him to the instruction given to the future Governor of Sind, in whom, together with his officers, his Ministers and his services, we shall have exactly the same confidence as we have in the present administration in Sind.


Is it not a fact that the services in Sind will be strictly Mohammedan, that the Government will be a Mohammedan Government, and that law and order will be under Mohammedan administrators, and will the protection of the minority begin in the courts of justice and not begin when a riot has been started?

Captain FULLER

I wish to put one point with regard to the powers of the Governor, who is not able to declare martial law in a Province, because that is done by the Governor-General under proclamation. Under this Clause is the position of the Governor altered, or does it stand as it is to-day?


I do not think that point arises on this Clause.

Captain FULLER

I was referring to the question of peace and tranquillity in a Province.

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

The Committee divided: Ayes, 240; Noes, 39.

Division No. 112.] AYES. [3.55 p.m.
Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel Elfiston, Captain George Sampson Loftus, Pierce C.
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Emmott. Charles E. G. C. Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander
Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.) Emrys-Evans, P. V. Mabane, William
Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S. Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blk'pool) MacAndrew, Lt.-Col C. G. (Partick)
Apsley, Lord Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.) MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)
Assheton, Ralph Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) McEwen, Captain J. H. F.
Atholl, Duchess of Everard, W. Lindsay McLean, Major Sir Alan
Bailey, Eric Alfred George Fermoy, Lord McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)
Balille, Sir Adrian W. M. Fleiden, Edward Brocklehurst Macpherson, Rt. Hon. Sir Ian
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Flint, Abraham John Magnay, Thomas
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest
Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar Fox, Sir Gifford Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.
Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey Fremantle, Sir Francis Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.
Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th. C) Fuller, Captain A. G. Marsden, Commander Arthur
Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley Galbraith, James Francis Wallace Martin, Thomas B.
Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John
Bernays, Robert George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea) Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)
Blindell, James Gillett, Sir George Masterman Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)
Boulton, W. W. Glimour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)
Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart Glossop, C. W. H Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale
Bracken, Brendan Goff, Sir Park Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres
Brass, Captain Sir William Goldie, Noel B. Moreing, Adrian C.
Briscoe, Capt. Richard George Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)
Broadbent, Colonel John Gower, Sir Robert Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Univer'ties)
Brocklebank, C. E. R. Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas Morrison, William Shephard
Brown. Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd-, Hexham) Graves, Marjorie Muirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J.
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Grimston, R. V. Munro, Patrick
Brown, Brig.-G en. H. C.(Berks., Newb'y) Guy, J. C. Morrison Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.
Browne, Captain A. C. Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Z'tl'nd) Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Hanbury, Cecil Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)
Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie Hanley, Dennis A. Normand, Rt. Hon. Wilfrid
Burnett, John George Harris, Sir Percy Oman, Sir Charles William C.
Butler, Richard Austen Harvey, Major Sir Samuel (Totnes) Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M. Orr Ewing, I. L.
Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley) Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Patrick, Colin M.
Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford) Pearson, William G.
Caporn, Arthur Cecil Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Penny, Sir George
Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City) Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G. Percy, Lord Eustace
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Hornby, Frank Perkins, Walter R. D.
Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Horsbrugh, Florence Petherick, M.
Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Hugh Howitt, Dr. Alfred B. Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Blist'n)
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.(Birm., W) Hudson. Robert Spear (Southport) Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N.(Edgbaston) Hume, Sir George Hopwood Pownall, Sir Assheton
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Hurst, Sir Gerald B. Radford, E. A.
Cobb, Sir Cyril Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H. Raikes, Henry V. A. M.
Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Iveagh, Countess of Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)
Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J. Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)
Cooper, A. Duff James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Ramsden, Sir Eugene
Courtauld, Major John Sewell Jamleson, Douglas Rathbone, Eleanor
Courthope, Colonel Sir George L. Joel, Dudley J. Barnato Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry Jones, Lewis (Swansea, West) Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham-
Cranborne, Viscount Ker, J. Campbell Reid, David D. (County Down)
Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H. Kerr, Hamilton W. Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)
Crook, J. Smedley Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.
Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Kimball, Lawrence Rickards, George William
Dalkeith, Earl of Kirkpatrick, William M. Ropner, Colonel L.
Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C. Knight, Holford Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil) Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Rothschild, James A. de
Davison, Sir William Henry Lambert, Rt. Hon. George Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir Edward
Denman, Hon. R. D. Leech, Dr. J. W. Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)
Denville, Alfred Leighton, Major B. E. P. Rutherford, John (Edmonton)
Doran, Edward Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Salmon, Sir Isldore
Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel Levy, Thomas Salt, Edward W.
Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.) Lewis, Oswald Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)
Dunglass, Lord Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe- Samuel, M. R. A. (W'ds'wth, Putney).
Eden, Rt. Hon. Anthony Lloyd, Geoffrey Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Elliot, Rt. Hon. Walter Loder, Captain J. de Vera Sandys, Edwin Duncan
Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D. Strickland, Captain W. F. Wells, Sydney Richard
Savery, Samuel Servington Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F. White, Henry Graham
Shakespeare, Geoffrey H. Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart Whiteside, Borras Noel H.
Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D. Sutcliffe, Harold Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam) Thompson, Sir Luke Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)
Somervell, Sir Donald Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)
Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor) Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clamant Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George
Soper, Richard Turton, Robert Hugh Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley
Spencer, Captain Richard A. Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull) Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde) Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock) Worthington, Dr. John V.
Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'morland) Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S. Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Stevenson, James Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.
Stones, James Watt, Major George Steven H. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.
Strauss, Edward A. Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour- Captain Sir George Bowyer and
Sir Waiter Womersley.
Attlee, Clement Richard Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton) Mainwaring, William Henry
Banfield, John William Griffiths, George A. (Yorks, W. Riding) Maxton, James
Batey, Joseph Groves, Thomas E. Parkinson, John Allen
Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield) Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil) Salter, Dr. Alfred
Buchanan, George Jenkins, Sir William Smith, Tom (Normanton)
Cape, Thomas Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Thorne, William James
Cleary, J. J. Kirkwood, David Tinker, John Joseph
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah
Daggar, George Lawson, John James West, F. R.
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Logan, David Gilbert Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Lunn, William Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Davies, Stephen Owen Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)
Dobbie, William McEntee, Valentine L. TELLERS FOR THE NOES.
Gardner, Benjamin Walter Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) Mr. John and Mr. Paling.