HC Deb 28 March 1935 vol 299 cc2127-44

5.29 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 71, line 35, to leave out from "prescribe" to the end of the Clause, and to add: conditions as to professional or technical qualifications shall have effect so as to preclude any person who, immediately before the coming into operation of any conditions so prescribed, was lawfully practising any profession, carrying on any business, or holding any office in British India, from continuing to practise that profession, carry on that business, or hold that office, or from doing anything in the course of that profession or business, or in the discharge of the duties of that office which he could lawfully have done if those conditions had not come into operation. (2) No Bill or amendment which prescribes, or empowers any authority to prescribe, the professional or technical qualifications which are to be requisite for any purpose in British India or which imposes, or empowers any authority to impose, by reference to any professional or technical qualification, any liability, restriction, or condition in regard to the practising of any profession, the carrying on of any business, or the holding of any office in British India, shall be introduced or moved in either Chamber of the Federal Legislature without the previous sanction of the Governor-General in his discretion, or in a Chamber of a Provincial Legislature without the previous sanction of the Governor in his discretion. (3) No ordinance, order, bye-law, rule, or regulation made under the provisions of any Federal or Provincial Law or under any law in force when Part III. of this Act comes into operation, which prescribes the professional or technical qualifications which are to be requisite for any purpose in British India, or imposes by reference to any professional or technical qualification any liability, restriction, or condition in regard to the practising of any profession. the carrying on of any business or the holding of any office in British India, shall come into operation until the Governor-General or the Governor, as the case may be, shall, in the exercise of his individual judgment, have signified his approval thereof. This Clause is intended to provide protection for persona, whether Indian or British, who are possessed of adequate qualifications to practise a profession in India. The Clause in the Bill gives unduly wide protection to those who are practising a profession in British India, or performing any functions in British India, and no protection is given to those who may be going to engage in a profession between the time of the passing of the Bill and the time when some professional qualifications are prescribed under an Act of an Indian Legislature. This Amendment seeks to do three things. In the first place, it seeks to restrict the protection to what I may call vested interests by defining more precisely those whom it is intended to protect. Under the words in the Bill—"holding any office or performing any functions in British India"—

it is probable that even a headman of a village would be included, and I do not think that is the intention of the Government. Secondly, the Amendment extends protection to those who begin to engage in a profession during the time that will elapse between the passing of this Bill and the passing of an Act of the Indian Legislature prescribing these qualifications. Thirdly, my Amendment seeks to make the previous sanction of the Governor necessary before any such new qualifications take effect. This is obviously the part of the Amendment which the Committee will expect me to justify. The European community made representations to the Joint Select Committee that some steps should be taken to prevent Indian Legislatures from prescribing, directly or indirectly, qualifications for the practising of professions in India which would have the effect of preventing Indians or Englishmen holding high British qualifications from practising professionally.

Nothing in this Amendment is doing anything to force European professional men upon India, it does not endeavour to compel India to employ people with European qualifications, but only to prevent people with European qualifications from being disqualified from practising professionally in India. This claim can be justified both on the grounds of the great services rendered to India in the past by European engineers, veterinary surgeons and others, who have gone out there and both by their own work and by their teaching have done so much to raise the standard of the professions in India. Further, the claim is made because the Committee have already passed a number of Clauses the purpose of which is to protect the European commercial community in India, and it is obviously necessary that they should be able to employ, shall I say, accountants who hold the qualifications of the well-known professional bodies in this country to audit their accounts, and that a company working a coal mine in Behar should be able to employ a mine manager with high British qualifications.

We ask, therefore, that any Bill which either prescribes directly the qualifications, or which sets up some professional body with power to prescribe qualifications, shall not be introduced without the prior assent of the Governor or Governor-General. We also ask that it-shall be made abundantly clear in the Instrument of Instructions that any such Bill shall be reserved for the signification of His Majesty's pleasure. At the same time this protection would, in our view, be quite useless if it did not extend to the making of Rules by Indian bodies like the General Medical Council or the Dental Board in this country. It would be possible to have a Bill, quite innocuous on the face of it, which might receive the Governor's prior assent and then be reserved and obtain His Majesty's approval, and yet for the professional boards set up to issue subsequently rules which would, in effect, be discriminatory and prevent people with European qualifications from practising in India. Therefore, we ask that any rules of that kind shall not come into effect unless they have received the approval of the Governor or the Governor-General as the case may be. That should apply not only in the case of all Federal and Provincial Acts passed in future, but to the case of barristers and solicitors, where there is at present rule-making power prescribing the qualifications of those who may practise. We ask that this Amendment may be accepted, because it seems to be the least condition which it is essential that Parliament should lay down in order that, in future, there may be adequate protection against a discrimination which, we believe, would not only be harmful to the community in India but also postpone the day when Indian qualifications will in all respects be equal to those in Europe.

5.37 p.m.


In supporting the-Amendment, I wish to call the attention of my right hon. and learned Friend to the position of English and Indian solicitors, which affords a valuable example of reciprocity and has worked very well for many years. A long time ago Rules were made by the High Courts of Madras, Bombay and Bengal, under Letters Patent, admitting fully qualified English solicitors to practise there. All they had to do was to produce a certificate of their admission in England, to pay a small fee, and to produce a satisfactory testimonial as to character. Thirty-five years ago we extended the same privileges to Indian solicitors from Madras, Bombay or Bengal. Under the Colonial Solicitors' Act, those privileges could be granted by Order-in-Council, and Orders-in-Council relating to Madras, Bombay and Bengal were made in 1905. In this matter Indians here are in exactly the same position as Englishmen in those three Provinces. I agree that this concession has been more advantageous to the English solicitor than to the Indian, because very few Indians have come here to practise, but the door has been opened and is open still, and it may be that in future more Indian solicitors, fully qualified in India, will practise here. I believe that up to the present the number who have come is only three.

Clause 118 is fully protective of the rights of English lawyers practising in India as far as those who are there now are concerned, but, as my hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster (Mr. Molson), has pointed out, it does not protect those who may go to India. I am told that there are many highly-reputable firms who have practised for many years in India and that they have a large clientèle, including a large number of Indians as well as Europeans. They may want to recruit fresh members from England, but unless we pass some protection of this sort it may not be possible for an English-qualified solicitor to be allowed to practise in Madras, Bombay or Bengal without passing examinations or being subject to restrictions which might make his position impossible. If that were so, old-established firms would die out, they must die, because they cannot get recruits, and that would be a very bad thing for India, a very bad thing for the English living in India, and also a very bad thing for the Indians, who do rely very much on English firms.

There is a further point on which I particularly wish to ask the opinion of my right hon. and learned Friend. The admission of English solicitors in India depends on Letters Patent issued by the three High Courts of Bombay, Madras or Bengal. I do not know how far Subsection (3) of the Amendment of my hon. Friend would make the consent of the Governor-General necessary before any restrictions were imposed. The words of that Sub-section are: No ordinance, order, bylaw, rule or regulation made under the provisions of any Federal or Provincial Law. I am not at all sure that rules made by a court under Letters Patent are made under the provisions of any Federal or Provincial law. I feel that I am in default over this, because I ought to have brought up an Amendment to deal with that specific point, which is a very important one; but I must plead in extenuation that the facts of the case were only put into my hand at half-past two this afternoon, and it was impossible for me to frame an Amendment in the interval. But I do plead most earnestly with my right hon. and learned Friend to consider this point, and, if necessary, to introduce words on the Report stage. I would only say in conclusion, that in the past we have for many years maintained an open door for Indians qualified in India, who can come here and be admitted to practise on signing a very simple form—it is on the back of the Order-in-Council—and paying a small fee. No term of service is exacted from them, and they are not asked to pass any examination. They come here on the same terms as Englishmen go out to India. All I ask is that the free entrance of Englishmen into India should be maintained.

5.46 p.m.


The hon. Member who moved the Amendment stated the broad case for it. The right hon. and gallant Member for Ripon (Major Hills) has based a special argument on it, on behalf of the legal profession. I do not wish to waste the time of the Committee in following what they have said, but I would express my strong sympathy with them. I rise to call attention to another body of professional men, the chartered accountants, whose profession is likely to be of great importance to business in India. The chartered accountants of the country have a reputation which is absolutely unexceptionable all over the world; they are accepted everywhere. It is of extreme importance, from the business point of view, that British standards of chartered accountancy should be maintained in India. Special attention is given in the Bill to the claims of the medical profession. The Clause which follows the one which we are discussing, makes all sorts of special provisions and reserves rights to medical men in India with English diplomas and qualifications. I imagine the argument to be, although I am not familiar with the profession myself, that the standards which are to be set up in regard to medical practice and qualification in India shall, so far as possible, be as good as our own. That is the argument for seeing that people with our own diplomas shall not be excluded from India or disqualified for that reason. I hope that my right hon. Friend when he comes to speak upon the Amendment will explain why it is that such special attention should be given to the medical profession and such small attention paid to other professions, which have their importance, as I am sure my right hon. Friend will agree.

5.49 p.m.


I support the Amendment almost on personal grounds, and also because I feel that discrimination against professional men is bad in every sense of the word. Probably I am the only Member of this Committee who has ever spent a night on Ellis Island. I did so because of the discrimination against British chartered accountants in the United States. Owing to some slight misunderstanding I found myself on Ellis Island for one unforgettable night in my life.

On broader grounds, I feel that discrimination against professional men is thoroughly bad from the point of view of the country which is seeking to keep them out, because efficiency should not be barred, and it would be an advantage to such a country to have the services of efficient professional men. The hon. Member for Altrincham (Sir E. Grigg) mentioned chartered accountants. Chartered accountants are not the only branch of accountancy who have been recognised in India. I am a chartered accountant, but in all fairness I should bring to the attention of the Committee the fact that there are five other associations or institutes which have been recognised in the Indian Companies Act, 1913. They are the Institute of Chartered Accountants, the Society of Incorporated Accountants, the Society of Accountants in Edinburgh, the Institute of Accountants and Actuaries in Glasgow, the Society of Accountants in Aberdeen and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland. Those bodies have been recognised, and I feel that it would be a great pity, from the point of view of industry generally, if any member of those bodies at any time in the future were not allowed to practise in India. We have a trade with India worth from £400,000,000 to £500,000,000 in estimated capital value.

Other Clauses in the Bill indicate a desire that the close industrial relationships between this country and India should continue. As long as those relationships continue, there should be perfectly free access to professional men. We do not want to stop Indians from coming into this country, and as long as they give their proper qualifications they are at the present moment in a position to practise as accountants in this country. Therefore, there is good reason for us to ask for equal treatment with that which, I understand, is being given to medical men in Clause 119. We accountants like to think, in our more exalted moments, that we act as medical men to industrial concerns, and we feel that we should like the same treatment as that great profession.

5.52 p.m.


I very strongly support the Amendment which has been moved so well by the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Molson) and spoken to by several hon. Members. I would emphasise one point. In supporting the proposal that consideration be given to professional men, I am speaking partly from the business point of view. I confirm what has already been said about the enormous interests which this country has in Indian trade, amounting to between £400,000,000 and £500,000,000 a year. I, who am not an accountant, can speak with a knowledge of what is felt by the Associated Chambers of Commerce, and business men generally. I feel most strongly that it is most important that we should guard the position of these professional men upon whom so much depends in our business relations with India. If Indian businesses are not properly looked after by those who are expert out there, there will always be the danger of difficult questions arising. It is for that reason, not only in my own name, but speaking, as I can do, in the name of the business community of this country, that I urge fair consideration, which I know my right hon. Friend will give, for the Amendment which has been so well proposed.

5.54 p.m.


I do not see anywhere in the Bill a definition of the word "profession." I suppose we may take it that the interpretation will be that which we put upon the word in this country. There are people who would like to have their calling named a profession but who are not, in ordinary parlance, entitled to be called professional men. I am not anxious to enter into a controversy in regard to the main principle behind the Clause, but I would like the Attorney-General to tell me whether my anxiety on one point is well or ill-founded. As I understand it, the effect of the Amendment will be that no new conditions as to professional or technical qualifications shall be proposed without the prior consent of the Governor-General. I am thinking of a calling in relation to which we legislated a few years ago in this country, that of dentistry. The dentist is not one of the categories of medical service mentioned in the next Clause. Does this Amendment mean that in regard to people whom we call quacks in this country and who are in the habit of practising dentistry, as used to be the case in this country before we altered the law by introducing a technical or professional qualification, the central Parliament could not do anything without first having the consent of the Governor-General to the introduction of a Bill to deal with the matter?

The other point I am not sure is a good one, but I submit it. This is a very widely drafted Amendment. It says "any business." There are all sorts of undesirable businesses. Does this Amendment mean that those who follow them are entitled to call them businesses, although in fact they are undesirable? Do I understand that the effect of this Amendment would be that the Indian Assembly would not be entitled to legislate in order to remove an undesirable business without first having the prior consent of the Governor-General? There is, for example, the trade in poisonous drugs. [An HON. MEMBER: "It is a profession."] No, it is a business. In a case like that, would the Central Legislature be precluded from legislating in connection with it without first having the consent of the Governor-General? We should not, in pursuing a quite laudable ambition, circumscribe too much the powers of the Central Parliament.


I suggest that the hon. Member is going too far. The Clause is limited to profession, or from being appointed to or holding any office or performing any functions. I do not think that the seller of poisonous drugs is a professional man, nor is he being appointed to any office within the meaning of the Clause.


May I quote the passage to which I was referring and upon which I based my remarks? It is in the fourth line of the Amendment and says: was lawfully practising any profession, carrying on any business. That is the business.


I beg the hon. Member's pardon.


I have no objection to the principle of the Amendment as long as it is understood that it is based purely and simply upon the principle of reciprocity.

5.59 p.m.


My hon. Friend who moved this Amendment spoke of the effect of the Sub-sections into which the Amendment is divided-He pointed out to the Committee that the intention and effect of the first Subsection is to prevent a Federal or Provincial law, which prescribes conditions as to professional or technical qualifications, from interfering with what he described as the vested interests of anybody practising his profession in India at the present time. So far as that Sub- section is concerned, it is in substance, though drafted in a rather different way, the proposal which is in the Bill. It is slightly tightening it up. The Sub-section in my hon. Friend's Amendment makes it quite plain that the subject matter which is being dealt with is only professional or technical qualifications. That is not quite clear from the Clause as it stands in the Bill, and, therefore the first Sub-section of the Amendment tightens up, if anything, the provisions contained in the Bill, and states them in a slightly different way.

The second Sub-section of the Amendment is an addition to anything contained in the Bill. It provides that no Bill or Amendment which prescribes professional or technical qualifications, or empowers any authority to prescribe such qualifications, shall be moved or discussed without the previous sanction of the Governor-General acting in his discretion, or of the Governor in the case of a Province. This is an addition to the Bill, and I think there is a general feeling in the Committee, subject to the point raised by the hon. Gentleman opposite, that there is no objection to it. At any rate, the Government are prepared to accept the first Sub-section, and this second Sub-section also. I will deal in a moment with the point raised by the hon. Gentleman opposite.

The third Sub-section goes a good deal further, because it says that no rule or regulation or order made by an authority acting under statutory powers is to be valid until it has had the approval of the Governor-General or the Governor, as the case may be. The effect of that provision would be to bring under the control to that extent of the Governor-General or the Governor every single order or regulation or rule that might be made by the body which has control in any particular profession. It can be illustrated by my own profession, that of the Bar. Supposing that there is a Bar Council, and it is charged under statutory authority with the duty of regulating the discipline of the Bar, or the conditions under which people may be admitted to practise as advocates, its regulations would have to come under the cognisance of the Governor-General and be approved by him.

It is obviously convenient that professional bodies should be under some committee or council charged with that particular duty in relation to their profession. To take a calling such as that of practice under the Midwives Act, if the third Sub-section of my hon. Friend's Amendment were accepted it would require that every rule or regulation made in connection with that calling should come under the sanction of the Governor-General. Anybody can see that that is a very far-reaching proposal. I think that, broadly speaking, most of us would say that a profession ought to be given, subject to certain limits, the power of regulating the affairs of the persons who practise that profession. Whether they be accountants, or dentists, or lawyers, they should each, subject no doubt in case of necessity to certain statutory provisions setting up the proper controlling authority, manage their own affairs.

In the case of the professions which have been mentioned this afternoon, there is such a statutory authority, and the internal affairs of those professions are regulated under that authority. Again taking the Bar as an illustration, the Indian Bar Councils Act provides that the Bar Council set up by the Act shall, subject to rules approved by the High Court, regulate the qualifications of persons to be admitted to practise as attorneys or advocates. If this third Subsection of the Amendment were accepted as it is, every single rule or regulation made by the Bar Council acting under that Statute would have to come before the Governor-General. So far as persons who desire to be admitted to practise as solicitors are concerned, that matter, as my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Ripon (Major Hills) pointed out, is dealt with by the High Court itself, and the chartered accountants, as was pointed out by my hon. Friend the Member for Darlington (Mr. Peat), are dealt with in accordance with powers given by the Indian Companies Acts to the Governor-General in Council to approve certain representative groups of accountants as those who are entitled to practise that profession. I gather that my hon. Friend the Member for Darlington recognises that the degree of control exercised under the Indian Companies Act is sufficient to give the profession in India the protection that it requires, and then the different bodies that have been chosen by the Governor-General will regulate their own affairs. I should think my hon. Friend would probably demur to any proposal that every little rule or regulation, or amendment of a rule or regulation, made by those different bodies in the case of his own profession of chartered accountant, should have to be submitted for approval to the Governor-General.

We are not concerned with the medical profession. I do not know what the position may be with regard to the dentists, or the engineers, or many other professions that could be mentioned, but it is obvious that the medical profession have one great advantage over almost every other profession, except possibly that of the Bar, in that they are better organised. They have one general body that speaks for them in this country, and it is not difficult to arrange for reciprocity in the recognition of degrees and diplomas obtained in the two countries concerned; and that position is preserved by a Clause to which we shall come later.

I have pointed out the difficulties of dealing with this matter in the Way proposed in the third Sub-section of the Amendment, but, on the other hand, the Government do recognise that there should be a certain freedom, on the part of the companies or firms who carry on businesses or professions in India, to choose their technical or professional advisers. It would certainly not be convenient, and I imagine it would not be desired even by Indian firms, that they should be precluded from choosing professional men in whom they have confidence, whether British or Indian, to act as their advisers. I think I am right in saying—my hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Sir J. Wardlaw-Milne) will check me of I am wrong—that there are many Indian business firms and companies that do prefer to place their confidence in a professional man who is a British subject domiciled in this country, but carrying on his profession in India. Therefore, whether one looks at the matter from the point of view of the professional man who wants to preserve his existing right to practise his profession, or from the point of view of the British or Indian firm who want to have a free choice of their technical and professional advisers, it seems desirable to take care that such freedom is preserved.

I am not satisfied that the Sub-section proposed by my hon. Friend is anything like the right sort of proposal. For the reasons I have mentioned, it seems to me to put upon the Governor something with which we think he ought not to be charged. Moreover, it puts the central professional bodies too much under what we should call the control of the Governor, and I believe that none of the professions would really desire that. If we may look at this matter with the most anxious care, to discover a proposal which will preserve the freedom which probably everybody in India desires as to the choice of the best possible adviser, whether he be a British subject domiciled in India or in this country, we will do our best to discover suitable words. Therefore, I propose, on behalf of the Government, to accept the first two parts of the Amendment, but not the third. We will look into the third part, and try to take care that some form of Clause is devised to effect the object I have mentioned. I do not think there can be any idea that the Government would be in a position to guarantee for ever, regardless of qualifications which may properly be required for carrying on a profession in India, a right to practise that profession.

For instance, I can conceive, even in my own profession, that it would be perfectly proper to require that a member of the Bar or a solicitor in India should have some working acquaintance with what may very likely become a much more complicated system of law, namely, Indian law, and I believe I am right in saying that even at the present time certain requirements of that sort are imposed upon members of the Bar who come from Ireland. I may be wrong, but at any rate it does not seem to be unreasonable that there should be that right in the future. I cannot demand that a man acquainted with our English law should at all times be qualified as of right to practise the profession of a barrister in India, it may be that in the future it will be right to impose some additional qualifications upon him. But, although I recognise that, it does not interfere with the desire of the Government to maintain that freedom of choice which we think is essential to the efficient carrying on of business in India, and essential to the freedom which I am sure everyone would desire from both points of view.

With regard to the question asked by the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones), at the moment I am not quite clear that I can answer it definitely and conclusively, but I rather think that the hon. Member's fears are unfounded. He asks: Will the form of the first two Sub-sections of the Amendment prevent the Indian Legislature from legislating so as to stop a quack from practising what he would call his profession? I think the Sub-sections as drafted would not in the least prevent the Legislature, if a man is going to carry on some calling which he calls a profession, but which people who are really in the profession do not recognise as their profession, from legislating in that matter. Taking the case of a man who goes about as a quack selling some pills which he has himself devised, and calling himself a doctor, there is nothing to prevent the Legislature from saying that a man who does not possess the qualifications which the real medical profession requires should be prevented from carrying on that calling, at any rate unless he makes it quite plain that he is a vendor of pills and not a medical man.


I am much obliged to the learned Attorney-General, but I am still not convinced. I gave an illustration with regard to dentistry. In this country some years ago anyone who cared to do so could practise dentistry. We brought that to an end by imposing a technical or professional qualification, did we not? How can you bring that to an end in India without having some conditions as to professional or technical qualifications? I am still not clear about the matter, and I hope that I am not being unduly critical.


I agree with the hon. Gentleman that the point is an important one, but I should have thought that it could be met by the provisions of Sub-section (2), which do not raise an absolute bar against an act prescribing professional or technical qualifications, but simply say that such a Bill should not be moved without the sanction of the Governor-General, and I should have thought that this sanction would clearly be given in such a case as that which the hon. Gentleman has raised. Will he allow me to look further into the drafting of this Clause? I propose on behalf of the Government that the Committee should accept the Amendment, but I will certainly look at the words a little more under a microscope to see whether it is quite clear that there should be no interference with the power of the Legislature to say that people shall not practise a profession, appropriately so-called, unless they really have professional qualifications. These Clauses are not intended to interfere with that power of the Indian Legislatures.

The hon. Gentleman asked me one other question as to the meaning of the word "profession." It is a word which is often used in our British Acts of Parliament as explaining itself, and it has often been treated as a question of fact. For instance, under the Income Tax Acts, whether a man is carrying on a profession or not, it is used in a way that we ought to understand, and do understand, broadly speaking, but if it is necessary to put in words defining a profession in any way we will consider that point also. The upshot of the principle of what I have tried to lay before the Committee is that, if my hon. Friend will move his Amendment, with the consent of the Chairman and the Committee in the form of the first two Sub-sections, the Government will be prepared to accept those Sub-sections, keeping open the objects which are aimed at and which underlie the third Sub-section for further consideration to see whether or not we can carry out his desires.


We ought to be very careful to get this matter in right order. The hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Molson) has already proposed his whole Amendment, although the only question actually put to the Committee was, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause." The most convenient course will probably be, after we have got rid of the words proposed to be left out, for the learned Attorney-General then to move, as an Amendment to the Amendment, to leave out the third Sub-section.

6.19 p.m.


I would like to say how grateful I feel towards my right hon. and learned Friend for the attitude he has taken in this matter, and at the same time to say how grateful we are to the officials of the Secretary of State who have taken a great deal of trouble and given a lot of time to the consideration of this very important question. I do not in the least wish to press the Government to go further than they have gone at the moment, except that I want to get one point clear. Do I understand from what my right hon. and learned Friend has said that omitting the third Sub-section from the Amendment of my hon. Friend means that we can look to the Government to bring forward some suggestion or proposal before the Report stage and at the Report stage to deal with the point raised in that particular part of the Amendment? If that be the case, I shall be perfectly satisfied, but I want to impress; on the Government the very great importance of this part of the Amendment of my hon. Friend. It would be useless in our view to pass legislation which would ensure that an Act required the consent of the Governor or Governor-General, if it were possible to pass an Act which empowered the making of rules which did not require such consent or the consent of anybody at all. That is the difficulty we are in. I am in agreement with the undesirability of professional bodies being too much under the rule of government, but it is a fact that, except in the cases which he gave, those of the Bar and of medicine, there are no really corresponding bodies in India at the present time in other professions. Everybody hopes that they will grow up, and if they do, so much the better. But we have to legislate for the fact that they do not exist at the present time, and therefore I impress on my right hon. and learned Friend the necessity for the third Sub-section of this Amendment. I assume that we shall have a revised proposal before the Report stage?


My hon. Friend may certainly assume that it is the definite intention of the Government to bring forward a revised proposal to try to meet the point of view of my hon. Friends.

6.22 p.m.


Will my right hon. and learned Friend give special consideration to solicitors? I believe that the Bar and the legal profession are the only two professions mentioned which are reciprocal. Solicitors open their doors to Indians, and I believe the Bar does the same, and since the admission of English solicitors to India does not depend upon any Act of Parliament of either Federal or Provincial governments, can he devise something in Sub-section (3) to deal with the point, or will he, if I submit an Amendment to deal with the special case of solicitors, give the Amendment consideration?


I am afraid that I cannot undertake to give any special treatment to a particular profession. What I have said dealt with the subject as a whole, and I would only point out to my right hon. and gallant Friend that so far as solicitors are concerned, it is impossible to alter the conditions under which they are permitted to practise their profession without legislation. Sub-section (2), which it is proposed to accept, will require the sanction of the Governor-General for any legislation of the sort, and therefore I should have thought that their position is secured and enabled to be dealt with in the same way as other professions.

Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause," put, and negatived.

Amendment made to the proposed Amendment: In line 17, leave out Subsection (3).—[The Attorney-General.]

Proposed words, as amended, there inserted.

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

6.25 p.m.


May I make a brief reference to a subject which has not received any attention in the earlier part of the discussion of the Clause? We on this bench fully accept the inevitable conclusion that business men in India in future will be entitled to prescribe the conditions under which their professions will be managed, and we believe that this Clause adequately meets the case of people who are in actual practice immediately before the passage of the Act, but we have received notifications, which, I believe, are quite genuine, from people who will not in all probability be in actual practice at the time of the passage of the Act, but who have been practising some profession in the previous days, and hope to be able to do so in future. Would it not be possible to introduce a form of words to meet the case of these people?


I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman has been out of the House, but we have been discussing this matter for an hour, and have made an Amendment on this point.


I apologise very sincerely, I was unavoidably away, and unaware that the particular point had been raised.