HC Deb 21 May 1935 vol 302 cc980-1

4.47 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 113, line 12, to leave out "State," and to insert: railways of the State or imposes on the State an obligation to afford facilities which are not in the circumstances reasonable.? This Clause deals with a direction by the Authority in connection with unfair discrimination. The Amendment is designed to meet the criticism emanating from the States that the States might suffer serious losses owing to their railways being required to provide special facilities in times of emergency to the detriment of their traffic and the earnings of their railways. In the State of Hyderabad there are very efficient and well managed railways, and the Amendment enables a State in such a case to appeal to the Tribunal and obtain compensation or damages if they are in a position to establish their complaint. The insertion of the words "railways of the State" for State is merely for the purpose of making it plain that such unfair discrimination is in connection merely with railway traffic.

4.48 p.m.


I was not clear about the reason which the Attorney-General gave for the possibility of a complaint of discrimination. He mentioned the movement of troops, but surely Indian States are as concerned with the defence of India, as British India is.


I referred to times of emergency. I did not say anything about troops.


Let us take the case of an emergency. Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman mean to say that it would give rise to a claim on the part of a State if it were necessary to use the railways to move troops? We should be careful not to put the States in a position different from the rest of India in matters of common interest.

4.49 p.m.


I should like to supplement the remarks of the hon. Member for Limehouse (Mr. Attlee) and to put another point to the learned Attorney. Let us assume a state of famine in India. Is it not reasonable that the Federal Government should require the full services of the Railways of a State, which is, after all, part of the Federation, in order to deal with the exceptional traffic needed for the movement of food supplies, without having to pay extra compensation. Surely a State has a duty to the peoples of the Federation as British India has, and it is only reason able that the railways of a State should be as much at the disposal of the Governor-General as any other railways.

4.50 p.m.


That is true, but I cannot think my hon. Friend has sufficiently studied the Amendment. He will see that the words proposed to be inserted refer to facilities which are not in the circumstances reasonable.


Who determines that?


The Railway Tribunal. The Clause states that any such complaint shall be determined by the Railway Tribunal. With reference to the point raised by the hon. Member for Limehouse (Mr. Attlee), the same observation will probably dispose of his difficulty. If there were what I may call an all-India emergency, which requires the railway of the State to be used for the purposes of the defence of the whole country, I have no doubt that that would not be treated as discrimination of the character for which compensation is intended to be provided by this machinery.

Amendment agreed to.