HC Deb 30 May 1935 vol 302 cc1389-93

I beg to move, in page 308, line 7, at the end, to insert: 12. This Schedule shall have effect as if any reference therein to an officer, noncommissioned officer, or soldier of His Majesty's regular military forces included a reference to an officer or man of any British India police force, not being an officer or man who has been dismissed or discharged from that force for disciplinary reasons.

7.30 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 305, at the end of the Table, to insert:

The Amendment fulfils an undertaking that we gave in Committee to add retired members of the police force to those who will get the franchise.

Amendment agreed to.


I beg to move, in page 308, line 34, after "language," to insert "or dialect."

This is to fulfil an undertaking which was given to the hon. and gallant Member for Wycombe (Sir A. Knox) that we should consider words in order to alter the definition of "language." We have compounded our original definition with that which was suggested, and have arrived at words which, I think, carry out the promise we gave on the Committee stage. The Amendment which follows this is consequential upon it.

Amendment agreed to. Further Amendments made:

In page 308, line 34, at the end, insert: being a language or dialect in common use in some part of India.

In page 309, line 32, leave out "any," and insert "a."—[Mr. Butler.]

7.34 p.m.

Major-General Sir ALFRED KNOX

I beg to move, in page 311, line 39, after "forces," to insert: the Indian auxiliary force, the volunteer force, or the Indian defence forces.

This is the Amendment which I moved during the Committee stage and then withdrew, because I understood that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster promised to give the suggestion favourable consideration. There is no sign of this favourable consideration in the Bill. The right hon. Gentleman specially said that he would take into consideration the possibility of giving the franchise to officers and men of the auxiliary forces.

7.35 p.m.

Duchess of ATHOLL

I beg to second the Amendment. I understand that of the three forces mentioned in the Amendment neither the volunteer force nor the Indian Defence Force now exists. Therefore, the number of men referred to under these heads cannot be very great, and must be a diminishing number. We have to remember that the Indian auxiliary service is one in which Anglo-Indians serving on the railway have to give service. It is an obligation Which does not have to be undertaken by Indians serving on the railway, and if this service could be made a qualification for the franchise it would be a very appropriate way of recognising the valuable and loyal service which Anglo-Indians have rendered, are rendering and, we hope, will render on the railways and other services. I am very much obliged to the Government for having included retired police officers in the list of those who will be qualified, because that is very important, but having done that, the Government, by leaving out retired members of the auxiliary forces, make a definite omission, and the gap might very suitably be filled.

7.37 p.m.


The hon. and gallant Member for Wycombe (Sir A. Knox) referred to the consideration promised by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on the Committee stage. We have not had time to get the full information, because it necessitated inquiry not only of the Central Government of India but of Provincial Governments. We shall continue to look into the matter with the same sympathy, pending the full information, and I hope hon. Members will realise that, if it be acceptable, this Amendment will have to be made in another place.

7.38 p.m.


I thank the hon. Gentleman for the spirit in which he has dealt with the Amendment. May I remind him how great are the obligations which may fall upon this force, and that these obligations are not comparable with those of such forces in other countries? I think I am right in saying that there have been occasions in very serious disturbances, such as the rebellion in the Punjab, when these forces had to be mobilised at very short notice. They stand in a different category from the forces which, one might say, are exercising the hobby of civilian defence in other parts of the Empire. I hope that the Government will give very serious consideration to this matter.


In view of what the Under-Secretary has said, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

7.39 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 323, line 8, to leave out "ii," and to insert "(11)."

This is to correct a printing error.

Amendment agreed to.


I beg to move, in page 330, line 27, to leave out "malba of a house," and to insert: has throughout that period owned malba of a. house in the Province of not less than that value. This is a technical Amendment which describes more clearly the position in regard to malba. The depressed classes in the rural areas of the Punjab do not normally own the sites of their houses but own the building material, And on that basis they are receiving the franchise.

Amendment agreed to.

7.40 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 334, to leave out lines 32 to 44.

It, will be remembered that the House decided that the allocation of Christian seats in Bihar shall be indirectly elected by bodies representing the Catholic and Protestant Associations in that Province. The wish has been expressed to us, in view of the similarity of the interests between certain of the Indian Christians and others in the general constituency, particularly in the Aboriginal areas, that it would be advisable to give them an opportunity of having this extra vote in the general constituency. This is a special request from the Province, and the Amendment would be very much appreciated by the Indian Christian community.

7.41 p.m.


The Under-Secretary not long ago moved an Amendment to correct a printing error. May I point out that this Amendment ought to refer to lines 33 to 35, because otherwise we shall be leaving out words which we do not intend to leave out? I think there is a mistake.


It certainly appears at first sight that that is so. If it is so, we shall correct it.


It is all right. Amendment agreed to.


I beg to move, in page 343, line 18, to leave out "council," and to insert "board."

This is a drafting Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.