HC Deb 30 May 1935 vol 302 cc1381-6

7.1 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 292, line 15, after "office," to insert: the power of the Governor-General to decide whether he is entitled to act in his discretion or exercise his individual judgment. As the House will realise the words which appear on the right-hand part of the page in the Second Schedule describe those parts of the Bill which cannot be amended without affecting the validity of the Instruments of Accession. These words which we propose to insert are words describing in general terms the provisions of Clause 9 (3) of the Bill. This clearly is one of those matters which should fall into the right-hand half of the page. It is a matter which affects the general structure of the Federation. It was an oversight that it was omitted in the first draft.

7.1 p.m.


Although I do not object to this Amendment, I think that the Government should have been more careful in drawing up the original Bill instead of bringing this Amendment here at the last hour on Report stage when no one really Understands what is happening. It is unfortunate that this important Amendment should be made at the last moment.

7.2 p.m.

Brigadier-General Sir HENRY CROFT

I should like to protest against what was said by the hon. Member who has just sat down. I consider that the drafting in this Bill has been one of the miracles of all Parliamentary history. When the House realises that it was impossible for the draftsmen to consider this Bill until the decision of the Joint Select Committee was reported, because everybody knew that that impartial body might come to a different conclusion at the end, it is nothing short of miraculous that this important Bill should have been drafted in a few weeks with so few errors.

7.4 p.m.


The hon. Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Cocks) was quite unfair in the attack which he made on the Government draftsmen, who on the whole have worked in a. most efficient way. The hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft) rather exaggerated. There have been mistakes, but I would like to take this occasion to say that the drafting of the Bill has been remarkable.


The drafting of the Bill hardly arises upon this Amendment.


I think that the Amendment as it stands is one which we are quite justified in accepting.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made: In page 292, line 23, after "States," insert "and the rights and dignity of their Rulers."

In line 26, leave out "the provisions relating to."

In line 31, after "Governor-General," insert "in his discretion."

In line 42, leave out from the first "of," to "in," in line 43, and insert "a Chamber of the Federal Legislature."

In page 293, line 3, leave out "significance," and insert "signification."—[The Solicitor-General.]

7.8 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 293, line 23, after "for," to insert: regulating the procedure of, and the conduct of business in, the Legislature in relation to matters where he acts in his discretion or exercises his individual judgment, and for. The Amendment slightly amplifies the words which were in the Schedule to start with to make it clear that it includes both provisos (a) and (c) of Clause 38. That was the original intention.

7.9 p.m.


I always hesitate to intervene in these matters, and I hope that the hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft) will not protest, but it seems to me a very extraordinary fact that first of all the Governor-General in the words of the Schedule can prohibit the discussion of or the asking of questions on any matter connected with any Indian State, and that now we are asked to proceed further and say that he may regulate the procedure and conduct of business in the Legislature.

7.10 p.m.


On a point of Order. The fact that he has these powers has already been accepted by the House under Clause 38. The only point which arises on this Amendment is how much the descriptive words cover what has already been settled.


Why does the Solicitor-General want to insert any words at all if it has been made clear beforehand

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made: In page 293, line 23, after "discussion," insert "of."

In line 25, after "with," insert "or the personal conduct of the Ruler or ruling family of."

Two consequential Amendments made.

7.12 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 294, line 3, to leave out from "laws," to the end of line 4, and to insert "for a State."

This Amendment merely substitutes the power of the Federal Legislature to make laws for a State for the words in the Schedule. We have slightly altered the terminology in the earlier parts of the Bill. The Amendment brings the Schedule into line with those alterations.

7.13 p.m.


I think that we ought to have a little more explanation of this Amendment, in view of the great importance of this Schedule to the States, because the words in the Bill would appear to be more comprehensive than the words which it is proposed to put in. I would like to hear a few words of explanation as to what is the motive of the Government and the reason why they have found out that the words in the Bill are not appropriate.

7.14 p.m.


I can set the hon. Baronet's mind at rest. The actual words in this Schedule do not affect the States at all. The words used in this Schedule are merely words descriptive of certain Clauses which the House has already passed, and the sole reason for this alteration of words is that in the Clause which is being described here, Clause 99 (1), the House decided to make the alteration. There is also a reference to paragraph (d), which has been amended on the Report stage, as the hon. Baronet would see if he had a copy of the Bill with the Report stage Amendments in. When I was speaking I was under the impression that the Amendments had been made in Committee, but they were made on Report stage, and this Amendment is moved to bring it into line with the alterations already made.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made: In page 294, line 10, leave out from "the," to the end of line 11, and insert "effect of inconsistencies."

In line 16, leave out from "matters," to the end of line 18, and insert: as respects which the Governor-General is required to act in his discretion.

In line 35, leave out from "the," to the end of line 37, and insert: Railway Tribunal and any matter with respect to which it has jurisdiction."—[Mr. Butler.]

7.18 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 295, line 2, to leave out "The whole Part," and to insert: save with respect to the eligibility of Rulers and subjects of Federated States for civil Federal office. As the House will remember, in the Bill as originally presented the Services Chapter had no reference to the States or the States' subjects. Amendments were introduced providing that the Rulers and their subjects in certain cases should be eligible for offices, and as the States are naturally concerned in the provisions which affect their subjects it is necessary to insert this Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made: In page 295, line 4, after "to," insert: the saving for rights and obligations of the Crown in its relations with Indian States; the use of His Majesty's forces in connection with the discharge of the functions of the Crown in its said relations; and.

In line 18, leave out from "Lists," to the end of line 20, and insert: in so far as the matters to which it relates have not been accepted by the State in question as matters with respect to which the Federal Legislature may make laws for that State."—[The Solicitor-General.]

7.20 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 295, line 27, at the end, to insert:

"Fifteenth Schedule The whole Schedule.
Sixteenth Schedule The whole Schedule."

This Amendment is consequential on the introduction of the two new Schedules.


If the alterations in the repealed Schedule are not to affect the conditions of accession to the Federation, will it not follow that future repeals will equally not have any effect; and may I also ask what would happen if any of the provisions repealed were afterwards revived


I am not clear whether I follow the hon. and gallant Member's question, which I do not think arises on this Amendment. The only reason for this Amendment is that two new Schedules have been added to the Bill, one relating to the provincial franchise in India and the other to the provincial franchise in Burma. He will agree that those are not Amendments with which the States are concerned, and therefore they are properly put into this Schedule, and that is all we effect by this Amendment.

Brigadier-General CLIFTON ROWN

I am afraid I may appear to be very stupid, but although there is a reference here to the 16th Schedule there is no 16th Schedule to the Bill.


May we have an answer to that question


This is not, I think, in any sense confusing to those who are dealing with the matter and understand it, but when we have been making such changes as we have been there are difficulties in getting things adjusted. I am accurate in stating that the only effect of the Amendment is to deal with these two new Schedules. I apologise for the fact that I am referring to the 16th Schedule when the Bill has not at the moment a Schedule which is the 16th, but I can assure the House that what they are asked to do is all right.

Amendment agreed to.