§ 2. Mr. MAXTON
asked the Under-Secretary of State for India the reasons why the Indian police seized and withheld from circulation copies of a book called "Modern Government," by Sir Ernest Benn?
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Mr. Butler)
I understand from the authorities in India that no copies of this book have been withheld from circulation in India. Some copies were scrutinised on arrival, but were passed on after examination.
§ Mr. MAXTON
Can the hon. Gentleman say what were the reasons for seizing a book of this description, and how long the detention for scrutiny has lasted?
§ Mr. BUTLER
In this case it lasted, according to unofficial information, about a week. There are certain powers taken by the authorities in India to investigate literature that goes into the country. If it is of an objectionable nature it is detained for further action, but in this case the book was passed on as soon as possible.
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
How could the authorities in India even suppose that this book had anything objectionable in it?
§ Sir PERCY HARRIS
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this writer is the personification of individualism and private enterprise, and does not every man know what Sir Ernest Benn stands for?
Can the hon. Gentleman tell us who are the people, and what education have they, who make the survey of these books? Are they totally ignorant?
§ Mr. BUTLER
My Noble Friend is well aware of the considerations which the right hon. Gentleman has in mind, but there have to be these powers to investigate literature. I regret that in this case 827 there was any delay at all, but for the reasons I have given the book was passed on for circulation as quickly as possible.