§ Lords Amendment: In page 3, line 33, leave out Clause 5 and insert new Clause D.—(Special provisions for persons observing the Jewish Sabbath.)
- ".—(1) Subject to the provisions of this Section, the occupier of any shop who is a person of the Jewish religion shall be entitled, upon making to the local authority an application in accordance with the provisions of this Section, to have the shop registered under this Section by the local authority, and so long as the shop is so registered then—
- (a) the shop shall be closed for all purposes connected with trade or business on Saturday; and
- (b) the provisions of this Act requiring the shop to be closed for the serving of customers on Sunday shall not apply until two o'clock in the afternoon; and
- (c) there shall be kept conspicuously placed in the shop a notice stating that it will be closed on Saturday and, if the shop will be upon for the serving of customers on Sunday after two o'clock in the afternoon for the purposes of any transaction for which it is permitted under this Act to be so open, specifying the hours during which and the purposes for which it will be so open.
- (2) Any application for the registration of a shop under this Section shall be in the prescribed form and shall be accompanied—
- (a) by a statutory declaration made by the occupier of the shop in such form as may be prescribed declaring that he conscientiously objects on religious grounds to carrying on trade or business on the Jewish Sabbath; and
- (b) by such further statutory or other declarations and certificates, if any, made by such persons, and in such form, as may be prescribed.
- (3) For the purposes of this section, a shop occupied by a partnership or company shall be deemed to be occupied by a person of the Jewish religion if the majority of partners or of the directors, as the case may be, are persons of that religion, but not otherwise; and such a shop shall not be registered under this Section unless the statutory declaration required by paragraph (a) of the last foregoing Sub-section is made by the majority of partners or directors and specifies the names and addresses of all the other partners or directors.
- (4) If for the purpose of procuring the registration of any shop under this Section any person knowingly or recklessly makes an untrue statement or untrue representation he shall be liable, on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or to a fine not exceeding fifty pounds, or to both such imprisonment and fine.
- (5) So long as a shop is registered under this Section—
- (a) no other shop occupied by the same occupier shall be kept open for any purpose connected with trade or business on Saturday;
- (b) no person by whom the statutory declaration aforesaid has been made in connection with the application for the registration of the shop shall be employed or engaged on the Jewish Sabbath about the business of any shop or shall so employ, or be directly concerned in the control or management of any partnership or company which so employs, any person.
- (6) Where any person is convicted of a contravention of, or failure to comply with, any of the provisions of this Section the court may, in addition to any other penalty, order the registration of any shops occupied by him or by any partnership or company in the control or management of which he is directly concerned to be revoked:
§ Provided that the court shall not order the registration of any shop not occupied, or not occupied solely, by the person convicted to be revoked, except after affording an opportunity to the occupier or to the other occupiers, as the case may be, to appear and be heard.
§ (7) If upon representations made to them it appears to the local authority that there is reason to believe—
- (a) that the occupier of any shop registered under this Section is not a person of the Jewish religion; or
- (b) that a conscientious objection on religious grounds to carrying on business on the Jewish Sabbath is not genuinely held by the occupier of the shop, or in the case of a shop occupied by a partnership or company by the majority of the partners or of the directors, as the case may be;
§ (8) In the event of any change in the occupation of a shop registered under this Section it shall be the duty of the person who becomes the occupier to serve on the local authority notice of the change, and in the event of any change in any partnership or among the directors of any company by which such a shop is occupied, it shall be the duty of the partnership, or of the company, as the case may be, to serve on the local authority a notice giving particulars of the change, and, whether or not such a notice is served, the registration 1276 of the shop shall, upon the expiration of a period of fourteen days from the date on which the change occurred, be deemed to be cancelled, unless within that period, or within such further time as may be allowed by the local authority, a fresh application under this Section is made in respect of the shop:
§ Provided that, where such a fresh application is made by reason of a change in any partnership or among the directors of any company by which the shop is occupied, the local authority may dispense with the statutory or other declaration or certificates required by paragraph (a) of Sub-section (2) and by Sub-section (3) of this Section in the case of any person who has made such a declaration in connection with a former application in respect of that shop or any other shop in the area of the local authority.
§ (9) The registration of any shop under this Section shall be cancelled upon application in that behalf being made to the local authority by the occupier of the shop but shall not be so cancelled during the period of twelve months from the date on which an application for registration of the shop was last made.
§ (10) Where an application is made to a local authority in accordance with the provisions of this Section for the registration of a shop under this Section—
- (a) the local authority shall refuse to register the shop if the registration of that shop has been revoked or has been cancelled under the last foregoing Subsection while the shop was in the occupation of the applicant; and
- (b) the local authority may refuse to register the shop if the registration of that shop or of any other shop occupied or formerly occupied by the applicant, or by any partnership or company of which he was a partner or director, has been revoked or cancelled.
§ (11) Where the local authority refuse to register a shop in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (b) of the foregoing Sub-section, they shall serve notice of their refusal upon the applicant, and, if the applicant is aggrieved by such refusal, he may, within twenty-one days of the date when the notice was so served upon him, appeal against such refusal to a court of summary jurisdiction for the petty sessional division in which the shop is situated, and the appellant or the local authority, if aggrieved by the order made by the court of summary jurisdiction, may appeal against that order to quarter sessions.
§ (12) This Section shall apply to persons who are members of any religious body regularly observing the Jewish Sabbath as it applies to persons of the Jewish religion, and references therein to persons of the Jewish religion shall be construed accordingly as including any person who is a member of such a body, and in the application of this Section to such persons this Section shall have effect as if for the reference 1277 therein to the London Committee of Deputies of the British Jews there were substituted a reference to such body as appears to the Secretary of State to represent such persons.
§ (13) As respects any shop which is for the time being registered under this Section the Shops Acts, 1912 to 1934, shall have effect subject to the following modifications (that is to say)—
- (a) Sub-section (1) of Section one and Sub-section (1) of Section four of the Shops Act, 1912, shall have effect as if for references therein to weekdays there were substituted references to weekdays other than Saturdays; and
- (b) Sub-section (2) of the said Section four shall have effect as if the word 'Friday' were substituted for the word 'Saturday' wherever the last-mentioned word occurs."
§ 12.49 a.m.
§ Sir A. WILSON
On this Clause I beg to ask for a very brief explanation from the Parliamentary Secretary as to what are the points raised. We have hitherto in this country conceived the nation as a community into which anyone is admitted who adapts himself to its manners, customs and laws. We are now introducing something which has a very different purpose. In the new Clause a tribunal is to be prescribed. It is to be a tribunal constituted in consultation with the Jewish Board of Deputies. It is to be a tribunal not in accordance with our recognised rules of procedure. Is it to be public? The whole of this Clause, if it is not to become a danger, which it may become, depends upon what it is to be. We are faced for the first time in our long history with a tribunal the nature of which has not been specified. It is to be established by the Home Office in consultation with the British Board of Deputies for the benefit of the local authorities who may, or may not, be consulted. We know no more than we did when the Bill was in Standing Committee. We would be grateful for some explanation.
There is just one point I wish to put. I wish to inquire if in the proposal under this Clause there is anything which affects the Amendment regarding the position of those many people—there are 300,000 of them who profess the Christian faith but observe the Jewish Sabbath.
§ 12.51 a.m.
§ Sir P. HARRIS
Here, again, I wish to protest against this hole-and-corner way of dealing with this matter. We had a very full discussion in Committee on this matter and now at the 23rd hour at ten minutes to one we have an entirely new Clause raising very difficult issues brought before us. This Clause is raising a matter which affects the lives of thousands of our fellow-subjects. I do hope we shall have an explanation of the way in which the new Clause differs from the old Clause.
§ 12.52 a.m.
§ Mr. LLOYD
I hope I shall be able to satisfy hon. Members. This Clause is the result of representations when the original Clause was introduced. I should say that because people are being treated in an exceptionally unpleasant way in other countries it is our business to treat them in an exceptionally different way in this country. The Clause is drafted in the form of a new Clause in order to avoid a considerable number of drafting Amendments. There is really one important way in which it differs from the old Clause. That is in Sub-section 7 in which there is provision made whereby a local authority, if they have reason to believe that a person taking advantage of the Clause is not a Jew, may refer the matter to a tribunal set up by the Jewish Board of Deputies. All those who were Members of the Standing Committee will, I think, appreciate this new provision. Hon. Members will recollect that this exemption should be confined to genuinely practising Jews, and should not be able to be utilised by anybody else and the hon. Member for Hitchin (Sir A. Wilson), in common with other Members, was anxious on this score. We were trying to devise an assurance and in order to make assurance doubly sure we devised a number of safeguards. There were mentioned in the knowledge of Members certain complicated arrangements such as might be made by one-man companies and it seemed almost impossible to devise a strictly legal proposal whereby these operations could be stopped. We have now been able to find in this Clause a method of letting this tribunal decide the question of whether or not there is a genuine conscientious 1279 objection, and there is nobody better than an orthodox Jew in a system of this kind to decide questions of this nature. Everybody who has gone into this question will realise that there is nobody more anxious for this than those who are orthodox Jews.
§ Mr. LLOYD
Yes. It will be set up by the Secretary of State in consultation with the Jewish Board of Deputies. So far as this is concerned, it does not create a new precedent. There is an Act in existence and in the First Schedule it specifies the constitution of the Rabbinical Commission and, therefore we are not really creating any precedent.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
I should like to ask one question. Is this to be confined to a London committee and, if that is so, are all cases to be confined to London?
§ Subsequent Lords Amendments to page 9, line 3, agreed to.