HC Deb 07 March 1938 vol 332 cc1501-2
1. Major-General Sir Alfred Knox

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether his attention has been drawn to the independence pledge enjoining severance from Great Britain taken by all Congress deputies at Delhi last year and to the fact that one of the men who took this pledge has been severely punished by the High Court of the Mysore State for disloyalty to the Mysore ruler on the ground that that ruler has by treaty acknowledged the supremacy of the King Emperor; and will he make a statement?

The Under-Secretary of State for India (Lord Stanley)

I am aware that the Congress deputies to the Delhi Convention last year took a pledge to work for the independence of India; and I have seen a report that, in dismissing a revision petition against a conviction and sentence by a special magistrate for disobedience of an order passed by the District Magistrate, Bangalore, the Chief Justice of the Mysore High Court made certain observations of the nature indicated in the question. I have no statement to make on the matter.

Sir A. Knox

How does the Noble Lord reconcile the Congress pledge with the oath of allegiance taken by these Congress members? Does he not think the provincial Governors ought to take parallel action to that of the Government of Mysore?

Lord Stanley

The question of reconciling one with the other is a matter for the individual. What we are concerned with is whether the law is broken. If it is broken we have ample power to deal with the breach. With regard to the case at Mysore, I would like to say again that the man in question was not punished for taking this pledge, but was punished for disobedience to a lawful order. If similar breaches of the law occurred in British India, I have no reason to suppose that similar results would not follow.

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