HC Deb 07 March 1938 vol 332 cc1503-4
6. Mr. Jagger

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether he is aware that the Government of India has varied in the present session of the Indian Legislative Assembly the practice which has hitherto obtained in respect of the submission of certain items of expenditure to the vote of the legislature; and whether, as such action has been resented by the entire Indian opposition, including the Congress party, he will make representations to the Government of India with a view to modifying its procedure and bringing it into line with responsible public opinion?

Lord Stanley

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. Under the Act of 1935 provision for the pay, allowances and pensions of the members of the Defence Department Secretariat is "charged on the revenues" of the Government of India, and accordingly cannot any longer be submitted to the vote of the Assembly. Opportunities are still available to the Assembly to discuss and criticise Defence policy. In these circumstances my Noble Friend sees no reason for addressing the Government of India as suggested.

Mr. Wedgwood Benn

What are the opportunities given to the Assembly to discuss the question of Defence?

Lord Stanley

I think it is by moving the reduction of the vote for travelling and possibly other allowances for the Governor-General or members of the Executive Council.

Mr. Benn

Could the Noble Lord say under what section of the Act these changes have been made?

Lord Stanley

Sections 237 and 238.