HL Deb 08 July 1875 vol 225 cc1131-3

asked the Secretary of State for India, Whether any decision has yet been come to with regard to the new rules affecting the leave of the Uncovenanted Civil Servants in India, whose cases had remained undecided since last year; and, if not, what had become of the list of uncovenanted Civil Servants in Bengal which accompanied a despatch from the Government of India, dated the 26th of May, 1874, and upon whose cases the decision was deferred until the receipt of further information from that Government, while the list from the Province of Oude was accepted, and the officers named in it admitted two years ago to the benefit of the new rules? The Uncovenanted Civil Servants of Bengal felt very much the position in which they were placed with respect to furlough, in comparison with their fellows of Oude. He might mention an instance of a distinguished engineer, who had been placed by the Government in a position of great trust in India, and who, in consequence of the rules to which he referred not having been promulgated, found himself actually much worse off than many of his own subordinates. Now, he thought their Lord-ships would be of opinion that, both on moral and physical grounds, it was of the utmost importance that proper leave should be granted to the Uncovenanted Civil Servants of the Crown in India. He was sure his noble Friend, therefore, would deem it to be his duty to settle the matter as soon as possible.


thought his noble Friend was under some misapprehension as to the exact nature of the prospect which had been held out by the Duke of Argyll with respect to the furlough of the Uncovenanted Civil Servants in India. The noble Duke intimated on two or three occasions to the Government of India that those Uncovenanted Civil Servants who had been appointed from this country ought to enjoy the advantage of certain leave rules more favourable than those which applied to the mass of the Uncovenanted Civil Service. He, at the same time, stated that there were probably special persons who, on account of their particular merits, or the importance of the posts they occupied, might be admitted, if the Government of India deemed right, to similar privileges. But the noble Duke requested that a list of the persons specially recommended should be forwarded to him. The Government of India, however, had always hitherto experienced a difficulty in exactly understanding what it was the Home Government meant to have done; and the result was that they had never been able in the great majority of provinces to send to this country the recommendations which they were asked to furnish. His noble Friend, in putting his Question, referred to a despatch of the 26th of May, 1874. He could not tell how his noble Friend had obtained that information; but, like all ill-gotten goods, it was of no advantage to him, because he had been misled by the information which it contained. The despatch was one of a series, with lists that had been sent up—apparently under a misapprehension—by the local Governments, and they were forwarded by the Indian Go- vernment—probably through some mistake in the office. Before, however, they reached England, they were cancelled by telegram, and withdrawn. The Government at present were not furnished with such lists as the Duke of Argyll required; but a general list of the Uncovenanted Civil Servants had been sent by the Government of India, with a request to the Home Government to determine the principle on which those leave rules were to be granted. The matter, he might add, was under consideration, and he must admit that it had dragged on for a great length of time. He hoped, however, that the correspondence with regard to it was near its termination, and that he should be able to send out precise instructions to India, which would put an end to a suspense to which he did not think it was right the Civil Servants should be exposed. He was afraid they entertained anticipations in the matter which the Duke of Argyll did not intend to create, for he had looked forward only to a very limited selection; and he himself did not wish to raise any extensive expectations, seeing that the question was one in which the Revenue of India was concerned.

House adjourned at a quarter before Eight o'clock, till To-morrow, a quarter before Five o'clock.