§ LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY
rose to move a Resolution—That all cases of disputed succession to Indian Principalities or States not involving preponderating political considerations or criminal elements should be decided by judicial authority and be referable to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.The noble Lord said, he should be as brief as respect for the House and the importance of the subject permitted. The importance of settling legal matters by judicial, instead of by official, means had been shown by the discussion which had preceded the question now before the House, better than any words of his could do. He thought that the Resolution he proposed was a self-evident proposition, since it was impossible to carry out Lord Canning's Charters and promises to follow Hindu and Mussulman law in cases of succession, except by ascertaining what that law was; and that could only be done by judicial authority, or men with legal minds, instead of, as was now the practice, by military officers or subordinate officials. With regard to the words in the Resolution " preponderating political considerations," he thought these could only be found in the larger States, such as Holkar, and Scindiah, and the Nizam's territory, but that the preponderating political consideration would always be the faithful observance of Lord Canning's promises. By judicial authority ho understood a Committee of three or five Members taken from High Court Judges and Advocates General—he thought five the preferable number; and if they were not unanimous the case should be referred to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
Moved to resolve, That this House is of opinion that all cases of disputed succession to Indian Principalities or States not involving preponderating political considerations or criminal elements should be decided by judicial authority, and be referable to the Judicial Committee of Her Majesty's Privy Council.—(The Lord Stanley of Alderley.)
§ VISCOUNT CRANBROOK
said, he could not, on the part of the Government, assent to the Resolution. The House must see at once the necessity 1416 which existed for leaving to the dominant authorities in India the power of deciding such questions as those of disputed succession, for they only could have a full knowledge of all the elements which had to be taken into consideration in dealing with such cases. There were, no doubt, certain cases in which Her Majesty's Government or the Government of India might be interested, and for the decision of which they might not be supposed to constitute an impartial tribunal. Such cases would very properly, as had been more than once done, be referred to some such tribunal as the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council; but he did not think that it would be desirable that that course should be generally adopted. In fact, the questions involved in cases such as those to which the Resolution related were too large to be decided by a small judicial tribunal, and nothing had been said by Lord Canning which amounted to a promise that that should be done.
§ LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY
in reply, said, that if the Secretary of State remained sufficiently long in Office, he would find that the course he (Lord Stanley of Alderley) had recommended would save him much trouble. He must decline to withdraw the Resolution, and leave it to the Secretary of State to negative it.
§ On Question? Resolved in the Negative.
§ House adjourned at Seven o'clock, to Monday next, Eleven o'clock.