HL Deb 28 July 1879 vol 248 cc1401-3

said, that he regretted having to take up the time of the House with another case of illegality; but he had waited on the Secretary of State at the India Office in reference to this matter, and his noble Friend had said that he was unable to do anything. The Brahmin Gaya Pershad was imprisoned on the 3rd of November, 1874, for seven years for forgery at Jubbalpore; here he was set to work at the hand-mill, but this work was found to be too hard for him. At the end of three months, Mr. Morris, the Chief Commissioner, came to the gaol and sent him from there to Nag-pore, though Dr. Rogers said he was unfit to travel. In Nagpore Gaol he was flogged 10 or 13 times on the pretext of his having tampered with the warders, and obtained tobacco and sugar. In England, to have flogged a burglar on these grounds would have been illegal. The case might be left here; but as it was in human nature to feel more sympathy for a deserving person than for an undeserving one, he would say a few words about Gaya Pershad's case. He was a man who had received certificates from Sir Richard Temple for his services to the British Government during the Mutiny; the late General Sleeman had been a constant visitor of his father's, Behary Lai. Gaya Pershad had lent money to a Raja Bulwunt Singh, whose affairs came into the Court of Wards, and Captain, or Major, McLean had charge of that case. Gaya Pershad sued for his debt of about 100,000 rupees, including interest, and obtained a decree in his favour; the other side appealed, and he again obtained a decree in his favour. There had been a dispute between Gaya Pershad and Mr. Morris, a younger brother of the Chief Commissioner, who was a tenant of Gaya Pershad's, on matters connected with the tenancy. Mr. McLean asked Gaya Pershad to reduce his claims on the Raja's estate by 10,000 rupees; he declined. He then asked him to reduce it by 6,000 rupees; he again declined taking less than his decree. Mr. McLean then said he would see if he could not make him do so. His papers and vouchers were then examined, and a receipt for about 200 rupees, written by one Lall Charran Dass, an agent of the Raja, and bearing the Raja's seal, was said to be a forgery. Whilst the papers were in the hands of Mr. McLean another stamp was put upon the Raja's seal so as to obliterate it, and he was convicted by what appears to have been fabricated evidence. Primâ facie, it was improbable that a man in Gaya Pershad's position, and with a claim of about 100,000 rupees, would have forged a receipt for about 200 rupees. The friend of Gaya Pershad, who endeavoured to obtain relief for him from his ill-treatment in prison, failed to get a hearing, and was driven away with ignominy from the houses of the officials he attempted to see. About January, 1877, a Petition was sent to the Viceroy, in the names of the wife and son of Gaya Pershad, praying for a commutation of his sentence; but the only reply given was that the Chief Commissioner, Mr. Morris, had reported unfavourably upon it. Her Majesty's Ministers speak so little in this House, that we are driven to what are called their extra-Parliamentary utterances in order to ascertain their minds. On the 16th of July last the Secretary of State for India said that West Kent had never been polluted by the representation of a Liberal. He (Lord Stanley of Alderley) had not sufficient experience of electioneering speeches to know if that was according to the usual amenity of language; but he feared that other people, in other places, would apply those words of the noble Viscount to those who sat in the seat of justice. On the 25th of July, at Cooper's Hill, the noble Viscount said that England had given to India "Justice and honesty in high places, and pure Courts established for carrying on litigation." He hoped the Secretary of State would make these words good, and inquire into this case.


said, that he knew nothing of this case, except what had been communicated to him a few days ago by the noble Lord. According to the statement of the noble Lord, this man had been convicted of forgery in 1874, had since been undergoing his sentence, and had been flogged a certain number of times by the warder. He (Viscount Cranbrook) did not know whether this statement was true or not. He was without information on the subject; and in the most recent Reports with re- gard to Indian gaols, which came down to 1877, no names of the prisoners were given, Whether this person was still undergoing sentence he (Viscount Cranbrook) had no means of knowing. He could only say that if this man was suffering any wrong the remedy should be sought in India; and he had no doubt that if the friends of this man applied to the Viceroy he would order inquiry to be made.

House adjourned at a quarter before Six o'clock, till To-morrow, Two o'clock.