HL Deb 02 July 1888 vol 328 cc10-1

Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.


in moving that the Bill be read a second time, said: Although the Government of the North Western Provinces and that of Oude are united under one officer, who is Lieutenant Governor of the former and Chief Commissioner of the latter, there are two separate judicial systems in the Provinces, the highest judicial authority in the North-Western Provinces being the High Court, and that in Oude being the Judicial Commissioner. It has been decided by the Government of India and the Secretary of State in Council that for the proper administration of justice in Oude a higher and more effectual authority than the Judicial Commissioner is required, and it is proposed to secure this by extending to Oude the jurisdiction of the North-Western Provinces High Court. It is, however, impossible to do this without an Act of Parliament, as the period prescribed by statute within which alone the Letters Patent of the North-Western Provinces High Court could be revoked and altered by the Crown expired in 1869. Legislation being necessary, and as it may become advisable to constitute new Courts of this class, the Bill proposes to give Her Majesty a general power to establish High Courts in India, and from time to time to enlarge and extend the jurisdic- tion of existing High Courts and of any High Courts to be hereafter established under this Bill.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Viscount Cross.)


said, he was glad that his noble Friend the Secretary of State for India had brought in this Bill, and he hoped its action would not be limited to the North-West Provinces. There were at that moment a much larger number than usual of Indian appeals waiting for hearing before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council; and as there had not been any remissness on the part of that Court, that increase in the number of appeals showed a want of confidence in the Courts of India. He hoped that the Bill was intended to further the prayer of the people of India for the separation of judicial from executive functions. Of late there had been several abuses, especially in the district of the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal, and those seemed to be increased by the impunity they met with on the part of the Government of India, or of the Lieutenant Governor. He gave, as instances, the case of the District Judge of Barrisal, whose proceedings against the pleaders had been quashed by the High Court of Calcutta, and the case referred to the Lieutenant Governor. As the case had been referred to the Lieutenant Governor, it was fair to assume that the Lieutenant Governor might have checked these proceedings at the outset. This case was ludicrous; but there was an-other reported that was far worse, of a Sessions Judge, Mr. Kirkwood, who, on hearing a complaint against a man committed for theft by the cantonment magistrate of Dinapore, had ordered the examination by a surgeon of the complainant, a girl of 12 years of age, a proceeding that was totally irrelevant. The result had been that the girl had been declared an outcast by her own people, and so deprived of subsistence.

Motion agreed to; Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Thursday next.