§ LORD AMPTHILL
My Lords, I rise to ask the Secretary of State for India—
- 1. Whether it is a fact that the Chief Justice of Bengal is drawing a pension as Retired Chief Justice of Bombay as well as the full pay of his present post; and if so
- 2. Whether there is any precedent (a) for an official of the Indian Government drawing pay and pension at the same time; or (b) for a retired official of the Indian Government, who has accepted an appointment in the Council of the Secretary of State for India, returning to India to take up a permanent official appointment.
- 3. What were the circumstances in which the extraordinary departure from custom involved in the appointment of the present Chief Justice of Bengal was considered justifiable.
THE MARQUESS OF CREWE
My Lords, the noble Lord opposite has placed three Questions on the Paper with reference to the appointment and the present position of the Chief Justice of Bengal, Sir Lawrence Jenkins. The first Question is whether it is a fact that Sir Lawrence Jenkins is drawing a pension as Retired Chief Justice of Bombay as well as the full pay of his 425 present post. The answer to that is that it is the case that Sir Lawrence is in receipt of a pension which was earned by his Judicial service in India from 1896 to 1898, and that he is receiving that pension in addition to his salary as Chief justice of the High Court of Calcutta, where he went in March, 1909. The rules relating to the salaries of Chief Justices and other Judges of the High Court in India are of a statutory character made by the Secretary of State in Council under powers given to him by Act of Parliament, and they have, therefore, the same effect as though they were actually embodied in an Act. Therefore they are in no way affected by the ordinary rules as to pension which govern the usual Civil Service appointments in India, as the noble Lord will appreciate. As the rules stood in the year 1909 they did not provide for the suspension of an existing pension in the case of a former Judge who was reappointed to a Judicial office in India. Since then the Secretary of State in Council has made a rule taking power to decide in any future case of the kind whether the new salary ought or ought not to be reduced in consideration of the holding of a pension by the Judge in question.
The second Question is whether there is any precedent for an official of the Indian Government drawing pay and pension at the same time, and, secondly, whether there is any precedent for a retired official of the Indian Government who has accepted an appointment in the Indian Council in London returning to India to take up a permanent official appointment. As the noble Lord is well aware, retired officers whose pensions do not fall under statutory rules, if they are reappointed to another position, either have their pension held in abeyance altogether or partially held in abeyance while they are serving, or else they are liable to have the salary of the new post which they occupy reduced. On the other hand, it is not forbidden to receive a pension for past services as well as the pay of any office from Indian revenues. For instance, as the noble Lord will, I have no doubt, have considered, members of the Council of India receive salary from Indian revenues, but they also receive the pensions which they have earned by service in India—it may be Civil, it may be Judicial, or it may be military. In fact, Sir Lawrence Jenkins was himself a case in point, because when he was serving on the Council while Lord Morley 426 was Secretary of State he was drawing the salary of a member of Council and also the full pension of a retired Judge. On the second point which the noble Lord mentions there is no rule, and I think it cannot even be said that there is a custom preventing the return to India to an official appointment of a retired Indian official who has held an appointment in the Council of India. There was a case not so very long anterior to the appointment of Sir Lawrence Jenkins—the case of a distinguished Indian official, Mr. J. F. Finlay. This gentleman was in the Indian Civil Service from 1875 to 1903. He then came home to England and sat on the Council of India from 1903 to 1907, and in the latter year he returned to India as an ordinary member of the Council of the Governor-General. That, I think, disposes of the particular point raised by the noble Lord.
Then the noble Lord, in his last Question, asks, "What were the circumstances in which the extraordinary departure from custom involved in the appointment of the present Chief Justice of Bengal was considered justifiable?" I have shown, I think, that in essentials and arguing from analogy the appointment was not so extraordinary as the Question would lead one to suppose. Sir Lawrence was not appointed in my time, although I have the honour of knowing him well and hold the same opinion of him as was held by those who actually appointed him. But it was undoubtedly the case that he was considered by my noble friend Lord Morley and by the noble Earl, Lord Minto, to be the most suitable person to appoint to the then vacant, office of Chief Justice of Bengal in virtue of his quite remarkable ability, his exceptional legal knowledge, his Judicial experience, and his knowledge of India. I ought to add that Sir Lawrence, far from in any way applying for the post, did not desire it, and he only accepted it in deference to the strong wish of my two noble friends Lord Morley and Lord Minto, who were exceedingly anxious to secure his services; and it was as a matter of fact, as I am informed, both an inconvenience and something of a real sacrifice to him to take up the appointment at the time he did. I hope that the replies which I have been able to give to his various Questions will satisfy the noble Lord as to the character and the propriety of the appointment.
§ LORD AMPTHILL
I am greatly obliged to the noble Marquess for having replied so fully, and I only beg permission to put a supplementary Question. Have I clearly understood the noble Marquess that this appointment, so far as its financial aspect is concerned—and I was only concerned with that—is regarded as an undesirable precedent, and that a new rule has been established which will make it impossible in the future that a man should be drawing pay and pension at the same time in India?
THE MARQUESS OF CREWE
The noble Lord must not draw from what I have said quite so far reaching a conclusion as that. What I said was that a rule had been passed by the Secretary of State in Council which would make it possible for the Secretary of State in such case, supposing another to occur, to consider what it was not possible for him to consider before, whether any, and if so what, reduction should be made from the salary of the post in consideration of a pension 428 being already held by the officer appointed. But I would not say that it might never occur in special cases that a man might be allowed both to enjoy his pension and to receive the full salary. It would not, however, be an absolutely necessary sequel of his appointment, as it was in the case of the present Chief Justice of Bengal.
§ VISCOUNT MIDLETON
I hope the noble Marquess will guard himself in that respect, because I have myself in another Department found extreme difficulty arising from the fact that an official who had a small pension from one part of the public service and was ready to take a not very lucrative employment was unable to take the post because the law of this country is so strict against the holding of pay and pension together. I think there are cases, as the noble Marquess says, in which the Secretary of State ought to have some latitude.
§ House adjourned at a quarter past Six o'clock, till To-morrow, Four o'clock.