HL Deb 16 December 1919 vol 38 cc111-202

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee, read.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Sinha.)


My Lords, it was on the understanding that I should be allowed to express my views at this stage that I refrained on Friday last from prolonging the debate beyond the prearranged time. Three days have passed, and I have not yet overcome the sense of dream-like unreality which was stirred in my mind by the speech of the noble Earl the Leader of the House. Everything about the progress of this Bill has been unreal and uncanny, but few things were more so than that speech. A great change has come over the noble Earl (I am sorry he is not here) In former days he never spoke about Indian affairs without impressive gravity and inspiring conviction. But on this last occasion the noble Earl spoke in a tone of light optimism—I might almost say of gay nonchalance—which was entirely new to him.

I found myself far less out of harmony with the manner of the noble Lord the Under-Secretary of State for India, who, although he did not shake my convictions, impressed me by his earnestness and deep sense of responsibility. I desire, if I may, to express my sincere admiration of his wonderful mastery of our language, his true judgment of the spirit of this House, and his brilliant exposition of his case. But the picture drawn by the noble Lord of an India joyously expectant of the coming boon of political reform is wholly and entirely imaginary. Everything that I have heard and read forces me to the conviction that very few people in India want this kind of innovation, and that nobody, unless it be the so-called Moderates, is satisfied with this Bill. But three-fourths of the Moderate Party are really Extremists, who will throw off the mask and join their fellows as soon as the Bill is passed. In proof of that I need only refer to the fact that in their organ of opinion, the paper called India, their comments on the action of the Joint Committee were headed as "The Betrayal."

The public has been kept in the dark with regard to the state of affairs in India, which, I can assure noble Lords, is very serious indeed. Within the last two days we have been allowed to hear something of the appalling peril from which we barely escaped. The storm which is brewing is one which cannot be weathered by pouring oil on the troubled waters, but only by seamanship and with a vessel on which everything is firm and secure. This is not the time when passengers can be allowed on the bridge, or in the engineroom of the ship of State. As we have already seen, murderous revolt is ready to break out at any moment, and even in the municipal elections in different parts of India intimidation has reached a pitch which would be beyond belief in this country. It is an ungrateful task to oppose myself to the opinion of the large majority of members of both Houses and to express complete disapproval of a measure which is receiving such general benediction in this country. Such, however, is the duty which I owe to my own conscience and, as it seems to me, to the peoples of India. I shall feel some measure of my former responsibility towards those people to the end of my existence, and that feeling is actuated by my deep and unalterable love of India and of those who dwell between the Himalayas and Cape Comorin.

In these circumstances I should be false to them, false to my own countrymen, and untrue to myself if I did not express my real conviction in regard to this measure and the manner in which it has been promoted. I am profoundly convinced that those of you who live will bitterly regret your share in this work. I pray God that I may be mistaken, but such indeed is my present conviction. It is a conviction from which I would gladly escape, for I have always been strongly in favour of political reform in India. The records of debates in this House bear me out in this, and entitle me to say that the views as to reform which I held while I was still in India were much in advance of those held by any of your Lordships when the Morley-Minto reforms were debated in this House. My sympathy with Indian aspirations, and more particularly with their claims to be treated as British subjects throughout the Empire, were frequently expressed in your Lordships' House, and on those occasions it is not too much to say that my voice was as of one crying in the wilderness. I met with hardly any support from your Lordships. I am still in favour of progress and reform, and if the passage of this calamitous measure could be arrested I should be the first to advocate a fresh attempt On different lines, so that, profitting by the experience of the past two years and the knowledge we have thus gained, we might avoid a repetition of the serious mistakes which have been made both in regard to the character of the reform and the methods by which this measure has been promoted.

In this country—indeed, in every European country—reform has been accomplished only after repeated trials and failures; and if it is in accordance with the natural order of things that innovations should always be retarded in the West, it is a hundred times more unnatural and dangerous to speed up changes of any kind in the East. Nothing short of the transformation of the soil and climate of India to a character similar to that of our own soil and climate will make the people of India adaptable to social and political institutions like those of this country. I purposely couple the words social and political, for social reform and political reform must go hand in hand. They always have been inseparable, and they always will be inseparable. That is a truth which is entirely ignored by this Bill. Indeed, the effect of the measure which you are about to pass in haste will be to set back and hopelessly to impede such movements for social reform as already exist in India. So far from being a measure to promote progress, it is, in the opinion of a very large number of people in India, one which will bring about reaction, since it places power in the hands of those whose real objects are reactionary.

I need not remind your Lordships that India is distinguished from all other countries in the world by the existence of an institution of immemorial antiquity which is known as caste. That institution is more ancient and more firmly established than any religion in the world, and it is, in fact, an essential part of the Hindu religion. Caste baffles definition, and it is so peculiarly Indian that it separates India from the rest of the world with an impassable barrier. The essential thing to bear in mind is that caste and Hinduism are not two things but one thing and indivisible. It has been said that the caste idea is the soil as well as the body of Hinduism; and the fact is that Hinduism is an extremely ancient social system based upon and inseparable from the caste institution which is regarded as being of Divine origin. That system starts from an axiom, held to be divinely revealed, that men are born unequal and must remain unequal; separated accordingly into groups; and that whatever happens the Brahmin must remain at the top of the social structure while all others must serve and worship him. The institution of caste is 3,000 years old; it affects 250,000,000 people. No Hindu can escape from the dominance of the caste idea, which also affects a large part of the Moslem and Christian community in India; and since Hinduism and caste are one and the same thing no modification of the system is likely to take place for generations to come. The supremacy of the Brahmin will continue to be acknowledged by the masses of the people so long as Hinduism endures; and the Hindu religion—this is the point to which I am bringing your Lordships—is absolutely opposed to the democratic doctrine of the equality of all men before the law.

Such, then, is the soil in which it is fondly hoped that democratic institutions will take root and flourish. Nothing in the world is so bitter and so enduring as caste animosities are, and that is why it is necessary to have a strong and impartial Executive for the preservation of peace and order in India. That is why we are there in India. That is our justification for remaining. This Bill, however, will fatally weaken the Executive, and impair its impartiality. That is a defect which runs all through the measure. The eminent authors of the Report were under the delusion—an incredible and perilous delusion—that the acceptance of their ideas would "soften the rigidity of the caste system." In the use of that and similar phrases for the justification of their policy, they showed themselves as ignorant of Indian life as they must be of social conditions in the planet Mars. Elections and ballot boxes will no more alter the relations between the Brahmins and the low-caste man than the bestowal of votes on women will alter the physical differences between the two sexes. The actual fact is—I beg your Lordships to take note of this—that the Home Rule movement in India has been attended by a Hindu revival which is closely connected with it.

The Varnashrama Dhama movement, as its name implies, has no other object than that of reviving the rigidity of the caste system, and it is a movement promoted solely and entirely by the Brahmin politicians. But there are none so blind as those who will not see. If our ultimate object is to make India self-governing so that she may eventually take her place among the independent sovereignties of the world, and, at any rate, be able to do so in case we should be unable to maintain our present protection, then we must first of all make her self-reliant in the sense that she will be able to protect herself against foreign foes and to prevent internal strife and disorder. The first duty of every State is to provide for security, but for a century past India has relied on us for the armed force, and particularly for the economic strength, without which no State can be secure or independent. It seems to me, therefore, that there is no statemanship or even foresight in a scheme which so completely ignores this prime necessity.

It would be a long step in progress, which would take more than a generation to accomplish, to train a proper proportion of the manhood of India in every Province in a military organisation and also in the art of modern seafaring; but no better earnest of our professed intentions could be given than to trust the people of India with the formation of a militia and of a mercantile marine. There could be no better lesson in self-reliance and self-government than that. But this Bill does not even contemplate such a possibility. I gladly admit that we are making a step in the right direction in the grant of a measure of fiscal freedom to India. That was not part of the original scheme, but it was reluctantly conceded by the Joint Committee. It was, however, essential that this concession should be made if there was any sincerity in our professed intention of making India fit for self-government. National security can only be founded on economic security, and the very first duty of every Government is to provide that economic security. I therefore welcome that part of the scheme; I sincerely welcome it. I have always thought it would be right and fair to give India fiscal freedom. It is the only solid benefit we are giving India in this Bill, the only thing that will enable India to prove her ability to become self-reliant and self-governing; but it will take a good many years before any satisfactory result can possibly appear from the test.

Again, if our ideal is to make India democratic so that she may be fit for future self-government, we must make it possible for all classes of the people to acquire a democratic spirit. But this Bill makes any such thing impossible in that, under the system of election which is contemplated, the Brahmin minority will have the power, as they certainly have the intention, to suppress all democratic inclinations. Such an ideal of future independence, not wrested from us by revolt but freely conceded after due education and training as from parent to child or from teacher to pupil, is a fine ideal and one to which I gladly subscribe. For my opinion is that it is impossible to justify an intention of keeping one race in perpetual subjection to another; nor can we feel sure that we shall always be strong enough ourselves to maintain our present protection of India. But the only means of approaching such an ideal is deliberately precluded by the scheme in this Bill. I am thinking mainly of the Madras Presidency when I say that it is only by a much wider system of communal representation through communal electorates that you can give any chance to the vast majority, who are not "politically-minded," of so becoming. They need special protection until they can organise and prepare and equip themselves to take their proper place in the new order of things. They need power to promote that social reform without which political reform is useless and even dangerous to them; but they cannot hope to get that power if the Brahmin is placed in a position to dominate over all, as he is by this Bill.

Take this case of the Madras Presidency, that part of India which I know best and of which I have the best right to speak. The Brahmins there, who are only 3 per cent. of the population, occupy 80 per cent. of the places in the public services and the Councils of the country. The non-Brahmins, who form 70 per cent., excluding the depressed classes of Hindus, pay almost the whole cost of the adminis- tration; for the Brahmins, although they own property, hold lands which are free from taxation, both from the land revenue and the Irrigation Tax. But these non-Brahmins who form 70 per cent. have no power at present, and they feel strongly that this Bill will put them in an even worse position.

I cannot do better, my Lords, than give it in their own words by quoting one of the repeated Resolutions which were passed unanimously by the South-Indian Non-Brahmin Confederation. Here is one of them— This Confederation is emphatically of opinion that any scheme of constitutional reforms which does not provide for the separate representation through communal electorates of non-Brahmin classes will arrest the progress and irretrievably impair the interests of these classes which form the bulk of the population, besides effectively undermining British rule, which is so essential to India's welfare. Here is another, my Lords, which was passed on June 22 last— That this Conference regards the equal distribution of political power among the different classes of the people as the first necessary substantial step towards responsible government in this country, and while expressing gratification at the special representation of Mahomedans, Sikhs, Indian Christians, Europeans, Anglo-Indians, and the depressed classes, urges the creation of a non-Brahmin Hindu electorate as the indispensable foundation for popular government, in the absence of which any constitutional reform will be unreal, dangerous, unworkable, and sure to give rise to grave discontent. There I have given you, in their own words, the opinion of the vast majority of the people of the Madras Presidency, and I am saying nothing which is not in accordance with those views. That view is shared by all the experienced British officials of the Madras Government, and the Government of India themselves declared that, unless something was done to secure to the non-Brahmins a fair share in the Legislature, they would be unable to meet the charge that they were acquiescing the establishment of an oligarchy in Madras. But there is nothing in the Bill. We have only a pious hope expressed by the Joint Committee that Brahmin and non-Brahmin will meet and settle their differences in discussion. It is not too much to say that this is a wholly fatuous suggestion.

There is a similar and equally grate objection to the Bill in the Province of the Punjab. In that Province the bulk of the population consists of a sturdy, independent peasantry from which half the Indian Army is recruited. Under this scheme these men, who are intensely jealous of their rights, will be grossly under-represented as compared with the urban minority of the population. To place the welfare of these warlike peasants at the mercy of the politically-minded dwellers in the towns is simply to ask for trouble, and the prospect of friction and disorder in the Province is very serious indeed.

My Lords, I have spoken from the point of view of a former Governor of Madras, and referred chiefly to the main objection to the Bill which is felt by the people of that Province. So far as Madras is concerned, the Bill fails to pass the "crucial test" which is imposed by the Secretary of State himself—namely, "whether the proposal will or will not carry India towards responsible Government"—in that it creates an Indian oligarchy in the place of a British bureaucracy.

But the case of the other Provinces is similar in very varied circumstances. So long as we have to govern India—and we must govern India until we have made her fit to govern herself, to defend herself, and to maintain law and order within her borders—so long we must, of course, have a strong Government. The dual system of government in the Provinces which is contemplated will unquestionably divide and weaken authority, and the Bill in its present form will weaken and impair the authority of the Governor-General both in the Executive and in the Legislature.

The incredible fact is that, but for the chance visit to India of a globe-trotting doctrinaire, with a positive mania for constitution-mongering, nobody in the world would ever have thought of so peculiar a notion as that of the "Dyarchy." And yet the Joint Committee tells us in an airy manner that no better plan can be conceived. My Lords, it is indeed sad to think that British statesmanship has become so sterile and bankrupt that it is obliged to adopt a scheme which is almost universally condemned. The strength of British rule in India has hitherto depended more than anything else upon our prestige and upon our known desire and power to administer impartial justice. When we have no longer the power to hold the balance-even between the rival claims of castes, classes, races, and religions, that prestige will be gone. Indeed, it has already suffered irreparable damage in the eyes of all those classes who have hitherto looked to us for justice and protection against oppression—the classes from which we have had loyal assistance and support in all circumstances.

What they have seen all along, and what they see now, is that which never entered into their wildest dreams—namely, the great British Sirkar yielding to intimidation at the hands of political agitators, some of whom have been branded by the State as dangerous criminals. We have been committed to this disastrous measure step by step, by furtive intrigue, without previous deliberation in Parliament, without the free consent of Parliament, and without the agreement of the people of India. In fulfilment of pledges given on our behalf, and cunningly misinterpreted, we have got to do that which places the whole future of India in serious jeopardy. That is the position to which we have been brought while we were engaged in a life and death struggle with Germany, by the adroit collusion of schemers in this country with schemers in India in a movement which is as abscure in its origin as it is disquieting in its outward manifestations.


My Lords, I desire in a very few sentences—because it is my wish that we should, as soon as possible, proceed to the Committee stage of the Bill—to lay my view of its importance before the House. Perhaps it is not altogether out of place that I should ask your permission to do this, because up to the present all the speeches have been made by noble Lords who have had long experience of Indian official life, and it may be desirable that the views of one who has looked upon the Indian problem simply from the standpoint of an independent member of Parliament should be submitted to your Lordships. I have, from the outset of my Parliamentary life, taken a very special interest in India. I have endeavoured to acquaint myself with Indian conditions. By correspondence, and particularly through the medium of Indian friendships, I have tried at all events to keep myself in touch with Indian public opinion.

I have for many years been convinced as to the necessity of a substantial step forward along the road to self-government in India. I have watched for many years with considerable concern the developments in India. I have been responsible in another place, from time to time, for Motions giving expression to what I deemed to be the legitimate aspirations of the people of India for fuller powers of self-government. Perhaps it is not altogether out of place at this stage, when this Bill (as I hope and believe) is about to pass, that we should remember the notable part played in connection with the development of this movement for self-government in India, by the late distinguished Indian leader and statesman Mr. Gokhale, whom I and many other members of this House had the privilege of knowing, and whose great abilities, whose devotion to the highest interests of India and whose exalted character are, I think, to-day universally acknowledged.

I am not in the habit of taking extreme views upon India or any other question. I think I have been endowed with that quality of caution which is not always associated with the Celtic temperament. As a Liberal, self-government has always been a cardinal principle of my political faith, but in the application to India or anywhere else of the principle of self-government, regard must be had to the conditions in which it is set up. We know that in India, owing to circumstances, some of them beyond our control, the experience and the training of Indian people in self-government up to the present time have been confined within narrow limits. That is an acknowledged fact on all sides.

I do not forget what was pointed out by the noble Lord, Lord Meston, in his notable speech on Friday last in this House, that India, centuries ago, had a standard of civilisation in bright contrast to the Western world. The people of India have every reason to be proud of their past. But that does not alter the situation as it is to-day, and we must proceed by stages in self-government in India, not in defiance of the principles of self-government, but rather in the interests of its successive and effective operation. All that I will say is that although we must acknowledge the necessity of proceeding by stages in the solution of this great constitutional problem in India, the fact of what has been the history of India in the past enables me at all events to take a confident view as to the capacity of the people of India to take rapid advantage of the powers which will be conferred upon them through this Bill.

Just one brief word as to the situation in India. That situation was very vividly, and as I think truly, described by the noble Lord, Lord Meston, in his speech on the Second Reading. I agree with his explanation of the causes and the position of the present ferment in India. As I have said, I have watched for many years developments in India, and, if I may be allowed to say so, I should have been very glad had it been possible for the Government of this country to take ten years ago the step which it is now taking. But the difficulties were very great and, from the standpoint of this country, Parliament was for many years absorbed in urgent home affairs. Then came the war, straining our resources to the uttermost and absorbing the mind not only of this country but of all the countries of the world.

I should be glad if the House would allow me to express my tribute of praise to the Government for the way in which they have met and handled the Indian situation in the face of overwhelming difficulty. Two things are proved to me by the action which the Government have taken in preparing the way for this Bill—first, their apprehension of the supreme importance of the issues involved; and, in the second place, the way in which they have been careful, so far as it was possible to do so, to survey the ground and to obtain, by conference and in every practicable way, the views of everyone and of all sides in regard to the settlement of the question. I will not attempt to go over the ground of all the steps which have been taken by the Government, from the visit of the Secretary of State for India down to the exhaustive Inquiry by the Joint Select Committee, but this I will say—that I think there have been few great constitutional changes which have been so carefully examined and considered as this.

Let me say one word as to Indian opinion in regard to this Bill. I admit that Indian opinion has been and is divided upon it. There is, as has been pointed out previously in the debate, an extreme Indian opinion and there is a moderate view, and, as was pointed out by Lord Meston in his speech, it is only natural, it is inevitable, that the extreme view looms largest in the situation. But there is no difference of opinion in India, so far as I understand the situation, as to the principle of this Bill. The difference really relates only to a question of attitude. My own view is that the moderate section of opinion in India is right. It is that opinion which accepts this Bill as an instalment and is prepared to work it for the best in the interests of India. May I express the hope—I do not know whether any words that I may say can have any effect on the situation in India—that my Indian friends will see the wisdom of uniting as soon as this Bill is passed into law for the purpose of working it for the best, in the certain belief that it will lead, as it is intended to lead, in time to greater things.

In conclusion I wish to emphasise one other point in connection with this great constitutional change, and it is this, that it is not only important from the standpoint of India but it is important also from the standpoint of the British Empire. I have had an opportunity of seeing a good deal of the British Empire, and I am bound to avow here in my place my great pride in the Empire and my strong belief in the possibility of its being made a great power for good in the history of the world. But who can doubt, especially after the cloud of war which has just passed over us, the vital relation of India to the British Empire? Owing to the war it has become more and more clear that our Empire is not only a splendid idea but a reality of immeasurable worth. Is it not almost absolutely clear that the bonds which unite this Empire together must be those of mutual confidence and contentment, and a consciousness of the right to exercise self-government which, after all, is the atmosphere in which the Empire moves and has its being?

I look forward with confidence to the beneficent result of this Bill not only in regard to the welfare of India but also in regard to the strength and influence of the Empire. Whatever further developments may take place in regard to the government of India I am sure that the one and ultimate safeguard must be, and will be found to be, the spirit of the British people. I should like to associate myself most heartily with the compliments which have been paid to Lord Sinha for his speech in moving the Second Reading of the Bill—a clear, wise and comprehensive speech. I am one of those who most highly appreciate his services not only to India but to this country in connection with the passage of this measure.


My Lords, may I ask your Lordships' indulgence while I make a few observations on the Bill before we go into Committee? I have been associated with the schemes of reform for India since their very inception, and have been intimately concerned with such schemes since the first day they were started in this country. In last week's debate, when so many speeches were made, the Under-Secretary of State for India made clear and precise the whole scheme and provisions of the Bill. Lord Carmichael and Lord Meston especially emphasised the point that a scheme of this character was not only advisable but absolutely and urgently necessary for India at the earliest possible date, and all who have studied the Bill and the Report of the Joint Committee of both Houses of Parliament, and who had the advantage of listening to the debate last week, will realise that the scheme provided is most liberal and extremely far-reaching in character.

Much has been said in defence of the central principle of the Bill in regard to Provincial Governments—what is known as the dual system. I do not propose to dwell at any great length on that principle, but I would like to make one or two observations upon it. The dual system entails two distinct and admittedly novel methods of procedure within one and the same government. On the one hand you have a liberal system of constitutional government introduced in regard to a category of selected subjects, and amongst those subjects are some of the most important as regards the life and welfare of the people of a Province. On the other hand you have the retention of control by Parliament through the Official Executive over the remaining category of subjects. It is universally admitted by all who have studied the subject that this system of duality presents very serious objections. Had it been possible I think every one charged with the consideration of the scheme would have avoided it and would have adopted the unified system, but, like others, I have been driven reluctantly to accept its employment. After careful examination over a long period of time I am convinced that it is the only means of interpreting with sincerity the spirit of the announcement of August, 1917. I have no quarrel with that announcement. The gradual development of self-governing institutions in the Provinces of India can, I believe, only be carried out by an application of the scheme as embodied in the Bill.

The establishment of a unified system, can produce only two alternative results. It would either produce a scheme far too advanced for present time, or else it would produce a scheme that was not adequate or sufficient for the time. If unity of government as proposed by the extreme wing of Indian opinion had been adopted it would have meant a transfer of all subjects at once. There would have been no gradual development, and I say that unity is not the right system for the present. No experienced opinion on this subject, either in this country or in India, could regard such a proposal as other than premature and productive of results which would ultimately be injurious to the future progress of the Parliamentary system in India. It would have the effect of unduly intensifying the oligarchic system of government as distinct from the democratic system, because it would furnish an undue and excessive power to the Legislative Council and Ministers appointed from those Councils, elected as they would be on an entirely inadequate franchise.

The other alternative, which has been strongly urged by the Provincial Governors and by Lord Sydenham, would have furnished the Governor and his Executive Council with excessive official power. It would hardly have advanced the constitutional system to any appreciable extent, and as applied to the new councils with large elective majorities it would, I believe, in time have only accentuated the difficulties and evils that have emerged in the working of the Morley-Minto Scheme. Lastly, it would have been entirely unacceptable, I believe, to universal Indian opinion. This is briefly why I support the dual system, and while I think it may be said that the case for the dual system is bound to stand, I realise in supporting it, as other noble Lords must also do, that it is a system which can very easily be wrecked and made unworkable. If any group of people with malign intentions desire to wreck the scheme they can do so in the easiest possible fashion. On the other hand it is, I believe, a perfectly workable scheme in the hands of a capable Governor supported by the good-will and co-operation of all classes and races in India, and I am sanguine enough to hope that that will be the experience in the immediate years to come.

My Lords, to accomplish this end I think much can be done to assist by the Governor establishing as a convention what has been proposed in the Joint Committee's Report, and that is that every subject, whether a reserved subject or a transferred subject, should be discussed in the united Cabinet; that there should be no secrets between the two wings of the Government, whether the official or the Ministerial wing; that no subject should be isolated from one or the other; that that relationship, in so far as deliberation and discussion and all the preliminary stages of the subjects are concerned, should prevail as far as possible in the same way as it prevails in this country in an ordinary harmonious Cabinet; and that only when the final decision is reached, and when that decision is a divergent decision, as between one wing and the other should there be duality of decision. I hope that in every province in India, from the very start, the rule will be established and strictly abided by, that there shall be always unity in deliberation and only duality in decision.

I pass to make a few observations on the proposed establishment of a Standing Joint Committee of both Houses of Parliament. I believe that this will have important and far-reaching effects, in the years to come, on the whole future governance in India, and I believe it may have effects beyond what some to-day may contemplate. In the first place the establishment of a committee of this character, I think, conclusively removes an objection which has been made very wide cast, that this Bill has embodied in it too many rules. The rules in the Bill are in connection with subjects of the very first importance, and all these rules are to be submitted to the consideration of the Joint Committee; and a further provision, which I think is one of great importance, is to be coupled with that investigation by the Joint Committee, namely, that those rules which are of greater importance will, after they have been decided on by the Joint Committee and accepted by the Secretary of State, be submitted to Parliament, not in the ordinary way by laying them on the Table but by means of securing a positive Resolution in both Houses. Thereby full opportunity of consideration is available.

This Committee will, I believe, bring to an extent hitherto unknown Parliament into close and informed contact with Indian affairs. As an Advisory body to the Secretary of State it also will be invaluable, and it will to that extent, I anticipate, remove a charge which has often been made, although I feel sometimes unfairly, that the Secretary of State and the India Office lagged behind in sympathy with and acceptance of proposals made from India. That will be removed now, because these subjects will come before the Committee, and with that will come corresponding energy throughout the whole hierarchy at home. Speaking for myself—and I know that in doing so I shall not be voicing the views of some of my colleagues on the Joint Committee—I entertain the hope that as a result of the reformed procedure in the India Office, and the reformed personnel that will take place as a result of the establishment of this Committee, in the future the Secretary of State, on the larger and broader questions of Indian policy, will assume a more constant and frequent direction and control than he has hitherto done, and that he will be less inclined in those greater matters to delegate that authority to India.

As regards all the minor matters, the more delegation that can take place the better. After Parliament has considered these matters, and after it has advised the Secretary of State, I believe that you will have a more true reflection of Parliamentary opinion and decision through the Secretary of State so fortified than you could ever hope to have from a far-removed Government out in India. I say this for the following reasons, which have impressed themselves on my mind by studying Indian questions now for some years. I anticipate that the scheme which we are granting to India to-day must lead eventually to the establishment of a federal system of government in India. The characteristics and peculiarities of the provinces of India lend themselves in a greater degree to a federal system than can be said of any of our Dominions which to-day are controlled under a similar system of government. Of course, the federal system which will probably develop in India will differ appreciably from those systems which we know in the Dominions, because India has its own characteristics and peculiarities and will develop its own federal system.

This scheme itself, in my judgment, lays the foundations of a federal system, because when in due course those that are now reserved subjects are handed over to the constitutional system, you will then have the Provinces in India autonomous and self contained as regards the control of their own local affairs, and the Central Government will confine itself exclusively to matters of general and federal concern. In the transition period that will elapse between to-day and the day, however distant it may be, when those reserved subjects are all handed over to the constitutional system, I anticipate that it will be inevitable that even those reserved subjects will be officially controlled, and those who control them will scarcely be able to escape from the influence of the constitutional system that is being set up in India. In other words, I believe that those subjects that still will be officially controlled will have to be controlled with a very strong constitutional strain influencing them. The old autocratic method even in those subjects which are of the first importance in India will have from the very nature of the situation to be modified with regard to the autocratic character in which they will be governed, and I believe that the official decision that will have to be made will have to be made in a much more constitutional spirit than hitherto. If that be the case the influence and direction of these matters should, I think, come in larger measure than before from the centre of the constitutional system—namely the Imperial Parliament. I am confident that under the reform procedure—a reform procedure which I have ventured briefly to outline—the Secretary of State will be a more accurate agent of Parliamentary advice and control than any one else. That is why I have ventured to dwell so long as I have done upon the importance of the establishment of the Joint Parliamentary Committee.

I would like to say a word regarding Clause 37 of the Bill. I do not think that it has been alluded to in the debate. That clause enables Indians for the first time to be appointed to the Indian Civil Service from India. That is a very important and, I think, an urgent departure. The future success of those appointments will depend in large measure on the conditions that are laid down both as regards the form of examination and training and the probation proposed for young Indians. The Public Services Commission over which I had the honour to preside some years ago, reported as far back as 1914, and after a very careful and elaborate examination on this subject of recruitment to the Indian Civil Service made proposals which I hope, in large part, will at an early date be adopted by the India Office. I notice in the Bill—and I am rather sorry that it is so—that these proposals, when they eventually are decided upon by the Office, are to be laid on the Table of the Houses of Parliament. I would prefer to have seen the more positive procedure of Resolution in regard to a matter of such importance.

There is one other subject to which I desire to allude, and it is one that is mentioned in the Report and has not been referred to in debate yet. It appears on the last page of the Report, and is a recommendation which I regard as of the very first importance. Its brevity in the Report in no way signifies its importance. The recommendation is to the effect that Local Government Departments should be established in all the Provinces of India. Simultaneously with this constitutional development, I would point out that there is a very advanced development taking place in India to-day in regard to the elective system that is being introduced into local bodies throughout the Provinces, whether they be municipalities, district boards or punchayets. All those bodies are in future to be elected bodies with elected chairman, and they will have great responsibility, and, of course, with the gradual movement of the constitutional system still greater and more important functions will be placed upon their shoulders in the same way as they are placed upon the shoulders of local bodies in this country. I would have liked to see—and I attempted it, but without success—a positive instruction embodied in the Bill that all the Provinces should be furnished with a statutory local government Department as is the case with the Financial Department. Those bodies consisting of elected members, especially in the early days, will enter upon their duties ill-versed many of them in the work that will be imposed upon them, and it does seem of the very first importance that in India, even more than in any other country that I know, in the establishment of democratic local bodies you should couple that Departmental control from the head in each Province which is to be found to-day in every constitutional country in the world. Upon the control by a Department of this character will largely depend the efficient and economic administration that is to be secured, and the proper regard for the financial and social interests of those who live within the areas of these local centres.

It is advised that in all questions in the Provinces where the Legislative Council and the Governor are in agreement, the decision may be final. That I regard as a very important proposal, and I hope that it will be given effect to. That proposal is also made in regard to the Central Government. In all matters where the General Assembly and the Governor-General-in-Council are in agreement usually the subjects will come into force without the intervention of any higher authority. That to my mind is a very important proposal in regard to the Central Government, because, taking into consideration the future personnel of the Government of India, and taking into consideration the large elected majority in the General Assembly, that proposal will have a very strong constitutional tendency in regard to matters that come before that body and the Governor-General. I do not think, with a provision of that character, that it can be said with any accuracy or truth that the Government of India has been left without any advance.

I have briefly alluded to one or two proposals that have been made in the Report of the General Committee. There are many others which I will not attempt to dwell upon this evening. I should like to say this as regards the Report of the Joint Committee. The coupling of the Bill with the Report of the Joint Committee is a novel arrangement, and any one who peruses carefully this Report will see that many of the subjects dealt with are as important as the actual provisions in the Bill. The Report I regard—and I hope it will be regarded—as an integral and essential part of the whole scheme. The Bill without the Report is really inoperative, and I hope that it may be made clear now and on wards that the several proposals in the Report—many of the very first importance, some of which have already been alluded to, especially that which the noble Earl alluded to the other day with regard to the establishment within Imperial limits of fiscal autonomy—that those several proposals will be given effect to and adhered to by all successive Secretaries of State and Viceroys in the years to come, and that the Report will be regarded as a document as authoritative as the Bill itself.

Taken together the Bill and the Report constitute a great scheme of Indian reform—so great that it cannot possibly be disparaged with any reason by any body of people. It is a great experiment, as has already been said, and it can only succeed if all try to make it a success. I already detect indications from the extreme element in India that there may be a certain phase of hostility to the proposals that are made on the ground that they are not sufficiently advanced. I would say to those extreme people in India who are holding that view, and who may be contemplating action in that direction, that not merely the Mother of Parliaments and the Empire are looking on but the whole civilised world is watching and going to watch this great experiment. I would go even further. I believe that the introduction of the Western system of constitutional government is really on its trial in India in the coming years, and those who balk or check the successful progress of that scheme will be doing, indeed, not merely an ill-service to their own country but an ill-service to all those countries which may be aspiring to a similar system of government in the years to come. It behoves all British and all Indian officials and public men to address themselves to this great scheme in a spirit of co-operation, of good will, and of determination to make it a success. It is in that spirit that Parliament hands over this great responsibility to India, and it is in that spirit that Parliament expects and anticipates that India will apply herself to the task with advantage to the country's future.


My Lords, there are few members of your Lordships' House who have had the double experience that I have had of being dependent upon the love and care of Indian servants in childhood as well as of having the responsibility in after years of administering in India the affairs of many millions of people. And, feeling very strongly on one point, I feel I am bound to offer a few remarks upon that, and that only. As regards the general subject, it is so long since I went there in an official position—it is nearly thirty years—that I feel it would be presumptuous of me to offer any dogmatic opinion upon the wisdom of applying this reform to India. But I do acknowledge that in a short visit which I paid there a few years ago I saw so many signs of reform, of changes, and of improvements, which quite delighted me, that I should under any circumstances have hesitated to oppose the very great changes which are included in this Bill.

In the Preamble of the Bill it is stated— And whereas concurrently with the gradual development of self-governing institutions in the Provinces of India it is expedient to give to those Provinces in provincial matters the largest measure of independence of the Government of India which is compatible with the due discharge by the latter of its own responsibilities— throwing therefore upon the Provincial Governments a very heavy responsibility. And the first paragraph of the Preamble states that the Bill is enacted "with a view to the progressive realisation of responsible government in British India as an integral part of the Empire." In view of that, I feel that there is one point upon which it is justifiable to offer a warning, and that is on the subject of education. I am sorry that the Joint Committee did not see its way to specially reserve this subject, but has left it to the Rules which are eventually to be framed, under which it may be possible—and I fancy I have seen that it is more than possible, it is probable—that primary and secondary education will be transferred to a Minister.

The reason why I offer a warning is derived from my own practical experience. Of the very small amount of money which it was within the competence of the Provincial Government of Bombay to allocate as it pleased for educational purposes, it was always my endeavour to allocate as large an amount as possible for primary education. If India is eventually to arrive in an advanced condition of responsible government I think you will agree with me that primary education must extend enormously, both as regards its width and as regards the character of the education, before it would be possible to conceive India being fit for responsible government. If I remember rightly the percentage of illiterates in India is something like 95. It is obvious from that portentous percentage that enormous strides have to be made in the matter of primary education before the people of India can possibly be sufficiently instructed to take a reasonably intelligent and educated part in elections and in the subjects with which elections have to deal.

If there was one thing upon which I was abused and attacked by the native Press it was because I gave money to primary education and did not give it to secondary or University education. I cannot help thinking that if there is one subject more than another upon which extreme pressure will be brought to bear upon the Minister it is on the subject of education; and I shall be very glad if my noble friend, in the course of any remarks he may have to make on the clauses of the Bill, would tell us what he thinks upon that point—whether he himself does not acknowledge that in all probability the allocation of moneys for education will be the subject of all the transferred subjects which will place the Minister in the greatest possible difficulty. I mean not merely as regards the allocation of moneys between the Mahomedans and the Hindus, as in all probability he will be very cautious about that because he will be held up to abuse at once if he is partial; but the pressure that will be brought to bear upon him by the Brahmins, in order that the greatest amount possible may be given to secondary education, will be so extreme that he will have to be a very strong, self-confident man to be able to resist that pressure. I give that merely as my practical experience upon what I should say is the most important matter of transferred subjects because, without a very wide extension of primary education, it is absolutely ridiculous to talk of India arriving at a stage where responsible government can be really widely extended.

I should not have detained your Lordships even for this brief time had I not felt that it was my duty, having had that experience, to utter this very humble warning. My affection for the peoples of India, engendered (as I have said) by my two-fold experience, is so great that I earnestly pray that this measure of reform may bring them the utmost possible benefit; but that it is an awful responsibility which England is taking upon herself is obvious from every speech which has been made from the Front Benches, which speeches I had not the opportunity of hearing but which I have read. But that every one who has ever had anything to do with India feels how momentous is the responsibility that we have now taken upon ourselves cannot be doubted. It is in the most profound and earnest hope that this Bill may bring benefits to India that I, at this long distance from the time when I had practical experience of the administration of Indian affairs, have not dared to oppose it in any particular. I sincerely trust that these prayers may eventually be granted, and that my noble friend, and those who have been associated with him in bringing in this Bill, may be assured that there is no one who has ever had anything to do with India who has more benevolent wishes for the success of this measure than I have.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.


Clause 1:

Classification of central and provincial subjects.

1.—(1) Provision may be made by rules under the Government of India Act, 1915, as amended by the Government of India (Amendment) Act, 1916 (which Act, as so amended, is in this Act referred to as "the principal Act")—

  1. (a) for the classification of subjects, in relation to the functions of government, as central and provincial subjects, for the purpose of distinguishing the functions of local governments and local legislatures from the functions of the Governor-General in Council and the Indian legislature;
  2. (b) for the devolution of authority in respect of provincial subjects to local governments, and for the allocation of revenues or other moneys to those governments;
  3. (c) for the use under the authority of the Governor-General in Council of the agency of local governments in relation to central subjects, in so far as such agency may be found convenient, and for determining the financial conditions of such agency; and
  4. (d) for the transfer form among the provincial subjects of subjects (in this Act referred to as "transferred subjects") to the administration of the governor acting with ministers appointed under this Act, and for the allocation of revenue or moneys for the purpose of such administration.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing powers, rules made for the above-mentioned purposes may—

  1. (i) regulate the extent and conditions of such devolution, allocation, and transfer;
  2. (ii) provide for fixing the contributions payable by local governments to the Governor-General in Council, and making such contributions a first charge on allocated revenues or moneys;
  3. (iii) provide for constituting a finance department in any province, and regulating the functions of that department;
  4. (iv) provide for regulating the exercise of the authority vested in the local government of a province over members of the public services therein;
  5. 134
  6. (v) provide for the settlement of doubts arising as to whether any matter does or does not relate to a provincial subject or a transferred subject, and for the treatment of matters which affect both a transferred subject and a subject which is not transferred; and
  7. (vi) make such consequential and supplemental provisions as appear necessary or expedient:

Provided that without prejudice to any general power of revoking or altering rules under the principal Act, the rules shall not authorise the revocation or suspension of the transfer of any subject except with the sanction of the Secretary of State in Council.

(3) The powers of superintendence, direction, and control over local government voted in the Governor-General in Council under the principal Act shall in relation to transferred subjects be exercised only for such purposes as may be specified in rules made under that Act, but the Governor-General in Council shall be the sole judge as to whether the purpose of the exercise of such powers in any particular case comes within the purposes so specified.

(4) The expressions "central subjects" and "provincial subjects" as used in this Act mean subjects so classified under the rules.

Provincial subjects, other than transferred subjects, are in this Act referred to as "reserved subjects."

LORD MAC DONNELL moved, in subsection (1), to leave out paragraph (d) and to insert as a new paragraph— (d) for the appointment of one or more ministers of the Governor's Legislative Council to participate on equal footing with members of the Governor's Executive Council in the administration of the province").

The noble Lord said: During these protracted debates no one has said a truer word than the noble Lord, Lord Islington. As I understood him, he said that the future of this Bill, if it becomes an Act, can be wrecked in a very easy way. He further said, as I understood him, that from several directions influences would be brought to bear upon the wreckers with the object of wrecking the Bill, but that nevertheless, in the face of such danger, of such a perilous future, he recommended that the dual system should be maintained. I am no opponent of this Bill. I accept to its fullest extent the Declaration of August 20, 1917. But because of the dangers which are impending, because of the dangers which have been declared as likely to arise in the future, I am desirous that the Bill should be founded upon good foundations, and that we should take no step in advance until we had assured ourselves of the solidity of the steps we have taken.

My Amendment is, to put it shortly, the substitution of the unitary system of government during the first period—say for ten years. Within that period the process would be that, instead of imposing upon the Minister independent authority, the Minister would be taken as part of the Executive Council of the Province, that to him should be given a portfolio which might from time to time be changed, and that all the work which he should do should be done after consultation with his colleagues in the manner in which it is now done. In such a way we should educate the Minister and we might expect that, at the end of ten years, he would become imbued with the English idea of government, and that nothing which would affect the people, especially the poorer classes, would be carried out. In other words, we know that "as the twig is bent so is the tree inclined." We should hope that during those years of apprenticeship the Minister would imbibe the spirit of British, administration, and that, when at the end he came to act upon his own authority, nothing would be done which would be inconsistent with the principles that he had learnt. Far better, in my view, is it to proceed in that manner than at once to incur the danger which arises from employing a wholly unprepared and a wholly inexperienced man in dealing with what is one of the most complex Governments in the world.

If, on the other hand, you take the dual system to begin with, you will have the utmost incentives brought to bear upon the Minister to take from the outset his own line. Naturally, he will be a person who is in the front rank of Indian politicians. He will not be, I might say practically never, a man who has graduated in the Government school of politics. He will be from the commencement an opponent of the Government, and, although responsibility may have a sobering effect upon him, still he never will forget that from the time of his entering into politics he has taken up a position against the Government. I think that this may lead to the utmost friction. We knew that if a house is divided against itself that house cannot stand. He will be impelled by public opinion outside to assert himself as against the Government, and the fact will be that instead of a united Government you will have a divided Government; the division will go on, and the only control that the Governor will have is the enforcement of his veto. We know that the enforcement of the veto makes it still more difficult to apply the veto again. So the result will be that in a very few years you will have a disunited Government and public opinion, or at least all the vocal opinion, will be against the Government and in favour of the Minister. Only one result can come from that. The Government will hesitate to remove the Minister. If they remove him he at once becomes a martyr, and the result will be that government under such circumstances will become impossible. That is the reason why I believe it is far better to go slowly, to do as much as you can to lead your Ministers to look at matters from the public point of view, to look at matters in the light of the advice of their colleagues, and in such a way as far as possible to continue the Government which at present exists.

The custom in the past in all ways has been that change should be evolution and not revolution, that as nearly as possible we should continue the principles which have been laid down in the past, and that we should not break roughly away from them. These are the reasons for which I think the unitary system will be the best and the safest; it will not expose you to danger, at all events; and then, during the next ten years, you will be able to see whether a better system than this dual system cannot be thought of, and, if it cannot be thought of, of course I accept the dual system. For these reasons I propose the Amendment which stands in my name.

Amendment moved— Clause 1, page 2, lines 21 to 26, leave out paragraph (d) and insert the said new paragraph.—(Lord MacDonnell.)


I will not repeat what I said last week against this dual system. It would be very easy to argue at length to show that the thing is unworkable in practice, but I think my noble friend Lord Islington has saved me that trouble. As the noble Lord emphatically said, a small faction can wreck the whole thing. Can there be any stronger condemnation of any system than that it lies within the means of a small body of people to destroy it altogether? The Joint Committee felt the difficulties in this dual system and reconsidered them to a certain extent, but not sufficiently, and they made provision to meet some of the difficulties. One of their provisions is this, that if the Minister brings in a Bill of which the Executive Government thoroughly disapproves, then the Executive Government must sit on while that Bill is being passed, may not speak on it, and may not vote upon it. In other words, the views of the Executive Government upon the Minister's Bill, of which they disapprove heartily, will not be expressed at all.

There is another difficulty which the joint Committee did not meet. Supposing a private Bill is brought in, possibly in collusion with the Minister, and the Executive Government thoroughly disapproves of that Bill but the Minister heartily approves and supports it, what is to happen? Is the one half of the Government to sit here and the other half of the Government to sit there, and get up and make speeches on opposite sides in regard to that Bill? Or are both to be silent and not to vote at all? That is a dilemma which is very likely to happen, and is, indeed, one of the many difficulties which will arise in this dual system. I feel that if my noble friend Lord Islington had ever had knowledge of executive government in India some of his views would be very different from those he has expressed to-day.


My Lords, this Amendment raises the whole fundamental question underlying the Bill—the alternative as between what is called the dual system of government and what is called the unified or unitary system of government. The matter has been so thoroughly thrashed out both before the Joint Committee and in this House that I feel I should not be justified in taking up your Lordships' time in going into that matter at this stage. I endeavoured to meet the objections put forward against the dual system when I introduced the Bill for the Second Reading, and, if I may say so, all the arguments in favour of it were marshalled with force and cogency by the Earl of Selborne, who presided over the Joint Committee, and I cannot hope to improve upon those arguments. I will, therefore, only ask your Lordships not to accept this Amendment, because it means that you reject the whole principle underlying the Bill, and the Bill itself.


I hope that your Lordships are not going to pass this by without argument or justification. I cannot understand how this plan is accepted at all. The only way I can account for it is that both Houses of Parliament have in some way been hypnotised. There is absolutely nothing either in principle or in practice, that you can recall throughout the whole course of history to justify this grotesque scheme. Every popular saying and every maxim in every language gives proof that union is strength and division is disaster.

We want to give an example in government to India. What is there in our own form of government which in any way resembles this dyarchy? We are told now that there are two accepted principles of government—the unitarian or unitary, and the dual. Who has ever heard of any such distinction in political philosophy or anything else, where you find different forms of Government defined in that way? Every speaker who has spoken—even those who have given the biggest benediction to the Bill—has been unable to refrain from expressing apprehension and anxiety about this dual system. How can it be otherwise when you have two halves of the Government on a different system? There is bound to be division. The thing above all that we want in India is a strong Government. A divided Government would be a weak one. We want above all a Government which will be prompt in its decisions. How can you have promptitude in decision in a Government which has to act in two halves?

All the difficulties in this country throughout the long course of our Parliamentary history have generally arisen from the difficulty of keeping the Cabinet together; and here, so far from that being the case, you are going to start them with a Cabinet which is actually divided, which is bound to be kept divided by the very nature of the system you are imposing upon them. If nobody is going into the Division Lobby but my two noble friends and myself we shall have to divide the House upon this matter of principle. It is no good proposing Amendments and then withdrawing them, as has become so much a custom in this House, but we shall have to put your Lordships to the trouble of a Division upon this matter of fundamental principle concerning which some protest must be registered in this House.


I cannot help thinking that the speech which the noble Lord has just made ought to have been the prelude of a Division on the Second Reading of the Bill. Only his experience in India justifies his intervention. I confess I feel that it is very difficult for those of us who sat on the Committee to enter into argument with him merely on this, although it is a very important detail of the scheme. This, however, I would say, that nobody entered on that Committee with a greater suspicion than I had of the proposal which is known as dyarchy, and if we could have found any feasible way of carrying out the pronouncement of the Government so as to avoid any division of duties of that character, unquestionably we should have grasped at the consideration of such a proposal.

But the position really amounts to this. The Government have pledged themselves to give a considerable measure of self-government to the popularly elected Assemblies. If you do that you must take one of two courses. Either you must give them a complete emancipation from the influence of the present authorities, or you must treat them in connection with the present authorities, in which case you must have duality. Sharing to a great degree some of the apprehensions of my noble friend, I confess that what seemed to us not only the most statesmanlike, but at the same same time the most effective, method of carrying out the Government's proposals was to give as full power as could be given over a limited number of subjects, instead of giving a limited power over the whole number of subjects. My noble friend may think we were wrong, but I can only say, so far as I was concerned, that I pressed that particular conundrum on all the experienced administrators who came before us, and I think I am right in saying that almost unanimously the opinion of those who have served most in India was that it was desirable to give the whole control

over a certain amount rather than a partial control over the whole amount.

As things are laid out now, I think we must agree that there will be no doubt in the minds of anybody as to who is responsible for special policy. That, in itself, is the first, and I think the greatest, object to be attempted, if once you accept the Second Reading of the Bill, which I do not think my noble friend does. I cannot but hope that his apprehensions, and those which are so urgently felt by my noble friend Lord Sydenham, as regards the exercise of those powers, may be found to be excessive. I am quite certain that, if instead of taking that course we had taken the other course and had placed these elected representatives in the Governor-General's Council, with power for the Governor-General continually to over-rule them, we should have exposed ourselves to as great a criticism from my noble friend as we do now; and very legitimately, because I do not think he would have held that that in any way met his views.

I could have brought myself to vote with the noble Lord who moved the Amendment only if I had been convinced that we were going back to the old system of government and were merely going to institute a certain further number of educated Indians into the Administration. If we are to have a fresh start at all I submit to your Lordships that it is necessary there should be some clear sphere delineated for these new Assemblies. Therefore although, like most of those who have addressed themselves to this question, I naturally feel some apprehension as to the working of the new system, I have no doubt whatever as regards supporting the noble Lord in the Lobby.

On Question, whether paragraph (d) shall stand part of the clause?

Their Lordships divided:—Contents, 44; Not-Contents, 5.

Birkenhead, L. (L. Chancellor.) Hutchinson, V. (E. Donoughmore.) Islington, L.
Lamington, L.
Sutherland, D. Peel, V Meston, L.
O'Hagan, L.
Crewe, M. Brodrick, L. (V. Midleton.) Oranmore and Browne, L.
Carmichael, L. Ranksborough, L.
Bradford, E. Clwyd, L. St. Audries, L.
Chesterfield, E. Colebrooke, L. St. Levan, L.
Craven, E. Cottesloe, L. Sinha, L.
Eldon, E. Desart, L. (E. Desart.) Somerleyton, L. [Teller.]
Lovelace, E. Elgin, L. (E. Elgin and Kincardine.) Southborough, L.
Lucan, E. Stanmore, L. [Teller.]
Lytton, E. Fairfax of Cameron, L. Stuart of Wortley, L.
Onslow, E. Glenarthur, L. Treowen, L.
Strafford, E. Greville, L. Wavertree, L.
Harris, L. Wigan, L. (E. Crawford.)
Farquhar, V. (L. Steward.) Hylton, L.
Sandhurst, V. (L. Chamberlain).
Falkland, V. Ampthill, L. [Teller.] MacDonnell, L. [Teller.]
Lawrence, L. Sydenham, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.

LORD SYDENHAM moved, at the end of subsection (1), to insert the following proviso— Provided that all subjects concerned with the development or regulation of trade, commerce and industries, shall remain subject to the control of the Governor-General in Council and the Indian Legislature, and to the extent to which they may be delegated to the Provincial Governments, shall not be made transferred subjects.

The noble Lord said: This Bill was passed in another place before it had even reached India at all, and the only knowledge there is dependent on such abstracts as were sent out by telegram. Some parts of it have already caused great alarm among the mercantile communities of India, and four Chambers of Commerce have telegraphed their objections to the London Chamber of Commerce. The Bengal Chamber of Commerce say— The Chamber consider the proposal, if given effect to, may be productive of much harm. Government by Ministers is entirely experimental, and Chamber still hold that great industries of India are far too important to be made the subject of any experimental form of government. The Bengal Chamber also point out that the Government of India, in paragraph 116 of their Despatch of April 16 disapproved of the proposals of Lord Southborough's Committee, and gave their reasons for disagreeing with the idea of making the development of industries in India transferred subject in the dual government of the provinces.

I have put down this Amendment at the request of the London Chamber of Commerce, but I feel very strongly about it myself. The Bill as it stands will, in my opinion, create grave political trouble, but it may in addition to that disturb the whole system of commerce throughout India. There has never been anything to prevent Indians from starting in businesses which they are competent to manage, or which they could find capital entrusted to them to carry on. The development of Indian industries has proceeded quite rapidly in recent years, and I myself when I was in India did everything I could to encourage them. If the progress is not so great as one would like to see, not so great as in other countries, the reason really is that comparatively few Indians have shown any ability to conduct great industries, and in late years political agitation has absorbed some of the best brains in India.

Never in the whole history of India were there so many Indian industries making so much money as there are at this moment, and it is part of the anti-British propaganda to say that we have destroyed the great industries of India. All that this means is that the hand industries of India have tended to disappear, as of course they have in all Western countries. But unfortunately Indian enterprises have very often assumed a political aspect. The Swadeshi movement led to the establishment on, patriotic grounds of a large number of Indian undertakings of which nearly thirty crashed in the years 1913 and 1914, in some cases owing to great frauds. Many poor people were ruined, but few of the persons who were really responsible were ever brought to the bar of justice. That is an exceedingly difficult thing to do in such cases in India.

The effect of this Bill has already been to increase the perfect orgy of speculation. Private companies and enterprises have been run up at short notice, with the notion, the foolish notion, that India will suddenly become industrialised on a very large scale. In Calcutta one individual has set up three distinct industries with a capital of several crores, and out of these undertakings there will be in the near future some very great disasters. Among Ministers there may be some who have taken part, an active part, in the Swadeshi and boycott movement which was intended to handicap British industries, and there may be other circumstances which would make it very difficult for an Indian Minister to be impartial. As the idea seems to be to set on foot as many industries as possible with public money and then hand them over in going order to Indian hands, an Indian Minister may very likely be accused of favouritism which might be a charge difficult for him to disprove.

The British mercantile community has done an immense work in increasing the prosperity of India, and under this Bill it will be, politically, perfectly impotent. There is not one of the Chambers of Commerce but feels deeply concerned about what lies before them. The Government of India agreed with the Chambers of Commerce, and if it has changed its mind I hope Lord Sinha will explain why and when it changed its mind. The wording of my Amendment might not be the best possible, but I am ready to modify it to any extent if the Government will meet me on the question of principle—which is that industries shall not be transferred subjects for the first ten years.

Amendment moved— Clause 1, page 2, after line 26, insert the said proviso.—(Lord Sydenham.)


I should like to say a few words in support of the Amendment. Only two or three days ago I heard that the feeling in Calcutta between the British and Indians at the present time is becoming severely strained, owing to the perhaps unreasonable fears entertained by the British as to what may occur under the provisions of this Bill. In this country with its many ages of self-government we are even now setting economic laws at defiance. What is likely to occur if you entrust to a people who are inexperienced in self-government these far-reaching powers, which not only deal with their own interests as Indians but are bound to affect British commercial classes as well? I cannot imagine any provision more likely to cause friction between these two parties in India. It is a risk, and I think an unnecessary risk. If in the course of the next few years it is found that these fears are unfounded, and that Indians are capable of working electoral institutions, then you may pass a special Act giving them administration over industries also. The Amendment is a wise provision inasmuch as it provides that for the present industries shall be removed from the purview of this new Indian electorate. I can see no necessity for their inclusion. The Indian electorate will have plenty to do in looking after their own affairs. By accepting the Amendment you will eliminate a great risk.


Although for somewhat different reasons than were advanced by Lord Sydenham, I am, I think, in favour of his Amendment. I certainly am of the idea which underlies it, but I am not quite sure that the Amendment is in the right form, although I am not going to talk about that. I give it my support, and I ask Lord Sinha to let us know what really the Government do intend in this matter. I think something ought to be said about this. I know the feeling of alarm that is felt, and justifiably felt, by commercial men with regard to this Bill. I said it the other night, and I repeat it now, that I personally wish the European commercial men of India would take more interest in government out there. I think if they did they would not have this feeling of alarm, because I cannot see why Indians and Europeans cannot co-operate. I think the alarm is somewhat unfounded, but I know that it is generally felt, and I hope that Lord Sinha will tell us the views of the Government on the question.


I am unwilling to go into the merits of this question at this stage, and I will presently tell your Lordships the reason why, but I do submit to your Lordships that this is not the right occasion on which this question should be raised. Your Lordships will not have failed to see that in the Bill itself there is no provision transferring particular subjects to the administration of Ministers, but that the matter is left to be dealt with by rules to be made under Clause 1, paragraph (d), which runs: "(d) for the transfer from among the provincial subjects of subjects (in this Act referred to as 'transferred subjects') to the administration of the governor acting with Ministers appointed under this Act." Therefore the question will arise when the rules are made under the provisions of Clause 44, which provides that the rules which are to be made by the Governor-General in Council with the sanction of the Secretary of State in Council, "shall not be subject to repeal or alteration by the Indian Legislature or by any local Legislature."

Those rules have not yet been made, and, as your Lordships will have seen, when these rules are made they will have to be laid before both Houses of Parliament as soon as may be after they are made; or, if the Secretary of State directs with regard to any particular rules, they "shall be laid in draft before both Houses of Parliament, and in such case the rules shall not be made unless both Houses by resolution approve the draft either without modification or addition or with modifications and additions." No such rules have been made or can be made unless this Bill is passed into law, because it is the Bill which authorises the rules to be made. It is perfectly true that the Feetham Committee, what is generally known as the "Functions Committee," drew up a list of central and provincial subjects, and amongst the latter dealt with the development of industries as a transferred subject. The apprehensions which have undoubtedly been raised by that provision have been greatly due to misapprehension, because, as your Lordships will notice, if you look at the list put in before the Joint Committee and which the Joint Committee approved so far as they could, because those rules were only put before them in a tentative fashion in order to enable them to visualise the manner in which this dual system of Government will work, they were not rules made under the authority of law, nor were they dealing with them as such—indeed they could not.

It is therefore true that the Joint Committee approved of the division made by the Feetham Committee by which certain provincial industries are to be transferred to the administration of Ministers if the rules make it such, and if the rules are approved by Parliament, but I am perfectly willing to give your Lordships an assurance that those rules when they are made will be laid before Parliament for the purpose of this House, as well as the other House, coming to a conclusion whether the particular provision made is sufficient for the purpose of getting rid of these misgivings and apprehensions which undoubtedly have been raised, but which I venture to submit have been raised owing to misapprehensions as to the amount of control which is to be left to Ministers.

If Parliament so desires, I have no doubt that it will alter the rules so as to see that no reasons exist for such apprehensions or misgivings, and I strongly deprecate your Lordships' House now making any definite provisions saying what is to be transferred and what is not to be transferred, when you are not doing that with regard to anything else, but are asked to do it only with regard to one particular matter, namely, the development of industries. It might give rise to apprehensions or suspicions on the other side that it was being done in the interests of particular sections. There will be ample opportunity, I can assure the House, of considering the rules when they are made, and of judging whether there is any reason whatever for the apprehensions which exist. If they are well-founded no doubt the House will amend the rules in such a way as to get rid of any legitimate apprehensions.


I thank the noble Lord for his statement, which is very excellent as far as it goes, but it must be recognised that there are these apprehensions on the part of Europeans in India, and I do not think that many people realise what a very important part those Europeans play in the administration of India. I am sure it will tend to the successful working of this Act if those apprehensions are allayed at the present time, and if it is not left in doubt as to whether industries are to be included in the transferred subjects or not. It will bring about a more harmonious feeling as regards the Act.


Subject to your Lordships' approval I can promise that the Government of India itself will be free to reconsider the question in the light of the discussion that has taken place before they make the rules for submission to Parliament, so that the matter will be left to be dealt with on its merits when the question of making the rules arises. I am afraid that I cannot do more than that.


Might I suggest that there is something which the noble Lord could do, and that is as regards trade and commerce. I am not sure that the noble Lord opposite does not include too much when he talks about industry, because that is largely a local matter, whereas trade and commerce is international. I believe that one of the points which has tended to prevent agreement as regards Irish matters is the transfer of trade and commerce in Ireland, and in the discussions that have taken place regarding Home Rule the one thing that England has adhered to resolutely is that trade and commerce should remain an Imperial subject. Here it is suggested that trade and commerce may, under the rules, be a transferred subject. May I point out to my noble friend that under Clause 44, paragraph (2) he could, if it was sanctioned by the Secretary of State, give an undertaking that a rule regarding trade and commerce shall be laid in draft before both Houses of Parliament. That rule shall not be made unless both Houses by Resolution approve it. If the noble Lord would undertake to place that point before the Secretary of State, and if he were eventually empowered to promise this House that no Rule with respect to trade and commerce shall be dealt with, I think that would go a long way towards removing our apprehensions.


May I point out that there is no proposal whatever to transfer trade and commerce to Ministers. The only provision being dealt with under this Amendment is development of industries, including industrial research and technical education, nothing more. With regard to trade and commerce, savings banks and banking and insurance are, for example, central subjects, and with respect to them the Provincial Government, either reserved or transferred, will have nothing to do. If your Lordships will look to Appendix F in the second volume of the Joint Committee's Report you will find item 18 in the list states that central subjects—that is subjects with which the Provincial Governments will have nothing to do—include commerce, banking and insurance, so that trade and commerce are subjects with which the Provinces will have nothing to do.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clauses 2, 3, and 4 agreed to.

Clause 5:

Qualification of members of local executive councils.

5.—(1) The provision in section forty-seven of the principal Act, that two of the members of the executive council of the governor of a province must have been for at least twelve years in the service of the Crown in India, shall have effect as though "one" were substituted for "two," and the provision in that section that the Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty's Forces in India, if resident at Calcutta, Madras, or Bombay, shall, during his continuance there, be a member of the governor's council, shall cease to have effect.

(2) Provision may be made by rules under the principal Act as to the qualifications to be required in respect of members of the executive council of the governor of a province in any case where such provision is not made by section forty-seven of the principal Act as amended by this section.

LORD AMPTHILL moved to leave out subsection (1). The noble Lord said: This provision seems to me not only altogether uncalled for but positively mischievous. The effect of this is that there shall never be more than one member of the Indian Civil Service on the Governor's Executive Council. Imagine the position of a Governor newly arrived from England with no experience of India and with only one European adviser. I cannot see the object of it, and I think that it is one of those things that might very well have been left alone, at any rate during this stage which, we are told over and over again, is a transitional and experimental stage. I do not think that it will harm the general scheme of the Bill to leave out this and I do not see why it was put in. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 5, lines 8 to 16, leave out subsection (1).—(Lord Ampthill.)


I would refer your Lordships to the Report of the Joint Committee for the purpose of explaining the objects of the alteration proposed in Section 47 of the principal Act—the Act of 1915. Under that section the members of the Governor's Executive Council shall be appointed by His Majesty by Warrant under the Royal Sign Manual, and shall be of such number, not exceeding four, as the Secretary of State-in-Council directs. That is the maximum number. With regard to that the Joint Committee say:— The Committee are of opinion that the normal strength of an Executive Council, especially in the small Provinces, need not exceed two members. They have not, however, reduced the existing statutory maximum of four; but if in any case the Council includes two members with Service qualifications, neither of whom is by birth an Indian, they think that it should also include two unofficial Indian members. Therefore in practically every Province it will not be necessary to have more than two members of the Executive Council, because a good deal of the work done by the Executive Council will be done by the Minister, and the Governor will have the assistance of two members of the Executive Council, which is considered sufficient by the Joint Committee. If you have two only, and retain the qualification that both should be persons who have been for at least twelve years in the Service of the Crown in India, you practically exclude the Indian element altogether, because, having regard to the fact that there is hardly a sufficient number of Indian civilians of standing to be taken into the Executive Council, it practically is only the non-official Indian who can act, and if you require the Service qualification for two you practically exclude all Indians from being on the Council. It is an essential part of the scheme that Indians should be on the Council, and therefore I ask that this Amendment should not be pressed. The Government of India accepts the clause. There is nothing to prevent there being two members with twelve years Service qualification, but when there are only two it would destroy the scheme altogether if you compelled the Government to have two members of the Indian Civil Service and no Indian at all.


I do not think that the noble Lord has really met the objection of my noble friend, which is a very serious one. When a Governor goes out fresh to India, if he finds himself with only one European adviser that is not satisfactory to him. His strength lies, as I found, in having two, and being able to compare their opinions (which frequently differ) and form a view of his own from the opinions of the two. If he goes out there and finds only one European at his side that European may have peculiarities of his own, and may take short-sighted views on some things, and wrong views on others, and it is an enormous advantage to the Governor to have two experienced civil servants by his side. But it is more than that. The Governor is no longer to be a member of the Legislative Council, and therefore there would only be one European official to deal with legislation in that Council. I do not think that is sufficient. Would it be quite impossible to allow two European members, and to put an extra Minister on? I would not in the least object to that. It would get over the difficulty that the noble Lord spoke of. Some of the Provinces which are to be handed over are very large. The United Provinces for instance, with its huge population, would surely give a large amount of work, and from that point of view alone I think that it is desirable that there should still remain, at all events for the first period of transition, two European advisers to the Governor.


I venture to think that the noble Lord's apprehensions are without any grounds whatever. As the clause stands there is nothing to prevent the Governor from having two members with the Service qualification of twelve years. He can have the two members with the Service qualification that he chooses, and he can have, as the Joint Committee recommends, two non-official Indians, or he may have one. It is only the recommendation of the Joint Committee that he should have two when there are two European members of the Indian Civil Service, but the Bill does not prevent that. The only thing that the Bill does is to say that if there are two only, as the Joint Committee thinks will be the case, certainly in the smaller Provinces, they need not necessarily both be Service members. That is the whole point.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 5 agreed to.

Clause 6 agreed to.

Clause 7:

Composition of governor's legislative councils.

7.—(1) There shall be a legislative council in every governor's province, which shall consist of the members of the executive council and of members nominated or elected as provided by this Act.

The governor shall not be a member of the legislative council, but shall have the right of addressing the council, and may for that purpose require the attendance of its members.

(2) The number of members of the governors' legislative councils shall be in accordance with the table set out in the First Schedule to this Act; and of the members of each council not more than twenty per cent. shall be official members, and at least seventy per cent, shall be elected members:

Provided that—

  1. (a) subject to the maintenance of the above proportions, rules under the principal Act may provide for increasing the number of members of any council, as specified in that schedule; and
  2. (b) the governor may, for the purposes of any Bill introduced or proposed to be introduced in his legislative council, nominate, in the case of Assam one person, and in the case of other provinces not more than two persons, having special knowledge or experience of the subject matter of the Bill, and those persons shall, in relation to the Bill, have for the period for which they are nominated all the rights of members of the council, and shall be in addition to the numbers above referred to; and
  3. (c) members nominated to the legislative council of the Central Provinces by the governor as the result of elections held in the Assigned Districts of Berar shall be deemed to be elected members of the legislative council of the Central Provinces.

(3) The powers of a governor's legislative council may be exercised notwithstanding any vacancy in the council.

(4) Subject as aforesaid, provision may be made by rules under the principal Act as to—

  1. (a) the term of office of nominated members of governors' legislative councils, and the manner of filling casual vacancies occurring by reason of absence of 151 members from India, inability to attend to duty, death, acceptance of office, resignation duly accepted, or otherwise; and
  2. (b) the conditions under which and manner in which persons may be nominated as members of governors' legislative councils; and
  3. (c) The qualification of electors, the constitution of constituencies, and the method of election for governors' legislative councils, including the number of members to be elected by communal and other electorates, and any matters incidental or ancillary thereto; and
  4. (d) the qualifications for being and for being nominated or elected a member of any such council; and
  5. (e) the final decision of doubts or disputes as to the validity of any election; and
  6. (f) the manner in which the rules are to be carried into effect:

Provided that rules as to any such matters as aforesaid may provide for delegating to the local government such power as may be specified in the rules of making subsidiary regulations affecting the same matters.

(5) Subject to any such rules any person who is a ruler or subject of any State in India may be nominated as a member of a governor's legislative council.

LORD AMPTHILL moved, in subsection (2), to leave out "at least" ["at least 70 per cent. shall be elected members"] and to insert "not more than." The noble Lord said: The object of this Amendment is to avoid what seems to me an invidious distinction. The subsection as it stands limits the number of officials very sharply, and on the other hand allows a very large discretion as regards the elected members. I think there ought to be the same restriction on both so as to avoid this invidious distinction, and also to preserve the opportunity and the power of appointing a sufficient number of nominated members. The nominated members will be a very important element in these Councils, as we shall rely on them to represent highly important interests which will otherwise get no representation at all.

Amendment moved— Page 6, line 17, leave out ("at least") and insert ("not more than").—(Lord Ampthill.)


Your Lordships will remember the two cardinal features of the scheme of this Bill. First, there is to be a very large majority of elected members—that is the spirit of the whole scheme. Secondly, as little as possible recourse is to be had to nomination for the purpose of finding representatives. It is only when you cannot get proper representatives of any particular class by election that you ought to have recourse to nomination. The 70 per cent. that is put down as the minimum of elected members is the result of investigations by the Southborough Committee under which, as a matter of fact, the proportions are from 73 to 80 per cent. of elected members in all the Councils. By reason of the adjustments made between all the interests that have to be represented, and which can be represented by election, as a matter of fact the maximum is a great deal more than 70, because in Bengal, for instance, and in the United Provinces it is 80 per cent., in Bombay and Madras it is 78 per cent., in the Punjab 73 per cent., in Behar 74 per cent., in the Central Provinces 75 per cent., and in Assam 73 per cent. So that in every Province it is over 70 per cent., and you therefore cannot have a scheme which says that 70 is to be the maximum. The Southborough Committee's scheme in all essentials has been accepted by the Joint Committee, and the only modification made is for the purpose of increase rather than decrease. It is therefore impossible to make the number of elected members not more than 70 per cent.


I have fulfilled my object in obtaining this explanation. It will remain on the record and be available, and I am quite satisfied.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

LORD AMPTHILL moved, in subsection (4), after paragraph (f), to insert the following proviso: "Provided that a person dismissed from Government service on conviction for a criminal offence shall be disqualified from memberships of the Council of State or the Legislative Assembly."

The noble Lord said: It hardly seems necessary even to explain this. It is a most extraordinary thing that the Joint Committee go out of their way to provide that a man who has been convicted of a criminal offence, entailing sentence of imprisonment of more than six months, shall be qualified to sit in the Legislative Councils after a period of five years. This provision is so singular, so unlike anything in our own laws, or in any laws that we have ever heard of, that one must ask for some explanation. It looks as if it were intended for the benefit of some particular individuals. If that is the case we ought to know who they are, and why this leniency towards convicted criminals is to be shown. In view of the Report of the Joint Committee, which is a positive invitation to elect or appoint to these Legislative Councils men who have been convicted of criminal offences and undergone large sentences, it is absolutely necessary to call attention to this, and to ascertain what is at the bottom of this very singular provision. I hope your Lordships will put in this proviso, and prevent any misunderstanding of the law when it comes into being.

Amendment moved—

Page 7, after line 23, insert: ("Provided that a person dismissed from Government service on conviction for a criminal offence shall be disqualified from memberships of the Councils of State or the Legislative Assembly.").—(Lord Ampthill.)


In the best interests of these Legislative Councils to be formed now, it is desirable that those people who have been convicted of a criminal offence should be excluded from their body.


I think I can content myself with a short answer—namely, that the Rules with regard to qualification for nomination or election as a member of the Council have not yet been made. They have to be made, and they have to be placed before Parliament in one shape or another. It is true that the Joint Committee went into the matter because it was gone into in the Southborough Committee's Report and in the Government of India's Despatch with regard to it, and I am afraid the noble Lord has mixed up two different disqualifications, namely, dismissal from Government service and conviction for a criminal offence. What the Joint Committee said is that dismissal from Government service by itself should not be a disqualification, because it is merely an executive order, and that conviction for a criminal offence involving imprisonment for more than six months should be a disqualification, but only for five years. But even then those Rules have not been made. They will have to be made, and they will have to be submitted to Parliament, and I would ask therefore that one particular disqualification should not be dealt with, because the whole subject of qualification and disqualification will have to be dealt with by comprehensive Rules.

On Question, Amendment negatived.

LORD AMPTHILL moved, at the end of subsection (4), to insert the following proviso:— Provided also that such rules shall provide for the election by communal electorates of members belonging to important sects and communities, such as Sikhs in the Punjab, Mohammedans in all provinces and Europeans in Bengal, and to such important classes and castes of Hindus as fall within the definition of 'Shudra' in Hindu law and are not recognised as 'twice-born' by Hindu law; and also for the representation by nominated members of the depressed classes of Hindus in all provinces where such classes do not lend themselves to communal representation through communal electorate. The noble Lord said I am afraid I shall get only the same answer; but it is not a. satisfactory answer to say that we may make no alteration in the Bill because Rules are going to be drawn up. The most glaring defect of this measure is that all the most important details are being left to Rules, which are to be drawn hereafter. In ordinary life it is not considered a prudent thing to give a blank cheque to, anyone, even to those who are best known to you; but the effect of this Bill is to give a blank cheque as regards political reform to the Government of India and the Provincial Governments. In view of all that has been said about the supreme importance of this measure, the high motives with which it has been put forward, and all the rest of it, surely the Bill itself ought to state in precise terms how far the Imperial Government intend to go in this matter of political reform. It is a principle accepted by all that the Imperial Government alone is to be the judge of the rate of progress that has to be made, but here we are going absolutely counter to that principle. We are ignoring the Declaration which has been made on behalf of the Government by every person of importance—namely, that we alone will settle how far we are to go. The Bill ought to say definitely how far we propose that India should go at the present stage, and if you leave everything to Rules you get no such definition.

Amendment moved— Subsection (4), after line 27, insert the said proviso.—(Lord Ampthill.)


I think that the noble Lord has scarcely allowed enough emphasis to be laid on the point which was made by the noble Lord the Under-Secretary—namely, that all these Rules would come before Parliament for their consideration, and presumably all Rules of a kindred sort will come before the House at once. Surely it is an advantage from the point of view of that Parliamentary supervision, to which the noble Lord attaches so great importance (and we none of us differ from him), that we should be in a position to consider all these Rules affecting franchise and kindred subjects at the same time. Whereas if we are obliged now to insert some mandatory clause to the Government of India on some point which is of particular interest to some noble Lords, a number of other points of equal importance may be missed out, and some suspicions may be created in India that we are dealing in a piecemeal manner, and, perhaps, not in quite a fair manner, with the subject. Surely it must be better to consider all the questions when the Rules come before us, as they will, in due course. The Government of India will have the advantage, before the Rules are finally framed, of knowing what has been said in Parliament on the subject, and that will no doubt be of assistance; but I cannot think that it is wise to attempt to make these amendments now piecemeal.


I recognise the force of what the noble Marquess has said, but at the same time he described this Amendment as in the particular interest of certain noble Lords.


I said "some noble Lords."


In my view this matter of reserved seats is absolutely the only safeguard in this great measure, a measure which every one recognises is full of risk and danger. Therefore I think it would be only natural to desire this safeguard to be inserted in the principal measure and not leave it to future determination. I accept the Bill, like most people, because we have to pass it; but I regard the matter of reserved seats in lieu of communal representation as being absolutely the one safeguard for the depressed and non-Brahmin castes in India. I think we forget that the whole system of representative Government is absolutely unknown in India. One noble Lord, on the Motion to go into Committee, referred to the success of the great municipalities in India in regard to self-government, but he neglected to say that those great municipalities all had British Commissioners leading them and practically directing their affairs. For myself I wish in this particular instance—whilst I agree very largely with what the noble Marquess has said—to see this safeguard included in the Act itself.


On this point I should like to say that, while agreeing to a large extent with what my noble friend has just said, we deliberately considered in the Committee that it was impossible to work out an actual scheme for communal representation and to place it in the Bill in a worked-out form. But I am sure that the noble Lord opposite will agree that we put great pressure on the Secretary of State—who responded to that pressure with great willingness—that all these questions should be discussed by Parliament, and that we should not merely have the opportunity of discussing them but that the Rules should be so brought before us as almost to make it a necessity. That is one of the objects we had in view in recommending that there should be a Committee of both Houses standing for the purpose of examining these Rules in more detail than is possible in the ordinary debates in this or in the other House. I think that the intricacy of the subject is so great that it is almost impossible to adopt general terms; but I for one sympathise with what has fallen from both my noble friends with regard to the necessity of all these questions being brought within the purview of Parliament.


I think it is very unsatisfactory that everything in this Bill has to be referred to Rules, and that if you try to introduce a definite principle you are told, "It is no use; this will be provided for in Rules by-and-by, and you will have an opportunity of seeing the Rules." By the time the Rules are laid before this House, for all I know, it may be completely revolutionised. There must be over 30,000,000 people in the Madras Presidency alone who are thinking seriously over this matter dealt with by the Amendment. If you held it out that the principle of communal representation would be recorded as part of the Bill, then I am certain it would bring contentment and prevent serious unrest among the non Brahmin population of Southern India.


It must be my own fault, but I entirely fail to understand what more is wanted by, for example, my noble friend Lord Sydenham, in the way of recognition of communal electorates than you already have in paragraph (c) of subsection (4). Rules may be made for "the qualification of electors, the constitution of constituencies, the method of election for governors' Legislative Councils, including the number of members to be elected by communal and other electorates, and any matters incidental or ancillary thereto." Therefore the Bill distinctly recognises that there are to be members elected by communal electorates when there is a community requiring separate representation according to the Government of India, which is to make the Rule. If your Lordships are asked to specify in the Bill as to who those communities are, whether they are strong enough and numerous enough or so marked from the other communities as to require separate representation, that is a task it would be absolutely impossible for your Lordships to fulfil. So far there has been hardly any demand for communal representation except on the part of two communities, the non-Brahmins of Madras and the Mahrattas in Bombay. Those have been recommended for separate treatment by the Joint Committee. It is quite open to the Government of India, provided there are others who desire it and there is material for a communal electorate, to make provision for them from time to time and for the qualification of members for the purpose. The principle, therefore, that where it is necessary it must be admitted is in the Bill, and that is what I understand Lord Sydenham requires. Therefore there is, I submit with great respect, no substance in the Amendment which it proposed.


The noble Lord does not tell us what is the special treatment which is referred to by the Joint Committee. Let me remind your Lordships that the Joint Committee has made an altogether foolish suggestion, that the non-Brahmins and Brahmins of Madras should settle their differences in mutual consultation. That does not help us a bit; it is of no use at all. We are told, if it suits the Government, that the Report of the Joint Committee is practically part of the law, and when it does not suit them we are told the other thing. In those circumstances I do not see the use of Parliament. We are either told that rules will be made which will relieve us of trouble and duty in this matter, or else it is in the Report of the Joint Committee.

I submit, my Lords, that this is a very dangerous innovation so far as our own Constitution is concerned to which you are now lending yourselves. It is not a matter for rules at all; it is absolutely fundamental. If you were going to give democratic institutions and constitutional and responsible government to the people of India, you would consider it in a fair way and say the Bill must show that which is there. The non-Brahmins of Madras, who form 70 per cent. of the population, have exerted themselves in every possible way to put their case before you. Nothing can be more strong, more eloquent, more pathetic than their case. They tell you that unless you give them this communal representation they will be subjected to the odious tyranny of a Brahmin oligarchy.

If I may be allowed to take up your Lordships' time, I should like to tell you what was said by the President of the non-Brahmin Conference, held at Tinnvelly in December, 1917. This is how he summarised the position that will arise unless you give these people the only form of representation in which they can get a fair share of the Legislature. This is a fundamental thing which you cannot leave to rules if you are going to make laws at all— We non-Brahmins are to remain and multiply in order that the chosen few may have subjects to rule and the British are to remain to keep off external danger by their military and naval forces, and to suppress us if we should dare to oppose the orders of a Brahmin oligarchy. Great Britain has the right to demand from us obedience and if necessary to secure it by force, provided she rules well and is willing to give us a share in ruling as we become fitter and fitter to bear the responsibilities. But I say emphatically that Great Britain has no right to say, I will put over you an oligarchy in which you have no share, which you distrust, which is socially contemptuous of you. I will let that oligarchy shape its policy as it pleases, and if you dare to dispute its authority, then I, even if I disapprove of its policy, will use the British Army to enforce non-British policy.' We are not cattle to be sold by one master to another, with the further humiliation of the first master standing by with a bludgeon in case we object to be sold. I cannot believe that any of you have had an opportunity of reading these things or you would not be accepting this Bill with this amount of acquiescence. Here is what all these millions of your fellow subjects and fellow citizens in India are thinking about this thing, and you will not put in just one little clause—a proviso which does not alter the operative part of the Bill, which would show that you have heard their complaint, that you sympathise with it, that you realise that your promises or pledges to the people of India can be of no real effect, can have no sincerity, unless you recognise that there must be fair representation, and that democracy and responsible government should not be a sham. It does not interfere with the rules to put it in; it is merely a sign and a pledge that the Government has given some sort of consideration to this measure and has taken some intelligent interest in it.


I do not think that the noble Lord is quite fair to the Joint Committee when he describes their recommendation upon this question as foolish. The recommendation is in fact quite distinct. It says— In the Madras Presidency the Committee consider that the non-Brahmins must be provided with separate representation by means of the reservation of seats. That is a distinct recommendation in favour of a reservation of seats. The Brahmins and non-Brahmins should be invited to settle the matter by negotiation among themselves, and it is only if no agreement can be reached in that way that the decision is to be referred to an arbitrator appointed for the purpose by the Government of India.

I am not concerned to defend the terms of the clause which was incorporated in this Report by the Joint Committee, but, speaking with a recollection of the negotiations in Madras with regard to the matter, I may say that there certainly was evidence before the Committee over which I presided in favour of some sort of conciliatory action as between the parties based upon the reservation of seats. On the question of communal representation as such, they could not agree. With regard to the reservation of seats, there was certainly evidence of a disposition to agree, but the Committee were in grave difficulty in making any arrangement between them even with an eminently good will on the part of each party, because they could not (for certain reasons which I need not discuss here) obtain all the requisite evidence and they had not, perhaps, the requisite power to act as conciliators.

I only want to say, in conclusion, that I think my noble friend in charge of the Bill might possibly relieve the slight tension which has arisen in regard to this and similar matters if he were able to tell the House that the Government treated the recommendations of the Joint Committee as a fair and reasonable basis upon which they would found the rules to be made under the Act.


Undoubtedly that is the intention.


I should like to point out that the reservation of seats is quite a different thing from communal representation, and is regarded as quite different by the people concerned. I should like to ask the noble Lord if he, on behalf of the Government, would give an undertaking that the whole communal question should be left open; that is to say, that it should not be limited as it was in the Montagu-Chelmsford Report, and as it was in the Report of the Committee. Will the noble Lord give that undertaking?


I am unable to give any further undertaking than what is in the Bill itself and the recommendations in the Report of the Joint Committee. I think I should not be performing my duty if I were to go beyond the recommendations of the Joint Committee appointed by both Houses of Parliament, and to say that something contrary to what they advised should be done by the Government of India. The matter is left open, as I understand it, by the Bill itself, because it says that the rules are to be made, including the number of members to be elected by communal and other electorates, and they will have the recommendations of the Joint Committee so far as they go, with regard to particular communities—the non-Brahmins in Madras and the Mahrattas in Bombay. If there are any others requiring similar treatment, there is nothing in the Bill or in the Report to preclude the Government from considering the question.


It is left open in the Bill?


I take it that if in the opinion of the Government of India, there are any communities which require separate representation by communal electorates, or reservation of seats, or otherwise, neither the Bill nor the Report precludes them from giving it.


As Lord Southborough has observed, I think it is hardly fair to the humble labours of the Joint Committee which considered these matters to the best of its ability and certainly has never made the pretension that its findings are to be regarded as binding upon anybody. They are before this house for the consideration of Parliament, as they were before the other House, and they are also for the consideration of the Government of India; and the Under-Secretary is quite correct in saying that everything is open and possible under the clause as it stands. The reason that we mentioned the two particular cases of the non-Brahmins of Madras and the Marathas of Bombay was that these were the two cases about which evidence was brought before us that some special consideration was needed.

So far as the non-Brahmins of Madras are concerned, it is quite clear that you cannot provide for them by a system of communal representation, because they form the vast majority of the population of the country. If you go on the system of communal representation you must have communal representation for Brahmins in Madras. It was, therefore, thought., and I hope myself that the Government of India will take the same view, that the wise course to take was to reserve a certain number of seats for the non-Brahmin community which, though numerically so strong, is yet genuinely, and perhaps rightly, apprehensive that it cannot get a representation at all parallel to its numerical strength. And it is also true that if other strong cases for special representation, whether communal or otherwise, are brought before the Government of India, they are encouraged to consider those cases. We could only deal with the facts as they were presented to us, and we, therefore, limited our recommendations to the terms which the noble Lord will find in the Report.


The words of the noble Marquess do not allay my fears. He says that there is nothing binding in the Report of the Joint Committee. What they recommend may be disregarded by the Government of India.


They have to come here.


The Government may decide to have no communal representation, which I regard as the only safeguard, and which, apparently, is now absolutely in the air. I regret that it is not incorporated in the fabric of the Bill itself. What I gathered from the noble Marquess and Lord Sinha was that it is open to the Government to leave out any idea of communal representation or reservation of seats.


I should be very sorry to think that my noble friend's interpretation was the correct one. I think it would come very near to a breach of faith with the Joint Committee. The Government, and especially the Secretary of State, accepted the Report of the Joint Committee, and on this particular question, about which we took an enormous amount of evidence and to which we gave an amount of time which I am sure both my noble friends would consider commensurate even with the importance of the question. I was certainly under the impression, which I hope will be confirmed by the noble Lord, the Under-Secretary, that the conclusion at which the Committee arrived and the careful paragraphs which they drew, were understood to be the basis accepted by the Government for the rules they were about to draw.


Undoubtedly. I said so; at least, I intended to say so, if I did not express myself properly.


I hope I said the same. What I meant to imply was that the recommendations we made by no means represented the limit of what the Government of India might, do if they chose.


The noble Marquess said that I was not fair to the Joint Committee. I think he was hardly fair to me in suggesting that I was moving the Amendment because I was personally interested. I am afraid that will not make a great impression on the vast majority of the people of India, who are deeply concerned to get the adoption of this principle of communal representation. I beg leave to make a suggestion to the noble Lord, the Under-Secretary. He told us on occasions that the Joint Committee's Report is practically an addition to the law, that the Government of India will act upon it, and that the Government here will act upon it. We have also been told that it is not binding. Will the noble Lord say, so far as the question of the representation of the non-Brahmins in Madras is concerned, that His Majesty's Government do not hold them- selves bound by the Report of the Joint Committee? That would be something.


I have said that, so far as the Government are concerned, they accept the Report of the Joint Committee. They could not do otherwise and, as the noble Viscount said, if they did, they would be guilty of a breach of faith. We, therefore, accept the Report, and I have no doubt the Government of India, in making the proposed rules for the sanction of the Secretary of State and thereafter of Parliament, will pay proper respect and attention to the recommendations of the Joint Committee, as the Government do.

Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.

[The sitting Was suspended shortly before eight o'clock and resumed at a quarter past nine.]

Clause 7 agreed to.

Clause 8:


My Amendment on this clause is purely drafting.

Amendment moved— Page 7, line 31, leave out ("local") and insert ("governor's").—Lord Sinha.

Clause 8, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 9:

Presidents of local legislative councils.

9.—(1) There shall be a president of a governor's legislative council, who shall, until the expiration of a period of four years from the first meeting of


Then the Government are committed, although we are told it is open? If the system of providing for non-Brahmins by the reservation of seats is suggested, would His Majesty's Government accept?


I hope so.


We have been told so.


I am delighted to hear it, too.

On Question, whether the proposed new proviso shall stand part of the clause?

Their Lordships divided:—Contents, 7; Not-Contents, 27.

Falkland, V. Fairfax of Cameron, L. MacDonnell, L.
Lamington, L. Sydenham, L. [Teller.]
Ampthill, L. [Teller.] Lawrence, L.
Bradford, E. Brodrick, L. (V. Midleton.) Meston, L.
Chesterfield, E. Carmichael, L. Ranksborough, L.
Onslow, E. Clwyd, L. Rotherham, L.
Colebrooke, L. St. Audries, L.
Sandhurst, V. (L. Chamberlain.) Cottesloe, L. Sinha, L.
Hutchinson, V. (E. Donoughmore.) Emmott, L. Somerleyton, L. [Teller.]
Glenarthur, L. Southborough, L.
Peel, V. Hylton, L. Stanmore, L. [Teller.]
Islington, L. Wavertree, L.
Annesley, L. (V. Valentia). Killanin, L. Wigan, L. (E. Crawford.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

the council as constituted under this Act, be a person appointed by the governor, and shall thereafter be a member of the council elected by the council and approved by the governor:

Provided that if at the expiration of such period of four years the council is in session, the president then in office shall continue in office until the end of the current session, and the first election of a president shall take place at the commencement of the next ensuing session.

(2) There shall be a deputy-president of a governor's legislative council who shall preside at meetings of the council in the absence of the president, and who shall be a member of the council elected by the council and approved by the governor.

(3) The appointed president of a council shall hold office until the date of the first election of a president by the council under this section, but he may resign office by writing under his hand addressed to the governor, or may be removed from office by order of the governor, and any-vacancy occurring before the expiration of the term of office of an appointed president shall be filled by a similar appointment for the remainder of such term.

(4) An elected president and a deputy-president shall cease to hold office on ceasing to be members of the council. They may resign office by writing under their hands addressed to the governor, and may be removed from office by a vote of the council with the concurrence of the governor.

(5) The president and the deputy-president shall receive such salaries as may be determined, in the case of an appointed president, by the governor, and in the case of an elected president or deputy-president, by an Act of the local legislature.

LORD AMPTHILL moved, in subsection (1), to leave out "four years" and insert "ten years." The noble Lord said: It seems a pity to disturb the arrangements until the first general stocktaking. One of the greatest difficulties of these new Councils will be the election of a President. We all know what it is in a public body here. Unless there is some man in the county council, or any other similar body, who stands right outside all local controversies and divisions of party, and that kind of thing, the election of a chairman is invariably attended with any amount of friction and jealousy. You will rot get such outstanding men in India, and if you are going to give the experiment a fair chance, surely it is better to leave this part of it undisturbed until after the period of ten years which you are declaring as the transitional and experimental period. I do not see why any distinction should be made in the period.

Amendment moved— Page 8, line 16, leave out ("four") and insert ("ten").—(Lord Ampthill.)


The purpose of the proposed Amendment is to postpone the privilege of giving the Councils an elected President until the first statutory Commission comes. The purpose of the provision in the Bill is to provide a nominated and presumably trained President for the period of the first Conned, and to carry him on an extra year, so as to start the second Council; and the hope of the Joint Committee was that in the interval there would grow up a number of men with necessary experience to take this appointment at the end of the fourth year. I do not think your Lordships quite realise how much importance Indian opinion attaches to this privilege of electing their own Speaker. They regard it, not only from sentimental, but for other reasons, as one of the attributes of the new liberties which are now being given to them. I do not know that your Lordships would attach importance to sentiment alone, but there is a very strong probability that properly qualified men will be forthcoming to take these appointments. It must be remembered that in these new Councils we shall have intelligent gentlemen who have had considerable experience as presidents of large muncipalities and rural boards, and if there is anything in the theory of training, those men will be qualified to take this appointment after four years' experience under a nominated President. I trust that the opinions of the Joint Committee will be accepted in this matter.


The whole question is whether the qualified person will in general be selected. Knowing as I do what happens in the election of Presidents of municipalities I think that there is great danger, owing to the number of factions that exist in these Councils, that the best men will not get elected. There will be a compromise, as often happens, and a second or third class man will be elected. In that case there will be great danger that the deliberations of these Councils, on which so much depends, will not be carried on in the orderly fashion as hitherto. Therefore I think that it would be wise to wait, as my noble friend proposes, till that transitional period has passed.


The only thing that I desire to point out is that during the first four years, when there is presumably an official President, there would also be a Deputy-President elected, so that at the end of the four years there would, at any rate, be that Deputy-President who would be competent to take the place of the President.

On Question, Amendment negatived.

LORD MACDONNELL moved to insert the following proviso:— Provided further that the Governor for reasons to be recorded by him in writing and with the previous sanction of the Governor-General in Council may appoint a person not being a member of his Legislative Council to be president of such council for any session.

The noble Lord said: My Amendment is intended to give power to the Government to appoint a Chairman with Parliamentary experience for any other than the first session. The Bill as it is drafted gives the power to appoint a President with Parliamentary experience on the first occasion, but it may well happen that although the Assembly may go on very well for three or four sessions, on the fifth session they may get into a mess, and it is very desirable that a man of Parliamentary experience be appointed then with the object of straightening things out. My proposal merely gives the Government power to appoint such a man. It does not say that the Government shall do so, but it merely gives the Government power in certain circumstances to appoint a man with these Parliamentary qualifications.

Amendment moved— Page 8, line 25, at the end insert the said proviso.—(Lord MacDonnell.)


I hope that your Lordships, including my noble friend Lord MacDonnell, will see that there is really no necessity for the Amendment which he proposes. Sub-clause 2 of Clause 9 provides for a Deputy-President, and a proviso to Clause 1 lays it down that if at the expiration of the period of four years the Council is in Session the President then in office shall continue in office till the end of the current Session, so that practically for five years, and certainly for four and a-half years, the first President shall continue in office, and there will be a Vice-President all that time. I do not think we ought to contemplate the possibility of things getting into the mess which the noble Lord suggested, and it would imply some distrust of the Legislative Council if it were said that they were not able to select a proper man. It would hardly be desirable to lay that down.


I do not press my Amendment, but occasions may arise when it would be desirable that the Government should have this power in their hands.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 9 agreed to.

Clauses 10 to 12 agreed to.

Clause 13:


On Clause 13 there is a purely drafting Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 13, line 27, leave out ("local") and insert ("governor's").—(Lord Sinha.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 13, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 14 agreed to.

Clause 15:

Constitution of new provinces, &c., and provision as to backward tracts.

15.—(1) The Governor-General in Council may, after obtaining an expression of opinion from the local government and the local legislature affected, by notification, with the sanction of His Majesty previously signified by the Secretary of State in Council, constitute a new governor's province or place part of a governor's province under the administration of a deputy-governor to be appointed by the Governor-General, and may in any such case apply, with such modifications as appear necessary or desirable, all or any of the provisions of the principal Act or this Act relating to governor's provinces, or provinces under a lieutenant-governor or chief commissioner, to any such new province or part of a province.

(2) The Governor-General in Council may declare any territory in British India to be a "backward tract," and may, by notification, with such sanction as aforesaid, direct that the principal Act and this Act shall apply to that territory subject to such exceptions and modifications as may be prescribed in the notification. Where the Governor-General in Council has, by notification, directed as aforesaid, he may, by the same or subsequent notification, direct that any Act of the Indian Legislature shall not apply to the territory in question or any part thereof, or shall apply to the territory or any part thereof subject to such exceptions or modifications as the Governor-General thinks fit, or may authorise the governor in council to give similar directions as respects any Act of the local legislature.

LORD AMPTHILL moved, at the end of subsection (1), to insert the following proviso: "Provided that no new Governor's province or Deputy-Governor's Province shall be established unless approved by resolution in both Houses of Parliament." The noble Lord said: This Amendment is intended as a safeguard, and it seems to me to be absolutely necessary. I hope the Under-Secretary will accept this Amendment. It does not interfere with any of the Rules or, so far as I can judge, with any of the decisions of the Joint Committee. Your Lordships will see what might happen unless we reserved this right of decision for Parliament. It would be in the power of an autocratic Secretary of State with only a weak Viceroy to deal with—and that is by no means an improbable contingency—to cut up India as he pleases. There have been a great many cases within the last generation of the separation of districts from one Province or another, or a revision of boundaries, and they have given rise, as your Lordships remember, to the most acute controversy. I take questions like the partition of Bengal, or a minor and subsidiary question, with which I had to deal, which was known as the excision of Ganjam. Your Lordships do not want this kind of thing to be settled off-hand by the Secretary of State. So long as the Imperial Government rules India that must be a matter reserved for the decision of Parliament.

Amendment moved—

Page 14, after line 35, insert: ("Provided that no new Governor's province or Deputy-Governor's province shall be established unless approved by resolution in both Houses of Parliament").—(Lord Ampthill.)


The intention of the proposal is, as I understand it, that any geographical alteration in the boundaries of a Province, or any subdivision of a Province should come before Parliament. This is an innovation in the existing law. At the present moment any geographical changes in the administrative arrangements of India are made by administrative order, and that is maintained in the clause to which exception is now taken. The sanction of His Majesty is required to anything in the nature of geographical change, such as the clause covers, and the Secretary of State would be amenable to the discipline of Parliament if he advised any matter of which Parliament disapproved. It would be extremely unusual and inconvenient to put Parliament in what would be direct charge of an executive operation. I trust your Lordships will allow the present law to stand.


I cannot think the unusual character of this Amendment is any condemnation of it. Under the Bill, as has been hinted several times, considerable geographical changes may be carried out in India—not such changes as the noble Lord says are carried out by Executive order at all, but changes of a much larger character—such changes as the erection of Sind into a separate Province, and several other places in the same category. Surely no harm could be done by allowing Parliament to retain some power over these things. I do not think that the noble Lord has made out any case against the Amendment. He only said it is unusual, but the whole thing is unusual, and if the power of Parliament is to be taken away to the extent contemplated it is quite possible that very serious disturbances might take place in India, for which Parliament would have to be responsible.


Changes proposed to be made are to be made by the Governor General in Council, after obtaining an expression of opinion from the local Government, and local Legislature affected, and then it has to be done with the sanction of His Majesty previously signified by the Secretary of State in Council, so that so far as safeguards are concerned there are at least five—first of all, the Governor-General in Council, then there is the local Government, the local Legislature, the Secretary of State, and his Council. To adopt the Amendment proposed by Lord Ampthill would really be to give Parliament control over more details of administration than has been done in the past.

On Question, Amendment negatived.

Clause 15 agreed to.

Clauses 16 to 18 agreed to.

Clause 19:

Legislative Assembly.

19.—(1) The Legislative Assembly shall consist of members nominated or elected in accordance with rules made under the principal Act.

(2) The total number of members of the Legislative Assembly shall be one hundred and forty. The number of non-elected members shall be forty, of whom twenty-six shall be official members. The number of elected members shall be one hundred:

Provided that rules made under the principal Act may provide for increasing the number of members of the Legislative Assembly as fixed by this section, and may vary the proportion which the classes of members bear one to another, so, however, that at least five-sevenths of the members of the Legislative Assembly shall be elected members, and at least one-third of the other members shall be non-official members.

(3)The Governor-General shall have the right of addressing the Legislative Assembly, and may for that purpose require the attendance of its members.


With your Lordships' permission I will take together the three next Amendments in my name as they are all concerned with the same substance. I have no intention of introducing the principle of increasing the nominated Members of the Council with the object of securing an equality of votes. I agree at once that on the balance the elected Members should prevail; but it has been my experience in India that a Government which nominates a Member to the Legislative Council can never rely upon his voting as the Governor would like. As far as my experience goes, it has never been the custom that a Member before being nominated was pledged to adopt a particular line. The Governor chose from the possible candidates a man who would vote probably in support of law and order and in support of the Government, but no obligation was ever placed upon him to vote for any particular measure of the Government, though in my own experience I found that there was a great advantage in nominating Members of a moderate character—namely, gentlemen who were likely to take a moderate view in politics, though not necessarily the Government view on a particular measure. I think it would be greatly to the advantage of local Governments if the power of selecting and nominating Members were somewhat enlarged. The majority of the Council would always remain with the elected Members, so that no danger would accrue from my proposal so far as the balance of power in the Legislative Council was concerned, but it would give a larger option to the Governor of a Province to secure as his nominees reasonable and well-informed men. That is my reason for changing the numbers, and I hope your Lordships will give it consideration.

Amendment moved— Page 16, line 18, leave out ("forty") and insert ("sixty").—(Lord MacDonnell.)


I submit that the principle of nominated Members is bad in itself. It is unwise in forming a Constitution of this kind to appoint nominated Members at all if you can find representative Members; but in some cases in India it was found impossible to secure proper representation for certain classes. I myself think that the Joint Committee made a mistake when they recommended the increase of the number of nominated Members to represent the untouchable classes. If there is justification in nomination at all, the justification is to be found only in the fact that the untouchable classes cannot obtain direct representation. Directly you find that direct representation cannot be obtained, you look around and endeavour to secure some person or persons who have at heart the interests of the particular class and are able, almost in a paternal manner, to present to the Parliament or Assembly the necessities of that particular class. The object of nomination in that sense is to endeavour to induce the representative members of the Assembly, on hearing the arguments put forward by the nominated member, to give their adhesion to the prin- ciples which he advocates. There is no real use in increasing the number of nominated members so as to give them any real voting capacity; you are really duplicating comparative deadheads. I suggest that the true course is to keep down the number of nominated members as much as possible, merely putting in a provision to secure representation by nomination for those who otherwise would not get it.


I think the noble Lord who has just spoken does not quite realise the value of nomination in this case, or that there are large classes in India who would never be represented at all but for being nominated. Most of the old families in India will never present themselves before an ordinary electorate. I remember well trying to persuade distinguished men in Bombay to offer themselves for election, but they would not do it. It is only by nomination that you can secure members of the oldest and finest families in India on the Assembly, men who are well fitted to represent their country. I should like to confirm what Lord MacDonnell said about nominated Members. I always nominated so as to get men who were likely to take an intelligent interest in, and to work well on, the Legislative Councils. They knew perfectly well that they were not expected to vote for the Government; indeed I told them so, those who were on the Council, and they never did vote for the Government unless they thought it right. It seems to me to do away with nomination; it is a very great mistake.


I do not think there is any evidence whatever which will support the contention of Lord Southborough that those who are not elected but nominated will be dead-heads. There is absolutely no foundation for that suggestion. On the contrary, I think nomination is more likely in India to secure as Members those who have the highest honour. Nobody will tell us dogmatically that nomination is not an accepted principle in our affairs. It runs all through our national life and our law, and has become practically indispensable. There is no reason why we should not apply the same system to India, seeing that we are giving a British system of government to India.


I think there is considerable misapprehension in regard to this clause. As I understand it, nobody objects to the total number of the Legislative Assembly remaining at 140, as Clause 19, subsection (2) makes it. Your Lordships will perhaps bear in mind how it came to be 140. The Montagu-Chelmsford Report recommended that the number of the Assembly should be 100, but the Southborough Committee, when investigating the matter, found that unless the number was increased to 120 representation could not be obtained by the various interests and classes which required to be represented by direct election. They therefore increased it to 120. When it came before the Joint Committee it was found, by reason of the larger representation for certain classes, that even 120 would not be enough and that 140 was necessary. That is the history of the number, but that does not touch the power of the Government to nominate for classes which cannot be represented by direct election. Everybody who investigated the matter has found the number to be sufficient if it is left. Of that number 100 are elected.

You cannot have direct representation by election of all the classes and interests required to be represented if you cut it down to less than 100. You have 26 officials, leaving 14 or one-tenth of the Assembly to be nominated by the Governor-General in Council. Nobody has objected to that as being less than will be required, with regard to the classes which cannot elect and which, therefore, must obtain representation by means of nomination. As I read the noble Lord's Amendment here the number is somewhat arbitrarily cut down to 80. He does not bear in mind how it came to be 100 for elected members. It was because that number was found necessary by the Southborough Committee and the Joint Committee, in order that all classes capable of representation by election might be represented. Having regard to the history of the number 140 the numbers ought to be, I submit, as they are in Clause 19. There are 14 seats left to be filled by nomination, which I think is ample, and the Government of India have considered them sufficient. Until now nobody has objected.

On Question, Amendment negatived.

LORD MAC DONNELL also had on the Paper Amendments to leave out "100" and insert "80" and to leave out "five-sevenths" and insert "four-sevenths." The noble Lord said: The previous decision covers all three.


In order to save the time of the House I ask leave not to move the Amendment to omit the proviso to subsection (1) of Clause 19.

Clause 19 agreed to.

Clause 20:

LORD MAC DONNELL had on the Paper an Amendment to insert a further proviso after the proviso in subsection (1). The noble Lord said: This has already been discussed, and I will not move it.

Clause 20 agreed to.

Clause 21:

LORD SYDENHAM moved, after subsection (5), to insert the following new sub-section— (6) No member of either Chamber in the Indian Legislature shall serve simultaneously in a Provincial Legislative Council. The noble Lord said: I do not know whether this is provided for in the Bill, but I could not find it there. It is a necessary provision to make in order to prevent members serving in two Councils at the same time, which has actually happened. When the Morley-Minto reforms were introduced a Bombay member secured election in both and kept his seat in both. I approached the Government of India and pointed out to them how inconvenient it was, but they did not take the view I laid before them. I think, if it is not in the Bill, the noble Lord will agree that it is a provision which certainly ought to be made. These appointments are very much valued and it is quite wrong that one man should be able to act in a dual capacity and absorb two of the possible vacancies which other men might have taken.

Amendment moved— Clause 21, page 18, after subsection (5) insert the said new subsection.—(Lord Sydenham.)


I hope after what I shall say that the noble Lord will be able to withdraw the Amendment. What he proposes in the Amendment is at present law under the Rules made and I will undertake that a similar Rule will be made for the Councils that come into existence under this Bill.


If the noble Lord will undertake that a similar Rule shall be made, I gladly withdraw.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 21 agreed to.

Clause 22 agreed to.

Clause 23:


My Amendment to add a proviso to subsection (1) of Clause 23 has been disposed of, because it was a corollary to that which I moved on Clause 7 and which was rejected.

Clause 23 agreed to.

Clauses 24 to 27 agreed to.

Clause 28:

Composition of Governor-General's executive council.

28.—(1) The provision in section thirty-six of the principal Act, imposing a limit on the number of members of the Governor-General's executive council, shall cease to have effect.

(2) The provision in section thirty-six of the principal Act as to the qualification of members of the council shall have effect as though the words "at the time of their appointment" were omitted, and as though after the word "Scotland" there were inserted the words "or a pleader of the High Court" and as though "ten years," were substituted for "five years."

(3) Provision may be made by rules under the principal Act as to the qualifications to be required in respect of members of the Governor-General's executive council, in any case where such provision is not made by section thirty-six of the principal Act as amended by this section.

(4) Subsection (2) of section thirty-seven of the principal Act (which provides that when and so long as the Governor-General's executive council assembles in a province having a governor the governor shall be an extraordinary member of the council) shall cease to have effect.

LORD MAC DONNELL moved to leave out subsection (1). The noble Lord said: This is an important Amendment. The subsection runs as follows: "The provision in section thirty-six of the principal Act, imposing a limit on the number of members of the Governor-General's executive council, shall cease to have effect." The principal Act provides that the Governor-General's Executive Council shall consist of five ordinary members, and possibly a sixth. The sixth has usually been appointed, so that the Council at present consists of six members, with an extraordinary member—the Commander-in-Chief of the armies in India. The proposal is to withdraw any restrictions upon the Governor-General's Executive Council with the result that its numbers may be raised to ten or twelve, or any other number. In my opinion it is absolutely essential that the Executive Council of the Governor-General, which is the cabinet for the whole of India, should be limited very closely. It ought not to be an assembly. It ought to be composed of men in whom the completest confidence can be placed. If you open it widely, as this proposal does, you have no longer any assurance that there will be secrecy in the intimate councils of the Empire, or that the great projects of peace and war will not become common property throughout the Empire. This proposal, to men who are likeminded to myself, needs no recommendation. I have been Secretary to the Viceroy and I know the great importance which attaches to the responsibility of every member of the Viceroy's Council. I view with the utmost apprehension any enlargement of its members.

Amendment moved— Clause 28, page 23, lines 10 to 12, leave out subsection (1).—(Lord MacDonnell.)


This matter was fully considered by the Joint Committee, and was dealt with by the Earl of Selborne in his speech on the Second Reading of the Bill. I may also mention that it was with the complete concurrence of the Government of India that it was proposed to do away with the limit on the number of members of the Governor-General's Executive Council. I will draw your attention to what the Joint Committee said in their Report about this Council. They said— The recommendation of the Committee is that the present limitation on the number of the members of the Governor-General's Executive Council should be removed, and three members of that Council should continue to be public servants or ex-public servants who have had not less than ten years experience in the service of the Crown in India; that one member of the Council should have definite legal qualifications but that those qualifications may be gained in India as well as in the United Kingdom; and that no less than three members of the Council should be Indians. In this connection it must be borne in mind that the members of the Council drawn from the ranks of the public servants will, as time goes on, be more and more likely to be of Indian rather than of European extraction. Dealing with this matter on Friday last, the Earl of Selborne said this— I think it is very wise to introduce three Indian statesmen into the Government of India. I do not think too much effort can be made to give the opportunity for the highest experience and training to Indian statesmen in government in India. There can be no possible danger—I say quite deliberately—no possible danger in this wise extension in the number of Indians on the Viceroy's Council. Because, in the first place, these gentlemen are chosen by the Viceroy exclusively on his own judgment of those most fit; and in the second place, we deliberately removed the statutory barrier to the numbers of the Viceroys Council, so that these three Indian gentlemen—and possibly four if the Legal Member is also an Indian—should not bear in this transition period too large a proportion to the total numbers of the Council. We also resisted the effort that had been made to reduce the number of members of the Indian Civil Service on the Council. Those members must be three. Three Indians are now introduced. The total number of the Council is unlimited, so that it can be formed exactly of the very best men whom the Viceroy, in conjunction with the Secretary of State, may choose. I draw attention to those two passages only for the purpose of endeavouring to convince your Lordships that this change was made with great deliberation and with forethought. With regard to the possible dangers that the noble Lord apprehends from the introduction of more Indians into the Council, you will remember that the Montagu-Chelmsford Report recommended two. There has been one since 1909—I had the honour of being the first—and it was proposed by the Montagu-Chelmsford Report that there should be two. The Joint Committee, on consideration of the whole evidence in the case, came to the conclusion that there ought to be three. There being those three, and also three members of the Civil Service necessary to be retained in the Council, it became necessary to remove the restriction as to the limit of numbers, and I submit therefore that your Lordships will not for the reasons which I do not at all agree with, and which the Joint Committee did not agree with, but which have been put forward by Lord MacDonnell, accept the Amendment which has been proposed.


I entirely agree with what Lord MacDonnell has said, but I do not wish to detain the Committee for a moment. I feel that the greatest danger in this Bill is the weakening of the Government of India, and considering that it was pointed out with great force in the Montagu-Chelmsford Report that the powers of the Government of India should not be weakened, I think there has been a great departure from the policy laid down in that Report. I think that this Bill in that respect takes a very dangerous step, and that to have three Indians at one step introduced into the Council, and possibly a fourth, is too much at one time, because it goes so far to destroy the British character of the Government of India at its head.


I wish to add my protest to what has been said. It is all we can do. In my opinion this is one of the most dangerous things which you are doing in this Bill. It is no use telling us the Joint Committee gave it very careful consideration. The members of the Joint Committee were nominated members, and according to Lord Southborough must therefore have been delegates, and the Report of the Joint Committee does not impress us so enormously. So far as I am able to judge it was drafted in the India Office, and it bears an extraordinary resemblance in its sententious platitudes to what is known as The Report.


I must raise a protest against the suggestion that the Report of the Joint Committee was drawn up in the India Office. If Lord Selborne were present I am sure that he would repudiate with great emphasis any such suggestion. It was a Report that was drawn up after very careful deliberation by the Chairman, and was quite independent of any Departmental influence in that connection.


I should not like it to be assumed by my noble friend that the whole object of this was to introduce more Indians on to the Council. That may be a very important development, but the strong opinion of the Chairman was—and I think he stated it in his speech on the Second Reading—that there are not at present enough officials in India to carry on all the Services required for the headships of Departments. I certainly never have asked your Lordships to sanction increases in the bureaucracy of this country. But the whole of the evidence and our own impressions were that there has been an immense development of business in India, and it was impossible with due regard to the Public Service to keep the numbers of the Viceroy's Council as low as they were at the time when my noble friend presided over it now nearly fifteen years ago. That being so, we thought it was necessary to give some elasticity. I think the question ought to be regarded side by side with the obvious desirability of introducing more Indians into the Council, if such fit persons are found and are appointed by the Governor-General.

On Question, Amendment negatived.

Clause 28 agreed to.

Clauses 29 and 30 agreed to.

Clause 31:

Council of India.

31. The following amendments shall be made in section three of the principal Act in relation to the composition of the Council of India, the qualification, term of office, and remuneration of its members:—

  1. (1) The provisions of subsection (1) shall have effect as though "eight" and "twelve" were substituted for "ten" and "fourteen" respectively, as the minimum and maximum number of members, provided that the tenure of office of any person who is a member of the council at the time of the passing of this Act shall not be affected by this provision.

LORD MAC DONNELL moved, at the beginning of the clause, to leave out the words "composition of the Council of India, the qualification." The noble Lord said: This refers to the Secretary of State's Council. I have interpreted the Report of the Joint Committee to mean that the Secretary of State's Council should be retained at its present strength. I am entirely in favour of that view. I think that the coming years will require the Secretary of State's Council to be at its full strength, and that it cannot with advantage to the Indian Empire be reduced. The proposal in subclause (1) of this clause is that it should be reduced by two. Against that proposal I venture to offer the most strenuous opposition. I am also strongly opposed to the introduction of any changes in the Council which would militate against the Council getting all the information that it now gets regarding affairs in India. I would rather adopt the suggestion of the Joint Commitete that the portfolio system should be introduced into the Indian Council in supersession of the Committee system which at present prevails. The questions which come before the Council of India are the weightiest questions than can come from India. It is very desirable that not the mind of one man alone should be brought to bear upon them, but that the minds of the members of a Committee should be brought to bear. It is most desirable that the limited information restricted to one Province should be supplemented by the information from other Province should be supplemented by the information from other Provinces. Therefore I am Strongly of opinion that you should leave the Council of the Secretary of State as it is, and that you should obtain for it as independent and as fully informed men upon Indian matters as you can secure.

Amendment moved— Page 24, lines 10 and 11, leave out ("composition of the Council of India, the qualifications")—(Lord MacDonnell.)


This Amendment proceeds, really upon the assumption that the Joint Committee do not intend to change the number of the members of the Secretary of State's Council which exists in the present Act (ten being the minimum and fourteen the maximum) to eight and twelve. I think the noble Lord is under a misapprehension with regard to that because it is in consequence of the recommendations of the Committee presided over by the noble Marquess, Lord Crewe, that the reduction is made, and the Joint Committee accepted that. They did not accept the other recommendation, that the Council should be abolished and an Advisory Committee substituted instead; but the numbers ten and fourteen were deliberately changed to eight and twelve in accordance with the recommendations of that Committee. Assuming that to be so, all these Amendments that are proposed by Lord MacDonnell would fall, provided your Lordships accept the opinion of the Joint Committee, based as it is upon the Report of the Crewe Committee. I would ask your Lordships not to reject the deliberate opinion of the Crewe Committee, arrived at by the noble Marquess, who has had great experience of the India Office, and was assisted by a strong representative Committee, and who had heard all the evidence available with regard to the internal constitution of the India Office.


The passage in the Report of the Joint Committee which refers to the Council of India is as follows— The Committee are not in favour of the abolition of the Council of India. They think that, at any rate for some time to come, it will be absolutely necessary that the Secretary of State should be advised by persons of Indian experience, and they are convinced that, if no such Council existed, the Secretary of State would have to form an informal one, if not a formal one. Therefore, they think it much better to continue a body which has all the advantages behind it of tradition and authority, although they would not debar the readjustment of its work so as to make it possible to introduce what is known as the portfolio system. They think, also, that its constitution may advantageously be modified by the introduction of more Indians into it and by shortening of the period of the service upon it, in order to ensure a continuous flow of fresh experience from India, and to relieve Indian members from the necessity of spending so long a period as seven years in England. There is nothing there regarding a reduction in the members of Council; on the contrary, it states that they are not in favour of the abolition of the Council of India, that they are in favour of certain modifications in procedure—office arrangements, which I mentioned under the head of the introduction of the portfolio system, by which a member may be given a portfolio for the purpose of supervising certain particular subjects. I suggest that the portfolio system would in course of time degenerate into something like a secretary, and that a member of the Council of India would in a very short time become nothing more than a secretary, without any means of obtaining original information from India, without any means of giving his advice from an independent position and practically on an equality for the time being, as far as the reception of his advice is concerned, with the Secretary of State himself. But the Councillor would in course of time degenerate into a member of the staff to whom a certain work would be allocated and to which he would have to restrict himself. My position is that the Councillor should have full information as a matter of right to every piece of intelligence that comes from India, that he should be entitled to call for information on any subject which comes within his purview, and that he should not be in danger of having his position and his status in any way diminished.

On Question, Amendment negatived.


The next Amendment standing in my name is purely drafting.

Amendment moved— Clause 31, page 24, line 16, leave out from ("that") to the end of line 19, and insert ("the Council, as constituted at the time of the passing of this Act, shall not be affected by this provision, but no fresh appointment or re-appointment thereto shall be made in excess of the maximum prescribed by this provision").—(Lord Sinha.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 31, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 32:


I will take my next two Amendments together. The principal Act provides that there shall be a quorum of five Members and that there shall be weekly meetings of the Council. This Bill withdraws the quorum as fixed-by the principal Act and says there shall be such a quorum as the Secretary of State may direct. Nothing is said as to the meetings of the Members of the Council of India, so that the Secretary of State may have no meetings at all if he were so misdirected. It is desirable that some provision should be made in the Bill for a quorum and for the meeting of the Council at certain intervals. My Amendments provide, I think, additions to the Bill which my noble friend the Under-Secretary may see his way to accept.

Amendments moved— Page 25, line 12, leave out ("may") and insert ("shall") Page 25, line 13, leave out ("such directions as he may issue") and insert ("directions to be issued").—(Lord MacDonnell.)


It is a pure matter of drafting and, as the noble Lord prefers this way, I will accept it.


Drafting may be necessary, but it is a substantial change.


Anyhow, I accept the two Amendments of the noble Lord.


I think it is most desirable that the quorum should be laid down. Did I understand the noble Lord to accept the Amendments?



On Question, Amendments agreed to.


The next Amendment provides that there shall be a meeting of the Council at least once a month.

Amendment moved—

Clause 32, page 25, line 17, at end insert: ("Provided that a meeting of the council shall be held at least once a month").—(Lord MacDonnell.)


I hope the noble Lord will not press that Amendment. It is certainly not the intention that there shall be meetings only once a month, because there is bound to be more. As the financial control is left with the Council there must be more as a matter of fact. But I would ask the noble Lord not to press for this to be inserted in the Bill for this reason, that it sometimes happens that members of the Council want to be away for some little time and it is difficult to get a quorum, so that there might not be any business. You might have one on the last day of the month and another on the first day of the next month which would comply with the provision sought to be introduced, but it would not be useful. I can assure my noble friend that there is no intention whatever that the meetings of the Council should be less than they are now; in fact, they are bound to be more.


I hope there will be meetings once a month. Does the noble Lord accept once a month?




In the Committee there was a discussion, and it was desired not to pin the India Office too tightly. But there is really a danger that the Secretary of State may practically treat his Council as a body to be called together on a few important occasions, and that their general control will cease to be what it has been up to now. It is most important that it should be clearly understood that we attach the greatest importance to the influence of the Council of India. Earl Curzon, in speaking on this subject, having admittedly in other days not taken quite the same view, thought it was of great importance that the Council of India should be maintained. While I was Secretary of State I know there were great complaints that at times the Viceroy's Council in Calcutta was not called together as often as had been the habit in times gone by, and once you leave it without any statutory obligation at all you have no security that the Secretary of State may not dispense with his Council and call in individuals to advise him, unless there is some provision of this character. I really hope that Lord MacDonnell will press this Amendment and that the Under-Secretary will see his way to accept it. I think it is of absolute importance.


I bow to the noble Viscount's experience at the India Office, and if he thinks it absolutely necessary to have the word "month" instead of "week," I agree to it, though I was told that it would possibly put on an unnecessary restriction, and the meetings were much more likely to be frequent under the present rules than they were before. However, I bow to the noble Viscount's experience, and. if he thinks it necessary I will accept it. The only form I suggest is that, instead of the words suggested by Lord MacDonnell, it should read in this way: "The provision in Section 8 of the principal Act relating to meetings of the Council of India shall have effect as though 'month' were substituted for 'week.'"


I accept that.


It is pointed out to me, and I think my noble friend the Under-Secretary agrees, that the most convenient place to make this change is in subsection (2), which is: "The provision in Section 8 of the principal Act which requires weekly meetings of the Council of India shall cease to have effect"; that that shall be struck out, and the provision which the Under-Secretary has just read shall be put in its place. Therefore I suggest that the convenient course will be if the noble Lord will withdraw his Amendment, and we take it in this form.




There will be a consequential Amendment which you will find on the next page in the Schedule.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment moved—

Clause 32, line 15, leave out subsection (2) and insert the following new subsection: ("(2) The provision in Section 8 of the principal Act relating to meetings of the Council of India shall have effect as though 'month' were substituted for 'week'").—(Lord Sinha.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 32, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 33:


My next Amendment is purely drafting.

Amendment moved— Clause 33, page 26, line 1, leave out ("other Rules") and insert ("Rules relating to transferred subjects made under this Section").—(Lord Sinha.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 33, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 34:

Correspondence between Secretary of State and India.

34 So much of section five of the principal Act as relates to orders and communications sent to India from the United Kingdom and to orders made in the United Kingdom, and sections eleven, twelve, thirteen, and fourteen of the principal Act, shall cease to have effect, and the procedure for the sending of orders and communications to India and in general for correspondence between the Secretary of State and the Governor-General in Council or any local government shall be such as may be prescribed by order of the Secretary of State in Council.

LORD MAC DONNELL moved to leave out Clause 34. The noble Lord said: I am afraid I have made a mistake in regard to this. My object was to provide that the procedure in the Councils of India should not deviate so largely from the existing Committee practice as procedure by Councillors having portfolios. I think I ought also to have referred to subsection (3) of Clause 32, which also deals with the business of the Secretary of State in Council. However, my object is to secure that the members of the Council of India shall have all the means of information regarding India which they possess now and, although I hesitate to suggest anything to impose restrictions upon the wishes of the Secretary of State in regard to his Council, I still feel that procedure by Committees is far more dignified and far more beneficial in the interests of the State than procedure by men having portfolios. Therefore I wish to put this to the House.

I should be glad if the power of the Secretary of State to modify his procedure should not enable him to abolish procedure by Committees. That is already in the principal Act; it has long been in practice; and it is well understood. When this question was debated in connection with the principal Act, I remember we had a speech from Lord Inchcape, who was once a member of the Council of India, and he said he was perfectly satisfied with the procedure. Of course, I can understand that the Secretary of State would much prefer that he should be unrestricted and unlimited in his power over his office staff, but the Council of India is not, and cannot be described as, part of the office staff. It is the Advisory Council of men who possess more local knowledge than the Secretary of State can possibly be expected to have and the Council of India should be treated as such. It should be treated on a par in regard to official information with the Secretary of State himself. When he over-rides his Council I believe he has to record his reasons for overriding them. That, I think, should be preserved. It tends to exalt the character of the office and give it greater weight with the Secretary of State than any representation from the holder of a portfolio can possibly have.

Amendment moved— Leave out Clause 34.—(Lord MacDonnell.)


I hope the noble Lord will not press his Amendment. Clause 34 removes what is really an antediluvian restriction. Up to now not only could none of the local governments communicate, as far as I know, direct with the Secretary of State, no matter how pressing the question might be, but it was laid down by one Viceroy that no man in India had a right to communicate with the Secretary of State, except himself. He was the funnel for every communication, and only except formal letters, I believe, from the Governor of Madras and Bombay were sent. I do not know anything which has done more harm than the fact that in the correspondence between the Secretary of State for India and the Governor-General the Despatch of the Governor-General was signed by all the members of his Council and the reply from the Secretary of State, who may have been in office for a week, was signed by him alone, probably rejecting their proposal. It is one of those things which catch the public eye and make people believe that the considered judgments of the Viceroy have been overruled by one individual in Whitehall. These things require to be on a more modern footing. Although Delhi must be kept in absolute knowledge of all which is passing it would be undesirable that Governors should be kept as closely as in the past from direct communication with the Secretary of State.


Does the noble Viscount agree to procedure by Committees being preserved?


Yes, but I do not quite see how that bears on the question. This is a question of communication only.


I ask the House for permission to include Clauses 32 and 33 in my Motion.


I must point out to the noble Lord that we have already decided that Clause 33 shall stand part of the Bill.

On question, Amendment negatived.

Clause 34 agreed to.

Clause 35:

LORD SINHA moved to leave out "his pay," and to insert "the pay, pension." The noble Lord said: This is really a drafting Amendment, but perhaps I ought to say why I describe it as such. The clause provides that "His Majesty may by Order in Council make provision for the appointment of a High Commissioner for India in the United Kingdom, and for his pay, powers, duties, and conditions of employment." It might be argued, although I do not think it can be argued rightly, that the clause has given no power to make provision for pensions, or to provide for a staff for the High Commissioner. For this reason I move my Amendments.

Amendments moved— Page 26, line 21, leave out ("his pay") and insert ("the pay, pension") Page 26, line 22, after ("employment") insert ("of the High Commissioner and of his assistants").—(Lord Sinha.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 35, as amended, agreed to.

LORD MACDONNELL moved at the beginning of Part IV to insert the following new clause: Within one year after the passing of this Act the Governor-General in Council shall appoint a Commission to inquire into and report on the effect which the Act has had, and may reasonably be expected in future to have, on the status condition and prospects of those members of the Indian Civil Service who have been, and in the future may be, recruited by open competition in England under section ninety-seven of the principal Act. In particular the Governor-General in Council should consider the effects which the operation of section thirty-eight of this Act will have on the officers recruited in England and generally on recruitment in England, owing to the withdrawal or reduction of the monopoly of these appointments which by the Third Schedule of the principal Act were secured to the members of the Indian Civil Service recruited in England. The Governor-General in Council shall report to the Secretary of State in Council what arrangements, if any, he considers fair and equitable to safeguard the interests of such members of the Indian Civil Service, and the Secretary of State in Council shall lay before both Houses of Parliament such report with the orders he may pass upon it.

The noble Lord said: This question concerns the Indian Civil Service. In the debate last Friday I called attention to this matter, and I now propose an Amendment which I think it is desirable your Lordships should introduce into the Bill. It proposes that within a year the Governor-General in Council should enquire into the situation, conditions, and prospects of those members of the covenanted Civil Service who have been recruited in England. As I read the Bill as it now stands, Section 38 requires that a Public Service Commission shall be established in India for the purpose of selecting members for the Indian Civil Service. It has been, as your Lordships know, for very many years, one of the most prominent grievances of politicians in India that Indian candidates for the Civil Service have to come to England and there submit themselves to examination. The result was that the number of Indians who passed into the Civil Service was not large. I confess I have always had a sympathy with the men who put forward this grievance. The competition was not a fair one, and the Indians who competed were at a great disadvantage.

The balance is to be entirely changed. Now there will be an examination, as I understand, in India, and the number of Indians who will pass into the Civil Service will be much more numerous than hitherto. The result is that all those appointments which were guaranteed to men who passed the examination in England will be shared between a greater number, so that the service will no longer be of the same character for men recruited in England. I think that the men who have been recruited in England and who base their calculations upon in due course getting these appointments reserved by the schedule of the principal Act—the schedule first introduced into the Indian Councils Act, 1861—have a legitimate grievance. If the time has come when that great service is to be no longer on the conditions which it has been hitherto, I think it is right and proper and only equitable that these men who remain in the Service and have their anticipations rendered no longer capable of fulfilment, should have the injury and loss which they will suffer inquired into and compensated for. It is possible that if such an Inquiry were held these covenanted Civil Servants might be fitted into the new dispensation, and that the discontent which now prevails—and which I fear will increase—may be capable of assuagement. I think that both in the interests of the men and of the country it is desirable that such an inquiry as this should be made. It is not right; it is not proper, that a Service should gradually disappear and dwindle away because certain inquiries had not been made and certain steps had not been taken which should be taken. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 26, at the beginning of Part IV, insert the said new clause.—(Lord MacDonnell.)


I hope that my noble friend will not press this Amendment and if he does that your Lordships will not accept it. I think that the Joint Committee has provided for any possible loss being compensated so far as the Indian Civil Service and the other great Services are concerned. On page 11 of the Joint Committee's Report they say— The Committee think that every precaution should be taken to secure to the public servants the career in life to which they looked forward when they were recruited, and they have introduced fresh provisions into this clause to that end. That clause was introduced at the instance of the noble Viscount Lord Midleton. The Report goes on— If friction occurs, a readjustment of persons and places may often get over the difficulty, and the Governor must always regard it as one of his twist important duties to establish a complete understanding between his Ministers and the officers through whom they will have to work. But if there are members of the Service whose doubts as to the changes to be made are so deeply rooted that they feel they cannot usefully endeavour to take part in them, then the Committee think it would be only fair to these officers that they should be offered an equivalent career elsewhere, if it is in the power of His Majesty's Government to do so, or, in the last resort, that they should be allowed to retire on such pension as the Secretary of State in Council may consider suitable to their period of service. That statement, taken with the Amendment of Lord Midleton, I submit, amply protects existing members of the Services and also provides as smooth a road as possible for those who enter the Service afterwards. In addition, if unfortunately notwithstanding, these precautions it is found that the prospects of existing officers are prejudicially affected or that there is a prejudicial effect on the recruitment for these Services, it will no doubt be the duty of the Executive to make such inquiry as they think necessary and to take such steps as appear requisite to remedy these grievances if such be found to exist. I submit that it would be most unusual to provide by Statute that an inquiry should be made a year afterwards if certain things are found to exist. If they do exist I have no doubt that the Governor-General in Council will make such inquiries as may be necessary for the purpose of remedying the things, but to do as the noble Lord proposes would be a most unusual thing.


The noble Lord's reply is most unsatisfactory to me. I am not satisfied with promises. I wish to have a definite provision in the enactment. When these great Services are being wound up a statutory assurance should be given that the men shall have their condition examined and proper arrangements come to to secure a continuance of their services. If this great Service is to be wound up let it be wound up with honour and with due regard to the great and glorious names inscribed on its roll. And at all events let there be some promise to which, when the time comes, members of the Service may point as an assurance that this is what the Government of the day promised, and, thinking it possible that the circumstances which now have occurred would occur, have given to us an assurance that we could pin our faith to that we should be treated fairly in the end.

On Question, Amendment negatived.

Clause 36:

The civil services in India.

36.—(1) Subject to the provisions of the principal Act and of rules made thereunder, every person in the civil service of the Crown in India holds office during His Majesty's pleasure, and may be employed in any manner required by a proper authority within the scope of his duty, but no person in that service may be dismissed by any authority subordinate to that by which he was appointed, and the Secretary of State in Council may (except so far as he may provide by rules to the contrary) reinstate any person in that service who has been dismissed.

If any such person appointed by the Secretary of State in Council thinks himself wronged by an order of an official superior in a governor's province, and on due application made to that superior does not receive the redress to which he may consider himself entitled, he may, without prejudice to any other right of redress, complain to the governor of the province in order to obtain justice, and the governor is hereby directed to examine such complaint and require such action to be taken thereon as may appear to him to be just and equitable.

(2) The Secretary of State in Council may make rules for regulating the classification of the civil services in India, the methods of their recruitment, their conditions of service, pay and allowances, and discipline and conduct. Such rules may, to such extent and in respect of such matters as may be prescribed, delegate the power of making rules to the Governor-General in Council or to local governments, or authorise the Indian legislature or local legislatures to make laws regulating the public services:

Provided that every person appointed before the commencement of this Act by the Secretary of State in Council to the civil service of the Crown in India shall retain all his existing or accruing rights or shall receive such compensation for the loss of any of them as the Secretary of State in Council may consider just and equitable.

(3)The right to pensions and the scale and conditions of pensions of all persons in the civil service of the Crown in India appointed by the Secretary of State in Council shall be regulated in accordance with the rules in force at the time of the passing of this Act. Any such rules may be varied or added to by the Secretary of State n Council and shall have effect as so varied or added to, but any such variation or addition shall not adversely affect the pension of any member of the service appointed before the date thereof.

Nothing in this section or in any rule there-under shall prejudice the rights to which any person may, or may have, become entitled under the provisions in relation to pensions contained in the East India Annuity Funds Act, 1874.

(4) For the removal of doubts it is hereby declared that all rules or other provisions in operation at the tine of the passing of this Act, whether made by the Secretary of State in Council or by any other authority, relating to the civil service of the Crown in India, were duly made in accordance with the powers in that behalf, and are confirmed, but any such rules or provisions may be revoked, varied, or added to by rules or laws made under this section.

LORD MAC DONNELL moved, in subsection (2), to leave out "or local legislatures." The noble Lord said: My wish in regard to this is that if anything is to be done it should be done for the Service as a whole. The Indian Civil Service is one Service. If it is affected by any proposals in the Legislative Assembly I think the Legislative Assembly should deal with the question, and not the local Legislature.

Amendment moved— Page 27, line 17, leave out ("or local legislatures").—(Lord MacDonnell.)


I do not think that the intention of these words was for a moment to give local Legislatures juris- diction over all Indian services. I can only speak to the purposes of the Government of India when they asked for liberty in this direction. What they visualised in brief was this, that Ministers will take over Departments which are transferred to them as a going concern, with all the staff and establishments, and they will probably carry staff and establishmert for some considerable time. Certain members of that staff and establishment will also undoubtedly be members of all-Indian Services, but there will be special provisions bringing and maintaining the all-India Services under the control of the Secretary of State, as at present. The lower Services of a subordinate and minor character, and even probably of a provincial character, will in time have to be reorganised, so as to be brought more directly under the control and discipline of Ministers; and the intention of the Government of India was that, when Ministers desired to take over a portion of the public Service, being essentially a subordinate and provincial portion of that Service, they should afford a guarantee of their intentions in regard to the future wellbeing of the Service, and that guarantee would take the form of legislation which would naturally be undertaken by them in their own assembly. It would be extremely irksome and inconvenient to have legislative projects dealing with clerical and menial establishments of the Provinces brought before the supreme Legislature of India. I hope that explanation will satisfy the noble Lord. I would also point out that no action can be taken by a local legislature under this clause, except under jurisdiction conferred by Rules which will have been made in accordance with Clause 40 with the concurrence of the majority of votes on the Council of India; so that I t pink the protection afforded to the Service is adequate and satisfactory.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


My object in moving the next Amendment, at the end of subsection (2), is very much the same as that of the noble Lord who has just sat down. Very high praise has been showered on the Indian Civil Service, especially since their fate was sealed; and in this House and elsewhere the highest the most merited tributes had been paid to the small body of men who have made India what India is to-day. What does all this mean? Is it all what Hamlet calls "words, words," or shall we show any practical sympathy for the men who suddenly find that their position has been revolutionised and rendered extraordinarily difficult? Everyone who realises the certain effects of this Bill—and some of the effects, believe me, are quite certain—will understand that circumstances may arise in the relations between a Minister and a conscientious public servant which may render the position of the public servant almost impossible. I think that the noble Lord in charge of the Bill will hardly deny that such cases may occur. The Government of India recognised this danger and they made the very proposal that I have embodied in this Amendment in paragraph 48 of their letter of March 5 last. Besides that, Lord Meston gave it in evidence that this was the wish of the Government of India. I hope that the noble Lord will now explain whether the Government of India and he have now changed their minds since that day, and what their present attitude towards this proposal is. The least we can do is to give some safeguard tot he Services in the troublous times that are coming, and I beg of your Lordships to accept the words I urge. I will alter the actual wording if the noble Lord will accept the principle involved in my Amendment.

Amendment moved—

Page 27, after line 24, insert: ("Provided that if any member of the All-India Services considers that special circumstances have arisen which render it impossible for him to retain his office, the Governor-General, on the recommendation of the Governor, may permit him to retire on a pension proportionate to his period of service").—(Lord Sydenham.)


The only thing I desire to draw your Lordships' attention to is that no statutory provision is required to carry out the object of the Amendment—namely, the recommendation of the Joint Committee that it would be only fair to those officers who think that they cannot usefully take part in the new scheme if it is in the power of His Majesty's Government to offer an equivalent career elsewhere or, in the last resort, that they should be allowed to retire on such pension as the Secretary of State in Council may consider suitable for their period of service. So that with the principle of the Amendment I am in entire accord; but with the details of it I submit the House will not agree because the noble Lord asks that the Governor-General may permit an officer to retire on a pension. It is not the Governor-General but the Secretary of State who appoints him and who now has the discretion to allow him to retire on a proportionate pension. No statutory provision is required for that; and the recommendation of the Joint Committee is that it is the Secretary of State who should allow him to retire on such pension as he considers suitable. So it is only a question of the authority who allows the retirement on the proportionate pension, which must remain as it is now—the Secretary of State. The Government of India has not changed its mind; the recommendation of the Joint Committee is to the same effect, and the Secretary of State certainly intends to adhere to it.


I think that the Report of the Joint Committee does not in the least meet the cases to which I refer, but it seems to deal with cases in which civil servants would like to retire in the fear that at some future time their position might be difficult. My object is to deal with certain specific cases, to which the Government of India itself has referred in its own Dispatches, in which disagreement might occur, and in which the position of the civil servant might be most difficult. It is said that this is provided for in the Report. In the first place, the cases that I am referring to are not provided for in the Report; In the second place, we have no guarantee whatever, unless words are put into the Bill, that the pious opinions of the Report wilt be carried to execution. Therefore I do most strongly desire to press this Amendment. If the noble Lord is perfectly clear about, it, I cannot see that there is any harm in putting it in. If it is all right now, why should he not put it in and let this great Service have some guarantee for its future?


On behalf of the Civil Service I want to say that they do not ask for this. What they expect, and hope, and believe they will obtain, is fair and reasonable treatment at the hands of the Secretary of State. They do not ask that any individual member of their Service should be able to stand up and say that special circumstances have arisen which render it impossible for him to retain office. They regard that as contrary to the whole of their traditions. I hope we shall not be regarded as parties to this. I desire to support what Lord Sinha has said.


Then I take it that the Government of India has changed its mind since writing the Dispatch to which I referred?


Certainly not.


It has?



On Question, Amendment negatived.

LORD AMPTHILL moved to delete from subsection (4) the words "but any such rules or provisions may be revoked, varied, or added to by rules or laws made under this section." The noble Lord said: I wish that some of the many members of your Lordships' House who are great legal authorities had taken an interest in this Bill, for I cannot help thinking that in some matters of draftsmanship it would be capable of a great deal of improvement. It seems to my inexperienced judgment that this part of the subsection makes nonsense. Supposing you belonged to a club or association of which the rules are made in general meeting of all the members, and then someone were to add a rule, saying, "These are the rules of the club, but they may be altered by the chairman of the committee," of what value would such rules be? The whole thing seems to me to be unnecessary, but I am quite ready to be told by someone who is a legal authority that I am mistaken. To ordinary persons it seems either superfluous or else nonsense.

Amendment moved— Clause 36, page 28, line 2, leave out from ("confirmed") to the end of the subsection.—(Lord Ampthill.)


I think my noble friend is under a misapprehension with regard to what is dealt with in sub-clause (4) of Clause 36. It deals with certain executive codes which are called Civil Service Regulations or something to that effect, which are enacted by the Executive Government. There always has been a doubt as to whether they had legal validity or not, and sub-clause (4) is intended to remove such doubts, and to enact that those codes, notwithstanding such doubt, should have that validity and be capable of being varied added to or revoked by the authority which made them. If you are going to make them absolutely irrevocable in future it will mean that the Rules which regulate the Services—for instance, as to leave, and so on—will always remain as they are now, and the amendments now proposed to be made in favour of the Services, giving them the right to more leave, more pension and more pay, cannot be made. Surely that cannot be the intention of my noble friend. The Executive Codes are being given the effect of laws, and also what they have now, the capability of being altered or revoked or varied by the authority which made them. It is all in favour of the Services.

On Question, Amendment negatived.

Clause 36 agreed to.

Clauses 37 to 40 agreed to.

Clause 41:

Statutory Commission.

41.—(1) At the expiration of ten years after the passing of this Act the Secretary of State shall submit for the approval of both House of Parliament the names of persons to act as a commission for the purposes of this section.

(2) The persons whose names are so submitted, subject to the approval of, and to any alterations made by Parliament, shall be a commission for the purpose of inquiring into the work of the system of government, the growth of education, and the development of representative institutions, in British India, and matters connected therewith, and the commission shall report as to whether and to what extent it is desirable to establish the principle of responsible government, or to extend, modify, or restrict the degree of responsible government then existing therein, including the question whether the establishment of second chambers of the local legislatures is or is not desirable.

(3) The commission shall also inquire into and report on any other matter affecting British India and the provinces, which may be referred to the commission by the Secretary of State.


I have three manuscript Amendments on this Clause. I think that the Committee has forfeited the confidence of my noble friend, Lord Ampthill, because, in drawing the clause, to which we attached the greatest importance, we have made, I think, a cardinal blunder and led the Government of India into sin, in allowing theta to propose that a Statutory Commission should be appointed by the Secretary of State, with the approval of Parliament. The only person in this Realm who can appoint a Statutory Commission is His Majesty the King. Therefore, I venture to suggest that after the words "Secretary of State" we shall insert the words "after consideration by both Houses of Parliament," and then, at the end of line 12,"shall submit for the approval of His Majesty," instead of "for the approval of both Houses of Parliament."


I accept that, but I am told it would be better drafting to say "with the concurrence of both Houses of Parliament" instead of "after consideration of both Houses of Parliament."


That would be better.

Amendments moved— Clause 41, page 29, line 12, after ("Secretary of State") insert ("with the concurrence of both Houses of Parliament") Clause 41, page 29, line 12, after the words ("approval of") insert ("His Majesty") Clause 41, page 29, line 13, leave out the words ("both Houses of Parliament").—(Viscount Midleton.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Clause 41, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 42 and 43 agreed to.

Clause 44:


My Amendment is purely drafting.

Amendment moved— Clause 44, page 31, line 21, after ("which") insert ("subsection (1) of").—(Lord Sinha.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 44, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 45:

Amendments of principal Act to carry Act into effect, &c.

45 The amendments set out in Parts I and II of the Second Schedule to this Act, being amendments to incorporate the provisions of this Act in the principal Act, and further amendments consequential on or arising out of those provisions, shall be made in the principal Act, and any question of interpretation shall be settled by reference to the principal Act as so amended. The provisions of the principal Act specified in Part III of that schedule, being provisions which are obsolete or unnecessary, or which require amendment in detail, are hereby repealed or modified, and shall be dealt with, in the manner shown in the second column of that schedule.

Lord SINHA moved, at the end of the clause, to insert— (2) Every enactment and word which is directed by the Government of India (Amendment) Act, 1916, or by this section and the second schedule to this Act, to be substituted for or added to any portion of the Government of India Act, 1915, shall form part of the Government of India. Act, 1915, in the place assigned to it by the Government of India (Amendment) Act, 1916, or that schedule and the Government of India Act, 1915, and all Acts, including this Act, which refer thereto, shall, after the commencement of this Act, be construed as if the said enactment or word had been enacted in the Government of India Act, 1915, in the place so assigned, and where it is substituted for another enactment or word, had been so enacted in lieu of that enactment or word: A copy of the Government of India Act, 1915, with the amendments, whether by way of substitution, addition, or omission, required by the Government of India (Amendment) Act, 1916, and by this section and the Second Schedule to this Act, shall be prepared and certified by the Clerk of the Parliaments, and deposited with the Rolls of Parliament, and His Majesty's printer shall print, in accordance with the copy so certified, all copies of the Government of India Act, 1915, which are printed after the passing of this Act, and the Government of India Act, 1915, as so amended, may be cited as 'The Government of India Act.' Subsection (3) of section eight of the Government of India (Amendment) Act, 1916, is hereby repealed.

The noble Lord said: This is only to substitute, in place of Section 8 of the Government of India (Amendment) Act, 1916, the more modern form of the clause. It is purely a matter of form, and I understood that the Secretary of State pledged himself to put in this new form.

Amendment moved— Clause 45, at end insert the said new subsection.—(Lord Sinha.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 45, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 46 and 47 agreed to.

First Schedule agreed to.

Second Schedule:


The first Amendment on line 32 is purely drafting.

Amendment moved— Second Schedule, page 34, line 32, after ("Act") insert ("and such 'first-mentioned Act' to be substituted for that Act").—(Lord Sinha.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


The Amendment on page 37, line 19, is consequential on the Amendment to Clause 31.

Amendment moved— Page 37, line 19, leave out from ("that") to the end of line 22, and insert ("the council as constituted at the time of the passing of the Government of India Act, 1919, shall not be affected by this provision, but no fresh appointment or re-appointment thereto shall be made in excess of the maximum prescribed by this provision").—(Lord Sinha.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


The next Amendment on page 37, line 29, is also a drafting one.

Amendment moved— Page 37, line 29, leave out ("shall not be affected by this provision") and insert ("shall be the same as though that Act had not been passed").—(Lord Sinha.)

On Question, Amendment agreed


The next, on page 38, is a consequential Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 38, leave out lines 8 and 9 in column 2, and insert ("for 'week' there shall be substituted 'month'").—(Lord Sinha.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


The Amendment on page 38, line 37, is purely drafting.

Amendment moved— Page 38, after line 37, insert ("In subsection (2)'subsection (1) of this section' shall be substituted for 'this section' ").—(Lord Sinha.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


The Amendment on page 41, line 15, is consequential on an Amendment to Clause 43.

Amendment moved— Page 41, line 15, at end insert ("in Council' shall be inserted after 'His Majesty,' and 'through the Secretary of State in Council' shall be omitted").—(Lord Sinha.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


The next is a purely drafting Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 41, line 33, after ("subsection (1)") insert ("section' shall be substituted for 'Act' and the").—(Lord Sinha.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


The Amendment on page 44, line 12, is purely drafting.

Amendment moved—

Page 44, after line 12, insert: ("97 'Section 96A of this Act shall be substituted for the last foregoing section.'").—(Lord Sinha.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD SYDENHAM moved to delete from the Second Schedule the Amendment to Section 110 of the Act. The noble Lord said: It is a curious feature of this Bill that what appears to be a dangerous constitutional Amendment should be hidden away in the middle of a Schedule. Professor Keith, a distinguished member of the noble Marquess's Committee, was the discoverer of this secret, and he pointed out the effect in a number of letters to The Times. Under the principal Act, Governors and Lieut.-Governors are immune from civil action in Indian Courts, but they are liable to be recalled, or to be ordered to do things of which they disapprove, with the alternative of retirement if they cannot carry them out. They may be said to be always acting under orders from the Parliament of this country. They would also be liable, I understand, to civil action for anything they did in India in the Courts of this country when they came home.

Under this harmless item in a Schedule Indian Ministers will have the same immunity from civil action in the Courts in India. In this country and in all the Dominions Ministers can be sued. There was a suit against the Board of Education in 1911, but under this Schedule as it now stands it would doubtless govern conditions if and when provincial Home Rule comes about, and therefore place India in a totally different position from any other part of the British Empire. Professor Keith informs me that the author of the Tagore Law Lectures for 1918, Mr. Nagendranath Ghose, an ardent political reformer, assumes that Ministers in India will be put in the same position as Ministers here, and in the Dominions, and it is very difficult to believe that any prospective ministers have urged this unconstitutional procedure upon the Secretary of State. Therefore I hope that the noble Lord will consider whether it would not be better to resort to the same constitutional usage for India as obtains in this country. I am very sorry that no noble and learned Lord is present to give us his views on this matter. I am sure the Under-Secretary for State will completely floor me when he comes to talk law.

Amendment moved— Page 44, leave out lines 13 to 15.—(Lord Sydenham.)


Here again I think the Amendment proceeds on a misapprehension of the existing law. The existing section is 110 of the Act of 1915, and it is reminiscent of the time when there was a sharp conflict between the Governor-General and his Council on the one hand and the Supreme Court on the other, and it was considered necessary, in order to get rid of this conflict, to enact, as was done by the Act of 1881, that the Governor-General and members of his Council should be exempt from the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court existed only in Calcutta, Bombay and Madras, and that Court is now represented by the original jurisdiction of those three High Courts. None of the other High Courts have original jurisdiction, and that exemption of the Governor-General and members of his Council from the original civil jurisdiction of these three courts continues to exist now and has been subsequently extended by different Acts, which your Lordships will find summarised in Sir Courtney Ilbert's classical book on the Government of India, to Governors, Lieut.-Governors, and Chief Commissioners, and by the last Act, 6 & 7 George V, extended also to the members of the Executive Councils of Governors and Lieut.-Governors. Therefore, the position is that the Indian member of the Executive Council—and of course there is one in all these three Presidencies, and also in the Provinces—is now exempt only from one particular jurisdiction, that is from the old Supreme Court jurisdiction; but they are all liable to the jurisdiction of every other Court in the country, including that of magistrates. They are amenable to the other Courts, and also to the High Court in its appellate jurisdiction. The exemption extended to members of the Executive Councils, including the Indian members thereof, is now sought to be extended to Ministers, but the exemption is only to the extent that they should not be liable to be arrested or imprisoned under the original jurisdiction of these three High Courts. Is there any reason why, when the Indian member of the Executive Council is exempt to this limited extent, the Indian Ministers should not also be exempt.

As I have said, this Amendment proceeds on an entire misapprehension of the law as it exists. You cannot now deny to the Indian Minister what you allow to the Indian Members of the Executive Councils. The argument is strengthened when you remember that all these persons, both English and Indians, are subject to the jurisdiction of the High Court of Justice in England for any offence in a public capacity, as if the offence were committed in the County of Middlesex. This exemption is really reminiscent of the time of Warren Hastings, and if you want to exclude Ministers from that exemption you should exclude all the other persons. I submit, therefore, that your Lordships will be well advised in not accepting this Amendment.

On Question, Amendment negatived.


The other Amendments are purely drafting.

Amendments moved— Page 46, leave out line 33. Page 46, line 36, leave out ("and civil'") Page 47, line 1, after ("Council") insert ("and 'civil' ") Page 47, line 9, at end insert ("and or the Air Force Act' shall be inserted after 'the Army Act.'")—(Lord Sinha)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

Second Schedule, as amended, agreed to.