HL Deb 10 July 1935 vol 98 cc197-237

The Council, of State and the Federal Assembly.

Representatives of Indian States.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
States and Groups of States. Number of seats in Council of State. States and Groups of States Number of seats in the Federal Assembly. Population.
15. Partabgarh 1 12. Partabgarh 1 76,539
Jhalawar Jhalawar 107,890
Shahpura Shahpura 54,233
16. Jaisalmer 1 13. Jaisalmer 1 76,255
Kishengarh Kishengarh 85,744
12. Barwani 1 10. Barwani 1 141,110
Ali Rajpur Ali Rajpur 101,963

THE MARQUESS OF ZETLAND moved to omit the paragraphs (3 to 14) in Part I relating to the Council of State and insert:

The Conned of State.

3. Of the one hundred and fifty-six seats in the Council of State to be filled by representatives of British India one hundred and fifty seats shall be allocated to the Governors' Provinces, the Chief Commissioners' Provinces and the Anglo-Indian, European and Indian Christian communities in the manner shown in division (i) of the relevant Table of Seats appended to this Part of this Schedule, and six seats shall be filled by persons chosen by the Governor-General in his discretion.

4. To each Governor's Province, Chief Commissioner's Province and community specified in the first column of division (i) of the Table there shall be allotted the number of seats specified in the second column opposite to that Province or community, and of the seats so allotted to a Governor's Province or a Chief Commissioner's Province, the number specified in the third column shall be general seats, the number specified in the fourth column shall be seats for representatives of the Scheduled Castes, the number specified in the fifth column shall be Sikh seats, the number specified in the sixth column shall be Mahomedan seats, and. the number specified in the seventh column shall be seats reserved for women.

5. A Governor's Province or a Chief Commissioner's Province, exclusive of any portion thereof which His Majesty in Council may deem unsuitable for inclusion in any constituency or in any constituency of any particular class, shall be divided into territorial constituencies—

  1. (a) for the election of persons to fill the general seats, if any;
  2. (b) for the election of persons to fill the Sikh seats, if any; and
  3. (c) for the election of persons to fill the Mahomedan seats, if any; 198 or, if as respects any class of constituency it is so prescribed, may form one territorial constituency.

To each territorial constituency of any class one or more seats of that class shall be assigned.

6.—(1) No person shall be entitled to vote it an election to fill a Sikh seat or a Mahomedan seat in the Council of State unless he is a Sikh or a Mahomedan, as the case may be.

(2) No person who is, or is entitled to be, included in the electoral roll for a territorial constituency in any Province for the election of persons to fill a Sikh seat or a Mahomedan seat in the Council of State shall be entitled to vote at an election to fill a general seat therein allotted to that Province.

(3) No Anglo-Indian, European or Indian Christian shall be entitled to vote at an election to fill a general seat in the Council of State.

(4) Subject as aforesaid, the qualifications entitling persons to vote in territorial constituencies at elections of members of the Council of State shall be such as may be prescribed.

7. In any Province to which a seat to be filled by a representative of the Scheduled Castes is allotted, a person to fill that seat shall be chosen. by the members of those castes who hold seats in the Chamber or, as the ease may be, either Chamber of the Legislature of that Province.

In any Province to which a seat reserved for women is allotted, a woman to fill that seat shall be chosen by the persons, whether men or women, who hold seats in the Chamber or, as the case may be, the Chambers of the Legislature of that Province.

9. Persons to fill the seats allotted to the Anglo-Indian, European and Indian Christian communities shall be chosen by the members of Electoral Colleges consisting of such Anglo-Indians, Europeans and Indian Christians, as the case may be, as are members of the Legislative Council of any Governor's Province or of the Legislative Assembly of any Governor's Province.

The Rules regulating the conduct of elections by the European Electoral College shall be such as to secure that on any occasion where more than one seat falls to be filled by the College no two of the seats to be then filled shall be filled by persons who are normally resident in the same Province.

10. A person shall not be qualified to hold a seat in the Council of State unless—

  1. (a) in the case of a seat allotted to a Governor's Province or a Chief Commissioner's Province, he is qualified to vote in a territorial constituency in the Province at an election of a member of the Council of State;
  2. (b) in. the case of a seat allotted to the Anglo-Indian, the European or the Indian Christian community, he possesses such qualifications as may be prescribed.

11. Subject to the provisions of the four next succeeding paragraphs, the term of office of a member of the Council of State shall be nine years:

Provided that a person chosen to fill a casual vacancy shall be chosen to serve only for the remainder of his predecessor's term of office.

12. Upon the first constitution of the Council of State persons shall be chosen to fill all the seats allotted to Governors' Provinces, Chief Commissioners' Provinces and communities, but, for the purpose of securing that in every third year one-third of the holders of such seats shall retire, one-third of the persons first chosen shall be chosen to serve for three years only, one-third shall be chosen to serve for six years only and one-third shall be chosen to serve for nine years, and thereafter in every third year persons shall be chosen to fill for nine years the seats then becoming vacant in consequence of the provisions of this paragraph.

13. In the case of a Province specified in column one in division (ii) of the Table of Seats, the numbers specified as respects seats of different classes in columns two to six, in columns seven to eleven and in columns twelve to sixteen respectively, shall be the numbers of the seats of the different classes to be filled upon the first constitution of the Council by members chosen to serve for three years only, by members chosen to serve for six years only, and by members chosen to serve for nine years.

14. The person chosen upon the first constitution of the Council to fill the Anglo-Indian seat shall be chosen to serve for nine years: of the seven persons then chosen to fill the European seats, three shall be chosen to servo for three years only, one shall be chosen to serve for six years only and three shall be chosen to serve for nine years; and, of the two persons then chosen to fill the Indian Christian seats, one shall be chosen to serve for three years only and one shall be chosen to serve for nine years.

15. Upon the first constitution of the Council of State two of the persons to be chosen by the Governor-General shall be chosen to serve for three years only, two shall be chosen to serve for six years only and two shall be chosen to serve for nine years."

The noble Marquess said: The Amendment which stands in my name, and which will be found on pages 1, 2, 3, and 4, together with the connected Tables on pages 7 and 8, is to give effect to the alteration which I promised to consider making in the course of our debates upon the method of election to the Council of State. Your Lordships will remember that, in reply to an Amendment moved by my noble friend Lord Linlithgow, I said I was prepared to consider favourably an alteration in the method of electing the members of the Council of State from the indirect system of election to the direct system. I said at the time that the kind of constituencies which I had in mind would be very similar to those which at present and under the present Constitution returned members to the Council of State. I pointed out that I thought, while the electorate should be restricted, so far as the qualifications of the electors were concerned, on a high property qualification franchise, that, nevertheless, the electorate would be considerably larger than the existing electorate for the Council of State. The present electorate for the Council of State, if you exclude Burma, is something like 20,000 electors, and the electorate which I have in mind would be some four or five times as large as that.

It will not of course be possible for me to-day to give your Lordships exact details with regard to the electoral qualifications. Further examination in India itself will necessarily be involved, and that examination will be carried on side by side with the investigations which are taking place at the present time with regard to the qualifications for the electors for the Upper Houses in the Provinces. It seems to me to be quite possible, in fact I might almost say probable, that the kind of electorate which I have in view will prove to be very similar to the electorates for the Upper Houses in the Provinces, and if, in fact, that does prove to be the case, it would no doubt be very much simpler to have the same electorate for the Upper House in the Provinces and for the Council of State.

I also pointed out at the time, and yesterday, that the actual changes in the Schedule which would be involved by this alteration are not, as a matter of fact, very large, and in their character they are comparatively simple. They are in the main two. The first change is switching over from the indirect system to the direct system, and that in itself is really quite a simple matter. The other alteration which will be necessary is really consequential upon that. Your Lordships will probably remember that under the scheme in the Bill no actual quotas for the different communities were laid down in the case of the Council of State. Under the scheme in the Bill we were relying upon the working of the system of proportional representation to give the different communities their proper repre sentation in the Council of State. With the abolition of the system of proportional representation and the substitution for it of direct election, it will of course become necessary, as has been done in the case of all the other legislative bodies, to lay down the proportions of the Council of State which are to be allotted to the different communities, and if your Lordships will turn to page 7 of the Order Paper you will see that the quotas for the different communities are laid down in the Table which you will find upon that page.

I might perhaps add a word or two of explanation of how those quotas have been arrived at. The total number of seats is to be 150. Of that number 75 are to be general seats. Then we come to the seats for the Scheduled Castes, and the number allotted to the Scheduled Castes is six. I am aware that there are Amendments on the Order Paper for making changes in these percentages, and I might take this opportunity perhaps of explaining to your Lordships why, in the case of the Scheduled Castes we have arrived at the figure of six. Our first reason was that this is a number which we estimate that they would have received under the scheme of proportional representation in the Bill. Secondly, it does enable us to give each major Province, where the Scheduled Caste question is of real importance, one representative in the Council of State. It is for those two reasons that we have arrived at the figure of six. Then we come to the Sikhs, who have been allotted four seats, and that figure has also been arrived at as a result of a calculation of the number of seats which they would have secured under the system of proportional representation.

Next we come to the Moslems, who are given forty-nine seats, and that figure is arrived at in accordance with a general undertaking which was given to the Moslem community first of all at the First Round-Table Conference, but an undertaking which has been repeated on a number of occasions since, that approximately one-third of the seats in the Council of State which are open to election would be secured to them. Then, lastly, we come to the seats allotted to women, and the figure of six in the Table was really granted as a concession by the Government to representations which were made to them in another place.

Otherwise, I think, it was not contemplated that women, as such, would have seats in the Council of State. For the rest the Amendment which I have put down, though it appears to be of considerable length, makes no other changes in the scheme already set forth in the Bill.

I have been asked once or twice in the course of our debates whether this Amendment of the First Schedule would necessitate any consequential amendments of the clauses in the Bill. I have looked into that point and I can only find two small cases in which amendment of a clause of the Bill will be required on Report. Those two cases both occur in Clause 290 and the Amendments occur in paragraph (c) and paragraph (d) of that clause. Those paragraphs read as follows: (c) the qualifications for being elected at such election as a member of a legislative body or electoral college; (d) the filling of casual vacancies in any such body or college.

The words "or college" will necessarily have to come out, because under the scheme of the Bill in those Provinces which possess no upper House a special electoral college would have to be constituted to take the place of the tipper House for the purpose of electing members in the Council of State. That provision of course will no longer be necessary on the assumption that your Lordships accept the Amendment which stands in my name. Apart from those two small alterations I have been able, so far as my search through the Bill has gone, to find no other alterations in the clauses of the Bill which will be required.

I hope that that brief explanation will have made clear the extent of the change which is proposed by this Amendment. I do not deny for a moment that the actual change is one of very considerable importance. So far as I have been able to gather the change is generally approved. I think it will meet with the general approval of your Lordships' House, because in the discussions on this matter in the course of the Committee stage, nearly every speech to which I listened on this subject, from whichever part of your Lordships' House it came, appeared to me to be in favour of a change of this kind. There is little doubt, I think therefore, as far as your Lordships' House is concerned, that this Amendment will meet with approval. I am also in a position to inform your Lordships that, so far as it is at present possible to judge, the change will also be welcomed by the Government in India and I think without doubt by the people of India generally. With these few words I now move the Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 291, line 32, leave out from the beginning of the line to the end of page 294 and insert the said new paragraphs.—(The Marquess of Zetland.)


May I just say a few words on the change, because I was one of those who put down an Amendment at an earlier stage. I did so because I strongly objected to the form in which the Bill was drawn as regards the composition of the Second Chamber. My main objection was that I thought it very undesirable that you should have these two Chambers, the Assembly and the Council of State, drawn from almost identical sources, which were likely to present too Provincial a front in the Central Assembly if the Assembly itself was selected by the Provincial Councils and if the Council of State was chosen, where there were Second Chambers, by those Second Chambers in the Provinces. I was very anxious indeed to secure that there should be different origins for the two Houses, not that I desire in any way that they should clash, but that they should present, first of all, different points of view and should not, as it were, bring too much pressure to bear upon the Governor-General as representing a Provincial point of view as against an All-India point of view, which may, in some cases, be a different and opposing view. As to the exact size of the electorate, I may say that from my point of view I think 120,000 is satisfactory. I should like to congratulate the Government on having made what the noble Marquess truly described as this very considerable change, which I believe will be of very great assistance in the working of the Bill in India.


I do not propose to detain your Lordships more than a very few moments. Naturally we on these Benches would have preferred acceptance by the Government of the Amendment which we proposed, to provide for direct election for the Lower House and indirect election for the Upper House; but this will be an immense improvement on the original scheme. It does constitute one of the two Houses, at any rate, as representative of All-India opinion, and frees it, therefore, from that domination by the Party caucuses in the Provinces which I still think is going to be one of the most dangerous features of the Bill. To that extent we welcome this Amendment and will certainly support it.

The only other point I want to make is to represent to the noble Marquess in charge of the Bill the question whether the electorate he proposes is really quite adequate for the purpose which he and I think other noble Lords have in mind. The situation under this Bill is going to be very different from that which exists under the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms, under which the Executive is irresponsible to the Legislature and is, in effect, an emanation of the Secretary of State himself. The Council of State today is, therefore, merely, so to speak, an outer entrenchment of the irresponsible power vested in the Viceroy. Under this proposal the position will be changed. Except in the field of the reserved subjects the primary responsibility in Federal matters will rest on a Ministry responsible to the Federal Legislature. Therefore you will begin to get reproduced in India the same situation as you have long had in this country, in which you will have a Lower House which will claim to be representative of the masses of the people confronted by an Upper House avowedly constituted to act as a brake and a safeguard against the Lower House but which will represent the people to a far less degree.

If you make the franchise for the Upper House too low, if, for instance, the representatives from the Legislative Assembly are able to point to the fact that they, indirectly it is true, represent 33,000,000 votes and the Council of State represent only, say, 100,000 in sum total, you may get to the same position that has arisen in this country, where the Upper House is unable to exercise the very considerable powers conferred on it by reason of the fact that it lacks adequate authority to enable it to do so. That is not an imaginary possibility. It is exactly what has happened to your Lordships' House. Therefore I venture to think that if the purpose of this Amendment is to strengthen the All-India point of view on the one hand as against Provincial separatism, and on the other hand make the Upper House a suitable Conservative body to act as a check on the possibly more reckless proceedings of the Lower House, it is well to consider whether 100,000 voters is not too small a number and whether it; would not be better to make it nearer the figure I suggested on the last occasion—namely, the voters who already for fifteen years have voted for this Assembly; because in the long run you thereby create a Council of State which will in practice be much more likely to do the work which you expect it to do than a House which is constituted on a mere narrow vision. I do not, propose to say any more about that to-day, because I imagine that the actual franchise proposal will at some time or other come before this House in the form of an Order in Council, but I would venture to press that, view on the Government and on the noble Marquess as worthy of consideration at a time when he and his col eagues are considering what the franchise for the Council of State should be.

There are certain other matters that I will not raise at the moment, but I should like to ask this question to clear my own mind, and possibly the minds of some of your Lordships. I understand that the work of the Delimitation Commission—or whatever its correct title is—will eventually be embodied in an Order in Council, and that that Order in Council will at some time come before this House and another place for approval or otherwise. Am I correct in that assumption? There are certain very important matters connected with the limitation of constituencies, and so on, on which possibly I might like to make a few observations at some future time. They are not appropriate at the moment, because there is no clause in this Bill which actually provides for them, but I understand that there will be an opportunity of considering these matters at a later stage. I beg to state, therefore, that we will gladly support the Amendment to the First, Schedule of this Bill.


We have had so very few concessions from His Majesty's Government in the process of this Bill that we ought to rejoice exceedingly that something in the way of concession is at last reached. So far as this Amendment goes, we welcome it on this occasion. Unfortunately, I have not had an opportunity of reading very closely the Amendment which the noble Marquess is proposing, but I believe I am right in saying that if it is carried there will not be in the Council of State one direct representative of what we call Labour in India. We are grateful for the concession in regard to women, but sometimes I think that, important as it is that women should be represented in all phases of Indian Government, it is not less important that the at present unorganised masses of the Indian workers should be able to take part in the work of the State in all its departments. Some day the workers of India will be sufficiently organised to make their opinions felt in other ways, but until that arrives it seems to us that it is only in the political field that they can get the representation to which the importance of their cause entitles them. While thanking the Government for what they have given, we express our very great regret that, as far as we can understand, this Council of State will begin its work: without one representative of the millions of Indian workmen in the Continent.


I do not often find myself, I am sorry to say, in agreement with the noble Lord who has just sat down, but I think he is entitled to a great deal of sympathy when he says that he has hardly had time yet fully to familiarise himself with the proposed alterations in the Bill. My noble friend the Secretary of State has admitted that it is a change of very great magnitude, but the amount of information which has been conveyed to your Lordships when you are asked to embody it in the Bill is of a very sketchy description. The whole Bill, of course, is said to be a great experiment. This is one of the most experimental parts of it. Nobody seems to be very sure as to what precisely are the limits of the change which at the eleventh hour it is now proposed to put into the Bill.

The noble Marquess, Lord Lothian, said that after all we need not bother about the details—though he did not put it in anything like such colloquial language—because there will be an Order in Council sometime or other which we shall have the opportunity of discussing. Do not let the noble Marquess rely too much upon the Order in Council. As I have already had occasion to point out to your Lordships, I am afraid with wearisome reiteration, there will be no opportunity of adjusting the alterations in the Order in Council. Of course we listened with the greatest interest to what my noble friend the Secretary of State had to tell us as to the conditions of the franchise. But, my Lords, does the noble Marquess think that he will have an opportunity of going in detail through all the clauses of the Franchise Order in Council when it appears? Supposing there is a difference of opinion with the House of Commons on the intricate details which it involves: how are these going to be adjusted? There is no machinery for it. I pointed that out to your Lordships and I received, as I always do receive, a most courteous reply, but no satisfaction. Therefore, if the noble Marquess relies upon that, may I venture to suggest to him that he is really relying upon a broken reed?

What is it that the Government have proposed to us? I do not dislike this particular form of election more than I dislike the alternatives, but I am bound to point out the kind of difficulties which there are in front of your Lordships. Sub-paragraph (4) of paragraph 5 says: Subject as aforesaid, the qualifications entitling persons to vote in territorial constituencies at elections of members of the Council of State shall be such as may be prescribed. That is a magnificent word, "prescribed"; it covers a vast extent. What did the Secretary of State tell us? He could not say for certain; he could not tell your Lordships and Parliament for certain how the franchise of this great Indian Dependency was to be arranged. That was all vague, and no one had made up his mind about that, although this Bill has been before your Lordships for a long time and before the country for much longer. No; he said, so far as I understood him, that the franchise was to be very much the same as it exists in the Bill already in the case of the Provincial Upper Houses, but he did not say so for certain, and we do not know.

Now may I remind your Lordships of this; that when the Bill—I believe I am accurate, though I may not be accurate—was introduced in another place, this blessed word "prescribed" was used in respect of all the adjustments of the franchise which is now represented in the Sixth Schedule to the Bill? The Sixth Schedule was inserted in deference to pressure from the House of Commons. I have just looked at the Sixth Schedule, and I think it would be interesting to count the number of pages in it. There are fifty pages in the Sixth Schedule, so that the word "prescribed" probably corresponds with fifty pages which your Lordships are asked to accept. Is it not so? I am sorry if I have made a mistake, but, after all, I am wandering in the dark. I do not know, and it is not my fault that I do not know, quite what is in the minds of His Majesty's Government; I sometimes doubt whether there is anything very definite in their minds. All these things are left completely blank; it is a sort of blank cheque.

I wonder whether your Lordships have thought again of the size of the constituencies which are to be covered by these members of the Council of State. I really do not know, but I tried to make a hasty calculation this morning of the sort of population to which it corresponds, and I think, if you allow for the communal distribution of the membership, in Bengal I think each member representing Hindus, that is the general list, will cover a population of 2½ millions, and each Mahomedan will cover a population of 3 millions. Those are tremendous responsibilities to throw upon these Councillors of State. Then I would remind Lord Lothian that this will be, from his point of view, the only direct touch with the people. I want to dwell upon that for a moment, because I wonder if your Lordships have appreciated all the intricacies of the problem here. Of course we are establishing responsible governments everywhere, and especially in the Centre. We have had a great deal of difficulty in deciding what exactly responsibility means. Does it mean responsibility to one Chamber or to both Chambers? That has been asked again and again. Under the Constitution of this old Mother Country there is no question that responsibility is to the Lower Chamber, but what is it going to be in India? The vote of which Chamber will be able to turn out the Government? That is the real point. I wonder whether the Government have really contemplated the question of which is the Chamber whose vote is going to turn out the Government.

As the Bill was drawn, with indirect election, there was no doubt that the greater weight of popular authority lay behind the Lower Chamber, because although indirectly elected the Lower Chamber was indirectly elected by a much more popular body; but now the weight of the direct Chamber is very different. It is the Upper Chamber. That is the only body to be directly elected, no doubt by a very high, mysterious franchise, but undoubtedly the members are to be directly elected. I put this question to the Government: In the altered circumstances, now that the Upper House, the House of Lords, is to be the democratic body, and the House of Commons is to be the Select Body, which Chamber will have the power of turning the Government out, because that is what responsible government means? It has no meaning at all except that the popular Chamber, or a Chamber, will be able to turn out the Government. I want to know in those circumstances which Chamber is going to have that power of turning the Government out.

Upon that this little question arises. Although I did put the question to my noble friend when we discussed the matter before, he did not tell us what financial alteration, or whether any financial alteration, would follow from this Amendment. At present the Upper Chamber has a certain authority in financial matters, but not equal authority with the Lower Chamber. There are certain limitations upon its power of appropriation, but still more limitations upon its power of taxation; that is to say, although the Appropriation Bill is more or less equally under the authority of either Chamber, the Finance Bill is not. The initiation of the Finance Bill entirely lies with the Lower Chamber. After the alteration which the Government are proposing is that going to be left the same? Are the indirect representatives of the people to have the power of taxation and the direct representatives of the people to have no Power of taxation? After all, we are in a great hurry now. We have been dismissing this now for seven years, and this Bill has been before Parliament for a considerable time, but now, just at the very end of the Committee stage in the House of Lords, after it has passed through the House of Commons, this change is made, and we want to tell the country exactly what is proposed—what is proposed about finance.

Have the Government thought about that? They have! Have they come to any decision? They have! That is splendid. I am so glad I spoke, because we shall be able to learn something now. That is very important. I want to know a little more, and I hope my noble friend will not think me unduly inquisitive, but in the Press organ which represents the Government in this country, I mean The Times, we were told that the voting was to be by postal vote. Is that to be the case? Are we going to have no vote by ballot? Is that one of the things going to be prescribed, and afterwards put into an Order in Council which the noble Marquess, Lord Lothian, may discuss, or not? Then, of course, we do not know how these Councillors are to address their constituents. Consider the vast size of the areas which they have got to cover. Have the Government thought of that too? Oh! that is to be clone by wireless. I think I. heard the noble Marquess, Lord Lothian, who knows more about the intentions of the Government than I do, suggest that the addresses to the constituents were to be done by wireless.

Then there is one little machinery point upon which I would like to have some explanation. As your Lordships are aware, these members of the Council of State are to retire in three categories trienially, one-third to retire every third year. How are they to be selected for retirement? I can easily imagine a plan, but I should be glad to know whether that is going to be prescribed or how adjusted. Of course, as your Lordships are aware, this method of retirement in thirds is quite common in our knowledge of representative bodies. Sometimes, as the Bill seems to propose, it is that certain constituencies should be selected out of the mass, whose representatives should retire every three years, and sometimes it is the other way, of three members for each constituency and one retires every third year. I think perhaps it would be interesting to your Lordships to know which method the Government contemplate.

I know my noble friend thinks this change a very simple change, and that it is quite easy to understand all its intricacies. If this were an ordinary small Local Government Bill every one of these details would be set out with precise accuracy in the Bill, would be debated at length, would be considered by your Lordships word by word, sentence by sentence, and by another place equally; but because it deals with the greatest Dependency under the British Crown, because it deals with that upon which we ought to feel a deeper responsibility than almost anything else, it has all to be prescribed.


Perhaps I might reply briefly to the observations which have been made on this Amendment. First of all with regard to the point made by my noble friend Lord Lothian. He asked me to consider whether the electorate which I contemplate is really large enough for the purpose which it is designed to fill. I am very familiar with the view which the noble Marquess takes on this matter, and I do not deny the force of it, but I do not altogether agree with it. After all, when once you start, in the case of a direct electorate, going beyond a certain very clearly defined qualification—and it is the intention in this case that the qualification should be clearly defined as being a high property qualification—it is very difficult to know where to stop. We all know the old Latin phrase:

  • Facilis descensus Averni,
  • Sed revocare gradum, superasque evadere ad auras,


Hic labor, hoc opus est.


I am very grateful to the noble Earl for finishing the quotation. That means, to put it in very colloquial language, that- once you start down the slippery slope it is not only difficult to stop but it is almost impossible to return; and it is mainly for that reason that I am still in favour of a distinctly circumscribed electorate. And of course there is one other objection to enlarging your electorate in a case of this kind, and that really was the objection which was mentioned by the noble Marquess who has just sat down. It is quite true that your territorial constituencies will be very large in size indeed, and as I have always held, all these constituencies with a really large electorate, in the cir cumstances of India as they are to-day, are not a practical proposition. They do not give you the representative system in the true sense of the word at all, and for that reason also—namely, the large territorial size of the constituencies—I would prefer to keep the electorate as small as one conveniently can.

That brings me to one of the points of the noble Marquess. He made the point that your constituencies are going to be very large, and he said that in what he regarded as the Government organ—though I was not aware myself that the Government had an organ, but the noble Marquess has kindly allotted one to us, namely, The Times newspaper—it had been suggested, if I understood what he said, that in the constituencies contemplated here, and with the electorate contemplated here, it would even be possible for the election to take place by post. I would never rule that out as a possibility. I believe the noble Marquess himself in certain cases in returning a member to the House of Commons votes by post.


I wish I did. I am not allowed to vote, being a Peer.


I understood that in the case of the representatives of the University the noble Marquess as a Master of Arts was entitled to a vote.


I am sorry to say that lunatics, criminals and Peers are not allowed to vote.


Of course the noble Marquess knows best. I was under the impression that in those particular cases an M.A., even if he suffered the disability of being a, Peer, was entitled to vote, but no doubt I am wrong in that. But an M.A. who is not a Peer does undoubtedly at the present time vote by post in returning his representative to the House of Commons. I only give that as an illustration to show that, after all, that method of voting is not an impossibility.


I was not saying it was wrong, but I thought the House of Lords ought to know whether it was going to be the case.


I will come to that point, because I think that arises on another of the noble Marquess's points about the word "prescribed." The noble Marquess said that the qualifications of these electors were to be such as were to be prescribed. He is quite correct, and he will be aware that in the case of the Upper Chambers in the Provinces the actual qualification still remains to be settled. That also will be "such as may be prescribed." When the necessary details of the qualification have been worked out in India and submitted to us they will, of course, come before your Lordships' House for your consideration and for your comments. That is a provision of the existing Bill, and it is merely adding to this the prescription of the qualifications for the electors to the Council of State in addition to the electors for the Upper Chambers in the Provinces where they exist. Then the noble Marquess dwelt upon the question of finance, and he talked as though the Lower Federal Chamber was to be regarded as a nominated Chamber. Of course that is very far from the facts. We have never regarded a system of indirect election as a system of nomination.


I never suggested that. It is less popular than the other, that is it.


The noble Marquess thinks that the Lower Chamber now will be less popular than the other. I cannot agree with him, because after all the Lower Chamber is going to be elected by persons who in their turn have been elected by far larger electorates than the electorates which will elect to the Council of State. It is only a case of the election being one place removed: the election takes place in two stages instead of in one stage. The voters in the Provinces, to the number altogether of many millions, will vote for the representatives in the Lower Houses in the Provinces, and then in their turn those representatives, who have been elected by a very big popular electorate, will elect the representatives to the Lower Chamber at the Centre. I cannot therefore regard the Lower Chamber at the Centre as being of a less popular character than the Council of State will be.

With regard to the question of finance, the noble Marquess asked me whether any changes were contemplated in the arrangements for dealing with finance as the result of this alteration in the method of forming the Council of State. The answer to that question is "No." No alteration will be necessary. The Lower Chamber will still be the Lower Chamber as it was before. There will be no difference in that respect whatsoever.

Finally, the noble Marquess asked for information with regard to the retirement by rotation of one-third of the members of the Council of State at three-year intervals. That is not a new proposal as the result of my Amendment. That has been a proposal of the Bill from the start, and I fail to understand why the noble Marquess should think I have suddenly introduced something entirely new in that respect. That has been a proposal from the start, and, as the noble Marquess will remember, we had very long discussions on this very point in the Joint Select Committee. The Joint Select Committee, after considering this matter from every possible aspect, decided upon this system, and it was upon their recommendation that this system was incorporated in the Bill. If the noble Marquess wishes to see how it is proposed to put that particular scheme into operation, he will find it set out in the Table on page 8 of the Order Paper.


I had a look at that Table, but I am afraid I misunderstood it. That Schedule sets out the number of seats which are to be vacated at triennial intervals, but it does not say how these seats are to be selected. That was my difficulty. I think it very likely that the noble Marquess will be able to explain it in a moment. If you take the case of Bengal, for instance. In Bengal there will be four general seats, one seat for the Scheduled Castes, and five Moslem seats to bridge over the first three years. There is to be no election at all in the second three years, but in the third of the triennial periods a similar number of seats are to be. filled. But how are they to be selected? I quite understand there are to be four general seats in the first triennial period and four general seats in the third triennial period, but how are these four general seats to be selected? That is all I ask.


I think I see the noble Marquess's point. Of course, the whole number will be elected at the start, but in the case of different Provinces different percentages of the whole number will be elected for three years or six years or nine years. It only applies to the first election.


The system I understand, but how is the selection to be made?


How do you decide how many are to serve for three years, and how many for six?


Supposing such a thing existed in this country, and members for constituencies of this country retired in rotation every three years? It might be there would be, say, thirty or forty members in England retiring at the first triennial period, but would they be for Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Devonshire, or what? That is the question.


I see the noble Marquess's point. The first point I wanted to make clear was that each county, so to speak, taking the English analogy, will elect the whole of the members to which it is entitled at the first election. Then the noble Marquess says: "Yes, but supposing it is entitled to send nine representatives altogether to the Council of State, how is it going to be decided which of these nine shall sit for three years, which of these nine shall sit for six years, and which of these nine shall sit for nine years?"


Which territorial divisions are to be selected for the purpose?


No doubt that will have to be laid down.


Prescribed by lot?


In consultation with those concerned. But the main point is that every area gets the whole of its representation from the start. You must make some arbitrary arrangement at the first election with regard to which of the particular representatives are to be returned for three years, which for six years, and which for nine years. Obviously you cannot avoid doing that in any system of this kind. When once that is done, after the first election, the thing will continue to work automatically.


But it is not yet settled by the Government how this election is to be carried out. That still remains vague.


The Government have laid down nothing on that point. No doubt that is a very proper matter for the Delimitation Commission to consider and make their recommendations upon. So far as I can remember, I have dealt with all the points that have been submitted to me. I have no doubt that the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, will describe some of my observations as "answers" and some of them as "replies." I do not, myself, possess the necessary intellectual subtlety to distinguish very broadly between those two types of observation, but if he desires to divide my observations into those types I may regret it but, I suppose, I cannot help it.


I am too completely confused to make any observations.


Your Lordships will see that on pages 4 and 5 there are two Amendments by the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, and the noble Lord, Lord Strabolgi, which require to be saved in putting the Question. Accordingly the Question which I have to put is that the words from the beginning of line 32, on page 291, down to line 34 shall stand part.

On Question, Amendment to leave out the words on page 291, line 32, down to "India" in line 34, agreed to.

THE EARL OF LISTOWEL had given Notice of an Amendment in paragraph 3 of Part I, after "India," to insert: ten seats shall be allocated to representatives to be elected by women members of the Legislative Assemblies, ten seats shall be allocated to representatives to be elected by members of the Legislative Assemblies who are of the Scheduled Castes, ten seats shall be allocated to representatives to be elected by members of the Legislative Assemblies representative of labour.

The noble Earl said: The substance of the Amendment that stands in my name still lives, though the form of it has been destroyed by the new machinery of direct election that has been invented for choosing the members of the Council of State. I should like, nevertheless, to say a few words on this Amendment. We on these Benches are profoundly dissatisfied with the provision that has been made by the Government for the representation of the majority of the people, the women, the labouring population, and the Depressed Classes, in the Second Chamber of the Federal Legislature. We are not satisfied that there are sufficient numbers representing women and representing the Scheduled Castes, and we are still more dissatisfied with the position of Labour. There is actually no single seat reserved for Labour in the Council of State.

I think I am not mistaken in saying that the honourable gentleman the Under-Secretary of State, in another place, said that in the instructions which are given to the Governor-General a recommendation would be made that the voice of Labour should be heard in the Council of State. We are therefore led to suppose that among the seats which he is entitled to allot there will be at least one or two seats given to those whom he considers able to speak for Labour, but we are not really satisfied with that as a guarantee. We should like in the first place, naturally, direct election. It is the method which has been adopted in the case of the other members of the Council of State, but if we are not to have direct election, if the Government cannot meet us on that point, we should like it laid down in the Bill that at least two seats should be allotted by the Governor to the representatives of Labour, and, besides that, he should make his choice in consultation with organised Labour in the Provinces of British India. In view of this I should like to reserve the right to raise the question again at a later stage in our deliberations, while at the same time recognising that my Amendment has been entirely invalidated in its present form by the Government Amendment. I will not therefore move it.

On Question, the remainder of the Amendment moved by the Marquess of Zetland agreed to.

LORD FARINGDON moved, in subparagraph (ii) of paragraph 16 of Part I, to leave out "(f) the interests of commerce and industry; (g) land holders." The noble Lord said: We have not been fortunate in regard to the Amendments that we have moved on the Bill on this side of the House. The Government have not given us very much in the way of concessions in spite of the fact that the Amendments which we have put down have been those which have seemed to us likely to be helpful to the Government, who presumably wish the Bill to work. It is, therefore, not with much hope that I move this additional Amendment. It is, in fact, rather in the spirit of protest. I do not know why the Government have insisted on putting in these additional representatives for commerce and industry and for landowners. I can only think that it is from some fear of Congress, for really, with a franchise such as that which is going to choose the representatives for the Legislative Assembly, I do not think that anybody need have much fear of hotheadedness or that the particular classes I have just mentioned will not be represented.

Unfortunately, I am afraid the representation of those classes will have a very disastrous result. Surely the first work of the new Indian Government will be to press forward certain reforms for the benefit of Indians, more particularly reforms of the land tenure and methods of coping with the present debt situation in India and Factory Acts and social legislation of that kind, and this legislation is pretty certain to be fairly strenuously resisted even under the present franchise. I hardly think there is very much hope of necessary reforms coming about with the full weight which has been given to just those classes which profit by the abuses and which are bound to resist their removal.

For the landowners, of whom I have spoken to your Lordships before, not I am afraid too kindly, the Government seem to have had a curious affection, and it is just those who are bound to resist any kind of agricultural reform, which I think the noble Marquess, Lord Linlithgow, has pointed out is so absolutely essential for India. Some landlords are bound to resist any alteration or enforcement of the present usury laws and any overcoming of the present debt position, being, as they are in a large measure, the usurers. The Factory Acts or the enforcement of Factory Acts, and the enlargement of them will at the same time inevitably be resisted by the commercial and the industrial representatives. I happened in your Lordships' House on another occasion to mention the fact that there were in India 10,000,000 persons working in factories who did not come under the Factory Acts and I gave your Lordships some rather hair-raising details. I was myself a little surprised at that figure and took the trouble to confirm it. I am assured that it is anything but an overestimate. These unfortunate people will continue, so far as I can. see, to be exploited by these Governments you are setting up in India, which cannot possibly pass legislation which will improve the condition of those persons.

A point which seems to me to be of some importance is the fiscal one. These new Governments are going to cost money, everybody says so; in fact that is one of the principal grounds of attack; and to pay for them new taxes will have to be raised. The only forms of taxation that I can see available are a proper enforcement of Income Tax which, as is known, is not properly enforced in India on those most capable of paying it; and the taxation of incomes from land. I hardly see any prospect whatever in these new Assemblies of effecting these forms of taxation. Fiscal reports suggest taxes on matches and some other little detail which will, quite certainly, not produce anything like the necessary money which is required. Money can be raised from those two sources I mentioned, but it cannot be raised from elsewhere, and I am convinced that the new representatives will not allow the Government to raise the necessary money from those sources. You are, therefore, reduced to adding further taxation upon those who are already paying excessively and, in point of fact, have nothing to pay. I fully expect to see an enormous increase in the tax on salt, than which nothing in the world would be more unpopular in India and nothing is more likely to cause trouble to the Government.

It has been suggested that the Government have been most generous in the matter of an increase in Labour representation and that therefore we on this side of the House should not protest against the representation of those other special interests. I admit frankly that I myself do not like any kind of special representation, but I do recognise, with this particularly limited franchise which you are imposing on India, and with no necessary machinery which will force the enlargement of the franchise, that Labour has a very strong claim to special representation, otherwise it is not going to be represented at all. No doubt the Government will say that they have in creased Labour representation—I think it is said tenfold—and that they have only very slightly increased the representatives of commerce and industry and of landowners; but it seems to me that that merely is a reflection on the previous Constitution, making it therefore even less creditable, rather than a proof that Labour representation is adequate or that special representation for this particular class is needed at all. I cannot protest too strongly against this most invidious weighting of the Legislature. It is weighted in any case. The franchise weights it, but special representation seems to weight it unnecessarily and is hound to make the working of the Constitution more difficult and its financial support impossible.

Amendment moved— Page 295, line 19, leave out from ("community") to the second ("and") in line 20.—(Lord Faringdon.)


So far as I understand this Amendment, the effect of it would be to omit the provision for the representation of commerce and industry and of the landlords in the Federal Chamber while retaining the representation of Labour. The noble Lord said he did not expect this Amendment to receive very favourable consideration from the Government, and the noble Lord is quite right. In view of the fact that the representation of special interests in the Federal Assembly is a recognised part of the scheme we could not now possibly agree to cut out particular categories of those special interests. The Franchise Committee which was presided over by the noble Marquess, Lord Lothian, considered and discussed this question very fully and I think they gave cogent reasons for retaining certainly the representatives of commerce and industry in the Federal Legislature, which will deal with an enormous number of matters of first importance to commerce and industry. They also recommended the retention in the circumstances of India of a small representation of the landowning class. That being so, I am afraid I could not accept the Amendment proposed by the noble Lord.

On Question, Amendment negatived.

THE MARQUESS OF ZETLAND moved, in paragraph 18 of Part I, to leave out subparagraph (b) and insert: (b) the members of the primary electorate so constituted shall be entitled to take part in a primary election held for the purpose of electing four candidates for each seat so reserved; and"

The noble Marquess said: This is a draft-Mg Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 296, line 14, leave out sub-paragraph (b) and insert the said new paragraph.—(The Marquess of Zetland.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


The next is also a drafting Amendment.

Amendment moved— Page 296, line 19, leave out ("chosen") and insert ("elected as a candidate").—(The Marquess of Zetland.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN moved to add to paragraph 19 of Part I the words "and one by a woman belonging to the Scheduled Classes." The noble Marquess said: This is a small Amendment. Last night I gave in substance the reasons for it in speaking on another Amendment which the noble Marquess in charge of the Bill could not see his way to regard with enthusiasm. I hope he will be more friendly to this Amendment. It has always been one of the grievances of Bengal, with which the noble Marquess is well familiar, that it has only one representative in the Federal Assembly whereas Madras and Bombay have two each. The purport of my Amendment is that we should solve that difficulty and give two women representatives to Bengal in the Federal Assembly by taking one of the seats reserved to the Scheduled Classes and substituting a woman for a man.

I venture to think there is another reason for accepting this Amendment apart from the desirability of giving adequate representation to the Bengal women in the Federal Assembly. It is that I do not think provision is made anywhere that women belonging to the Depressed Classes or the Scheduled Classes shall sit in any of the Legislatures. Social problems, problems specially affecting women and children, are if anything more acute amongst the Scheduled Classes than amongst others. If a method can be devised of ensuring that at least one woman member should have knowledge of the peculiar difficulties of these classes it would be entirely to the good. The method adopted in my Amendment has the advantage, as I think the noble Marquess will agree, that the definition of Scheduled Classes in Bengal has a certain element of unreality. Probably the Depressed Classes in Bengal are very considerably less than those in the Scheduled Classes. You are more likely to get a woman representative of that class in Bengal than in any other Province. Therefore if you bring the representation of women in Bengal up to the same level as in Madras and Bombay you may secure at any rate one woman from the Depressed Classes, the Scheduled Classes, to sit in one of the Legislatures.

Amendment moved— Page 296, line 33, at end insert ("and one by a woman belonging to the Scheduled Classes").—(The Marquess of Lothian.)


I ventured last night to congratulate the noble Marquess on his gallantry, but I really think in this case he is carrying his gallantry a little too far. He wishes to lay down by Statute that one of the nine women who are to be elected to the Federal Assembly is to be a woman of the Depressed Classes, and not only that, but she is to be be chosen from amongst the Depressed Classes in Bengal. While I quite agree with what the noble Marquess said as to the unreality of the arrangement in Bengal which has been made to arrive at a sufficiently large number of the Depressed Classes, yet I think the Depressed Classes question in Bengal is practically non-existent. By far the greater part of those persons who now are described as members of the Scheduled Classes are not really members of the Depressed Classes. I think therefore it is very unlikely that, by restricting this proposal to Bengal, the noble Marquess would achieve what I believe he wants to achieve—namely, that a woman representative of the real Depressed Classes should have an opportunity to make her voice heard in the Federal Assembly.

Apart from that I would suggest that at any rate at this stage it would be on the whole unwise to restrict the field from which the women representatives are to be chosen. I think myself that it would be very much better to allow those who have to select the women representatives in the Federal Legislative Assembly as unrestricted a field as you can give them, in order that you may secure those ladies who are really best qualified to speak for the women in a public Assembly. I feel very doubtful as to whether it would be possible to find a suitable person amongst the Depressed Classes. In any case I should wish not to restrict but to leave as wide a field as possible.


Will the noble Marquess agree to there being two women from Bengal?


No, I am afraid at this stage I could not agree to the alteration.

On Question, Amendment negatived.

THE MARQUESS OF ZETLAND moved, in the definition of a "European" in paragraph 24 (1), after "in the male line is," to insert "or was". The noble Marquess said: This is little more than a drafting Amendment in the definition of a "European" and of an "Anglo-Indian," but perhaps I should explain the necessity for it. The definition of "a European" as it stands in the Bill is as follows: A European means a person whose father or any of his other male progenitors in the male line is of European descent. My Amendment would insert "or was". Since we must regard it as an open question whether in the future world the existing racial distinctions will be maintained, I think it is desirable that we should put in the words "or was" with regard to the earlier progenitors of the persons concerned.

Amendment moved— Page 298, line 6, after ("is") insert ("or was").—(The Marquess of Zetland.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


These are similar drafting Amendments and are consequential.

Amendments moved— Page 298, line 10, after ("whose") insert ("other") Page 28, line 10, after ("is") insert ("or was").—(The Marquess of Zetland.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.

THE MARQUESS OF ZETLAND moved to delete the Table of Seats for the Council of State and insert:

The Council of State.
Representatives of British India.
(i) Allocation of seats.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
Province or Community. Total seats. General seats. Seats for Scheduled castes. Sikh seats. Mahomedan seats. Woman's seats.
Madras 20 14 1 4 1
Bombay 16 10 1 4 1
Bengal 20 8 1 10 1
United Provinces. 20 11 1 7 1
Punjab 16 3 4 8 1
Bihar 16 10 1 4 1
Central Provinces and Berar. 8 6 1 1
Assam 5 3 2
North-West Frontier Province. 5 1 4
Orissa 5 4 1
Sind 5 2 3
British Baluchistan. 1 1
Delhi 1 1
Ajmer-Mervara 1 1
Coorg 1 1
Anglo-Indians 1
Europeans 7
Indian Christians. 2
Totals 150 75 6 4 49 6
(ii) Distribution of seats for purposes of triennial elections.
Number of seats to be filled originally for three years only.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
Province. General seats. Seats for Scheduled castes. Sikh seats. Mahomedan seats. Women's seats.
Bombay 5 2 1
Bengal 4 1 5
United Provinces. 5 1 3 1
Punjab 2 2 4
Central Provinces and Berar.
North-West Frontier Province.
Orissa 4 1
Sind 2 3
British Baluchistan.
Totals 22 2 2 18 2
Number of seats to be filled originally or six Years only
1. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.
Province. General seats. Seats for Scheduled castes. Sikh seats. Mahomedan seats. Women's seats.
Madras 7 2 1
United Provinces. 6 4
Punjab 1 2 4 1
Bihar 5 1 2
Central Provinces and Berar. 6 1 1
Assam 3 2
North-West Frontier Province.
British Baluchistan.
Totals. 28 2 2 15 2
Number of seats to be filled originally for nine years.
1. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.
Province. General seats. Seats for Scheduled castes. Sikh seats. Mahomedan seats. Women's seats.
Madras 7 1 2
Bombay 5 1 2
Bengal 4 5 1
United Provinces.
Bihar 5 2 1
Central Provinces and Berar.
North-West Frontier Province. 1 4
British Baluchistan. 1
Delhi 1
Ajmer-Merwara 1
Coorg 1
Totals 25 2 16 2"

The noble Marquess said: This is consequential.

Amendment moved— Page 299, line 15, leave out from the beginning of the line to the end of the page and insert the said Table of Seats and distribution of seats for purposes of triennial elections.—(The Marquess of Zetland.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

THE MARQUESS OF ZETLAND moved, in paragraph (8) (a) of Part II, to leave out the words "Partabgarh, of Jhalawar, of." The noble Marquess said: This is an Amendment to make a small alteration in the allocation of seats to certain of the Indian States. The Amendment is designed mainly to rectify an anomaly which consists in according to Partabgarh alone amongst the fifteen-gun States a less representation than half a seat in the Council of State. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 303, line 5, leave out ("Partabgarb, of Jhalawar, of").—(The Marquess of Zetland.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


The next is consequential.

Amendment moved— Page 307, leave out line 38.—(The Marquess of Zetland.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD LLOYD moved, in Division X of the Table of Seats in Part 11, to leave out: 16. Jaisalmer Kishengahr}1") and insert ("16. Jaisalmer 1. Kishengahr 1.

The noble Lord said: I am not quite clear whether the Amendment I have tabled is expressed correctly, but its object is to give to the Jaisalmer State a full seat instead of merely half a seat. I should very much like to ask the Secretary of State if he could tell us why Jaisalmer, which is one of the oldest and most distinguished States in India, should receive only half a seat when so many others which are inferior to it in many ways are given a full seat. Jaisalmer State cannot possibly be ruled out on the score of insufficient population, for in paragraph 19 of the White Paper the allocation of seats ire the Council of State, unlike the Assembly, was to depend "on the rank and importance of the State as indicated by the dynastic salute and other factors," but in the case of the Lower Chamber "it should be based in the main on population."

Clearly by inference population was not to be the decisive factor in the Council of State. Even if Jaisalmer were to be judged by that kind of factor, it is, I understand, about the eighth largest State in India, and is the third largest of the Rajputana States after Udaipur and Bikaner, which have been allotted two seats. In age it is the first or the second ruling house in India and is twelve hundred years long in its dynasty. But apart from all that, if it is to be judged on the basis laid down in the White Paper—namely, its dignity, its rank and its precedence. The dynastic salute is particularly mentioned. We find that Jaisalmer is a fifteen-gun State and there are plenty of fifteen-gun States, no fewer than twelve of them, which have been given full representation. It is rather hard to see, therefore, why Jaisalmer should be ruled out. Many thirteen-gun States, definitely inferior in dynastic salute, have been given full representation.

I should like to ask the noble Marquess why, when dynastic salute has been definitely quoted in the White Paper as one of the most important decisive factors in the allocation of seats, Jaisalmer should have been so definitely ruled out. If you come to the question of precedence, Jaisalmer has, I am informed, always had precedence over a large number of States which have been given a full seat. No fewer than twenty-one other States, one of which is a seventeen-gun State, have been given a full seat, while Jaisalmer, whose Ruler is the head of one of the two great Rajput races, which ranks as virtually equal or second only to Udaipur. one of the oldest ruling houses in India, and which has had precedence over twenty-one States which have been given a full seat, has been given only half a seat.

I will not weary your Lordships with the various signs and indications of its rank and precedence; they are numerous. But if you take one of the well-known tests of rank and dignity in Indian States, whether they pay nazaranas or not, the evidence of tribute and accession, never has Jaisalmer paid nazaranas, though plenty of other States which have been given a full seat have paid it. There is a first-class State which, by virtue of the terms of its kharitas and any other evidence or proof of dignity, rank or precedence is more amply qualified than a great many other States that have been put above its head.

I cannot help believing that there must be some better reason than that which is apparent why Jaisalmer State has been given this very unfortunate and, it would seem, harsh treatment, which has given the greatest offence and unhappiness. I forgot to mention the question of revenue.

The revenue itself compares favourably with that of many States that have been treated better. Whether it be on dynastic salute, precedence, kharitas, nazaranas, or anything except population—which is not to be a test—Jaisalmer qualifies more than fully for better treatment than it has received. I should be grateful, therefore, if the noble Marquess could give us something of the circumstances.

Amendment moved— Page 307, lines 39 and 40, columns 1 and 2 leave out (" 16. Jaisalmer 1 Kishengahr} 1") and insert ("16. Jaisalmer 1. Kishengahr 1.")—(Lord Lloyd)


I suppose no more difficult question has had to be dealt with by the Government of India than the allocation of representation amongst the different States of India. It is an enormously complicated matter; since a large number of considerations necessarily come into the question. About this particular case I have been in consultation with the Government of India, and I regret to say that neither the Government of India nor I have been able to see our way to make an alteration in the arrangement with regard to these States made in the Bill.

The noble Lord who has moved this Amendment dwelt upon the prestige and the importance of the States from various points of view, and I do not dissent from anything he has said under that head, but although it is no doubt the case that where the Council of State is concerned the rank and the importance of the State, as indicated by the dynastic salute, is an important one, it is not the only consideration. Among other factors there is the consideration to which the noble Lord referred, although he did not attach much importance to it, and that is the consideration of population. The noble Lord shakes his head, but I assure him it is so. Jaisalmer, with all its social and dynastic prestige, has a small population consisting of only some 76,000 people. The noble Lord referred to other States of less dynastic importance, which had been treated as well as or better than Jaisalmer. It is quite true that there are a certain number of 13-gun States which have been treated as well or better—




—so far as representation on the Council of State is concerned. But the deciding factor in their case has been population, and if you take States like Cooch Behar, Bhavnagar, or Benares, you find that although they have two guns less than these two States, their population is enormously greater. The population of Bhavnagar is over half a million, as compared with the 76,000 of Jaisalmer, and the 85,000 of Kishengahr, and in Gooch Behar the population is little short of 600,000. And so I could go on, and after all, when it is a case of returning a person to a legislative body, you must, whether it be an Upper or a Lower House, take into consideration the question of population.

Let me make this quite clear, that the fact that these two States have not got as much representation in the Council of State as the noble Lord would wish to give them does not in any way detract from their prestige and from their precedence. The precedence attaching to their dynastic importance remains attaching to; hem just the same. That is not affected in any way by the amount of representation which they are given in the Council of State, and I would ask the noble Lord to bear that in mind. Moreover, there is, as I see it, a practical difficulty in any case in the way of accepting the noble Lord's Amendment. If the noble Lord's Amendment were accepted it would involve the creation of an additional seat for the States in the Council of State, and as there is no source from which one could be subtracted, to accord the extra representation desired, the only alternative would be to create a new seat, and that would upset the balance between the representation of the States and the representation of British India. On that ground also it is impossible to accept the Amendment.


I really feel that I must press the noble Marquess a little bit on this matter. Words have no meaning at all if his estimate of the situation is to be accepted. May I read the actual words of paragraph 19 of the White Paper, for I am sure that no fair-minded person reading those words would doubt that they virtually dismiss population as one of the tests. The paragraph says: His Majesty's Government are accordingly unable at the moment to put forward specific proposals. But their view is that the detailed allocation of seats which will eventually be provided for in the Constitution Act should be based, in the case of the Council of State, on the rank and importance of the State as indicated by the dynastic salute and other factors, and that in the case of the Lower Chamber it should be based in the main on population. Words have no meaning if that does not virtually, if not entirely exclude population as a factor. The main factors were to be the rank and importance of the State as indicated by the dynastic salute, and so on.

Here you have a State which, as a matter of fact, has not a large population but the noble Marquess would appear to be muddled about the figures. He might, for instance, have mentioned Bundi and other States. I do not think you would find so very much discrepancy, and my information is that there are States which have been included which on a population basis are only a few thousand different. Admittedly in the case of this particular State population is weak, although even there I believe that this State has suffered by grave epidemic, which gave it an abnormally low population for the moment. Is a State of this quite unusual precedence, dignity and dynastic salute, with a history which has almost no comparison in India, to be thus treated? It is no good the noble Marquess saying that this does not affect the precedence of the State. It does not affect the actual precedence when the Ruler takes his place in India amongst his brother Princes, but it is going to be a severe blow to a Ruler of that kind. It is a matter of great regret to us that every kind of disturbance and annoyance is going to be brought by this Bill upon the most loyal subjects of His Majesty in India, and I do beg the noble Marquess to see that States are not treated like this. It is not right that a State of such importance should be treated in this cavalier manner, and I hope that, even now the noble Marquess will promise me that he will further consult the Government of India on this matter, which is really of very great importance. It; is the only case I press, although I have had many other cases brought to my notice. I agree that you cannot get content everywhere in these matters, but, this is a particularly bad case, and I hope the noble Marquess will promise further to consider it. If not I shall be bound to bring the matter up again on the Report stage.


I think I told the noble Lord that I had been very recently in consultation with the Government of India about this very case. I have been in consultation with them. I told him that neither the Government of India nor I had been able to find any means of making an alteration in this case. The noble Lord talked about my being muddled about the figures. I am sure I am not muddled about the figures; he is the person who is muddled about the figures. He does not seem to realise that his Amendment would involve the creation of an additional


I am sorry if I used a discourteous phrase. I know it would mean a dislocation of the Table, but that seems to be of less importance than doing a grave injustice to a State.


The noble Marquess has based his claim for rejection of this Amendment on the ground that it would be impossible to provide an additional scat. Can we take it therefore from his answer that the noble Marquess did admit that a mistake has been made and an injustice inflicted?


No, the noble Earl cannot take it in that sense at all.

On Question, Amendment negatived.

THE MARQUESS OF ZETLAND moved, in Division XI of the Table of Seats in Part II, to leave out "Barwani" and "Ali Rajpuri" and insert:

"12. Barwani 1. 10. Barwani 1. 141,110
Ali Rajpur Ali Rajpur 101,963
Shahpura Shahpura 54,233"

The noble Marquess said: These three lines must be taken together. Their object is to raise the representation accorded in the Council of State to the States of Partahgarh and Jhalawar from two-fifths to half of a single seat; in other words to enable the two Rulers to appoint jointly to a continuous single seat, or in yearly rotation, instead of appointing for two years in rotation in every five years.

Amendment moved— Page 308, leave out lines 29 and 30, and insert the said words.—(The Marquess of Zetland )

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


May I take this opportunity to call attention to a somewhat unsatisfactory piece of drafting on page 298. In line 7, in the definition of "European" you will find the words "who is not a native of India as defined in Section six of the Government of India Act, 1870"; and in line 11, you will find "who is a native of India as defined in the said Section six." This House has very frequently beard protests against legislation by reference. I suggest that this is a particularly bad example of legislation by reference, since I am informed that the Statute of 1870 has, in fact, been repealed. We are providing India in this Bill with a Constitution, and we ought to be able to put this Bill into the hands of Indians and say: "From this you will see how your country is governed." It is a pity, I think, that we should have to add a rider to that to the effect that "You will not really understand it unless you have a set of repealed Statutes of Queen Victoria." It would be just as easy and more convenient if the actual words of the definition, which are excellent words and thoroughly satisfactory words, were inserted in this place instead of this reference to the Act of 1870, and it would have this advantage that you could then insert a reference to Burma as well as India.


I will certainly look into that point before the Report stage, but I am informed that it would mean putting quite a number of additional lines into the Bill, and, of course, in India this definition of the Act of 1870 is a very well known thing. But certainly I will look into it and see whether it would be possible to avoid the legislation by reference.


I am much obliged. The number of words is really quite small.

First Schedule, as amended, agreed to.

LORD RANKEILLOUR had given Notice of an Amendment to insert the following preamble: Whereas in the preamble to the Government of India Act, 1919, it was recited that it was the declared policy of Parliament to provide for the increasing association of Indians in every branch of Indian Administration and for the gradual development of self-governing institutions with a view to the progressive realisation of responsible government in British India as an integral part of the Empire And whereas in that preamble it, was further recited that progress in giving effect to this policy could only be achieved by successive stages: And whereas the provisions of the Government of India Act, 1919, represented a substantial step towards the giving of effect to such declared policy of Parliament: And whereas it is expedient that further substantial steps in this direction should now be taken.


There is no preamble to the Bill At the beginning of our proceedings the noble Lord, Lord Snell., put down an Amendment to put in a preamble. He has now withdrawn that, and since then the noble Lord, Lord Rankeillour, has put down an Amendment to insert a preamble. This is a new suggestion which has come since the preamble was considered in the first instance.


On a point of order, I do not think I quite understood what the Lord Chairman said. I understood that my noble friend Lord Snell withdrew his Amendment because it was understood not to be in order, and I did not quite understand why the noble Lord, Lord Rankeillour's, Amendment should be in order now.


It is for your Lordships to decide whether it is in order. I thought it was in order.


I can only say that if I had understood it was in order, I should quite certainly have proposed my Amendment. I understood it was a decision that there should be no preamble and that could get what I wanted by moving it at a later stage.


As far as the noble Lord, Lord Snell, is concerned, he will remember that having originally put it down as an Amendment to the preamble, in which event the discussion would have come on, if at all, at the conclusion of the whole proceedings, he ingeniously put it down as an Amendment to Clause 1, which we discussed, so that it came first in our proceedings and was, in fact, debated and negatived. On the other point, whether or not an Amendment to insert a preamble is in order, as your Lordships know, we in this House, are more elastic in our procedure than another place. I have looked into the precedents as far as I can. I find it laid down by Erskine May that it is not in order to insert a preamble in this Bill. It has been ruled in another place that it is out of order to insert a preamble, and that ruling followed on earlier rulings, one or two of which I have here if any of your Lordships are interested in them. Notwithstanding that, I suppose we can create a precedent, but we should be departing from, so far as I know, an unbroken history of centuries if we did insert a preamble; and although we can do it—because we can do what we like in this House; your Lordships are masters in your own House—I venture to think that your Lordships would expect rather an exceptional case to be made out to justify such a departure from a long established precedent.


Might I ask the Lord Chancellor whether in express terms Erskine May lays it down that a preamble cannot be inserted in this House?


He does not refer to one House as apart from the other. The passage is on page 411 in the note, which says: Where a Bill has not a preamble it has been held to be out of order to move one.'' The actual precedent is a House of Commons precedent. But he is not distinguishing in his note between the House of Lords and the House of Commons. So far as I know, there is no distinction in principle, and so far as I know also—I speak, of course, subject to correction—it has never been done in this House. When I say that, I mean I have not been able to find a case where it has been done, but I admit at once I am not asking your Lordships to accept from me that your Lordships cannot do it. I think you can. I think we can stretch our rules, if it is convenient, and that is one of the great advantages of debates here, that we are able to adapt our procedure to meet the circumstances as they arise. I was only suggesting, as the point had been raised and I otherwise was not going to speak quite so soon, that probably your Lordships would think that, whereas that is not a sufficient ground for refusing to discuss the Amendment, it might be a relevant factor in considering whether you would create a new precedent and that, in fact, the precedent would be entirely new, and would apparently conflict with the practice which has actually been established in another place.


I am sure the House is very much indebted to the Lord Chancellor for having so very clearly put before your Lordships what the practice in this House has hitherto been, and also what the precedent is as quoted from Erskine May. In these circumstances, knowing that the noble Lord, Lord, Rankeillour, is a very punctilious stickler for all forms of procedure, whether in this House or the other, I feel sure he will not proceed with his Amendment.


I think nothing could be better, if I may venture to say so, than the way the Lord Chancellor has addressed himself to this point. I hope he will not consider my observation in any way patronising, but I think that it is precisely in the right spirit that he has done so. He is quite right in saying that, in the spirit of our proceedings, we are elastic, and it is also true to say that if a preamble is to be discussed at all it should be discussed at the end of the Bill and not at the beginning. We may take both those points as settled. The question is whether or not we should establish a new precedent. Here I rather regret the last observation of the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition, because I am going to say, quite frankly, it would not be right to establish a new precedent except with general consent. If the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition persists in resisting, as far as I am concerned I shall not be in favour of pursuing the matter further because a new precedent should have general consent.

May I say, in reply to one observation by the Lord Chancellor, that this is rather a special case, not because it is the Government of India Bill on which I happen to take a strong view—I am trying to be quite judicial in what I am saying now—but it is a special case because of the very curious proposal of, as it were, keeping in being a preamble when the rest of the Bill is to be repealed. That is, I am sure, unique. Whatever else is unique in the proceedings of Parliament, it is unique to keep a preamble by itself when the rest of the Bill has gone. It is a dislocated kind of situation, and it does seem to me it would be more orderly, more regular, to put back the preamble, in so far as it may be put back in its original form, attached to this new Bill, rather than keep this disembodied preamble floating about in space without any attachment.

I believe that the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition is quite as anxious as I am to have our proceedings as reasonable and practical as possible. It seems to me it would be more reasonable to revive the preamble in a form actually attached to this Bill rather than continue a perfectly disembodied preamble. Therefore I do think it is rather a special case; but if the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition persists in his wish that the new precedent should not be made, as far as I am concerned I should deprecate going on with the matter.


I should be very sorry if anything I say should be accepted by your Lordships unless you were fully convinced it was the right course to take. I was only endorsing what the Lord Chancellor had said with regard to the situation as we find it, and I thought, in the circumstances, it would be better for us to adopt this course and for the noble Lord, Lord Rankeillour, not to proceed with his Amendment; but I do not want that to be any pronouncement. I have no sort of authority to make a pronouncement on the subject.


May I say that when I observed on the Order Paper the suggested preamble put forward by Lord Snell, I made some inquiry into the matter, and I understood, perhaps mistakenly, that the objection to his preamble was that it was put down at the beginning of the Bill and not at the end. So I thought there was no doubt that a preamble could be moved at the end. May I say, as to what Lord Ponsonby has mentioned, that it is a very different thing when you have to enforce meticulously rules in another place and come here and hope that you may abound in the licence that your Lordships allow. Therefore, I do not think his reference to my rigidity of ruling elsewhere was relevant to this particular instance. However, as there is some doubt about this matter, and as I did not know any objection was going to be taken, I should like to consult my noble friends and go into the precedents a little further. I will not at the present stage attempt to move my Amendment.

House resumed.

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