HL Deb 18 July 1935 vol 98 cc636-8
Session and Chapter of Act. Title. Extent of Appeal.
9 & 10 Geo. 5.c. 101 The Government of India Act, 1919. The whole Act except the Preamble and sub-section (1) of Section forty-seven.

My Lords, this is consequential.

Amendment moved— Page 428, line 4, at end insert:

("21 Geo. 3. c. 70 The East India Company Act, 1780 Section eighteen
37 Geo. 3. c. 142 The East India Act, 1797. Section twelve.")
(Lord Meston.)

LORD RANKEILLOUR had given Notice of Amendments to leave out "the preamble and" in the reference to the Government of India Act, 1919, and to add to that reference: the following words of the preamble: Whereas it is 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 progress in giving effect to this policy can only be achieved by successive stages, and. it is expedient that substantial steps in this direction should now be taken; and Whereas the time and manner of such advance can be determined only by Parliament, upon whom responsibility lies for the welfare and advancement of the Indian peoples; and Whereas the action of Parliament in such matters must be guided by the cooperation received from those upon whom new opportunities of service will be conferred, and by the extent to which it is found that confidence can be reposed in their sense of responsibility:'

The noble Lord said: My Lords, the object of this Amendment is to keep the main part, the substantial part, of the preamble of the 1919 Act not only alive but visible. The present position is rather extraordinary. The whole of the 1919 Act, except the preamble and one small provision, is repealed, but the preamble is left. I was not able to move a preamble to this Bill, but, as the preamble to the 1919 Act is kept alive, I submit that it ought to be on record, otherwise anybody searching through this Bill would only come with great difficulty on the 1919 Act and it would not be at all apparent for what purpose it was preserved. I submit, however, that the main part of it ought to be preserved, as an indicator of a continuous line of policy on the part of this country. I think that everybody agrees that that preamble does indicate a line of policy and a continuous one. The differences between us are whether that policy has been carried out with too great haste or too little, but it is the one substantial declaration and pledge of Parliament towards the peoples of India, and it is desirable that it should be maintained in full efficacy. There are certain later words of the preamble which are not now relevant to this present Bill, but these are relevant, and I ask your Lordships to retain them in this form, so that everyone studying this Bill may find these words on record in it.

Amendment moved— Page 428, line 19, leave out ("the preamble and") and in line 21, at end, insert the said words.—(Lord Rankeillour.)


My Lords, I am not quite clear even now exactly what the intention of my noble friend is. It depends a little upon the punctuation of the two Amendments. The view of the Government is that we ought to preserve the whole of the preamble and the short title. There is obviously no case for preserving only part of the preamble to the Act of 1919. The Government's intention is, for reasons which have been made clear in both Houses, that, although the Act is to be repealed, the preamble and short title should remain on the Statute Book, and I am afraid I cannot accept the Amendment.


If it were earlier in the day I should have some excellent arguments why this part only should be preserved, but I rather despair of convincing the House at this late hour, and so I will ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

House adjourned at eight minutes past eleven o'clock.