HL Deb 26 November 1936 vol 103 cc420-1

My Lords, I do not think I need trouble you with very much explanation of this Order. The purpose of the Order is to bring into operation that part of the Act of 1935 which provides for the setting up of a Federal Court, and the date on which we propose that the Federal Court should be established is October 1, 1937. It may be that your Lordships will ask why it is necessary to establish a Federal Court before the Federation itself comes into existence. The reason that under the Act the Federal Court charged with the interpretation of the Constitution and with deciding questions between the Provinces, which will come into existence on April 1 next, and the Central Government as it will exist during the transitional period between the coming into operation of Provincial Autonomy and the eventual establishment of the Federation itself. Therefore it is necessary, within a reasonable time of the coming into operation of Provincial Autonomy, that there should be a Federal Court in existence to deal with questions of that kind.

There are only one or two points in connection with the actual clauses of the Order to which I need refer. If your Lordships will look at Clause 3 you will see that the provisions of Chapter I of Part IX of the Act, other than the provisions of Sections 206 and 215, shall come into force on October 1, 1937. The first of those two provisions which are excepted deals with the power which the Federal Legislative will have, if it thinks fit, to establish a Supreme Court—conferring, that is to say, upon the Federal Court the powers of a Supreme Court. Since the Federal Legislature will not come into existence until the Federation is inaugurated that particular proposal cannot be brought into operation now. Section 215 deals with a similar matter and confers on the Federal Legislature certain powers of bestowing upon the Federal Court supplementary jurisdiction. There again, since that cannot be done until the Federal Legislature comes into existence, that section cannot be brought into operation now. We do not propose, of course, at the beginning to establish a Federal Court at full strength. What we propose to do is to establish a Court on October 1 next consisting of a Chief Justice and two Judges. Provision is made in this Order for the pay of the judges and for the pay and pension of the Chief Justice. The Chief Justice will receive pay of 7,000 rupees a month and the other Judges 5,500 rupees a month. That compares with pay of 6,000 rupees a month in the case of the Chief Justice of the High Court at Calcutta and 4,000 rupees a month in the case of the High Court Judges in the various High Courts throughout India. I think that is all I need say on this Order, and I beg to move that it be approved.

Moved, That the Draft Order, as presented to Parliament and reported from the India and. Burma Orders Committee on Thursday last, be considered and approved.—(The Marquess of Zeeland.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.