§ Captain PEEL
asked the Secretary for the Colonies what were the circumstances which prevented His Majesty assenting to the Bill, passed by the Legislature of Natal in 1905, for amending and consolidating 1500W the laws relating to municipal corporations; whether any protest was made by the Natal Government against the refusal to give His Majesty's Assent to the Bill; whether the Governor acted upon his own responsibility, upon the advice of Ministers, or as the result of instructions from the Imperial Government, and if upon instructions, were such instructions general or special instructions in respect of this particular measure; and whether the law has since been amended; and, if so, in what way were the objections met which prevented the Act receiving His Majesty's Assent?
The circumstances which prevented His Majesty from assenting to the Bill passed by the Legislature of Natal in 1905 for amending and consolidating the laws relating to municipal corporations were that the Bill contained provisions imposing disqualifications on racial grounds which appeared to the Secretary of State to press unfairly upon natives of India who were domiciled in Natal. His Majesty's Government explained their views to the Natal Government, and it was hoped in 1908 that a settlement had been arrived at, but at the late stage of the Parliamentary Session in Natal in that year it was not possible for the Government to undertake the passing of the necessary legislation, and the matter dropped. The Bill was reserved by the Governor on the advice of the Minister of Justice and in accordance with the Royal instructions. These instructions were general in character. The provisions to which exception was taken have not been re-enacted.