HC Deb 18 February 1926 vol 191 cc2135-6W

asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether he is aware that under the Bengal Ordinance a large number of men are lying in prison, including members of the Bengal Legislative Council, who have never appeared before any public Court and who do not know what the charges against them are; whether he can take steps to see that these prisoners secure a just trial; and whether he can give an undertaking that the Bengal Ordinance shall be removed from the Statute Book at an early date?


I am aware that a number of persons are detained without trial under the Bengal Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1925, which superseded the Ordinance. Each person is informed of the charge against him, and his answer to it, if he gives one, is considered by the two judges who are required by the law to scrutinise each case. Every order for detention holds good for one year only and has to be reviewed at the end of it. The necessity for the special procedure was fully explained to, and accepted by, His Majesty's late Government, and was set out in detail in the speeches delivered in another place on the 31st March, 1925, by Lord Olivier, who was Secretary of State for India when the Ordinance was made, and by my Noble Friend the present Secretary of State, and mere briefly in my speech on the Motion for the Adjournment on the 19th December, 1924.