Clause 33. — (Annual Financial State- ment).

Orders of the Day — Government of India Bill. – in the House of Commons on 12th March 1935.

Alert me about debates like this

9.33 p.m.

Photo of Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd , Mid Bedfordshire

I beg to move, in page 20, line 37, to leave out from "expenditure," to the end of the Subsection.

This Clause deals with the annual financial statement that the Governor-General is obliged to lay before both Chambers of the Federal Legislature. After outlining one of the forms that the estimates of expenditure ought to take, the Clause goes on that estimates of expenditure shall indicate the sums, if any, which are included solely because the Governor-General has directed their inclusion as being necessary for the due discharge of any of his special responsibilites. At a later stage in the Committee proceedings it is proposed to move an Amendment to include sums to be spent in discharge of special responsibilities, as sums to be charged on the revenues of the Federation. These sums, therefore, will appear in Clause 33 under Subsection (2, a) in some general form. We contend that it would be very undesirable to allocate a particular sum of money to some particular responsibility. In particular, we hold it very inexpedient to publish the fact that the Governor-General contemplates any heavy expenditure on the prevention of a grave menace to the peace and tranquillity of India, whether external or internal. The publication that the Governor-General expected it might well facilitate the arrival of what he desired to prevent. Under the next Clause, Clause 34, these sums are not only to be discussed in the Chamber, but voted upon. Although in Clause 35 the Governor-General can get the money ultimately, if he wants it, for his special responsibilities, there will have been great delay possibly and certainly great publicity before he exercises the powers that he will enjoy under Clause 35. In these circumstances, we hold very stongly to the view that it would be far better to omit these words, and I beg to move the Amendment in the hope that the Secretary of State will give it favourable consideration.

9.36 p.m.

Photo of Mr Samuel Hoare Mr Samuel Hoare , Chelsea

The procedure proposed in the Bill is inevitable, and I think my hon. Friend will see that it is inevitable, for this reason, that expenditure of this kind will be expenditure at the discretion of the Governor-General. The Ministers will not be responsible for it. That being so, it is essential that a distinction should be drawn between expenditure for which the Governor-General is responsible and expenditure for which the Ministers are responsible. Therefore, it must be clearly set out when the Governor-General incurs expenditure of this kind, otherwise it might be thought that the Indian Ministers were responsible for it. The Indians with whom we discussed this question were very clear on this point that where the Governor-General is responsible it should be clearly his responsibility and the Ministers should not have to undertake any direct or indirect responsibility for something for which they were not responsible. That being so, I think it is essential to make this distinction and to make it in the way proposed in the Bill. I am not nervous, as my hon. Friend is nervous, about publicity in this matter. I hope that the instances in which the Governor-General has to incur expenditure of this kind will be rare, but where they do take place I see no reason why we should avoid publicity. In fact, I think that from the Indian point of view as well as from our own point of view it is important to have a distinction where the Governor-General is responsible and where the Ministers are responsible. That being so, I hope my hon. Friend will see that there is reason for this proposition being in the Bill.

9.38 p.m.

Photo of Viscount  Wolmer Viscount Wolmer , Aldershot

I can quite follow my right hon. Friend's reasons, although he does not put them very convincingly. I agree that the plan that he is following is a perfectly consistent one, but it seems to me to suffer from grave inconveniences. The case which we contemplate will only arise where there is an acute difference of opinion between the Governor-General and his Ministers. It will be a case of acute friction. One might almost say that it will be a case of crisis. The real point is whether this expenditure on which the Governor-General insists shall be debated publicly. I submit that there might well be circumstances where such a debate would be highly undesirable. The debate might well be a farce, seeing that the Governor-General can get his money and that he is going to get his money, in spite of the opposition of his Ministers and in spite of the decision of the Assembly. Therefore, there is no need to have a debate from the point of view of getting the money.

The Secretary of State says that he is not afraid of the subject being ventilated. Very likely in most cases the Governor-General would take the same view. In certain cases the Governor-General might wish to have the matter ventilated. He might think that a debate would do good. Equally in other cases a debate might be disastrous. It might lead to a communal riot or to grave communal trouble, which might mean the loss of scores of lives. Therefore, it seems to me to be a mistake to have a procedure which forces these items to be separately specified in the Estimates and practically makes a debate compulsory, in circumstances of the greatest publicity. I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that this is a matter in which the Governor-General might be given a little latitude. If he thinks it necessary that the exact figure and the exact reason should be stated, then he ought to be in a position to do it, but to force him to put it down in black and white and practically to force a debate in the Assembly, which will have no power to refuse the money, appears to me in some cases to be asking for trouble. I hope the Secretary of State will reconsider his attitude on the Amendment, if not now between now and the Report stage. He has not accepted many of our Amendments, and I think this is one to which ho might give more consideration.

9.43 p.m.

Photo of Mr Arthur Steel-Maitland Mr Arthur Steel-Maitland , Tamworth

May I say, briefiy, why I think it might be wise if the Amendment were not pressed. It is perfectly true, as my Noble Friend has said, that the occasions when this matter might come up might be occasions of acute friction. I can well imagine that in circumstances like that no possible good could be served by the matter being left obscure. If there is friction then that is just the type of case which if the matter was left obscure would be subject to exaggeration on the part of those who wished to make capital out of it. No good could be served by giving opportunity for that sort of thing. Moreover, one would imagine that the difference between the Governor-General and the Ministers in these hypothetical cases must be known and later on almost inevitably the Ministers themselves would bring out the amount or state the amount when their estimates were being considered. It is difficult always to imagine accurately the circumstances of hypothetical cases, but this is one of those in which I cannot believe that clarity is undesirable or can be undesirable in any case. On the other hand, to leave the matter obscure might lead to misunderstanding, which might be very undesirable.

9.44 p.m.

Photo of Mr Aneurin Bevan Mr Aneurin Bevan , Ebbw Vale

I hope that the Secretary of State will not yield to the extraordinary arguments which the Noble Lord has put forward. His point of view is at complete variance with our ideas of finance. If his proposals were allowed to become part of our Constitution our financial relationship with certain items of expenditure would be so obscure that we could have no sort of public scrutiny over them. The circumstances envisaged by the Amendment are circumstances in which the Governor-General comes into conflict with the Indian Ministers. They may disapprove most violently and bitterly of the steps that ho proposes to take and yet he persists in taking those steps, and they involve certain expenditure upon the Indian people. Are they not entitled to learn in an open manner what they have to pay for the policy pursued by the Governor-General, or is the amount involved to be obscured by being included in the general Budget.

I have never listened to a more reactionary proposal. If the Governor-General believes that it is desirable to pursue a certain policy he should be prepared to tell the Indian people the price they have to pay. The Amendment cuts at the root of representative government; you do not know upon what items it is proposed to spend public money. In this country a considerable advance was made in 1929 in local government budgets. It had been the practice for many years to charge a general rate of poundage including all the various items of local expenditure, but it was considered desirable, in the interests of public education and sounder finance, to specify the services for which the rate was demanded, so that the people should know how much was being spent on education and so on. It is one of the best ways of educating a democracy to learn why it is that they are called upon to pay certain moneys. The same thing should exist in respect of Indian expenditure. It should be itemised as much as possible, and the Indian people should know of those cases where the exercise of the Governor-General's powers impose a charge. In those circumstances more than any other the cost of the Governor-General's veto should be known to the Indian people.

9.48 p.m.

Photo of Mr Samuel Hoare Mr Samuel Hoare , Chelsea

I do not resist the Amendment merely because I want to resist any Amendment to the Bill, but because I think it will blur responsibility as between the Governor-General and ministers. That would be a great mistake. I oppose it in the second place, because I do not think it would achieve the end sought by hon. Members. If it were carried it would not stop discussion. Ministers would be free to bring the subject up in debate, and if there is to be a debate it is much better that it should be brought up in the obvious way by the Governor-General himself rather than be dragged up in perhaps an acrimonious atmosphere. For these two reasons, I suggest that it would be a mistake to press the Amendment.

Amendment negatived.

9.49 p.m.

Photo of Sir Reginald Craddock Sir Reginald Craddock , Combined English Universities

I beg to move, in page 21, line 18, to leave out from "Court" to the end of the paragraph, and to insert "and of every High Court."

The Amendment is proposed in order to clear up certain doubts as regards the pensions and salaries of judges in the High Court. It is put down in order that the Secretary of State may make it plain that the salaries of the judges are sufficiently secured and to show reasons why the Amendment is not necessary. The position of High Court judges is somewhat difficult. Their pensions are included in the sums chargeable to the federal account but not their salaries. Although their salaries are voted by the Provincial Governments, they are at the same time in a different position from other servants of the Crown. As we know judges are apt to be a little bit touchy about their salaries in this country, and I think that the same would apply to Indian judges. The object of the Amendment is not that the Federal fund should pay their salaries direct but that it should be recognised as a special responsibility of the Federal fund to pay judges salaries if Provincial funds for any reason are not immediately available for the purpose. It may be true that for administrative convenience the salaries of the judges should be paid by the Provincial Governments which receive the court fees due in respect of the High Court. That is so, but we have to have regard to the possibility of difficulty arising in provincial budgets, and in that case there should be some means by which the Government should have the right to secure these salaries by borrowing the money in the name of the Provinces or by ordering a special tax to be imposed. There would be great difficulty in obtaining the necessary credit for a loan if a Provincial Government could not pay its own justices.

The Bill admits the case of the judges as regards their pensions. The Federal revenue is to be liable for their pensions if there is any delay or default in receiving them from Provincial funds. One must remember that High Court judges are one of the few appointments made by the Crown, and the judges of the Provincial High Courts are just as much appointments by the Crown as judges of the High Court. There are, of course, a number of Governments concerned in this matter, and some of them may have made inadequate funds and all of them may not be solvent to the same degree. It would be very desirable that the position of High Court judges appointed direct by the Crown should be put in a special department in respect of the payment of their salaries as well as the payment of their pensions. It must also be recognised that it is the intention of the Government under the Bill that a certain number of the judges shall be recruited from the ranks of English and Scottish lawyers.

Photo of Mr Robert Bourne Mr Robert Bourne , Oxford

I do not think we can possibly go into the question of the recruitment of judges on this Amendment. Under Clause 78 it is provided that their salaries shall be charged on provincial revenues, and all that we can argue on this Amendment is whether it is desirable or not that they should also be charged on Federal revenues.

Photo of Sir Reginald Craddock Sir Reginald Craddock , Combined English Universities

I was not intending to be out of order, but I was trying to make the point that judges are not so easy to procure from this country among the ranks of the Bar, and that, therefore, in respect of those judges at all events, they must have a real feeling of security about their pay before they will undertake to give up their practice at the Bar and go out to spend 10 or 12 years in India, which they generally have to do. For all these reasons combined it seems desirable to make a special exception about the salaries of judges of the High Court, just as special provision has been made for their pensions.

9.56 p.m.

Photo of Mr Thomas Inskip Mr Thomas Inskip , Fareham

The effect of the Amendment would be, as the hon. Member has explained, to bring not only the pensions of the High Court judges, but also their salaries and allow ances, on to the Federal budget. Perhaps I may say how it comes about that the Bill as drawn provides that the pensions shall be upon the Federal budget. That is in conformity with the general plan of the Bill, that the pensions of all persons who are appointed by the Secretary of State or by the Crown shall come first of all from the Federal revenues, although the amount is to be recoverable ultimately from the appropriate province. But now my hon. Friend proposes, as I understand it for the purpose of greater security, that not only the pensions but the salaries and allowances of the High Court judges should be placed on the Federal budget. You, Sir, have reminded him that the proposal contained in Clause 78, Subsection (3, d), puts the expenditure in respect of the salaries and allowances of judges of the High Court upon the revenues of each province. It will be remembered, of course, that the Governor-General is charged with the duty of seeing that the money is available for the purpose of expenditure charged on the revenues of each province, one part of which expenditure is in respect of the salaries and allowances of the judges. My hon. Friend can hardly attach greater importance to the salaries and allowances of the judges than, shall I say, the salary and allowances of the Governor and other expenditure relating to his office, which are the first item charged upon the provincial revenues, and the salaries of the judges are another item coming a little lower down in the list. If the money was not available for the payment of these salaries and allowances, it would, of course, mean that there had been to that extent a breakdown of the provincial government.

My hon. Friend has not advanced any other reason than that connected with the financial security of the position for proposing his change, otherwise there might have been perhaps a good deal to say in answer to the suggestion. He does not, I understand, advance any reason for what may be called the federalisation of the provincial high courts, and as he has put it solely upon the financial ground, I suggest that the provisions which are contained in Clause 78 are sufficient to allay any fears that he may feel as to whether or not the judges' salaries will be available when they come to be paid.

10.0 p.m.

Photo of Sir Reginald Craddock Sir Reginald Craddock , Combined English Universities

There is one other point. The Governor-General has special responsibilities for the financial stability and solvency of the funds of the Federal Government, but the Governor of a province has no similar responsibilities for the financial stability and solvency of the funds of his province, and that is a point in which I submit the security and credit of the Federal Government must be stronger than that of the various provincial Governments.

10.1 p.m.

Photo of Mr Samuel Hoare Mr Samuel Hoare , Chelsea

My hon. Friend will realise that that is a different and a very much wider point. No doubt we shall come to discuss, when we come to discuss the special responsibilities of the Provincial Governors, the question whether they should or should not have special responsibilities for the financial stability of the Provinces. We cannot very well discuss it now. Let me, however, state that I cannot see that there really is any risk in this matter. Even though the Provincial Governor has no special responsibility for the financial stability of his Province, he will have upon him the duty of finding the money for this charge and, if the money is not voted, to make an imposition of his own, and I cannot conceive, short of a complete breakdown of the Provincial Government, in which case the Governor of the Province will have to take over the whole of the machinery of government, that he will find any difficulty in insisting upon there being this comparatively small sum available out of all the provincial revenues. I think, therefore, there is no real risk such as my hon. Friend seems to have suspected, and if there is no such risk, it would be a great mistake to charge upon the Federal budget what is really a provincial financial charge. The only effect of that would be to make confusion between the finances of the Province and those of the Federation, and it would be likely to raise the worst kind of feeling between the Province and the Federa- tion. Therefore, I hope my hon. Friend will see, first of all, that there is no real risk, and, secondly, that this would not be a wise or effective way of treating this matter.

10.3 p.m.

Photo of Mr David Reid Mr David Reid , Down

May I point out that for this House by legislation to direct that certain sums should be paid is not the same thing as to provide for them. I think many Members of the Committee will remember the legislation with regard to the amalgamation of the railways, where we set up a tribunal which was to regulate railway rates at such an amount as would provide a certain standard revenue for the railway companies, but we know that that has broken down hopelessly and completely. I would point out that there is one anomaly in our constitution, and that is in the part of the United Kingdom one division of which I represent, namely, Northern Ireland. There the judges are appointed by the British Government, and their salaries are paid out of the Consolidated Fund, I think. Thre is no difficulty in providing for them, because the North of Ireland is mainly financed by an amount paid back to it by the British Government out of the taxes collected by the British Government in Northern Ireland. I understand that a large part of the revenue of the Provinces in India is going to be remitted to them out of revenues collected by the Federal Governors. The analogy is very close. I do not see how there could be any difficulty in this matter. If the Provinces pay the salaries they are paid. That is the end of it. If this Amendment is accepted the Federal Government pays them and deducts them from the amount paid over to the Provincial Governments. I greatly distrust what I have been told in this House as to administrative difficulties. The expression usually means that some official does not want to take the trouble of providing for something. Nine times out of 10 the people of the department do not want to be troubled. I do not see any difficult why this Amendment should not be accepted.

10.6 p.m.

Photo of Mr Roy Wise Mr Roy Wise , Smethwick

If I understand rightly the argument of the Secretary of State, it was that my hon. Friend's fears were unfounded, because a failure to pay was only likely to take place in the event of the complete breakdown in the administration of any one province. It seems that every safeguard in this Bill is presumably designed in the event of a complete breakdown in any one or all of the Provinces, and I cannot see the argument that there is any less security in making these salaries chargeable to Federal revenue. Let us assume that there is a breakdown in any one province, which is unable to meet its demands. The Federal revenue has a reserve fund out of which to meet these salaries, and in the event of such a breakdown and the Governor having to take over the administration of the province, there is one thing without which he cannot go on and that is the High Court; and it is only reasonable that there should be some provision for the payment of that High Court in the event of the province being unable so to do. Is it not really the fact that pensions are made chargeable on the Federal revenue because it is more likely that the Federal revenue would pay? It does seem only reasonable that the salaries of High Court judges and their pensions should come from the same body. It gives that added security in case of a breakdown, and it does not add any complications worth speaking of to the machinery of payment. It would bring a considerable relief not only to this House but to the people of India, who want to see their courts functioning when their assemblies are not.

Amendment negatived.

10.9 p.m.

Photo of Mr Roy Wise Mr Roy Wise , Smethwick

I beg to move, in page 21, line 35, leave out paragraph (f).

I rise to move this Amendment merely in order to get a little information from the Secretary of State on a point which is not quite clear, I think, to the Committee. The paragraph reads: the sums payable to His Majesty under this Act out of the revenues of the Federation in respect of the expenses incurred in discharging the functions of the Crown in its relations with Indian States. All I move this Amendment for is to ask the Government where in this Act there are any sums payable to His Majesty. That is not quite clear.

10.10 p.m.

Photo of Miss Eleanor Rathbone Miss Eleanor Rathbone , Combined English Universities

Would the right hon. Gentleman also give a further explanation to the Committee as to what is the legitimate source of the sums which are spent in carrying out the obligations of the Crown? Suppose there is an insurrection in a State and troops are used in putting it down. On whom does the expenditure ultimately fall?

10.11 p.m.

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

The object of including these sums under paragraph (f) of Clause 33 is to finance the Governor-General when he is acting as the representative of the Crown in any case where he is exercising direct relations with the Indian States under paramountcy. The result of omitting the paragraph would be to deprive His Majesty's Representative in India in direct relations with the Indian States of any source of supply for dealing with the States. It would mean that he would have nothing to finance the Political Department, nothing with which to exercise any of those functions which His Majesty's Representative, vis-a-vis the States would probably have to exercise on certain occasions. I sincerely hope that the hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Wise) will not press his Amendment. If he has any difficulty about the phraseology, it is meant to imply that these sums, which will be non-votable, will be given out of the Federal revenue to the Viceroy as Representative of the Crown.

Photo of Viscount  Wolmer Viscount Wolmer , Aldershot

I understand from my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary that in effect the object of the paragraph is to finance the political department of the Viceroy.

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

That is perfectly correct. But this head will also cover any expenditure which occurs in discharging functions of the Crown in its relations to the Indian States.

Photo of Miss Eleanor Rathbone Miss Eleanor Rathbone , Combined English Universities

May I ask the hon. Gentleman kindly to answer my question? Does the money that is spent under this paragraph come out of the funds of the Federation or is an Indian State obliged to pay the cost of intervention that has been made necessary in the affairs of the State?

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

The funds would come from Federal revenue, out of which the Governor-General would be financed for particular purposes involved under this part of the Bill.

Photo of Mr Roy Wise Mr Roy Wise , Smethwick

I do not want to press the Amendment in any way. I merely want to get some information. What sums are payable to His Majesty, and where in the Bill can we find that the Governor-General has any right to exact such sums? I do not for a moment want to deprive him of his political power. I merely want to make quite certain that it is provided somewhere in this Bill that these sums are legally exacted from the Federation.

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

As far as I see it, this paragraph gives the requisite power for these sums to be paid to the representative of His Majesty in dealing with subjects which this paragraph provides for, that is, the relations of the Crown with Indian States.

10.15 p.m.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

We ought not to let this matter pass with such very vague general explanations as that. This paragraph provides for the payment to His Majesty of any sum that may be required for the Viceroy to deal with the Indian States, and the Under-Secretary has represented it as if it had nothing more in its purpose than the financing of the Indian political department.

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

I said that we must read the actual document before us. If the right hon. Gentleman will refer to it he will see reference to expenses incurred in discharging the functions of the Crown in its relation to the Indian States. They would be covered by this paragraph.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

That is the point, but when my hon. Friend made his speech what he dwelt on was keeping the political department going, and what he kept in the background was the discharge of the functions of the Crown in relation to the Indian States. That is the point on which I think the searchlight should be turned. I suppose that if an Indian State is ill-governed and the Rajah misbehaves himself in any way, and coercion has to be applied to him, this is the paragraph from which the fund will be supplied. Is not that so?

Mr. BUTLER indicated assent.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

That is so; exactly. If any question of paramountcy arises, this is the paragraph which covers it. Let us have our law right on the subject.

Photo of Mr Donald Somervell Mr Donald Somervell , Crewe

My right hon. Friend is stating in quite general form that if expenditure was incurred as a result of misgovernment in a State the expenditure necessary would fall on federal revenue. But there might be a levy on the State concerned. We should reimburse the federal revenue out of the State.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

My hon. and learned Friend has helped greatly in the discussion. This is a, very important Clause for the Indian Princes, because this paragraph provides the fund from which the means of disciplining them and keeping them in good order in the federal system is to be provided. Suppose that one of the States misbehaves, or the Congress representatives in the Federal Assembly put pressure on the Viceroy, the political department would be put into motion and the pressure would be applied, and the funds for the pressure would come out of this paragraph (f). That is so. I am not saying that it is not desirable. It may be very necessary indeed. But when passing so many clauses with great rapidity we ought to notice all the important points with which we are dealing. The question of paramountcy falls under this sub-section. Questions arising out of paramountcy will be sustained by the funds under this paragraph. Has the Secretary of State seen the declaration of the Maharaja of Bhopal? [HON. MEMBERS: "The Nawab!"] I am not so conversant with these Indian titles as some hon. Members. We are always told that we should never quote French in this House with a French accent. I do not pretend to be versed, like the Private Secretary to the Under-Secretary, in all these details. Has the Under-Secretary read the declaration of the Nawab of Bhopal, in which he says that it is vital and fundamental to his agreement with the Bill that as regards paramountcy there should be an independent tribunal between the paramount Power and the Princes' States?

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

I think that is hardly relevant to this discussion.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

With great respect I am not using it as a text but only as an incidental illustration and I pass from it rapidly to say that, should a case like this arise, a dispute about paramountcy, it is upon that topic that the fund provided by this subsection would be used. In a dispute on paramountcy involving the use of coercion the funds would come fro mthis Subsection. Is not that the case?

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

I think I have on several occasions told the right hon. Gentleman that all the moneys necessary to the Governor-General for the exercise of his functions as Representative of the Crown will be found under this Subsection.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

That is a very nice way of answering my question in the affirmative. I am not objecting. Undoubtedly if the Princes come into the Federation they will have to be subject to severe disciplinary control, and the moneys will have to be found, from federal revenues in the first instance. I agree with the Under-Secretary that later on the expense may be transferred from the federal revenue, and recovered from the delinquent State. There is no reason why that should not happen if such a lamentable situation as has been suggested should arise. I think it well however that we should note these facts. These Clauses and Sub-sections slip through very fast, and people sometimes do not realise what is in them and wake up afterwards with great surprise to find what they have done. Here we have the armoury, the arsenal, in which the means of coercing States and disciplining them are to be found. This is the authority for placing on the federal revenue the means of reducing States to a proper subjection to the federal scheme.

Photo of Mr David Reid Mr David Reid , Down

If a charge came on the federal revenues for the purpose of coercing a recalcitrant State there might be a levy on the State. I can imagine that, when the relations were more or less indefinite but under this Sub-section what will be the position?

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

I think I should point out that that question is one which cannot be answered on this Amendment.

Photo of Mr David Reid Mr David Reid , Down

It seems to me if I may say so with deep respect that it is a question which affects very vitally the vote which we are about to give.

10.23 p.m.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery , Birmingham Sparkbrook

Is not the actual purpose of the Sub-section simply to preserve the position of the Viceroy vis-a-vis the Princes as it is at present, in that sphere of paramountcy which lies entirely outside the Federal Constitution. What then, is the object of trying to make the flesh of the Princes creep with the idea of the new terrors to which they are to be subject if they should come into the Federation? It seems to me that that is one of the interventions in our debates which have nothing to do with the merits of the Bill but are intended to frighten the Princes.

10.24 p.m.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

I object altogether to the suggestion of my right hon. Friend. He is always imputing motives. It is a thing which can be done from time to time with delicacy, with courtesy and with moderation, but when it becomes the staple of a right hon. Gentleman's speeches in debate, it occupies a position rather below the general level over which the attention of this Committee should range. This is about the third time to-day that the right hon. Gentleman has dealt with arguments advanced by me by simply saying "Oh, you want to frighten the Princes." I certainly admit, indeed I avow, and glory in the fact, that I should like to give my words of warning and counsel to the Princes to keep clear of this misshapen scheme. I am not afraid of that, and I should be ready to take on my own shoulders the responsibility of persuading them to stand out of it. But to say that because I avow that perfectly legitimate and proper Parliamentary position, the right hon. Gentleman should therefore feel himself absolved from using his fine intellect to provide any arguments at all in regard to the matters under discussion in the Committee, is not a deduction that can be drawn. I wish my right hon. Friend would try to address himself to the arguments instead of simply contenting himself with raising the crudest points of prejudice.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery Lieut-Colonel Leo Amery , Birmingham Sparkbrook

If I did impute any motives, my right hon. Friend glories in the fact. What I was addressing myself to was the fact that the argument he advanced was entirely irrelevant to this Sub-section.

10.26 p.m.

Photo of Mr John Wardlaw-Milne Mr John Wardlaw-Milne , Kidderminster

I do not impute any motives to my right hon. Friend, but I would ask him what bearing his illustration has on this para- graph? He gave us an illustration and then dealt with some position that might arise if some far-fetched proposal, about which nobody has heard, was accepted by some future Government of India. As far as I can see, that cannot be an illustration of this paragraph at all. It deals entirely with the position which at present exists between the Crown and the States, and surely it is no illustration of the working of this paragraph to deal with some hypothetical case which might arise if some proposal, which a great many members know nothing about, is at some future time accepted by some future Government of India,

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

It is not true to say that this deals with only the present-position. It deals with the position which will be created when the Federal Government is brought into existence. There is no such Government in existence now, so that it does not deal with the present but the future position, which is the position we are being asked to create.

Photo of Mr John Wardlaw-Milne Mr John Wardlaw-Milne , Kidderminster

The position as between the Viceroy and the States is exactly the present position, that is to say, the powers of the Viceroy in connection with the States continue after federation as they exist now.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Epping

No, because new obligations are to be undertaken by those who sign the Instrument of Accession and the enforcement of the whole of the complicated process of new obligations will be met under paragraph (f) of this Clause. I agree that funds must be provided, but very large funds will probably be necessary owing to the extensive disagreements which will occur. All I am saying is that as we pass along through the long corridors of this Bill we ought to mark at each stage the significant passages, and this is one of the most significant.

10.28 p.m.

Photo of Mr Roy Wise Mr Roy Wise , Smethwick

I do not want to appear unduly intrusive or over inquisitive in this Committee, but really the first question I asked has not yet been answered. I would withdraw the Amendment if I could get the information. This Subsection of the Clause distinctly says: The following expenditure shall be expenditure charged on the revenues of the Federation. It goes on in paragraph (f) to say: the sums payable to His Majesty under this Act out of the revenues of the Federation, etc. What I want to know is what sums and where are they mentioned in the Bill? It may be due to my stupidity, but it is a long and complicated Bill, and I do not know what sums are referred to. It is no good saying that they are the sums payable under this paragraph because clearly they are sums payable under some other Clause of the Bill, which I am unable to find. That is the only information for which I am asking, and if I can get it I shall be only too pleased to withdraw the Amendment.

10.30 p.m.

Photo of Mr Donald Somervell Mr Donald Somervell , Crewe

I think I can help my hon. Friend. If he will look at Sub-section (2) of Clause 3 he will find it stated that: His Majesty's Representative for the exercise of the functions of the Crown in its relations with Indian States is appointed by His Majesty in like manner and has such powers and duties in connection with the exercise of those functions (not being powers or duties conferred or imposed by or under this Act on the Governor-General) as His Majesty may be pleased to assign to him. Then if my hon. Friend will look at Clause 143 he will see that it reads: There shall be paid to His Majesty by the Federation in each year the sums required to defray the expenses of His Majesty incurred in discharging the functions of the Crown in its relations with Indian States, including any payments in respect of any customary allowances to members of the family or servants of any former Ruler of any territories in India. The scheme is: As far as Federation is concerned, that is dealt with by the Bill, but the relations of the Crown and Indian States outside the Federation continues as now, with the payment of a sum of money each year. That is for the expenses which come under paragraph (f).

Photo of Mr Roy Wise Mr Roy Wise , Smethwick

I thank my hon. and learned Friend for the explanation, and in view of the fact that I have the elucidation for which I asked I should like to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

10.32 p.m.

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

Order. Is the hon. Lady aware that if she insists on speak- ing now leave to withdraw cannot be given?

Photo of Miss Eleanor Rathbone Miss Eleanor Rathbone , Combined English Universities

Am I not entitled to ask a question before leave to withdraw is given?

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

The hon. Lady has not answered my question. I asked whether she was aware of something in order that she might know the position—that if she insists on speaking leave to withdraw the Amendment is refused.

Photo of Miss Eleanor Rathbone Miss Eleanor Rathbone , Combined English Universities

I do not think my question can possibly detain the Committee for more than a few moments, and I suppose that a request for leave to withdraw the Amendment can be repeated.

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

I have already informed the hon. Lady that that is not the case, and that is the reason I asked her the question. If she insists on speaking leave cannot be given to withdraw the Amendment.

Photo of Miss Eleanor Rathbone Miss Eleanor Rathbone , Combined English Universities

I am sorry, but I think this is a very important Clause, and that the Committee are entitled to be given the means of understanding it before they vote on it or decide not to vote. We have been told by the Under-Secretary, in effect, that this Clause makes no difference, that it really preserves the present position with regard to Paramountcy. I would point out that it does create a new position, because the expenses of a native State cannot now be paid out of the revenues of the Federation seeing that there is no Federation. I want to know whether this Sub-section involves any new charges on the inhabitants of British India. Who pays the cost of carrying out the functions of Paramountcy in regard to the Indian States? It appears to me to be a serious matter if the expenditure required for carrying out those functions, which affect the States in regard to this country but not in regard to British India, is to be borne by the taxpayers of British India.

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

That point does not arise on this Amendment. It is merely a question of how certain funds are to be provided—as we should say here, charged upon the Consolidated Fund.

Photo of Miss Eleanor Rathbone Miss Eleanor Rathbone , Combined English Universities

Is it not legitimate to ask whether this Clause involves charges in that respect, because clearly the expenditure was not previously borne out of the funds of a Federation which did not then exist. Is it not legitimate before we put a charge on the Federation to ask by whom that charge is at present borne? Then I would ask whether it is possible for questions to be asked in the Legislature about these matters.

10.35 p.m.

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

It may be for the convenience of the Committee if I give the hon. Lady the answer for which she asks. It is that no extra charges are involved.

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

Yes, they are now borne by the revenues of India.

Amendment negatived.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 34 ordered to stand part of the Bill.