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in the interests of reserved subjects with reference to any matter for which the sanction of the Secretary of State is now required. It should be remembered that in the case of transferred subjects the council has got the powers of removing the minister, and a corresponding power does not exist in the case of the reserved subjects.
Peace and Order.
28. Leaving now the question of the budget, let me take the equally important question of peace and order. If sedition had its origin in Bombay, it would be noticed that this was due to the harsh administration of the plague regulations by a collector, which would have been impossible if the Indian element was powerful in the government of the country. Similarly the course of maladministration by the Government of Eastern Bengal which was responsible for the growth of real Bengal sedition would also have been practically difficult. Under the law which we have recently passed and under certain regulations which were passed at the commencement of the last century to meet certain exceptional classes of cases, it would be open to an executive Government in a province to deprive a man of his liberty and of his freedom of speech without the orders of the magistrate or any other judicial tribunal. The press may also be deprived of its freedom by executive action, the ordinary courts being deprived of their jurisdiction. The Governor of a province has the power of depriving a person who attacks him of his liberty of person and of his property without affording him a public opportunity of proving his allegations before the ordinary tribunals of the country. Under this law no Indian paper would venture to indulge in criticisms distasteful to the head of a province. Any agitation against the civil service or bureaucratic form of government would scarcely be possible under the civilian head of a province. The Home Rule agitation, or in fact any constitutional agitation may be suppressed without the interference of a judicial tribunal solely at the instance of an executive government. In these circumstances, it seems to me to be imperative that the Indian element and the popular element should be powerful in the Government of a province. Otherwise we will certainly perpetuate all those evils due to the inutility of the Councils which, as forcibly pointed out in the Report, are responsible for the widening gulf between officials and non-officials.
29. It is proposed to constitute grand committees out of the members of the legislative councils in order to legislate on 'reserved' subjects when the Governor considers such legislation is essential to the discharge of his responsibility for the peace or tranquillity of the province, or any part thereof or for the discharge of his responsibility for the reserved subjects.' So far as the reserved' subjects are concerned, it is said that such exceptional means of legislation are required on account of the poverty, ignorance and helplessness of the great majority of the population, who cannot for the reason be left to the mercies of a legislative council who will not adequately protect their interests. Further it is said that the masses themselves will not take any part in political life, and therefore all such questions concerning the revenue, those arising from the relations of the landlord and tenant must be retained by the executive government. It is also said that such power is necessary in order to defend British commercial interests and other questions concerning industries, etc. All questions that arise between classes and creeds also should not be left to the ordinary legislative councils. I have pointed out already that it may well be doubted whether in the interests of the good government of the country such exceptional powers are nccessary. Our electorates are becoming wider; all kinds of interests and views divergent among themselves are going to be represented; and if in these circumstances, the government cannot secure any majority, the probabilities of their being in error are great. The grand committee as constituted is obviously intended as a check on a popular assembly, and is in itself therefore an undesirable institution. It creates an undesirable antagonism between a local executive and a local legislative council, and if there are other means of attaining the same object in view it is undesirable to retain it. I think the safeguard of the Imperial Legislative Council for all affirmative legislation and the powers of veto possessed by the Governor and the Viceroy to negative any Act which is passed by the local legislative council, and the power of ordinance for urgent occasions would be amply sufficient. This would secure a careful consideration of a measure rejected by the local legislative council before its introduction into the Imperial Legislative
The objections to legislation by the Government of India are stated in paragraph 248 of the Reform Report. The first objection advanced is
that such legislation will strike at the root principle of provincial autonomy, according to which the provincial governments must be autonomous in their own legislative field. Provincial autonomy was promised by Lord Hardinge's Delhi Despatch of 1911 for the purpose of increasing popular control. We, therefore, do not want the so-called provincial autonomy if it is intended thereby to increase the power of the executive government over the legislative council. On the other hand it is a principle recognised by the Reform Report that the control now exercised by the Government of India and by the Secretary of State over subordinate governments can be relaxed only in proportion to increasing popular control. It is quite right, therefore, that where a provincial legislative council has passed a measure, the Imperial Government or the Secretary of State should interfere as little as possible; but that the local executive government should be able to get passed through a grand committee a measure which has been rejected by the Legislative Council goes against all these principles. There is, in that case no question of real provincial autonomy. It must be borne in mind that the grand committee though technically a part of the legislature is brought into existence and will always be utilized to register the decrees of the Executive Government and may, therefore, be regarded as its agent for enacting measures rejected by the Legislative Council. The provincial government becomes independent both of the Provincial Legislative Council and of the Imperial Government; whereas, the proposal I put forward retains the power of the Imperial Government, for it can hardly be doubted that legislation by a grand committee will practically put an end to legislation in the Imperial Council
The other objection that is advanced that the Government of India would be very reluctant to undertake responsibility by legislation is, in my opinion, rather a recommendation than an objection as a Legislative Council should be over-ruled only in very exceptional cases. The Government of India cannot be accused of ignorance of local condition' as they will be acting only on the advice of the local Governments and after full consideration of, the discussions in the local Legislative Council,
Disregard of provincial wishes is a common factor whether the legislation is by the local Executive Government or by the Imperial Legislative Council. The Imperial Government in such a case would be an arbitrator between the local Executive Government and its Legislative Council,
The 'ungrateful' task has to be undertaken by somebody, and it is much better that it should be undertaken by a Government far removed from local excitement. The reason that such legislation is unpopular and controversial is only an argument for subjecting it to examination by a government which is not subject to local temptations of prestige, power and increased revenue. The Imperial Government will be able to attach due weight to the circumstances that may be urged by the local Government and the arguments which induced the local Legislative Council to reject the measure. I also disagree with the proposal to reduce the elected element in the grand committee.
We are all agreed that the heads of provinces should in future, be Governors instead of Lieutenant-Governors (paragraph 218), but my colleagues are of opinion that the existing practice of appointing only civilians in accordance with the rule which requires twelve years' service in India for a Lieutenant-Governorship must be or will be followed for a long time to come. I regret I cannot share in this view. The primary consideration that should weigh with the Secretary of State in making the appointment is the fitness of the person to carry out the duties not, as hitherto, of an autocratic head of a province but of a constitutional ruler. The civil service generally have shown their hostility to the proposed reforms. They have expressed their strong opinion of the unfitness of Indians to hold high appointments or to carry out the duties which will devolve upon them as Parliamentary leaders. There will be many persons therefore among them who are not likely to work in harmony with Indians or to view with sympathy their political progress, which must curtail the privileges hitherto enjoyed by their own service. The Secretary of State should certainly, therefore, take the question into consideration when he makes the appointment. 'It may indeed be questioned whether the life spent in the Indian civil service is calculated, except in rare cases to stimulate that part of political talent which consists in the study and guidance of political opinion, or in the framing of the large legislative proposals which are from time to time. needed in actively thinking political communities.'*
This fact also will have to be borne in mind. Those civilians who are in sympathy with Indian progress or who can be trusted to work smoothly with the political machinery of the future under the altered conditions and who are not prejudiced by
* Mr. H. A. L. Fisher: "The Empire and the Future.”
the feelings of hostility to the proposed reforms evinced by many of them may be appointed as heads of provinces. I do not think, therefore, that the confident expression of opinion by my colleagues as to the continuance of the practice hitherto existing is justified.
31. The same question arises with reference to the qualifications of a member of the executive council. It is intended, according to the Reform Report, that one member should be an Indian and the other an official with qualifications of 12 years' service under the Crown which is now required by law. I do not understand the Report to lay down that this should be retained as a statutory qualification, though no doubt in practice the qualification will be insisted upon. At present the appointment is in practice limited to the civil service. One can easily conceive cases where a Governor might require the presence in his executive council of a person of outstanding abilities in some particular line either in India or in England. There is no reason why the Secretary of State should be debarred from nominating him. My colleagues are of opinion that there must be a statutory provision that one member should be an Indian and that the other should have the existing qualification. I doubt whether this is necessary.
32. The only other point which I have to notice has reference to the right of a legislative council to make rules for its own conduct of business. Every council ought to have such a right, and no reasons have been shown why we should insist upon the consent of the president. The rights and privileges of a president or of a vicepresident, in so far as they do not refer to the ordinary conduct of business, should not of course be interferred with.
The Government of India.
33. The first question has reference to responsible government. I recognise that it has been laid down in the Report that there should be no responsibility in the Government of India as in provincial governments, that is to say that there should be no Indian minister responsible to the legislature. This can be defended only on the ground that many of the departments of administration have been transferred to the provincial government and that those retained by the Government of India are far too important to be handed over to responsible Indian Ministers before the experiments have justified themselves in the provinces. These, of course, are subjects which concern peace and order and the good government of the country, foreign states, Army
and Navy, and also questions in which the interests of England or her people are greatly involved. There are, however, questions which only concern the internal administration of the country and which have been recognized as fit for transfer to a minister and the legislative council. In all those cases, therefore, in which the Government of India retain a right to interfere with the transferred subjects, there should be no objection to introducing responsibility in the central government. Indeed responsible government seems to be necessary in order to carry out the principles indicated in the Report. It is proposed to allow powers of interference to the Government of India in the transferred departments of the provinces, for instance, to secure uniformity of legislation where such legislation is considered desirable in the interests of India or of more than one province. It is also desired to retain in the Government of India power to decide questions which affect more than one province. Ex-hypothesi, these are subjects which ordinarily should be dealt with by ministers in accordance with the will of the local legislature; and if it is proposed to remove these from the legislative council for reasons which have nothing to do with their capacity to deal with questions of that character, it is but reasonable that in the Government of India also the decision of such questions should be left to the legislature and an Indian minister. If necessary an Indian member of the executive council may be an Indian minister for this purpose. Supposing there are certain subjects which are not now transferred for temporary reasons, and of which we contemplate transference in the course of three or four years, I cannot see any reason why in such cases also responsible government should not be introduced so far as such subjects are concerned. Responsible government in the provinces demands responsible government in the Government of India in the same subjects, as otherwise provincial responsibility will be diluted.
The Council of State.
34. The next important question refers to the Council of State. I have very strong objections to the power given to the executive government to pass laws through the Council of State without a previous discussion in the legislative assembly. The Governor-General can exercise his power of issuing ordinances which will operate for six months. If any discussion is necessary, he can introduce the Bill into the legislative council to ascertain the popular view. If it is a matter in which the Governor-General in Council has made up his mind, then, of course a discussion is useless
and unnecessary and an ordinance can at once be issued. Now with reference to the Council of State itself.
A Council of State as a second chamber representing interests not properly represented in the Imperial Assembly, I understand, and I raise no objection to it. A Council of State for the purpose of securing delay and for greater deliberation of subjects also might be necessary and I would not raise any objection to such a council either. But this Council of State is constituted for neither of these purposes. Its avowed purpose is to carry out the will of the executive Government when they cannot carry it out on account of the opposition of the legislative assembly. It is, in fact, an unreal council. Rather than constitute such a council, it is much better to lay on the executive council itself directly the obligation to pass the law. It will not then be exercised so frequently as it would now be with a State Council to give the measure that it passes an unreal appearance of popular support. It will belittle the importance of the legislative assembly and thus create an antagonism between it and the State Council and the executive government.
There is another serious objection. It is undesirable to give the executive council unrestricted freedom of action in matters in which popular opinion is decidedly against it. Disastrous consequences have attended such freedom of action; and as long as the Executive Government have that power of action, they are bound in the discharge of their responsibility to act upon it if they take a view contrary to that of the legislature. Again, there are great questions of administrative reform which should be carried out and which have not been carried out on account of the opposition of the bureaucracy due to their apprehension of loss of prestige, etc. I have referred to many of them already. There can be little doubt that a Council of State would check reforms as in the past in all these directions. I think, therefore, that the Council of State as constituted will prove an obstruction. At the same time, I recognise that in the Reforms Report it has been laid down that in matters referred to above, there should be no responsibility to the legislature. A via media appears to be to direct that in all cases Bills should first be submitted to the legislative assembly; and on their failure to pass such Bills, all the papers should be laid before the House of Commons to whom the Select Committee would no doubt submit their report; and it is only after such
sanction is obtained that further step should be taken to proceed with the measure, either by the Executive Council or the Council of State.
Two further courses have been suggested: to confine the Governor-General's or Viceroy's power of certification to certain definite subjects or to curtail the power of certification to those Bills which have not been rejected by a certain percentage of the members of the Legislative Council.
I am clearly of opinion that the power of the Council of State, if it is not to be dropped, should be curtailed.
It is now proposed to delegate larger powers to the Government of India. It is obvious that if hitherto the interference of the Secretary of State has been necessary in the interests of the Indian taxpayer, and that it has been necessary will appear from the various orders which restrict the Government of India's power of expenditure -then the Secretary of State should be allowed to forego the exercise of his own power only with the development of popular control; otherwise, there is no justification. That the powers hitherto exercised by the Secretary of State were necessary in the interests of the taxpayer will appear from an examination of the instances in which such power has been exercised. It will also appear from a consideration of the rules themselves and the occasions and the reasons which led to the passing of such rules. It appears to me therefore that all resolutions on the budget by the Legislative Assembly should be given effect to in all those instances in which it would not now be within the competence of the Government of India to incur any outlay without the sanction of the Secretary of State; at any rate, if full effect is not to be given to it, the power to over-rule the Legislative Council in that respect should not be given to the Executive Government in India but should rest only with the Secretary of State.
I do not agree with my colleagues in discarding the provision about appointing members of the assembly to positions analogous to that of Parliamentary Under Secretaries or the Standing Committees. At present, or under the new scheme, there is no means of non-official members acquiring that knowledge which can be acquired only by holding an office. The knowledge of Indians. in the public services will not be available to non-officials for criticism of Government proposals. The ministers will have intimate knowledge only of the transferred departments and that also only in the provinces. These Under-Secretary
ships and Standing Committees will enable the non-officials to acquire that information which they would otherwise lack. In the earlier stages of discussion, it was generally admitted that these would form a good training ground for future administrators. It is undesirable, therefore, to drop them.
In the Imperial Council also, as in the provincial councils, I think it should be left to the council to frame their own rules.
37. If there is any demand in which the associations who have addressed the Secretary of State and the Viceroy and all classes are unanimous it is in the request they make that half the members of the Executive Councils, both provincial and Imperial, should be Indians. The Congress and the Moslem League as well as the Sikhs and the non-Brahmin classes of Madras want it. The reasons are obvious. Every body feels that without the infusion of an adequate Indian element into the executive councils, the reforms that are essential for the better government of the country will not be carried out. Again, there are'
various questions, particularly those affecting
Lord Willingdon on "Unitary Government
Soon after the publication of the Montagu-Chelmsford Report, the Government of India addressed a circular letter to the Provincial Governments for an expression of their views on Indian Constitutional Reforms. The Local Governments accordingly submitted their opinions, some separately and others in groups. The Lieutenant-Governors of the United Provinces, Punjab and Burma and the Chief Commissioners of the Central Provinces and Assam submitted an alternative scheme to that of the Joint Report. The Governor of Bengal and the Lieutenant Governor of Bihar and Orissa while preferring the general plan of the scheme propounded in the Joint Report "to any other scheme which has been devised" suggested a more cautious advance on constitutional experiments. Sir George Lloyd, who had just then assumed the Governorship of Bombay rightly urged "that time is a factor of vital importance in the consideration of the whole question of reform." "I am convinced," wrote His Excellency, "that delay is a greater danger even than an imperfect scheme and that those of us on whom must fall the heavy burden of putting reform schemes into actual operation, will be better able to work an imperfect scheme with the goodwill and confidence of all concerned than to operate a more perfect scheme-if one can be devised— when confidence and good-will has been broken and alienated by disappointment and delay." But it was reserved for the Government of Madras to indulge in a wholly destructive criticism. Their memoranda on the reform proposals are on the whole the most reactionary of all the documents bearing on the subject-an unenviable distinction to be sure! But the Government of Bombay under Lord Willingdon offered a welcome contrast. His Excellency's sympathetic attitude towards Indian aspirations and his marked interest in political reform for India make his criticism altogether invaluable. It will be seen that Lord Willingdon's scheme, though differing in procedure from that of the Joint Report is conceived in the generous spirit characteristic of him. In fact even those who are not for his scheme and who whole-heartedly subscribe to the scheme of the Joint Report will read His Excellency's criticism with the care it deserves. And as Mr. Montagu has already stated that it will be within the province of the Joint Committee not only to recommend modifications in his own scheme but also to consider the relative merits of diarchy and " unitary executive" there is no doubt our readers will read with interest Lord Willingdon's suggestive contribution to the literature on the reforms. [Ed. I.R.]