HC Deb 04 April 1935 vol 300 cc532-4
61. Major-General Sir ALFRED KNOX

asked the Secretary of State for India whether he has considered the memorial sent to him from members of the Bengal Civil Service; what representations it contains regarding the proposed constitutional changes in India and the rights of the Civil Service; and what steps he proposes to take to meet the wishes of the memorialists?

The SECRETARY of STATE for INDIA (Sir Samuel Hoare)

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As regards the second part, I am placing a copy of the memorial in the Library. The memorial contains no general observations on the policy of the Government of India Bill, and apart from a reference to the effects of the terrorist movement on members of the Security Services in Bengal, is entirely confined to presenting the case for certain specific amendments to those parts of the Bill which relate to the Services. As regards the last part of the question, I have received a deputation from the Indian Civil Service Association, the European Government Servants Association and the Indian Police Association on the 29th March on these questions. As a result, I have put down certain Amendments to the Bill to supplement the provisions it already contains for the protection of members of the Services.

Brigadier-General Sir HENRY CROFT

Is it not a fact that the memorial has disclosed grave anxieties in nearly all ranks of the Civil Service in regard to the Bill as it stands?


No, Sir, that is not the case, as my hon. and gallant Friend will see when he reads the memorial in the Library. The memorialists refer to terrorism in Bengal, and do express anxiety about that, but they express no anxiety about any other part of India. By that I do not mean to suggest that they express approval of the Bill; they have expressed no special opinion about it at all.


Has not the right hon. Gentleman received memorials from civil servants in various Provinces in which they express grave anxiety as to the conditions of service and as to the adequacy of the safeguards?


Yes, Sir, that is exactly what I said in my answer. The anxiety expressed, apart from the one subject of Bengal, is about the various conditions of service, and it is in connection with them that I have put down Amendments to the Bill.


Is it not a fact that in the covering letter to that memorial they said that only one out of the nine representations made has been adequately met in the Bill now before the House?


I do not carry in my mind the contents of the covering letter; in fact, I am not sure whether I have received a covering letter. I will look into that point.


They said the family pensions was the only point that had been met.


Is there any ground for the statement in the Press that the right hon. Gentleman has suppressed or withheld from the House information which it was his duty to place before the House?


So far from having suppressed information, I have actually put the memorial in the Library of the House. Hon. Members will see when they read it that no new requests are being Made—nothing other than requests already made to the Joint Select Committee, which have been under consideration now for many months and, indeed, for years.

Duchess of ATHOLL

May I ask when the right hon. Gentleman received that memorial?


I think some time in January.

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