§ 38. Mr. Sorensen
asked the Secretary of State for India the present political composition of the Central Assembly; how many of its members are in detention; the composition of the Government; how often and on what issues it has been defeated during the past 12 months; and what was the political composition, respectively, of the majority and the minority.
§ The Secretary of State for India (Mr. Amery)
With the hon. Member's permission, I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT such information as I have with regard to his comprehensive series of questions on the composition and recent history of Indian political institutions.
§ Mr. Sorensen
Has the attention of the right hon. Gentleman been drawn not only to the recent defeat of the Government by a majority, but also to other defeats; and what significance can be attached to them?
§ Mr. McGovern
Is the attitude of the Government to Members of this House on the occasion of the recent defeat of the Government similar to that adopted towards the Indian Legislative Assembly?
§ Mr. Sorensen
Is it not true that the majority which defeated the Government consisted not of Congress members but of non-Congress members?
§ Following is the information:
§ I understand that at the end of 1942 the main parties in the 102 elected members of the Legislative Assembly were composed as follows:—Congress 38, Nationalists 13, Moslem League 23, Europeans 11. In addition to the elected members there are 39 nominated members. I have no information regarding the number of members at present in detention.
§ The Government of India consists of 4 Hindu Members, 4 Moslems, 1 Sikh, 1 Scheduled Caste, and 1 non-official 1549 European in addition to the Viceroy, the Commander-in-Chief and 2 Official Members. All the Indian Members are non-officials of long political experience and high standing. The composition of the Viceroy's Executive Council is however not based on representation of political parties in the Legislature. Government were defeated on the 8th November last on a motion relating to arrangements for four non-official Indians to publicise the Indian war effort in England and America; on the 9th February, on a motion relating to certain arrears, made under the Defence of India Rules, and, more recently, over certain items of their Budget proposals, culminating in the rejection of the Finance Bill on 27th March. No analysis of the division lists on these occasions is yet available, but I understand from Press reports that Congress, Nationalist and Moslem League members combined to vote against the Government.