To show that I am not going too far in saying this, let me remind you what is the ground upon which Lord Ripon proposes this alteration of the law. The Natives at present are governed by a system of law and a system of judicature which was settled long years ago, with which they are perfectly satisfied, and which there is no in- tention to change. The influx of capital is undoubtedly regulated by the degree of security and comfort which capitalists enjoy ; but nothing short of very violent legislation indeed could produce an effect sufficiently palpable to justify predictions of that kind. The attention of the Government was forcibly drawn to this fact by the Hon. The exam was still held in London. Stephen, then Legal Member of Council, and was referred to a Select Committee. And if this opinion was shared by Anglo-Indians, who left India a quarter of a century ago, by men who left but recently, and by numbers of men who were living and working there at the present moment, assuredly there was cause for urging upon her Majesty's Government the grave impolicy of allow- ing this Bill to proceed.
The Memorial of the undersigned members of the London Committee of Anglo-Indians for obtaining the with- drawal of the Indian Criminal Procedure Act Amend- ment Bill, Respectfully showeth, That your memorialists view with the deepest apprehen- sion and concern the Indian Criminal Procedure Act Amend- ment Bill, which has been introduced into the Council of the Governor-General of India for the purpose of conferring upon certain native magistrates and judges in the Mofussil criminal jurisdiction over European British subjects. It may be possible to pro- duce a similar array of instructed opinions upon the other side. I shall not deal at length with the anomaly argument which has been discussed so ably and so effectively by Mr. Look at the High Courts. A dealer in country produce,' a tea-planter, an agent for some house in Cachar, Assam, the Wynaad, or the Doon, through his own act or that of his Native staff, becomes involved in litigation. It con- sists of a High or Chief Court in each province, a Sessions Judge, in some cases assisted by additional or joint Sessions Judges, and magistrates of various grades, with carefully- 8 Mr. Such being the universal rule, the English in India may, the judges think, with some reason, demand that a like regard may be paid to their personal rights, for which they have at any rate the prescription of long usage, which they highly prize, and which are not shown to conflict in any way with the rights of any class.
But in the case of the lower classes of Euro- peans I am by no means confident that it would be the same. These are the Courts by which the old Indian Criminal Law — namely, the Mahomedan law, modified in many ways by Regulations and Acts of the Indian Legislative bodies, and some principles and definitions intro- duced from the law of Lngland — was administered down to the year 1861. When regard is had to the isolated position of numbers of English families in India, especially among the poorer classes — to the dangers of trumped-up charges, so forcibly dwelt upon by Sir Steuart Bayley — to the obvious openings that might be afforded for extortion or even worse, by the increased chances of impunity in bringing such false charges, and by the humiliation and disgrace that might be inflicted on the victim even by an unsuccessful charge — it must be at once evident how im- portant, to the Englishwomen of India in particular, is that safeguard which has hitherto been secured to tjiem, in the right to be tried by their own countrymen, who are fully acquainted with their habits and modes of thought, and are able to judge what is, and what is not, compatible with innocence in their conduct. The Chair ivas taken by Sir Alexander Arbuthnot, K. This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's. I will give Sir Arthur Hobhouse another instance to which he will not be able to find the same objection. In reference to the , when it was alleged that English women and girls were raped by Indian , many British colonialists expressed great concern over the humiliation English females would have to face appearing before Indian judges in the case of rape.
Petition of Englishwomen in India. Is it wise that we should supply fresh means for political controversy } is it wise that we should supply fresh causes of the bitterness of class 1 Hitherto, the strongest part of our administration has been the administration of the law. Of the signataries to this memorial, a large majority belong to the official class. On the other hand, it seemed, and no doubt it was, both a grievance and a scandal that the large and increasing European popu- lation, established in various parts of the country, should practically enjoy impunity for nearly all their crimes. The thing was perfectly preposterous on the face of it ; but still, if the opinion was going about, the sooner it was stopped the better. But, so far as the ad- ministration of the law is concerned, your memorialists main- tain that what is now proposed to be done by the Government of India has excited alarm, not because it offends the pre- judices and lessens the privileges of a dominant class, but because it would deprive Englishmen and Englishwomen in India of a safeguard to which they attach the highest value.
This article has not yet received a rating on the project's. If English ascendancy in India Meeting in St. The sense of racial superiority drove them to resist the enactment of the Bill into a law. The delegates condemned the racial discriminations practiced by the British rulers and business interests and called for a national resistance movement against the malevolent commercial and bureaucratic elements. It may be that there are Indian officials, past and present, who have remained silent while this question was being debated, though fully convinced that the Ilbert Bill is wise and expedient. India, as we know, is encircled and intersected by Native States : many of them have reached the highest stage of organization ; some of them possess tribunals as good as our own, and laws modelled upon our own. Has yet to pass by the lower standard.
Perhaps I may be pardoned for giving you an anecdote of the late Lord Lawrence, which I don't think you will find in his admirable biography. So far we have confined ourselves to the respects in which the passing of the proposed Bill would result in grievous wrong and injury to ourselves. That social system is still founded on polygamy, and on the strict seclusion of Avomen. I will just briefly remind you that a Native gentleman, finding that in Calcutta under the fierce light of the Press, and in full publicity, he could exercise certain powers, and that when he was sent to the Mofussil he could no longer exercise those powers, brought this matter before the notice of the Government. In more serious cases European British subjects were to be tried by the High Courts, the Chief Court of the Punjab, or the Recorders' Courts in Burmah. Europeans in India are, for the most part at the present day, for all practical purposes, far nearer to the tribunals to which they are subject than they have ever been before ; and their trans- mission from one place to another will year by year become a matter of less difficulty.
In the first place, the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1872, after having been in force for ten years, was last year re-enacted and extended in its operation to the High Courts, which had previously had their own procedure. The matter was very carefully considered, and the leading representatives of the unofficial European population were consulted upon the views which had either occurred or been suggested to me ; I, as legal member of Council, having charge of the Bill. The bitter controversy deepened antagonism between the British and Indians and was a prelude to the formation of the in the next two years. The fact that the danger threatened to isolated Europeans in the Mofussil, under this Bjll, is a very real and serious one, and by no means the sentimental one it is sometimes represented to be, was frankly and forcibly admitted by the Hon. Then, too, the anomaly of certain exceptional privileges still to be reserved to the Englishman, even if the Bill should pass, would remain as glaring and offensive as ever, and would again tempt the attack of the Native agitator and the prentice hand of some legislator not troubled with results, and nourished, as Macaulay said, on trope and figure in the cloisters of Oxford.
Anglo-Indians on Monday last was distinguished by some new and striking features. I believe that the Native judge, if a European of influence and position were brought before him, would display to him a very much greater degree of leniency than he would receive from his Meeting in St, Jamess HalL 31 own countryman. Immediately, the whole European community began an agitation to oppose the bill. I am, Sir, your obedient servant, J. The law provoked an outrage amongst the Anglo-Indian community. The proposal was, however, rejected on account of the strong feeling on the subject of the non-official Europeans. I trust that we shall be — I trust that we 2 8 Meeting in St, J antes s Hall.
Let me give an illustration from my own experience, which, I doubt not, will be corroborated by the experience of those around me. In the second place, it was asserted that this oppo- sition was at variance with the views held by some of the greatest Indian statesmen of past times. He would give what followed in Mr. In the first place, I am aware that it is thoug-ht by many persons, and even by some who have considered the introduction of this Bill' to have been unwise, that after the hopes and expectations which have been aroused in the Native mind, and after all the agitation which has taken place, it is now too late to withdraw the measure. I think, for instance, that if a couple of half-intoxicated sailors were brought up before a Brahmin magistrate for having broken into a Hindu pagoda, or slaughtered a sacred monkey, they would probably receive very hard measure indeed — laughter — partly because the magistrate would be utterly unable to put himself into the point of view from which the accused regarded the offence, and partly because the culprits would probably conduct themselves before him with a degree of levity — laughter — and independence which would very much excite his indignation.