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GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
BEING A DIGEST OF THE STATUTE LAW
WITH HISTORICAL INTRODUCTION
SIR COURTENAY ILBERT, K.C.S.I.
CLERK OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
SOMETIME LAW MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL OF THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF INDIA
LONDON AND NEW YORK: HENRY FROWDE
ALSO SOLD BY
STEVENS & SONS, LIMITED, 119 & 120 CHANCERY LANE, LONDON
HENRY FROWDE, M.A.
PUBLISHER TO THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
STEVENS & SONS, LIMITED
This is a revised edition of a book which was published in 1898.
In the year 1873 the Secretary of State for India sent to the Government of India the rough draft of a Bill to consolidate the enactments relating to the Government of India. This draft formed the subject of correspondence between the India Office and the Government of India, and an amended draft, embodying several proposals for alteration of the law, was submitted to the India Office by the Government of India in the month of February, 1876. After that date the matter was allowed to drop.
The case for consolidating the English statutes relating to India is exceptionally strong. The Government of India is a subordinate Government, having powers derived from and limited by Acts of Parliament. At every turn it runs the risk of discovering that it has unwittingly transgressed one of the limits imposed on the exercise of its authority. The enactments on which its authority rests range over a period of more than I 20 years. Some of these are expressed in language suitable to the time of Warren Hastings, but inapplicable to the India of to-day, and unintelligible except by those who are conversant with the needs and circumstances of the times in which they were passed. In some cases they have been duplicated or triplicated by subsequent enactments, which reproduce with slight modifications, but without express repeal, the provisions of earlier statutes; and the combined effect of the series of enactments is only to be ascertained by a careful study and comparison of the several parts. A consolidating Act would repeal and supersede more than forty separate statutes relating to India.
In England the difficulty of threading the maze of administrative statutes is mitigated by the continuity of administrative tradition. In India there is no similar continuity. The Law Member of Council, on whom the Governor-General is mainly dependent for advice as to the nature and extent of his powers, brings with him from England either no knowledge or a scanty knowledge of Indian administration, and holds