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India—Regulations For European Officers—Prize—Question

Volume 217: debated on Thursday 17 July 1873

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(for Colonel STUART KNOX), asked the Under Secretary of State for India, Whether his attention was called in the year 1870 to the statement at page 608 of the revised edition of the "Regulations for European Officers" issued "by authority," which sets forth that under the Act 3 and 4 Vic. c. 65, s. 22, "the final decision in all disputed questions of prize now rests with the High Court of Admiralty;" and, if that statement is inaccurate, what steps have been or will be taken to correct it for the better guidance of Her Majesty's Officers in India; whether the Index to these Regulations, in which a corresponding statement occurs, is also published "by authority" of the Secre- tary of State; whether some of the Kirwee Prize claims have been ostensibly adjudicated upon, not by a legal court, but by a public Department unaided by legal assessors; and, whether such ostensible adjudication has been in accordance with any of the known precedents, some of which, in the opinion of Her Majesty's Attorney General and other very eminent counsel, are not distinguishable from the case of the Kirwee claims?

Sir, in reply to the first Question I have to say that my attention was called in the year 1870 to the statement that "the final decision in all disputed questions of Prize now rests with the High Court of Admiralty." In reply to the second Question, I have to say that, there being nothing in that statement calculated to mislead persons of average intelligence, it is not intended to take any steps to alter it. In reply to the third Question, I have to say that the Index is as much and as little authoritative as the rest of the compilation—that is, as I explained the other day, it is authoritative in so far as it quotes or correctly interprets official documents. In reply to the fourth Question, I have to say that some of the Kirwee Prize claims were adjudicated on by the Treasury; and in reply to the fifth Question—being, I believe, the 21st which has been addressed to me this Session on the subject of the Banda and Kirwee claims—I have to say that I think the hon. and gallant Member had better address that Question to the representative of the Department whose action he impugns.