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Commitment Warrants, Punjab

Volume 155: debated on Tuesday 27 June 1922

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asked the Under-Secretary of State for India whether he will state the terms of the Instructions recently issued by the Lahore High Court to its subordinate magistracy, laying it down that on warrants of commitment the trying magistrate has to note whether the convict is of a superior status by reason of his educational attainments or social position?

I will ask the Government of India for a copy of the Instructions in question, which have not reached the Secretary of State. Their issue would be in accordance with a rule framed by the Punjab Government as to the classification of Special Class Prisoners as such, by reason of the nature of the offence and the antecedents of the offender including his social position, education, and standard of living.

Is there anything in the law in India that warrants men being treated according to their social position?

As I have endeavoured to explain in my answer the Punjab Government under the administrative powers it possesses has issued a circular on this subject, and if, as my hon. Friend suggests, there have been these differences made, they have been carried out under the rules.

Most emphatically certainly not. This matter is within the competence of the Legislative Assembly, and it would be impossible for my Noble Friend to suggest to the Legislative Assembly that it should go back upon what is within its competence.