asked the Under-Secretary of State for India if he will state, approximately, when elections for the Provincial Governments will take place; whether this is to be preceded by a full restoration of civil liberty regarding meetings and the Press; and whether franchise disqualification arising from having suffered a term of imprisonment will be withdrawn.
Elections to the Provincial Legislatures will be held during the coming cold weather, and should be completed by early next April. The matters raised in the second and third parts of the Question are under consideration, and I hope that by the time the House reassembles I shall be able to give a more definite reply.
Does my hon. and learned Friend appreciate the very urgent need of adequate time both to enable public opinion to be properly informed about various issues and to enable those who have been in prison until now to have some voice in the decisions of the electorate?
I can assure the House that it is the intention of His Majesty's Government that the forthcoming elections shall be held under conditions of the greatest possible freedom.